Friday, 3 April 2015

Insight > For The Love Of Yoga

I love yoga for its versatility and flexibility, vastness and simplicity, intensity and ease. Yoga can be curative and restorative. Yoga enables you to use the power of your body optimally, in turn leading the body towards optimal health. 

There literally is something in yoga that everyone can do. And I learnt this only by experience. I went through a phase when i had given yoga a rather long break in my life. So while my body was still quite flexible, my muscles had lost considerable strength. Every time I got back to an intense yoga practice, I landed with a mild muscle injury. Although the injury was mild enough to be cured only with adequate rest, it was painful enough to keep me away from practicing yoga for a few days. This went on for almost a year.

This is when I truly realised the flexibility of Yoga. Instead of refraining from yoga altogether due to a muscle strain,  I started designing practises for myself that included asanas that didn't require any movement or pressure on the strained muscles. For example, with a strained intercostal muscle in the chest, I focussed on asanas for the lower body and the core, without any pressure on the chest muscles. When I strained a muscle in the hip/thigh, I focussed on asanas on the upper body, and so on. The vast choice of asanas, along with umpteen variations, made it possible for me to practice a full hour of yoga without overstraining the already strained muscles. This choice of practice not only made it possible for me to practice yoga regularly, it also slowly started building strength in my muscles. The variety of sequences that I followed also made the entire experience more interesting for me, without falling into a boring repetition.

I like my Yoga practice to leave me feeling energised and refreshed and not groaning with pain unlike some other physical workouts. It has been over a year now that I have not succumbed to any injury due to yoga. Having done my teacher's training helped me in designing balanced sequences for myself. But even if you can't do that, always discuss openly with your yoga teacher and help them to offer sequences that are most suited for you.

Insight > Acceptance: Do We Really Have A Choice?

We've heard many-a-guru make a big deal of Acceptance. Accepting our circumstances is a very brave thing to do, they say. They even teach us the difficult practice in order to enrich our lives.

But is acceptance really a choice?

If we don't accept what is, we are merely running away from reality. Living in a bubble of falsity and what should "have been". And if you fail to accept the past and present exactly the way they have been you are simply living in denial! Since you cannot change the past and this very present moment, not accepting it is a mind-game that many people get trapped in,

Not accepting your present graciously usually arises from dissatisfaction of what is. It also relieves you or your responsibility in creating your present life. We can ponder all we like on the various permutations and combinations of an imaginary past. "If that had happened then this would not have happened", "if so-and-so had done this then that would have happened" and so on. But isn't all this a mere waste of time and energy?

In not accepting your present you even give away the power that you have in creating your highest life. Only when you truly accept your circumstances exactly as they are can you work on effectively working towards a future that you truly desire.

Acceptance of your life exactly as it is opens you up to the power of the present moment. It is in this present moment that you can make choices that will create the rest of your life. And if you choose each action wisely you can make a string of decisions that you will one day look back at and feel happy about the life that you created for yourself.

So instead of living with regrets for the past (or even the present, for that matter), start by accepting totally and whole-heartedly your current circumstances, embrace your life exactly as it is. Then you can take stock of the things that you would like to change. But be very mindful of the fact that you cannot change the past, but you can do things differently in the present and steer your life towards your most cherished goals and deepest desires.