If You Can Do One Thing for Yourself, It Has to be Yoga
I never really felt the need to exercise either to lose weight or stay fit. I was quite ok with my weight and only took to brisk walking during morning hours just to improve my stamina. (This routine too never stuck with me for more than a couple of weeks, as I found it difficult to stay motivated for long). Then slowly the aches and pains associated with neck and shoulder started occurring and recurring more often than I could manage. A few tests and an MRI later, I was told that I have spondylitis and a few exercises to correct my spine were recommended. Then came along a mild pain in my hip joint which would occur only when I sat down on the floor. The pain was only in my left joint and it would slowly aggravate to a point that I couldn’t sit down any longer. After shelling out a few thousands to different ortho specialists, the realisation that my body is not as flexible as it used to be dawned on me.
I traced back the root cause for this inflexibility to our modern way of life. From getting out of bed to using a western closet to sitting on chairs or sofas all day, we have completely lost the habit of sitting criss-cross on the floor. The thought of managing pain with medicines was not what I wanted as a long term solution.
That’s when Yoga came to my mind. Imagine all this wisdom lying around us for centuries and all we look for are quick fixes. We often come back to the basics only after everything else fails.
I turned to yoga only to increase my flexibility and as with anything novel, I was completely floored by all it had to offer. From breathing right, correct postures and simple asanas that stimulate our glands and improve bodily functions to self suggestion and active relaxation, yoga is all about treating our body right. And the best part is that you don’t feel exhausted after a yoga session, contrary to that you feel relaxed and refreshed.
People think yoga ideally means twisting your body to unimaginable postures (of course there are such complex asanas) but a few simple stretches and deep breathing with intermittent relaxation can be called yoga as well. The best part is, the simpler poses have almost the same benefits as the complex ones. What better news than that for an ameteur like me.
There is so much talk about yoga being this and that, but if you ask me, yoga brings you closer to yourself.
Spirituality – Now… Do We Know What it Really Means?
I didn’t. Most of us think we know what it means when we hear the word spiritual. It generally translates to a person who is getting closer to ‘sanyasa’ which means letting go of attachments towards worldly possessions for the sake of attaining god. This was my perception too…mostly. I mean, I never felt the need to think beyond this point.
But a big change in perspective came a few months ago. I would like to think that it was because of yoga (as it happened during the same time I started attending yoga classes). Incidentally, reading (I must say re-reading as I had read this book before but it didn’t make an impact on me at that time) Robin Sharma’s “The monk who sold his ferrari” did help to some extent in creating an intrigue towards this topic. Now, don’t get me wrong; I am not taking you through some spiritual experience of mine. I was a skeptic and I am sure you are too…
Once this new interest took over me, I started doing a little research and turns out that spirituality has more to do with mind power. Being spiritual actually means being in total control of yourself…your thoughts and actions. Ahhh…now you know why we associate spirituality to sages; because they are the ones in this mortal world who have the power to stay calm and composed, have complete control over their thoughts and actions.
We don’t have to renounce worldly possessions and head towards the mighty Himalayas to become spiritual. We can do what we are doing; Be a mother,father,son or daughter. Be a banker, software engineer, doctor or a business man. You could be anybody. Just cleanse your thoughts (read “remove negative thoughts”) and reflect inwards more often. Allocate time in your busy schedule for self improvement. Imagine what it would be like if we could control every single thought that enters our mind. We could react differently to situations and in turn change the course of events that follow. We would become a better mother, better father… a better person.
“As you think, so you become…..Our busy minds are forever jumping to conclusions, manufacturing and interpreting signs that aren’t there.”
This quote started making sense. We slowly and steadily fall into the trap of developing negative thoughts from as early as our childhood. Always imagining the worst case scenario, so that, anything that happens will not be as bad as we thought it to be. This kind of negative thought process gives us a false sense of power over our situations but in reality, we just keep falling into an endless trap of negativity, which ends up ruining the way we look at life in all its glory.
Be positive. Think positive. How many times have we heard or read these statements? This is the most profound statement you will ever hear. We need to stop taking false cover under our negative thoughts and stop being in constant fear of any wrath which will befall us if we think positive.
Let’s take a bold step, let’s become spiritual and allow ourselves to think positive and reap the benefits it has to offer.
