My Yoga Journey: A TIME FOR REFLECTION

It is my final morning in India, I can’t believe I have been here for 5 weeks. It has gone so quickly yet I feel like I have been here forever. London seems like a distant dream, a different lifetime. I do not know how I will readjust or how things will be when I am back. I just hope that I can keep this inner peace with me once I am there and make positive changes to my life. As our yoga teacher told us, the peace is within without it you can travel anywhere and your troubles will follow. You cannot run away from problems as they will travel with you.

I would like to say a huge thank you to all my teachers from Himalaya Yoga Valley, each and every one was so passionate and knowledgeable on their subjects. They made them come alive and there wasn’t one that I did not enjoy. Secondly, to all you yogis that I shared the journey with, thank you for being such wonderful people and making the experience so special. I wish you all luck going forwards, you will all make fantastic teachers. Lastly, to Lalit Kumar for being our Yogacharya, I feel so honoured to have been taught by you and proud to say I am part of your lineage. I have a whole new appreciation of yoga and I am sure it will enrich my life as well as my future students. I will be coming back once I have processed and put into practice everything from this training.
If anyone is interested in becoming a Yoga Teacher I can’t recommend Himalaya Valley enough, here is their website for more details http://yogagoaindia.com/. They also have a centre in Cork and Lalit will be doing workshops in Europe over the summer.
I feel like I have changed so much both physically and mentally. I am much more relaxed (although it’s hard to be anything but chilled when you are spending your days reading on the beach). Our times spent in silence forced me to look inside myself and become more at peace with who I am. At first it was challenging but now I feel more at ease. I used to like being in my own company but I realise I used to fill it with exercise, TV or my phone, I was never fully alone with myself. I can now sit contently in silence, quietly contemplating rather than my mind going at a million miles an hour.

Here are my big take homes from the experience:

1. It is ok to cry and to have emotions even if you can’t put a label on them. Emotions need to be released. I got caught up with the NLP approach that you control your state therefore you can change it. While I see that this is true and you don’t want to get caught in negative thinking, you also shouldn’t push down your feelings as the more you do this the more power it gives them. Also, this is placing a judgement of your emotions, that feeling sad is bad being happy is good. We shouldn’t be afraid to feel hate, anger, jealously or sadness, fully let go into them and they will pass rather than bottling it up to get stored in the body for it to show itself later in the form of disease or physical ailment.

2. You don’t know anyone else’s story, someone may do something that appears rude or aggressive but you do not know the full story. Treat everyone with compassion no matter how they treat you and try not to let other people influence your behaviour. Easier said than done but it’s something to work towards.

3. Suffering yet to come is to be avoided. This comes from the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. We should stop worrying about the future and what ‘might’ happen. live in the present and generally there is nothing to fear. This doesn’t mean spend all your money or do not make any plans, just don’t let the little fears of tomorrow and beyond stop your enjoyment of today.

4. Put the phone away! We should limit our exposure to the TV and our smartphones. I read in the Guardian that our attention span has reduced from 12 seconds to 8 seconds since the mobile revolution. I can fully believe this, I noticed myself talking to people whilst simultaneously checking my phone, I knew it is rude yet somehow couldn’t stop myself. My brain also felt sluggish, struggling to grasp the words I wanted to use. I don’t know if it is from the yoga, meditation, reading more or from having limited access to my phone but I have felt my brain awakening. My vocabulary has grown and my writing seems to have improved (you be the judge of this). Is it very easy to switch on the TV when you get home from work as it takes no effort to sit aimlessly in front of it but my intention is to limit my screen time and read instead.

5. Don’t be too strict with your routine. Having a routine is great and exercising regularly/doing yoga/eating healthily etc are all fantastic in moderation but once you can no longer skip it without feeling a sense of panic or remorse then it may be time to take a step back and reassess. Skipping the gym or eating a burger isn’t going to kill you, it is all about balance.

6. Take time for yourself, it is OK to put yourself first. Of course, you want to be there for friends and family but if you don’t recharge your own batteries you are no good to anyone. Seek out positive people, you absorb other people’s energy so if you surround yourself with happy people, you will feel happy also.

7. Meditate! Probably my biggest lesson, I struggled so much with this at the beginning, my mind was controlling me and it was exhausting. We are all human so there is no escaping the monkey mind but with practice we can learn to quieten it. Even 10 minutes a day can bring about big changes and it is well worth the effort.

8. Look after your body it’s the only place you have to live. You don’t always need to push yourself to the limit, listen to your body. When it wants rest, let it rest. If you are injured, let it heal. This will be the thing I struggle with most but I am not getting any younger and I need to take care of myself if I want to stay active for the rest of my life.

9. Love yourself, no one else can love you if you don’t love yourself. Nourish yourself with food, exercise, yoga and compassion. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go as planned, it is all a learning experience. You are exactly who and where you are meant to be in this moment.

10. You are not your story. Whatever has happened in the past is in the past, don’t let it dictate your future. Let it go and move forwards, all you have is the present so make the most of it.

I think that’s enough of the deep and meaningfuls. My journey home is going to be long, let’s hope I don’t lose my zen in the process. I will continue to write about my reintegration to society, let’s hope the road isn’t too bumpy (although that will give me more to write about 😉). Namaste xx

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