How Yoga Knocked Some Sense Into Me

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I would like to write about how yoga (and meditation) changed my life. But, I’d go with yoga first as after sometime of practicing yoga seriously again, only then I ventured into meditation. And yes, during the latter, meditation helps to heal me a lot too.

Since 5 years ago (2012), I suffered a severe lost of my personality. I didn’t know I was going through that ‘losing-myself’ phase and there was also nobody to tell me that I haven’t been behaving like the Mus they once knew. Although my family & friends were there but maybe we didn’t get to spend so much time together for them to realise how terribly lost I was to tell it to my face. And I suppose, my friends and I – we were in the age of going through some transition phases that we all struggled to settle with life to actually be mindful about each others’ well-being. So I practically went through that phase, alone.

It all started when I moved to the UK to start my journey to get an education at Newcastle University. I was so ecstatic about moving to the UK and actually had high expectations that everything was gonna turn out awesome just like how it has always been for me during all the years of my life (primary, secondary and college #grateful). I specifically chose to study agriculture in Newcastle University instead of Reading University in metropolitan London because I wanted to live in a small city, in a village where the sight of sheep occupying the undulating topography of England grasslands are not far away.

To say that I made the right choice, I’d never knew that. For in one perspective, if I live in a more metropolitan city, I might not be treated so much like an alien like how I was treated in the small city of Newcastle, especially when 98% of my classmates came from conservative English farmers’ backgrounds. And because they were only 18 years old that time of entering uni, unlike me – I was 21 that time (having done my diploma first in Malaysia) I understood their excitement of exploring a new life without parents and being in the so called ‘cool groups’. It was also their first time of being around international people at a whole new level, just like me too and that was why I could comprehend that there were a lot of struggles going on culturally and socially among us all.

Yet, I’d also like to think that going to a small city instead of the big cosmopolitan London was all blessings in disguise for if I haven’t been alienated by my classmates and some lecturers during uni life, I might have never understood the feelings of my schoolmates who I might have alienated last time. Yes, I was somehow a bit mean, self-centered, choosy of my cliques and only wanted to be friends among the cool – just like how my classmates in uni did to me.

Long story-short, I suffered socially a lot when I was in the UK as I wasn’t used to be ignored since I was always, effortlessly the center of attention. But there, nobody cared about me. And because I am heavily a people-person, being socially challenged like that affected my well-being a lot including my academics. I became a demotivated person not knowing what I wanted to do in life. I stopped writing – which has always been my life and still is; I stopped baking – which I used to enjoy and make as a business; I joined Newcastle University Pilates Society instead of Yoga Society; I joined Fell-walking Society instead of Hiking Society and most of all, I didn’t join Pole Dancing Society which might and could have rescued me better from my lost of personality, I believed.

A lot of my goals that I wanted to achieve while I was in the UK – going to Ghana, Africa to learn first-hand about Community Fair Trade at the same time doing charity; going to Nuweiba, Egypt for an organic agricultural internship in the desert; becoming an active member of UK Organic Soil Association; becoming an active volunteer of UK National Parks and ultimately becoming the best student in my course (if not the whole university) – never happened. My #determination and #willpower weren’t there. I was clueless of what to do with myself. I didn’t know where, how and what needed to be fixed and I didn’t even know that I was supposed to find out what went wrong with myself and my life. Perhaps I was just too young then, to critically understand, analyse and come out with a plan to improve my life.

So basically, I stopped doing what I loved doing, I joined the things that I less enjoyed and I didn’t do or attempt to achieve what I vowed to myself to.

This severe lost of personality continued even after I came back to Malaysia in 2015. I was so clueless about life. I didn’t know who and what I wanted to become, what career I wanted to pursue in when I have always, always known what I wanted last time. But, there’ll be another post specifically on that.

Until one day in early 2016, my husband and I realised that we should inculcate exercise regimes into our lives everyday to become more productive beings. I first started with Jillian Michaels: 6 Week Six-Pack Abs Workout which I enjoyed for one whole week. But then I lost interest in it. Mostly because I didn’t really like the ‘absolute-sore’ feeling all over my body after I did that shredding routine. Besides, I didn’t really need shredding to be honest. Like, yes I wanted to get fit but not drain myself out like that.

I figured I needed something soothing, something relaxing, not too intense nor too mild. Something to calm my rage down when I was searching for my lost self. Something that could take me aback, calm my senses and help me see things in a better perspective, in a clearer view. Because just imagine how stressful it is to try to find your lost self, and then your chaotic and aching fitness regimes just add in the pain. Wouldn’t it make you more stressed out? It absolutely did me.

