May 26, 2011

Why yoga strengthens the mind


A friend of mine has recently asked me to teach him some basic yoga poses, because of my constant rave of the unique practice. So his question has got me thinking, how did I get started with yoga? And what made me want continue with yoga for life?

My tipping point was when I was faced with alot of pressures at work, expectations of others on me, and my innate competitive spirit to constantly be better than I already am. And when the times get tough, you push your body's limit and challenge your mind to be stronger. Days, weeks and months got very taxing for me. I then used yoga to relax physically and I loved the 37 degree heat to warm up the tension on my shoulders and back.

I slowly begun appreciating different meanings of spirituality and philosophy that yoga brings to your daily life. It a completely humbling experience when it comes to being on my mat. For 60-90 minutes in my daily life, I can breathe into my body and mind, leave all my troubles and stress behind, and focus on what really matters, which is YOU! It takes a little bit of courage and determination, and completely no judgement on yourself to be a yogi. Yoga is about letting go of the ego, because you're no better or worse than the person next to you.

I have explored different types of yoga; asthanga, vinyasa, hatha and bikram (last week). Bikram was quite interesting. You're basically confined to a room (often packed), bright lights, mirrors in front of you, heat going beyond 40 degree celsius, stench that can be so bad that it was so unbearable when lying on my mat, and 26 poses for 90 minutes. It's a torture chamber, quite literally. But I learnt that breathing and being calm despite the 'distractions'. The whole time you're fighting against the anger, and breathing into having a more peaceful mind. Afterwards you feel like a million bucks, because your body has completely rid of all the toxins and your mind is completely switched on.

And you may think that yoga is a fad... But, when was the last time you really focused on yourself for a full 90 minutes?

Try yoga, and learn to love yourself.


5 comments:

Angeline said...

Well said! I miss yoga, it set me in touch with myself through the breathing moments.

Tracy said...

Hi Angeline, I wished Bikram would teach me how to breathe better. I find it's a little too 'scripted' cos all the teachers say this base script from Bikram Choudrey. Nevertheless, I love hot yoga and I can't find vinyasa here that suits my schedule. Bikram yoga it is. You should join back into Pure. Tryphena is the best yoga guru ever. Miss her classes terribly.

Diane said...

I've been wanting to try yoga out for the longest time ever but I couldn't find a place that teaches yoga... where did you go when you first started out?

Tracy said...

@Diane: I started yoga about a little more than a year ago at my regular gym. I found that I was going to more yoga classes than aerobics etc, so I signed up for a full yoga membership. Since then, I found that it was less of a physical endurance test, but rather a mind-body-heart experience. I've incorporated yoga into my life and it has really improved the physical and mental aspects of myself. I highly recommend you do some free classes at various studios first and see it for yourself. :-)

Rainy Days and Lattes said...

I've never tried Birkham yoga although I think I would LOVE to. I always want to better myself as well. I do yoga on a regular basis, either in classes and at home from my interactive tv channels ;p

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