What Yoga Means to Me
Yoga is a journey to unite the mind, body and soul. It goes beyond the physical practice and dives deep into your relationships, changing the way you see yourself, the people around you and the world.
That was my response to the question, what does yoga mean to you? I’ve been practicing yoga for about 6 years now, and only during my teacher training did I begin to notice all of the changes yoga had subtly been making in my life, mentally and physically. I started yoga while I was at uni to help manage my stress levels, and instantly fell in love with it. Mainly because it gave me 1 hour every Friday to focus on nothing else but moving through the flow and getting extremely sweaty while doing so. It was a work out for my mind and my body and I couldn’t get enough.
Between travelling and work, my practice became irregular and inconsistent, though I never lost the love for it. So I started practicing at home, I remembered the vinyasa flow my first teacher taught me and would go over it in my head on my own. With the odd class here and there to include some variety and wisdom into my practice.
My life changed constantly during this time - my values changed, the people I was surrounding myself with changed, my outlook on life grew deeper and my ability to deal with the bumps in the road became easier. By no means am I saying my life is perfect or I deal with things perfectly (no one is perfect, right?!), but looking back at the bigger picture and the corners my life has turned I can see how yoga influenced them.
"How to live a meaningful and purposeful life."
During my teacher training I learnt about the 8 Limbs of Yoga from the Yoga Sutras, which offers guidance on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. Also known as Ashtanga, it includes topics such as Ahimsa (non-harming), Satya (truthfulness) and Aparigraha (freedom from desire and greed) - I will go into more detail about these in future blog posts. Many of these topics I could already relate to or see how during recent years I had been subconsciously moving towards them. The fact I was connecting with something I didn’t know about, just through practicing the physical Asanas of Yoga and listening to teachers words, blew me away.
The goal of Yoga, put simply, is enlightenment – to experience an all eternal feeling of absolute bliss. Although, Yoga isn’t only about the goal, it’s about the experience and path you travel to get there. The good with the bad, the ups and the downs and appreciating every step you take to reach that goal.
Yoga promotes happiness, kindness, forgiveness, love, especially self-love – just to name a few - and can take you on a journey of self-discovery. The best thing about yoga, is the fact that it is your own practice and you move through it at your own pace. Accepting that everyone is unique and on their own journey. All that matters is you’re doing your best in that moment, and that is perfect.
So if you are still considering trying yoga, give it a go! It might feel good for you to stretch or help you slow down when you need to. It might calm you, energise you or uplift you. Yoga may even bring up emotions you haven’t been ready to deal with as you open your heart and mind to the experience and create a meaning of yoga for yourself.
Love Han, xx