Today when I look back, I realise that there were two main turning points in my life that had urged me to seek and find. First was when my Mother passed away when I was 17 years old. Losing her at that age had prepared me to fight my own battles. I; however, remained uncertain or unsure about this warrior spirit and its ability to guide. At the age of 25, came the second phase when I got married to the man I love. It was then when I had slowly begun to realise the need to awaken the warrior within and yoga helped me immensely to train my body and mind.
“When the warrior within you awakens, you will no longer fear death. You’ll realise that a person can kill your body, but they can never kill your soul.”
With yoga came spiritual awareness that led me to discover my own truths and help me evolve into a better human being. My marriage was a dream come true as I was finally with the man I love. I did not mind moving into an entirely new culture and following new traditions. I wanted to give it my best and tried my best to stay humble and accept the new changes. I did not realise that in the process of pleasing my new family, I had begun to lose myself. I felt powerless and my identity or the person who I used to be had completely disappeared.
Fighting That Constant Emptiness
Months had gone by. The differences and conservatism had begun to bother me and suffocate me. I had also become a victim of depression, unable to break free from powerlessness and remained disconnected from my needs and emotions. My husband had warned me to not give in completely and change so much that I forget who I really am. But I didn’t listen. I had these deep rooted thought patterns about being an ideal daughter-in-law; I had convinced myself that my happiness lies in everyone else’s happiness. Soon I realised how empty I had become from within. I missed how it felt like to be myself and smile.
“When I am trusting and being myself as fully as possible, everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.” Shakti Gawain.
Yoga Found Me
To distract myself from negative thoughts I started practicing yoga. I looked at it as mere exercise and started practicing asanas looking at the Instagram pictures. I am grateful that at the physical level my body cooperated and learned pretty fast. My practice was not regular but I could still manage with a few hours of practice now and then and started taking up Instagram yoga challenges. I was intrigued and thrilled with those small accomplishments and badly wanted to enroll in some yoga class. But the city I lived in was rather small with less or no exposure to yoga. Thus I let my body guide me through my practice and took one step at a time, until I enrolled for my first Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) course and believe it or not this was my first yoga-class experience.
“Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.”
Yoga TTC was a game-changer. After a year or so is when my real yoga sadhana became more evident. It all started with self-awareness of what I had become, what I was doing and why. Slowly the blockages began to disappear and deep profound awareness was flowing through. I realised that I was seeking approval or acceptance from others only because I felt incomplete and could not trust and accept myself. It wasn’t easy to bring about this change in thought pattern as this was not something that was taught to us in childhood – ‘to accept and love ourselves first before loving someone else.’ How I wish this mantra was given to us at an early age. Our lives would have been less chaotic and changes wouldn’t be so overwhelming.
Yoga Is Emotional And Spiritual
I am okay with being disliked for who I am than being loved for who I am not. This is why I say that Yoga is not just a physical journey or my relationship with my body, it is way more emotional and spiritual. It has made me fearless about being me. Asanas first made my body flexible and slowly worked their magic on my thoughts.With a deeper understanding of yoga poses, came a deeper understanding of myself. I am a huge admirer of back-bending asanas. They have brought me into light and made me realise that allowing myself to suffer is not wise at all. To understand others, I first have to understand myself. Focusing on my breath keeps me in the present. The breath is the truth and the present is all that matters. Nothing is going to remain forever, then why worry? Why not stay calm? Why not focus on what really matters? There is so much to learn and explore everyday. I consider myself as an eternal student. I learn more about myself and others while I am off the mat, than when I am in a yoga class. Actual yoga starts when you leave the yoga class and interact with the world at large. Yoga is in the what, when and how of our day-to-day life, it reflects in our reaction to the outer world.
“Calming the mind is yoga. Not just standing on the head.” Swami Satchidananda
Awaken Your Inner Child
In the end…it’s all about the journey. My journey on and off the mat has taught me that regardless of whether you are a mother, daughter, wife or lover, you must always choose yourself first. Love is the medicine to heal everything in this world and it has to first find its place in it’s abode that is the ‘self’. If you are not happy deep down, nothing in the world will ever make you happy. Change your story. Let your inner child come out and be happy.
Tips on Yoga Practice
I encourage students to commit to daily practice and set a specific time for your practice. Start at the same time every day. Even if it’s just for a few rounds of surya namaskars. It counts. I mainly practice and teach three styles of yoga, that is Ashtanga, Hatha and Yin Yoga, combined with Vinyasa. I have completed my YTT from Rishikesh and I’d highly recommend schools in Rishikesh if you want to learn Hatha Yoga. This gives you a strong foundation. If you are interested in Ashtanga yoga, then of course Mysore is the best option.
Khushi – Yoga teacher, runner, traveller.
Facebook page – Yoga with Khushi