What Doing Yoga Taught Me About Healing. And About Myself

Posted: August 11, 2016

Doing yoga regularly can do wonders for you body and mind. Here is the author’s journey with yoga, toward healing herself.

Illness had been dogging me for a long time, but my journey to heal myself started in only in June 2013. After trying all modes of medicine for my ailments, I finally took to yoga. Something my father had kept telling me all my life, but to which I had never paid heed.

A friend of mine introduced me to this art, and started being my mentor. Initially it was like any other art form I have tried learning – the aches, the pains and the need to push and get it right! And of course, the universal unwritten rule being – do better than the neighbor next to you.

After a while, I moved from just wanting to impress, to a mode of my body wanting to express itself. It was a subtle, slow, transformation.

Today after 3 years, I may not have yet mastered any single pose, but yoga has started influencing a lot of my thought process and hence my life. Here are some of my learnings – as a novice…

Fundamentals

Everything seems to be connected. Or rather, when you connect things, it makes sense. Then there is no concept of waste or unwanted; there is a wholesomeness.

Any asana you do, if you connect the body from head to toe, there is no strain on one single part. The ache and pain of a particular muscle is mostly because, somewhere the fundamentals aren’t strong enough.

Fundamentals – back straight, tail bone in, thighs and knees pulled back, chest open, lower back differentiated from upper back .. so on and so forth. If all this is in place, the connection too gets complete. This value system needs to be practiced every moment for smooth functioning!

Inside Out

Initially when I started yoga – the mat, my outfit, the venue, the noise outside, mirror to see myself – were all needed and important. Today I realize if the values are fundamentally strong, none of the above really matters. The flow of energy and enthusiasm and control is from inside to the outside!

Imperfection

Not every part of your body is perfect. Some aasanas you do easily, some not so easily. The imperfections exist and we don’t need to hide them.

After 3 years, I realised my lower back is actually immobile! We realise and we work with that part. All the concentration is to bring it back to action, so that we can move on. Acceptance that we have to work on it and also acceptance that we can’t do without it – both of these are equally important.

Independence

When I say that there is a connection, in the same breath I could say there needs to be independence. Every organ has its part to play and needs to learn to stand on its own. The abdomen needs to hold its own burden and not sit on the pelvic bone just because it is more comfortable.

Any perpetual dependence especially due to comfort can make the connection stink. Everyone needs to stand on their own, yet they need each other to complete the whole !

Openness

This is my all time favorite! A simple action – ‘stretch’ … has loads of repercussions. Stretch your hands, stretch the back, stretch the calf muscles –  they make space for so much to enter into you. The vastness of the body as you open up, opens your mind too. The smile after your yoga session, is not only because you accomplished something, but also because you are ready to take on more!

Our body, which is almost 70% water, starts behaving like the ocean, when you inculcate the vastness within. It can take any shit, and still keep the waves coming!

Letting go

Last week I realised, that when I do the final pose, I hold my breath. I feel that’s the maximum I can do, that I can achieve in that pose. Why then do I hold my breath? I think its like the many things we just hold on to, to make things last. But the catch here is, if you let go, if you breathe… you can stay longer in the pose! It is that simple.

The ultimate reality – Our ‘breath’ is so involuntarily exercised by us that we don’t realise its importance. It is like the invisible mother’s hand in the household, no one realises it, until its gone!

If we concentrate on the breath and let it go, even when we have reached the limit, the limit suddenly goes a little more ahead. A new personal best.

My journey continues, and I hope to keep questioning and finding answers on the way. Thank you to my mentor, friends, and my father for this beautiful self journey!

Published here earlier.

Image source: shutterstock

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4 Comments


  1. I liked your post mostly because I identified with the whole “coming home” yoga experience. I would never have believed it possible had I only heard about yoga and not tried it out myself. At a time when I was feeling really out of shape and low on self esteem as a result of lack of sleep and post delivery blues, I found the path of yoga suddenly and it was indeed a beacon of light and hope. It has changed the way I think and feel about myself forever. I felt empowered and centred like never before and since then it has lead me to a very personal journey of spiritual exploration and fulfilment.

  2. Sangeeta Ghosh Dastidar -

    Thanks for the post , I do identify with your journey as its been 6 months now that I have re-started yoga but with an instructor who equips us with more awareness to self and beyond getting flexibility , or the superficial toned body effect which is definitely a bonus!! I am more aware of my mind and energy ..I smile often now …and more positive . Recently, I have been inflicted with gynecological problems which might need surgery ..my only wish is I am able to continue with my Yoga routine and get more fitter than before ..

    • Shubha

      hope you continue your journey and may it be a beautiful one too!! i am sure you will be back absolutely fine after your surgery.

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