The Yoga Transformation
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
People talk about miraculous transformations from yoga, and I had always thought this was a bit far fetched from doing stretching and balancing!
Then I embarked on my Yoga teacher training journey!
Who could have thought that working through your chakras, studying philosophy and scriptures from a billion years ago could stir up so much confusion, discontentment and general head exploding exposure to questioning everything and everyone’s purpose; including my own!
Yoga is so much more than Asana, now I’m not here to tell you that if you only practice asana that this isn’t going to change your life – it will! Physically you will change, and somehow being patient with the frustration of trying to balance on 1 leg, trying to sit cross legged when it hurts your back, or trying to breathe in and out in the right places; you will be effecting your nervous system, your respiratory and cardiovascular system, which in turn will effect your mind in some subtle way.
The Pranayama (breathing techniques) and Meditation have been a painful learning curve for me, having to remain still, focussed and persistent has challenged, frustrated and aggravated me beyond words! However, I have probably gained the most from these two large elements of practical yoga. The most exciting realisation was that not only did breathing make me shine like new shoes and radiate a sparkle and intoxication that was felt on the inside and out, but also how marvellous that it also gives you some pretty amazing tummy muscles!
Meditation will continue to be a challenge for me, and the fact that I almost view it with trepidation, is the exact reason that I know I need it more than any of the other practices! I get so agitated that my mind is like a box of frogs most of the time, and even though I know it takes at least 20 minutes for the brain to settle down, I generally want to quit long before then! I do guided meditations a lot, these help me to feel like I’m progressing, and each day I honour my mind with silence and meditation. Each day I find a new frustration and each day I find new perspective.
I am learning to enjoy Mouna – the vow of silence (Yes, to those of know me well, its true!), and actually have started to find that generalised chitchat and unintentional conversation annoys me! I’m not yet ready to embark on extended Vipasana, but I am allocating times to be silent, free from any external sources of distraction such as social media, music, books, and people!
I don’t like the physical discomfort, and I don’t much like the emotions that come up for me – but actually have found it to be one of the most remarkable activities for having a ‘Check up from the Neck up’ It is something that so many of us avoid; we numb out with distractions, because its so much easier than dealing with repressed emotions, triggers and healing stuff that may not even be in your life now, but has such a dramatic effect on how we conduct ourselves; yet we aren’t even aware of it. Silence really is an invitation for inner investigation; it gives us time to process information, ask questions that surface and to sit in the discomfort of our own mental madness.
Yoga philosophy has really captured my attention and I’m really starting to recognise a lot about myself, and my own behaviours. I could write a book about it, so for today I will just tell you its had, and continues to have a profound effect on me. Its as if every day I have some minor revelation about how I’ve thought, behaved, or believed and can link it all back to some ancient philosophy. It’s almost un-nerving to realise that what we think about really does have the ability to disease us, or to bring calamity into our lives as easily as it can bring health, wealth and abundance.
When I reflect on this journey there is very little remaining as when I began it! My job, my relationships, and even my diet has changed! I’ve asked questions inwardly and outwardly which have made me the victim and the victor; behaved in ways that felt alien to me, and as a result the changes have been significant, and at first I wasn’t sure why, or even how everything felt like it was being shredded around me. It took me to complete my teacher training to begin to reach this realisation that i was deeply unhappy in my soul; I was in the wrong story.
Sitting like the Lotus flower in the mud, I’ve had to challenge myself to question it all! What have I learnt? Ego and Fear had become my best friends! Not only had they made me unable to be present I’d become positively fixated on securing the future, and lost my sense of self; to the point that I allowed my mind to allow me to sit where I was unhappy, but yet fear kept me glued, acting up with ragasic energy to gain movement because I’d become fixated on desire and outcomes. I was surrounded by, and consumed by fear and eventually the thought world became the real world reality. It seems almost impossible to comprehend that despite working so hard through the Chakra system I was unable to decipher what was going on for me, or why.
What do we know about the Lotus flower – despite all the mud; eventually it reaches the surface and blooms but not before it works through the mud to open up and live its best life on the surface. To evolve we have to learn, and often the only way for this to happen is to go through the most uncomfortable and unpleasant lessons. Sadly sometimes in our own evolution we have to leave places and people behind; and accept these things; the mind can only function in the past and future – Be present in the now and listen to your soul for answers, if you don’t know the answer, you have to be patient and wait. There are no wrong decisions, the universe will hold you whatever choice you make, and finally follow your gut instinct, the intuitive Yes comes more easily when you are not scared of making the wrong decision. In essence if its mean't for you, you really can't mess it up - because what is meant for you will always remain or return refreshed and renewed.
All 4 paths of spiritual yoga act as a way to alleviate stress, but just like the story of ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’ you can’t go over it, around it or under it – you really have to go through it to find your truth. Life is a temporary existence - don't be afraid to try or fail.