It all started playfully. I was overwhelmed to see my best friend, Tara, twirl in the air and turn her body on the ground like the wheels that spin on the road. I wasn’t sure about what exactly she was doing or what, it was called, but watching her explore movement in the way she did, blew my mind. I knew that whatever it was … it was not ordinary; it wasn’t about what she did, but how I felt about what she did. This was my beginning to a whole new world.
“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.” Frank Borman
I would come home and try the bends and twists as I looked at myself in the mirror. But it was all in vain. I tried to get harder to make my posture look similar to that of Tara’s but my back would hurt and stopped me from going all the way. It all changed, when I let go of this need to do something, when I stopped trying hard and let my body move at it’s own pace whilst in it’s own time. This is how I was introduced to Yoga, just that I didn’t know it was called Yoga at the nimble age of 9.
A Yearning to Heal
It was before I was completely broken, that I realised and admitted that I had to heal.
So much of life happens to us as we grow older. Our bodies change and so does our perception. We get influenced by harsh realities, losses and severe wounds that life casts on our body and mind. And at some point, we all begin to yearn to heal.
It was then that Yoga really happened to me. In all these years I didn’t realise the finer aspects of Yoga, but healing through Yoga was a new chapter. This was Yoga, this was awareness, love and detachment. So I continued to explore a little more. With time, it began to work, everything began falling in place and I kept fitting every design perfectly.
However, I wasn’t conscious that my awareness was expanding and I was healing not only physically but also mentally. As my mind learned to calm down, it was also becoming one with all that was around me and the universe within me. I began to understand more about my body in different asanas and their effect on my mind and emotions. All the emotional trauma that I use to bottle up and which had surfaced as physical pain and stress was beginning to wear off.
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.” B.K.S.Iyengar
It helped me find my voice and free my vocal cords of strain and allowed me to sing. I also saw those around me differently. My emotions were rooted in empathy and I understood that each one has their own charm and has their part to play in this world. My yearning to learn and the joy in tapping into sounds and vibrations just made all of my life – a more meaningful and beautiful journey.
I realised there is a lot more to uncover and felt the need to be guided in my practice. I enrolled for classes and went ahead explored different styles of Yoga. My first teacher was Bindhu Madhavi. I like to call her a lioness on the Yoga mat. Her presence was really strong and she shielded her cubs (us) from injury while allowing us to explore and deepen our practice. The sessions were intense and there were moments when I excused myself from the practice and wept on my mat in gratitude.
Yoga was healing me and I was being guided by my inner light. The further I got into my practice, the easier it was for me to understand another. I had recognised and accepted suffering, and this evoked a feeling of compassion towards myself and others. When I looked around, I saw a lot of suffering and I wanted to reach out and alleviate the suffering of others.
“When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that is consciousness.” Bhagavad Gita
The practice of Yoga is still helping me cultivate compassion in daily life and towards others. I went on water fasts, which helped me relate to water more and the contamination of it, made me puke.
Yoga is still the only positive force that’s moving me towards freedom, relieving me from pain, and forgiving me for being shackled both in mind and body.
Despite every beautiful situation created, Yoga reminds me to wake up and witness. Yoga moved me, moves with me and continues to make my life better.
What is your yoga routine like?
Irregular at the moment, so if I feel at unrest, I stretch what I want to stretch, and also allow myself to experience truly what is asked of me in a situation.
What style of yoga do you practice?
I have explored the traditional forms, and I have no bias toward a particular flow, I obey my body, I change my mind. That to me is my only flow, no matter what when how where.
Your thoughts on Yoga Teacher Training?
I have been certified to teach under guidance, and been offered 100% scholarships… but other interests have kept me from taking up yoga to teach others. But I have had the opportunity to take a few sessions and from all my humble experiences of teaching yoga to some of the most beautiful people, I have learned more than I have taught.
Any tips on healthy living?
Yes! LOTS OF WATER, close to 8 litres a day if possible, with global warming on the rise and trust me on this one. The other, love your unhealthy habits, no one has built your immune system better than the few dirty habits that made you stronger 🙂
Sahana Vasudevan, Mumbai
Actor and Yogini
Instagram: @ athirtysecondrest