Union in varying context embodies different meanings.
In Yoga, the word Yoga originates from the word Yuj which means union, coming together or to join. In Patanjali’s second sutra, we learn that Yoga is…
YOGA CITTA VRITTI NIRODHAH
Simply put, Yoga is the non- swaying of the mind that brings you in one with your consciousness. At first, this unity with your consciousness seemed philosophical to me. Today, I have grown and am still discovering a greater part of me, my best self, through this union from within.
A year ago, I went for my first yoga class in hopes of getting in shape for my wedding. You would see me falling all over the place trying to execute a simple standing balance pose. The word ‘breathe’ had no significance to me. Instead I was thinking, “this instructor is funny, of course I’m breathing, if not why am I alive!?!” Undaunted, I still went for yoga classes religiously, this time, with a new intention – to get into the postures gracefully and steadily like the others around me. I was enjoying it and always pushed myself to go one step further with each new challenging posture I was introduced. The wedding came and went by and yoga went on for another 8 months. I was amazed as I saw myself transiting into poses with a little more ease, some of which seemed formidable and almost impossible at the beginning. It felt like all the strength in my cells came together and worked in unison. Little did I know, that this was only the beginning of discovering myself.
Seeing the joy in my journey thus far, a close friend who has gone through YTT recommended that I take the next step to deepen my practice. I signed myself up for 200hrs YTT. It was through our weekend practices that I finally understood what breath meant and more importantly, I got to experience the union of breath and movement, mind and body, within myself – to really concentrate and clear my mind of all disturbances, to focus only on my breath and consciously move with each breath. I never felt so alive! The day for headstand came sooner than expected. Standing on my feet is normal, but the idea of standing on my head just seemed abnormal. I fell countless times. Recollection of my first yoga class and my journey up until now spurred me on and to my surprise, this was me 2 weeks after YTT!! (see picture below) In that moment, I felt like I understood what Patanjali meant by the non- swaying of the mind. From the unification of breath and movement and that single- mindedness, I found the strength in me to lift and rise, all of which helped me focus and it literally happened. We are all familiar with that motivational quote – “All the strength you need is right there inside of you”, you just got to realize it.
Through yoga, I discovered that strength inside that was never present to me. In life, ‘God will never give you more than you can handle.’ We are bound to fall and experience vulnerabilities and rejections. Once we uncover that strength and will power to come out of these challenges, we will rise to become our best self.
All of us have also been brought together through Yoga. I find immense joy in making new friends and I realize that it’s so easy to be together with like- minded people, it’s like our energy rubs off each other. We always end our class with Nameste which means I bow to the divine you. In my years of growing up, I have been guilty of judging people, but each time we end the class with Nameste, it serves as a gentle reminder to myself that each one of us is innately good. It has become a moral prescription for me to focus on the good of others and see past their flaws because I myself am also tainted with flaws and am still working on becoming my best self. This subtle teaching has found its way into my union with my life partner and has influenced this important aspect of my life. Truly a great start to this union!
200hr YTT Vinyasa Flow