Why Becoming a Yoga Nut Is One of the Best Things I've Ever Done
Yoga — working out and breathing deep, right? Kind of. But more. So much more...
When did my yoga journey/addiction start? I'll set the scene: Christmas holidays, 2013. Bored, I was browsing magazines on my iPad when my eyes fell upon an edition of a yoga publication. The yogi on the cover was demonstrating a forearm stand variation (pinchamayurasana) and reminded me of my childhood fascination with contortionists. I thought, "I want to do that." Three words on the magazine's cover stood out to me: strength, balance, flexibility. Always open to new experiences, I resolved to give yoga a go.
Unable to afford to join a gym, my introduction to yoga was a £3 app and YouTube videos. It’s inevitably a trial-and-error platform when seeking instruction, but there are some quality videos out there (personally, I can’t recommend the awesome Yoga With Adriene enough). I enjoyed my first practice and wanted to do more. Yoga soon became part of my morning routine, not from a sense of duty, but because I genuinely looked forward to time spent on the mat. Results quickly became noticeable: my teenager slouch was replaced with good posture, my wobbly balance (a consequence of breaking a bone in my foot) was vastly improving and for the first time in my life I could do the splits. But this wasn’t all. I was calmer. My fiery temper mellowed. My attitude was becoming more positive. I was more appreciative of my own body. My heart felt lighter, my spirit brighter.
Four years passed. Four years that sometimes feel like a lifetime. Sometimes everything feels dark and the weight of the world crushes down. When everything goes wrong and all news is bad. The ill health of people I loved, death, and trying to be the source of strength for everyone else was taking its toll. Plans were forced to change and dreams adjusted. It was as though I couldn’t get my footing and was airborne in a hurricane of destruction and darkness — but yoga was the calm in the centre. A respite in the madness. When I was drowning under it all, yoga showed me how to breathe. When I didn’t have any more left to give, yoga showed me how to dig deep and find what I needed. Strength, balance, and flexibility took on whole new meanings: ones that related not to body but soul and spirit. Yoga taught me just how connected mind, body, and spirit really are, how lessons are interchangeable, how depths are much deeper than they seem, and how to find ways to grow in those depths.
And dawn broke, as dawn inevitably does. Light is all the brighter when you’ve learned to find it in darkness. Yoga taught me to grow roots for stability in the mud; now it’s teaching me to reach for the sky, and is my go-to whenever I'm on quicksand again. Every lesson that yoga has ever taught me not only continues to be relevant, but becomes more and more developed and enriched with every practice. The deeper I dig, the more treasure I find. The more I discover, the more there is to explore. Maybe it’s just my curious nature or my love of science, but I’m fascinated by anatomy and yoga never fails to stretch what I thought to be physically possible. The influence of breath and movement on mind, body, and spirit is captivating. The flow of energy is mesmerising: chakras, shiva, and shakti... I’ve always been a deep-thinker with a vivid imagination, but yoga presents a wealth of material to dwell upon, ideas that expand "the sky is the limit" to "the cosmos are limitless."
For me, yoga is more than a series of impressive poses. More than a lifestyle. More than a lifeline. It’s an adventure, an exploration, internally, into the soul's infinite depths and externally, out into the universe—and the harder I look, the more similar they seem. If I were to use the analogy of comparing my yoga journey to climbing a mountain, I’m still nowhere near the peak. And that is possibly the most awesome part.