Being Spiritual, is being a better you.
I Choose Happiness
I have nearly stopped reading heavy, serious books. It wasn’t a conscious decision to begin with, though; I don’t know when exactly this started, but slowly somewhere I decided it meddled with my mind and heart so much that I found myself entangled with the character’s turmoil… and ended up being traumatised by it. Not just for a while, but for a prolonged period of time. And that’s not fun… I don’t like to be in that kind of space, and I guess that’s why I slowly started maintaining my distance from such books. Same goes for movies too…
Sometimes I wonder if this disability (yeah that’s what I call ‘it’) of mine kept me from reading some epic works of literature. But I still found it worthwhile for me to stay clear of such titles, as only you can decide how much is too much for you.
Being a sensitive person has its own disadvantages, and this is one of them. I can’t forget and move on as soon as I close a book; and for that matter, even after watching a movie, I can’t just walk out of a theatre and forget all about it. It haunts me for a very long time. And I guess after lots of such traumatic instances, probably sensibility set in and I decided to avoid things (books or movies) that are too dark, heavy, tragic or traumatic.
I figured out from my own experiences what suits me best. Maintaining a sunny disposition and happy state of mind is very important for me. Negativity is such a life-drainer… it just sucks the life out of anything and make things appear gloomy. You learn things as you grow older and that makes you a tad bit wiser, I suppose.
Not only that, I also learnt that this probably shouldn’t be restricted to just books or movies that make you feel sad and tortured. It should also be applicable to anything or anyone around you who makes you feel sad or depressed. Whether it is a person, a relationship, a certain space or a thing, it needs to be avoided to maintain your own sense of peace. Don’t let any toxicity build in, no matter in what form. It’s not worth it…
Surround yourself with positivity whether it is in the form of good books, good people, good environment… anything that makes you happy, makes you smile, and makes you enjoy life…
Surround yourself with positivity and the rest will follow….
Live, love, stay happy and spread happiness!
My Fitness Buddy
I am so happy that after so many months of nudging my husband to join yoga, he finally showed some interest and it’s been a month to be exact, since he joined my yoga class. He is definitely happy to have taken that much needed step and is enjoying himself.
And you know what that means for me? A companion, a buddy…yay!
I don’t have to go to my classes alone in the wee hours of dark mornings anymore (okay, the class is @ 5:30 AM and just a few blocks away, but still).
I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn and look around to find everyone sound asleep, snoring their way to glory. And the poor me has to drag my feet along and get ready for my class quietly as a mouse and leave the house throwing a longing look at my warm bed.
That’s my weakest point, when my mind gets busy concocting all sorts of lame excuses to somehow skip the class that day. You know how it goes right? Yeah, something like this; “Hey you slept late yesterday, you need your sleep” or “you have a long day at work today so go back to sleep, you need the rest” or “It looks like it might start raining, so better not to venture out” or “think you are coming down with something, you don’t seem too well, skip the class just to be sure” or the classic “one day is not going to make a big dent in your routine, take it easy”.
I so want to let that voice in my head win over my sensible voice trying weakly to defend a losing battle. I guess you get the drift and you can imagine how difficult it is to make it to the class while being stuck in that mind space 😉
But hopefully, not anymore. You know why? I have somebody else who will wake up and walk up to the class with me. And even if my mind acts up again, there is that someone to shut it up.
Before you jump to the conclusion that I am not a morning person, allow me to clarify that I just love the early morning hours…it’s so calm and peaceful. It’s just about the most beautiful and serene part of the day before getting caught up in all the craziness in the world. It’s no wonder it’s called “Brahma Muhurtha” – the hour of the creator.
I have always read about two types of people – the morning person and the night owl. I have always wondered which category I belong to. I am someone who loves the early morning hour but it’s the getting out of bed part that I don’t like. Sounds crazy? But that’s me. I just hope that there are more people like me and I am not the weird one.
If you are anything like me, then just find yourself a fitness buddy- a friend, a neighbour or your spouse. It could make a lot of difference to your routine and add so much enthusiasm, energy and interest in that activity. You could motivate each other on your off days and beat the blues out of waking up early. Together.
So, here’s to finding that perfect buddy!