Before I came to Rishikesh Yog Peeth I had never done a single yoga class in my life. Now I intend to make yoga an important part of my everyday life. In only 2 weeks I have observed a few major changes in my mind, body and spirit, so much so that I only want to learn more. I know now why it is a lifestyle. Here’s how I’m feeling.
I thought the only real way to strengthen my muscles was by lifting weights in a gym. Boy! Was I wrong! I didn’t realize that the best way to build strength is by simply using your own body weight. There are so many yoga poses that once held, build your muscles. A good example is the tree pose. Stand with both feet together. Now lift one leg and press the flat of your foot into the other thigh. (Be careful not to press your foot against your knee). Now lift your arms straight over head so they are next to your ears. Engage your legs and arms and core so they are tight and maintain your balance. Make sure you are standing straight. Tuck in your butt and take 5 long deep breaths. My legs started quivering on the second breath, but I know it’s because it’s improving my strength and balance. I see the tone in my muscles already.
On my first day of yoga I could not touch my toes with my legs straight. That day we did 4 hours of yoga and by the end of the day I could touch my toes! Sure, I hurt like hell, but that is how rapid the change has been for me. One of our instructors always says, “Your pain today will be your strength tomorrow.” He is so right. I’m sure that the fact that I’m getting leaner has a lot to do with it too. When I arrived here I was a size 10, nearing a size 12. I bet today I am a size 8, only 2 weeks into the course. Of course the healthy all-vegetarian diet at Rishikesh Yog Peeth probably has a lot to do it with too.
Today I awoke at 4:45, without my alarm clock! I felt energized and ready for the day. Our 2 hour asana sessions used to really kick my ass to the point that I immediately needed a nap afterward because I was so tired. But now I’m just feeling good. Oh sure, there are days when our classes are tougher than usual and I feel tired again, but in general I have a lot more energy.
When I arrived here I was an emotionally stressed out mess! I had just spent 14 months as an executive on a large software development project and I was in the middle of ending a long term relationship. I was a broken down basket case. For my first week here I cried almost every day. Part of our yoga training involves the physiology and the psychology of yoga. Both have been a tremendous help in making me calmer and much more relaxed. I’m learning how to stay in the moment, listen to myself and how to meditate. I’m meditating at least 15 minutes a day and the change in my mood is obvious.
I’m sure another benefit of mediation has been learning the ability to clear my mind of distractions and to focus on only one thing at a time. Mediation is defined as the uninterrupted flow of awareness towards the object of concentration. It’s an amazing practice that is hard to explain. Yoga is the state of self-realization, of going from misunderstanding to understanding. It’s about living life to your fullest potential, physically, mentally and spiritually. I’m certainly a work in progress and just an infant on this topic, but I’m excited to see so many changes in my life in only 2 weeks! I wonder how I’ll feel in 2 years?