So I started checking out yoga videos – I started doing yoga since I was 18 years old by the way. But I didn’t really stick to it as I was jumping from one interest to the other a lot during that time #exploringlifethebestIcould. Then, I found this one channel and committed to 30 Days of Yoga with Adrienne but I gave up half-way because, although Adrienne is good and she has hundreds of yoga videos to help you start and progress – I just couldn’t find the chemistry between me and that virtual instructor of mine. So I kept on searching and finally stumbled upon Boho Beautiful and I can’t express how much my husband and I could connect to this couple a lot! Like, if we were not doing what we are doing now, we might be doing the same thing like this couple does!

So, approximately in early April 2016, I started committing to Boho Yoga routines. While my husband was doing his resistance and cardio workouts, he then gave Boho Yoga a try when he saw just how soothing I looked and felt after every practice. He then decided that after doing all of his intense workout regimes, he’d always come back to doing yoga to sooth his aching muscles and to take sometime in #sukasa (sitting cross-legged) to digest everything that has happened on and around him while breathing mindfully.

So, how did the practice of yoga knocked some sense into me again?

Bear in mind that the goal of practicing yoga includes – to achieve mindfulness of the mind, to practice body flexibility, to stretch out all of the muscle stresses in our body and to let go of all the things that no longer serves us mentally and spiritually. So, when I practice yoga, it helps me to –

  1. Sooth my raging heart – I learned to calm myself down. Humans are impatient beings. We are always in a rush and always want things to be fast. When I was supposed to take time to decide on what I wanted to do as my life career after graduation, I didn’t. I was totally raging until I couldn’t see things straight and I ended up broken. I mean come on, you’d take sometime one way or another to figure things out. Unlike going from primary, to secondary school, to college to university which is a natural pathway for most people. But going from studying to working phase is something else. So, don’t worry. Take your time to try things and decide then which best suits you & don’t rage like me.
  2. Open myself to new perspectives of life – after I become calmer, I was able to see things more clearly. I was able to make more sense of things – like why this and that happened. Sure, although we’d never knew the meaning behind His work of magic, but we always think of the best possibilities of why things happened the way it did and we believe in it. Because when we believe in it, it becomes a reality. So, always believe in something positive!
  3. Take one step-at-a-time – just like the practice of yoga; we start with warming up our body, soon we come into a flow of downward-facing dog, to plank, to chaturanga dandasana, to upward facing dog and back to downward facing dog. Yoga is flow and I discovered that life is flow too. If we take things too drastically, we might break down. If we take things too slowly, we might never get where we intended to be. But if we flow, just like the river flows with no resistances and judgments of the surrounding, we’d flow better in life too.
  4. Accept where I am in life right now and work towards where I want to be – apart from being a flow, yoga is also a step-by-step journey in which you try to first get into new poses, then you progress in it. As well as stretching all the muscle tensions out – you don’t straight away exert yourself to stretch the muscles. Instead, you do it slowly and be mindful of what feels good for you to slowly let go what doesn’t serve you anymore. Yoga is sequential, it is a step-by-step journey.
  5. Become more balanced – I practice Yin Yoga too, which is a method of doing yoga by staying in one position for 2 minutes. If you are more advanced, you might stay in one pose for 5 minutes but I’m not there yet. Needless to say, having to stay in a balancing pose even for 2 minutes has helped me a lot to become more balanced in life, work and family matters.
  6. Helps me believe that “I’ll Get There” – after nearly a year of persisting at practicing yoga and doing it every morning now; I see changes in my self, in my mind, in my spirit and in my body flexibility. This helps me to believe that just as long as we keep on persisting and working on what we want to achieve, we will finally get there. So, although I am nowhere near my bigger goals and dreams yet, but I’m seeing a pathway #grateful. I’m seeing that things are unfolding, I’m content with that and it motivates me to continue working. You know when you start to see results, you become somewhat addicted to getting more results? Hah! That’s how I feel.

So anyway, there might be more benefits from practicing yoga that I have yet to continue discovering but for now, I’m content with where it has brought me to. I wish to pursue in this journey and become a professional yogi in power yoga. And soon, I will hold classes for those of you who wish to experience the same journey of mind, body & soul healing ❤

Water doesn’t resist, it just flows. When you plunge your hand into it, it caress you. When you dip in it, it refreshes you. When you drink it, it quenches your thirst. But when you try to hold it in your palms, it seeps away. Water always goes where it wants to and nothing in the end can stand against it. It is patient. When it drips, it wears away a stone. And remember, you are half water, if you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it.

So flow, just like water.

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