“Do not refine yourself for yoga, let yoga refine you.”
Master Sree has reiterated this throughout our practice. I wish I can put into words how this statement holds true in my life, especially over the course of consistent yoga practice for the entire month of December.
We are all on our own path. Any attempt to change ourselves during this “refinement process” reflects our lack of self-acceptance and the allowance of the material world to define our identity. My biggest takeaway has been to see ourselves and the world with greater acceptance – this stems from conscious detachment especially to the response of actions, situations, and life experiences. This does not mean indifference or the avoidance of being empathic. Instead, we should understand the extend of things without judgement of preconceived ideas, and any fixation of the outcome. We need to let the course of nature/life experiences to grow.
Yoga is a Lifestyle
The beauty of this principle can be defined in multifaceted ways. When a person has chosen to walk in a particular course of action or belief system based on what works best for themselves, the viewpoint becomes completely valid. If hurt is not imposed on others, their appetite for acceptance may continue to grow. Master Sree gave us an example of the concept of healing. Depending on the individual’s believes, he would tailor his healing to suit their needs. This could come in the form of examples such as spiritual practice or the explanation of science. Similarly, this is a way I would like to teach yoga. It is about what works for the receiving party (students/friends/family etc.) – as long as we can help them gain the confidence to get through their own personal obstacles.
By this very nature, I have also adopted yoga principles in my life and practice as it has given guidance in this phase of my life. My yoga practice has made me feel more at peace in a world with much uncertainty. Despite my on-off practice throughout the years, I have always found myself coming back to the mat be it for a physical practice or meditation. There have been many occasions where yoga has informed me of my state of mind even when I do not wish to admit to it. Yoga has enabled me to find inward stillness while everything else revolve in states of chaos and confusion. I believe in the divinity of the practice shaping my life as long as I approach things with a strong mind (and detachment)!
Yoga is a Process
As cliché as they sound, the experience is different for everyone. Those who have said this have probably encountered their joys and challenges and it holds true. Our personal beliefs and coping mechanism are shaped by our own personal journeys – interpersonal relationships, family, career etc.
When I first started yoga, my practice was centered around mastering poses. This often included inversions with much air time. Yet, through my practice I began to realize I could only do them with much warmup and physical drills that required me to isolate muscle groups which I would have never even thought existed.
Progressive, I found the healing effects of meditation and breathwork. It not only allowed me to understand my state of mind better, but also gave me better knowledge of breathing techniques when going deeper into my practice.
Currently, I am interested to understand anatomy better. Everyone’s body is different and I find it rather intriguing to be able to understand your physical limitations and help others learn more about their physical practice. As you can see, my interest in my yoga practice is a constantly learning curve for me but it is this very aspect of process and its beauty which enables me to love yoga even more.
Detachment from Emotions
As someone who is sensitive to the words of others, I used to catch myself being too emotionally invested in others. Just like a floating lotus, we should be unaffected by water. I hope to practice this mindset more in my life till it becomes so part of me in my approach towards life/ serving others.
Yoga has had a profound impact on me, especially in the manner in how I approach new experiences. Afterall, we cannot control the external environment or other’s reaction. We can only control our response and yoga has proven to be a great guidance for me throughout my life experiences.