Recently, people have been asking many questions about my yoga – how long I’ve been practicing, how long it took me to master full wheel or how long it would take them to stand on their heads.
Most of the time, social media is to blame. I’m always sharing my journey, to inspire others and keep me and them motivated. But sometimes those pictures – especially the ones of me standing on my head – fail to express the true meaning of yoga at all.
In one of my classes, I had a very athletic friend in attendance who could do a headstand like it’s second nature but couldn’t handle a few extra breaths in Warrior 1. Another friend does Pincha Mayurasana (forearm balance) so effortlessly but struggles in Downward Facing Dog. The fascination with physically fit yogis who appear in challenging postures can understate anyone’s perception of yoga. The perfect pose is not the ultimate goal of a yogi – yoga is a method of inner self-development, putting us in touch with our spirit and our will. It is the synchronization between a fit healthy body and a self-defined mind. Its understanding that there’s more to hanging out upside down.
All forms of yoga Asanas or postures, including the famous headstand, better our blood circulation, strengthen our muscles and grant us flexibility. They also improve the functions of the internal organs by massaging and stimulating them through movement and flow. Learning how to coordinate breath with movement rejuvenates the mind and treats us to controlling it. When practiced consciously those poses contribute to our physic, mind and soul. It teaches us how to be patient with ourselves and with others, how self-discipline is the only way to achievement and how to apply what we do on the mat to our daily life.
Yoga philosophy, when understood and applied, along with practicing the poses, breathing right and meditation can guide us to live in peace and in good health.
While meditation is the least tackled aspect of Yoga, with it everything that happens at home, at work or on the mat falls into place. Breathing well, as we learn, helps us focus on our thoughts as well as on our distractions. We let go, acknowledge and accept. We become present.
So whether you can spend the whole day balancing on your head or can’t even touch your shins in forward bend, keep working on becoming the best version of yourself, internally and externally. You’ll stand on your head and do so much more. When mind, body and spirit are in sync, only then, do we capture the true essence of yoga.