“Yoga does not transform the way we see things; it transforms the person who sees.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
“I hope the pajama fabric doesn’t tear and make that God forsaken sound!” was my only concern on my first day of Yoga class. Imagine a college girl wearing a salwar-suit at least one size larger yet getting worked up that it might rip off! As you probably know by now, ‘fat’ doesn’t begin to describe my former self. I was acutely aware of it and tried every hack and trick I could dig up from magazines and newspapers (no internet then!). Gyms were unsurvivable and dieting gave me everything from frizzy hair to blackouts. I put all my hope in Yoga, and that was the wisest thing I ever did for myself.
There are myriad articles online and offline that demonstrate the numerous benefits of Yoga. It is gentle yet powerful, patient yet dynamic, and importantly, mild but effective. Through its various postures (asanas), breathing exercises, and stretches, one can involve mind, body, and soul and bring equilibrium to our being. Personally, it has played a huge role in my transformation by exerting my body through suryanamaskars and calming my mind with Pranayama and meditation. Let me tell you how.
“Finding balance isn’t weight-dependant” is an important lesson our Yoga teacher taught us. Asanas like Vrikshasana are all about trying to find your point of gravity while engaging core muscles. Many asanas that look complicated are often quite simple to perform if you follow the right technique. Flexibility is developed over time with sustained efforts. I suffered a severe cramp in my thigh while learning Ugrasan and couldn’t walk properly for a week. Once the pain subsided, I went ahead and killed it. Am proud of it to date!
If you’re amongst those who can’t perform heavy exercises due to any reason, Yoga is your best friend in the waiting. It isn’t overwhelming, doesn’t rush you, is right for any age, and gives you a tremendous feeling of achievement. An hour-long session of Yoga can tire you without breaking a sweat. It delicately challenges you and inspires you to be better. Your mental health certainly will benefit from this dose of self-motivation, right? Mine sure did.
Remember playing the saans roko game with your friends as kids? Will we dare doing that now? While swimmers and athletes are well-trained in breathing exercises, it is often taken for granted by others. Thanks to the pandemic, people are now consciously inculcating breathing exercises in their routine. They improve oxygen levels in our blood making us stronger, alert and raise our energy levels. Luckily, I was into them from even before Baba Ramdev made them famous. Pranayama and Anulom vilom are good for the lungs while Kapalbharti tones abs and core too.
Types of Yoga
There are various types of Yoga that you can learn from a certified practitioner/teacher. Ashtanga, Hatha, Jnana, Mantra, Kundalini Yoga, etc are a few of them. Each one of them employs a different technique and works on awakening your chakras, bringing meditative awareness, and enabling mental and physical detox. Power Yoga is a relatively modern practice that involves faster movements and fusion workouts. I’ve attended Power Yoga sessions and found them quite strenuous and effective. They helped improve my endurance big time.
On cardio days, I spend additional 5-10 mins on Yoga stretches pre and post-workouts to avoid muscle pulls or cramps. One day in the week is reserved only for breathing and meditation. Practicing Yoga is like tasting blood, once you surrender to its pleasure there’s no stopping you! Do you agree?
This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon
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