The Light In You: Achieving Inner PeaceThe Silver Lining
With the many happenings of today, we may find ourselves overwhelmed and in need of a breather, just a moment to take a step back and have a good look at our situation. Most of us may find it a bit far from ideal: all the cancelled trips, missed parties, and mostly anything that needed to be postponed until everything’s much safer.
We all cope with our challenges differently, allowing us to reach inside to bring out the best version of ourselves. In this blog, we learn all about yoga from one of RareJob Philippines, Inc.’s Student Evaluators of almost three years, Pauline Alarcio!
More Than Just Asanas
I live an active lifestyle so it’s second nature to me to try many types of exercises. I’ve tried Pilates, spinning, barre workout and Muay Thai. Initially, I thought of yoga as something similar. So when I first tried it at the start of this year, upon my friend’s persuasion, I thought it was just another fitness routine.
In the beginning, I didn’t like it as I’m not flexible and the asanas (positions or poses) were difficult to follow. I had no way out, however, because I enrolled for a 20-day program and I had to make the most out of it. Everyday throughout that program, I had no choice but to show up on the mat. Eventually though, I noticed how it started changing me little by little. I started to understand both my mind and body.
The benefits of yoga go far beyond flexibility, headstands and toned muscles. Most importantly, it teaches mindfulness through meditation and breathing techniques. They say that in order to fully get into the practice, one must be willing to surrender both mind and body because in practicing yoga, one cannot exist without the other.
Given its benefits, I think yoga, more than just an exercise, is a holistic experience. It taught me how to look deeply into myself and be accountable for my own emotions and actions. Another thing I learned is how to enjoy and appreciate the present moment by living mindfully. Although I haven’t quite reaped the physical benefits of yoga yet (like being flexible enough to do a split or strong enough to do a headstand), I’m optimistic that I’m on my way there.
The same for most activities, yoga requires discipline and determination, though, it’s normal to feel demotivated at times. In my case, it’s especially difficult if there’s no friend or paid class motivating me to practice. But what keeps me going is my hunger for peace and self-love. Whenever I need to feel grounded and whenever I feel sad, I turn into the practice of yoga to find solace and reconnect with my authentic self.
During the start of this pandemic, I had difficulty practicing at home since there’s almost no quiet time. So, I had to practice during early mornings when everyone at home’s still asleep. It was also difficult to transition from studio practice to home practice where there’s no teacher to check forms and initiate mantras. Luckily, there’s a lot of free online materials and the yoga studio I used to practice in also had online classes.
Working from home gives me more time to commit to yoga each day. With the time that I have, I am able to meditate longer and experience inner peace.
Yoga as Part of Daily Life
What I learned after months of practice is that yoga doesn’t simply mean asanas or namaste greetings or chakras. Its most important component is pranayama—breathing and breath control. By simply being aware of my breath, I am practicing yoga. So even if I’m on my desk working or attending a meeting, I can practice it.
For those who are interested but a bit hesitant to get into yoga, t’s never too late to start. There are some yogis who started practicing later in life, then there are some who began while they were younger. It also doesn’t matter if you’re not flexible, fit, nor active. You just need to be willing.
You can start by researching what kind of yoga is right for you. Typically, you’ll encounter Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa. Hatha Yoga involves more stretching and is less physically demanding. If you are looking at yoga as something that can provide you relaxation, this is the right kind for you. Vinyasa, on the other hand, is more fast-paced and requires greater breathing control. This kind usually appeals to those who are looking at yoga as a form of cardio exercise.
Don’t forget to have proper equipment to avoid injury. Owning a yoga mat is a must. If you’re a beginner, I recommend having yoga blocks and a yoga strap too—both create space for when you feel inflexible. Then, you can either enroll in free online classes or watch videos online. There are also several apps you can download and follow.
In every practice, always focus on your breath. Consider it as a sacred time for yourself. Be reminded that the ultimate goal is to learn how to honor the light in you.
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