Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Yoga > Starting from Scratch

I completed by Yoga Teacher's Training Course from Sivananda Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India 20 years ago. For most of this duration, and a few years prior, yoga has been a consistent part of my life. Even if I didn't practice my asanas with as much regularity and intensity as I would have liked, yoga has definitely been a part of my life in its myriad forms: Bhakti Yoga (through Vedic chants), Raja Yoga (through meditation), Gyaan Yoga (through constant learning). I would also like to believe that I am a practitioner of Karma yoga, through my actions, as I sincerely follow the yam-niyam of yoga as prescribed in the ashtanga yoga philosophy. 

But, for the last year or so, my asana practice came to a halt. To cut a long story short: for the first time in my life I joined a gym around 2 years ago. Although I enjoyed the energy and variety of group classes, some wrong exercises led to a knee injury. As I continued to exercise, advanced yoga as well as some functional training exercises, I reached a point where I had to start eliminating exercises as I just could not practice them due to the pain in my knee. Coming back to yoga, when I could not practice asanas like the warrior poses, and eventually even the cat-cow asanas became extremely painful, I stopped all exercise. Now, after a few months of physiotherapy, even though my pain has not gone completely, I am back on my yoga mat. And I couldn't be happier!

As you may have noticed too, if you have ever needed physiotherapy, many of the strengthening exercises have their root in yoga. So, even though I discontinued my physiotherapy a few months ago, all along I knew that the basics of yoga will help me in not only over coming the injury, but also to become strong and fit. 

With this belief, I am back to practicing yoga, albeit I'm starting from scratch. The power of the Pawanmuktasana series, as explained at the Bihar School of Yoga, cannot be emphasized enough. So with all humility, I am starting at the very beginning, from the Pawanmuktasana series and just a few rounds of Surya Namaskar. 

Just being able to stretch my muscles, remembering the importance of relaxation BEFORE stretching, and surrendering to this age-old magical practice has filled me with gratitude and hope of becoming truly fit and strong. Although my goal is to practice "gravity-defying yogasanas", I am willing to take each day as it comes, taking baby steps and enjoying the journey.