How yoga can drive change

About 5 months ago I finished my Yoga Teacher Training that strangely changed everything. I’ve been thinking a lot lately, what makes us change? And why is it so hard to change? Even small things like food, diet, not to talk about patterns, jobs, lifestyle and how we act upon life. In my case, I do think that yoga has a big part of this and it teaches us about ourselves, who we are, and what we want.

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For a long time, I was stuck in old patterns, unsure what I wanted to do with my life and life just seemed to go on. Another job, another party, I moved (a lot), but nothing seemed to really get me grounded. As a tango dancer, this was my passion for 8 years and I really loved traveling to different corners of the world, meeting new people and dance myself to new sensations. Even this after a while became a bit dull, maybe not dull but I was looking for something else.

When I was doing Bikram yoga, I clearly remember what one of my favourite teachers (Naomi Clark) said that once you start yoga, then there is no going back. Half joking, half serious, she said that within one month of daily practice we would soon find ourselves changing flats, boyfriends, career and jobs. Little did I know then that she was right!

Another great yogi, Richard Freeman says that “Yoga ruins your life”. But perhaps in a good way. He explains it like this:

 

“But it’s not. In fact having yoga ruin your life is a huge relief. Because when you practice yoga on a regular basis, the auto-pilot of “life” that, if you’re like most of us you may have fallen into, slowly transforms into a life that is naturally more awake, balanced, healthy and happy. The little things that used to bother you don’t so much anymore. You feel less stressed and happier. Relationships become easier as emotions thoughts and feelings become clearer and less reactive. And best of all, who you really are shines through. So yes, your autopilot life is “ruined,” but that’s not so terrible after all.”

 

What I’ve realised is that yoga is just the beginning. Ok, it took me 5 years to get to the point to do a teacher training. But once done, not even 6 months after, my life is completely different! Before, I had the feeling that I was “stuck”. Life was the same, I wouldn’t say dull but something was definitely missing.

I think that through the challenges on the mat, we truly transform ourselves. It’s not so much about the poses you can or can’t do, but more about the mindset that we put into it. How do we react when we fall? When we can’t do something? Do we surrender? Get angry? Sad? Or disappointed? Or can we live with ourselves in that true moment and take it for what it is? We are exactly where we need to be, no more, no less. Can we embrace the present moment?

After that training, I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life! Maybe it sounds cheesy but it’s true. Teaching yoga of course, but not only. It was like all the pieces fell into place and I had an “aha” moment. It’s like my whole life I’ve been blind to the universe that has been trying to orient me in the right direction. With a blind eye, I’ve just been stubborn, gone for the hardest route, ignoring signs and perhaps myself.

I’m not saying that I’m not happy with the choices I made in life but perhaps my life would have been different if I had listened a bit earlier. Anyways, better late than never! So finally I became determined to change career and I think that yoga really helped me through this. Not only that, changing jobs is something I’ve done many times before. This time it was about changing LIFE.

With my partner in crime, we decided to go fully remote and live with an 8kg backpack traveling the world. We would do anything to allow this lifestyle. And we did it! Of course, it wasn’t that easy, it took about 4-5 months but it’s not that a long time when you think about that I’ve perhaps been stuck in the same life pattern for 10 years!

From a daily yoga practice, discipline, defeat, and surrendering I think I started to believe more in myself. If I can be upside down, why can’t I change the world? Maybe not tomorrow but one day. This is what yoga teaches us, accepting ourselves, situations and surrendering to our experience and how we react to our emotions.

I’ve also met many yogis who have similar stories. Before and after yoga and they live completely different lives now. So if you are looking for a change, any kind of change. Whether that is to quit smoking, lose weight, live more healthy, leave your partner, change jobs, city, or any other life change. Try yoga! Maybe it will help you on the way and can help you to look at life from a different angle.

 

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