Finally after years of wondering and waiting, I have joined yoga classes. I first heard of a concept called yoga back in school, as a part of our physical education class. But our training was fairly limited to a lot of theory and very little practice. Even theory was restricted to various types of poses and their benefits. Never did I manage to explore yoga for what it really is and what it really can do. In any case, I was fascinated with yoga as a practice of staying physically fit. But I never really managed to do it, except for a few practice classes which were primarily limited to surya namaskar, padmasan and vajrasan. With years, my fascination just grew further, having understood that yoga is more than just a physical form of exercise. Given my unhealthy lifestyle and the serious ailments I subjected my body and mind to, I had become even more obsessed with a desire to do yoga regularly. For a long time now, I have felt that my mind and body needs and demands a deep cleansing and kind of a detoxification. And for some inexplicable reason, I deeply believed that regular yoga practice is THAT one thing that can help me with my purpose. Also, yoga for me was this magic science that I didn’t understand. I felt it won’t be difficult to comprehend; it won’t be just a biology lesson and it won’t be voodoo. But it still was a mystery to me because I didn’t know it and I didn’t make a serious attempt to know it. Now that I have started practicing, I feel that there is something very scientific and logical about the way yoga has been designed. And it must have involved a deep understanding of a human body and mind. I don’t know who started it or who designed it or how was it communicated to generations of humans to find its place in texts and life of the modern world. But I wonder. And I wonder a lot about the level of awareness and knowledge our ancestors enjoyed to design something as complex and effective as yoga. I believe every exercise and pose of yoga has been designed with a very specific reason and has a very clear benefit on human body or mind. And a very deep understanding of both is required to be able to design practices that can achieve these benefits.
I continued searching for a yoga teacher but I constrained it with my comfort; basically time and venue should suit my requirements. When I took a break from work, first thing on my agenda was my health and yoga. And I couldn’t do anything about it. I would like to blame Delhi and the location of my house etc. But, all said and done, they were just excuses. I rejoined work and back in Mumbai, I relapsed into the old unhealthy routine. Whatever good I did to my body in that one year was compromised by the fast and unhealthy lifestyle of Mumbai. I continued my search for yoga teacher, which was again restrained by the limitations of my new life. And I continued to fall down further on the very uncomfortable path of bad health. After a few visits to doctors, sick leaves and unwanted medicines, I finally decided to redefine my priorities. Along came the way, a high recommendation for a yoga teacher from someone I trust and not very far from my house. My first reaction, however, still was that it’s far and the timings are unsuitable to match my current day schedule. However, with the new priorities clearly defined, I fixed the rest of my day schedule to include yoga practice in it. And voila, I am happy.
Finally, I am doing something because I want to. Finally, I am making a serious attempt to learn something because I really want to. I really want to know it, internalize it and see it clearly for what it is and not as some deep mystery that I don’t understand. It’s liberating. I am learning something new and something I always wanted to know about. And with every class and every practice session, I learn something new and very interesting… not just about yoga but about my body and myself. It’s just amazing how a lot of it is just plain old logic and not some complicated chemical mystery that I thought it to be. It’s even more amazing how a lot of obvious facts I overlooked and I found myself standing with a gaping open mouth when my teacher pointed them out to me.
The best thing about yoga is that it aids in both physical and mental well-being. Being a newbie, I won’t claim it as a fact; but I believe so. The biggest lesson I have learned from my practice is that it’s not just about physical exercise; it’s also about building an awareness and ability to control your mind and hence your body. We can direct every movement of our body in any direction; we just don’t. We don’t because we have learned and conditioned our body to behave in a certain manner. When we were kids, we learned to stand and walk on our feet and hence headstand just seems completely unnatural and difficult. I might be wrong in my interpretation, but I know one thing for sure that I CAN direct my body to do things which I never imagined. If any other human can, so can I; human anatomy will not change for yoga experts. It’s just about their ability and their choice. I believe I can also build it; I want to build it. I want to get on track of healthy life asap. Perhaps I am getting greedy but I have wasted so much time NOT taking care of myself that I really want to run faster and harder to catch up now.
More than anything else, yoga is fun, exciting and challenging. And I thoroughly enjoy myself when I am doing it. Every day I think and wait for my next class. I look forward to this experience of learning and building self-awareness… I look forward to continue to learn and practice yoga; continue to build awareness of my body and mind; and continue to have fun and revel in it. Now I can add one more item to the list of things I KNOW I LIKE.