Note: I don’t know anything about the theory or medical benefits of yoga besides whatever I’ve experienced. This is just my experience.
7 Things I’ve learnt from yoga
(1) If you control the breath, you control the situation
I’ve been going to yoga classes for about two months now, and for the first one and a half, every time my teacher would remind us to do deep breathing during an asana that left our muscles screaming or whole body shuddering, I would mentally laugh at him.
Yeah, right, as if that’s possible.
But then a few weeks ago, I had a breakthrough realisation, I could control my breath (to a large extent) despite the condition my body was in.
I did not have to pant.
It was remarkable because it left me testing out different situations where I could control my breath; climbing the stairs and running to the bus became secret chances to test my control of my breath.
Controlling your breath does not make the pain of your body any less, but it does remind you that you are in charge.
One of my friend’s mom mentioned that her breathing problems had greatly eased after two years of yoga, my own normal breathing is so smooth after just two months, and I just don’t pant as much anymore.
(2) It makes you love your body
A few weeks ago, I was relaxing after an asana, my forehead against the floor, my hair fanning out, hugging my thighs, and that’s when I felt unadulterated love for my body.
Yoga helps you find comfort in your own body, because with every asana, you remain present with your body. Each limb, each muscle becomes your companion, as you regulate your breath, and tell yourself to stay for just one count more.
This process of being with your body makes you appreciate it as yours – it is a part of you, and you are part of it. You do not judge it for your excess or lack of curves; it is just a body that need not fit any definition, but it also your home and your comfort.
(3) The body and mind are incredibly connected
I’m always in a better mood after yoga, and I say this with pride, because I hate pain, and yoga is the first thing I’ve seriously taken up since swimming which I gave up more than two years ago.
I’m usually exhausted after class, but in a relaxed, mindful state that nothing can bring down. Even crying feels better after yoga.
It’s been the one thing that has constantly boosted my mood and it is completely related to my body.
There are countless articles on the benefits of mindfulness for stress, and anxiety, and blah blah blah, but nothing –nothing – beats music after a class of yoga.
The same mindful state that I talked about in the last point allows you to fully absorb the beauty of music. You know the feeling after getting new glasses? The exhilaration of being able to see everything? That’s how it is with music, you notice every voice, every instrument that come together to form the song.
(5) Yogic intuition
You start gaining an intuition of how to do stretches – even the lame arm stretches you do in class or office after too much writing or typing. You know you have to stiffen your elbow, and stretch – stretch – stretch your arm upwards at ninety degrees and remain there for ten seconds, while breathing deeply.
(Umm..no ma’am, I don’t know the answer to the question, I was just stretching!)
(6) There are more muscles in your body than you know
Unless you’re a doctor.
(7) Some stretches are crazy, and you’re probably not doing the stretch completely right.
You can always stretch your arm farther and tighten your knees more.
+ (1) Benefits of Catwalking
As it turns out, I’m in Fashion Show for my Annual Day (go ahead, laugh), and the first few days of “walking” left me feeling conscious of every flab that did not fit the mould of perfect, I bit my lip too much and apparently tilted my head. I can’t even imagine how that looked.
But after a few days of practice, my normal posture has improved, and so has my normal walk. I think I walk with more confidence, and isn’t that always a positive?
You need to be haughty to be a model, your back curving back, your hips swaying just a little. Don’t establish eye contact with anyone (look above them), and don’t smile for heaven’s sake (this is always the hardest, especially when your best friends are calling you crazy names).
Be a just little angry with the whole world, a little done with everyone’s shit, and walk with everything you have. You’ve got this.
(And then go back to the wings and go back to giggling like a three year old).