Yoga changed my life…

Yoga changed my life…
March 23, 2018 Chanelle Elana
In Blog

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What if I told you there is a practice that will totally change your life, in an extremely positive and profound way? A practice that will empower and centre you.

And what if I told you that it can also be practised in the comfort of your own home? There are endless resources available online to help you to commit to a regular practice.

However, for those of you who are new to Yoga, I recommend attending a Yoga studio joining a beginners course.
As well as attending classes, you can benefit incredibly by adding extra practice at home.

I wholeheartedly assure this for I have personally experienced the benefits and seen the results in such a short amount of time.

I’d like to share with you my personal journey with Yoga and how it has transformed my life, for the better.

I was suffering from writer’s block for a little while and felt I couldn’t communicate and express myself in ways that I usually could. However, since I’ve started Yoga I am here, in full force – bursting with clarity, insight, knowledge and a new passion. Yoga, my Love, I have found ‘the one’.

Where are we when we are not living a life filled with passion? I’m always thirsty for new experiences, possibilities, and adventures.  My yoga journey so far has been filled with challenges, but also a new found energy that I just had to share!

We never know what is around the corner. We can never be fully prepared.
However, every day is a new beginning, an opportunity to make positive changes in our lives. When we practice Yoga, our mindset to overcome obstacles in life are dealt with in a calm and balanced manner.

We have a choice to forget yesterday’s failures and to-do-lists.
The time is now, our moment and journey in life, to be lived to the fullest.

The present moment is all we have.

Which brings me to the start of my yoga journey…

I recently purchased a six-week unlimited beginners pass to attend my local yoga studio, where they teach Iyengar Yoga – a safe, progressive and vigorous method of Asana (postures) and Pranayama (the breath).

Iyengar Yoga is universally respected for teaching a detailed structural approach. It respects asanas by building them up safely, where teachers verbally express and demonstrate key points of each posture. A number of props are utilised in class to attain correct alignment.

When exploring Yoga, we need to have an open heart and mind. At times, it will uncover deep-seated hurts and desires. It has a way of unmasking our truth.

One of the first poses that I learnt was Tadasana (Mountain Pose). There is more to this pose than meets the eye. It totally grounds me on all levels. Yoga is all about awareness.

The first thing you learn with Mountain Pose is the four corners of your feet. I never knew feet had corners! Initially, it may seem insignificant, but you begin to become aware of how important it is to know and understand what a grounding effect it can have.

In becoming aware of my four feet corners, it brings me back into the moment. For instance, when I am brushing my teeth – am I standing correctly? Is my posture aligned? Yoga is excellent for correcting posture.

I feel now more than ever, it is crucial to do Yoga, in a time where we are constantly on devices. Our bodies are subjected to stiffness and so it is important for our health to maintain good posture. It keeps our bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are utilised properly.

In an Iyengar Yoga class, Savasana (corpse pose) is typically the last pose. It can be testing, especially for beginners as it is essentially inviting you to sit with yourself. A beginner may fall asleep or struggle to let go of the constant chatter – in yoga, what is often referred to as ‘the monkey mind’. After an intense class, I actually look forward to Savasana as it is a physically effortless pose and allows you to just let go.

“By remaining motionless for some time and keeping the mind still while you are fully conscious, you learn to relax. This conscious relaxation invigorates and refreshes both body and mind. But it is much harder to keep the mind than the body still. Therefore, this apparently easy posture is one of the most difficult to master.” – BKS Iyengar on Savasana

I now find myself practising morning and night. I am often excited when I go to sleep for I can’t wait to practice again in the morning. I couldn’t imagine my life without Yoga. I have found what works for me. I am positive it will work for you no matter who you are.

Yoga is for everyone. Although nowadays Yoga is extremely popular and almost a trend, it has actually been around for over four thousand years, possibly longer.

Prior to starting Yoga, I was drawn to living my life holistically with a strong Love for natural therapies and all that encompasses a ‘holistic lifestyle’. It’s no wonder I felt drawn to Yoga!

I choose to nourish my body in a positive way both systemically and externally. I feed my body the right nutrition that ultimately leaves me feeling alive and vibrant. I love following an organic diet with nutrient-dense, whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. I truly believe the power of good nutrition and what it can do for our health on a physical, emotional and spiritual level!

I am finding that the more I practice Yoga and learn the power of Pranayama (the breath), the more conscious and aware I am of the needs of my body.

In Yoga, energy is known as Prana – the universal force that flows through us all. Without Prana, life can stop and feel worthless. However, when Prana is balanced and flowing freely in all parts of our body, we feel at ease – content, motivated, grounded and inspired.

Yoga removes the constant challenge of the mind that either wants to go back into the past or forward into the future.

Yoga helps us stay present.

I have never felt so balanced. Did I mention that I was a Libra? In Astrology, Libra’s motto is ‘I balance’. Libras care deeply about justice and equality. It’s not a coincidence that the scales are also a symbol of justice. There’s nothing a Libra dislikes more than if something isn’t fair. And for me, life without Yoga is totally unfair!

Yoga increases flexibility, improves concentration and energy levels, as well as the quality of our sleep. It also builds muscle strength, as well as toning the body and providing balance. The list goes on – need I say any more?

Personally, I am experiencing all of the above and more. It is just the beginning and I am open and excited to see where Yoga will take me. It’s only upwards from here, there is no stopping now. A rewarding practice, invigorating my senses, moving my body, changing my thoughts and centring my mind. I have the ‘Yoga Bug’. I’m hooked!

I am awakening parts of my body that I never thought could be moved and manoeuvred in such a way. In doing so, I’m finding my feelings and emotions shifting from negative to positive. My thought patterns have improved. I feel lighter, centred, and content.

Yoga teaches compassion, for yourself and for others.

Be gentle with yourself and let yourself explore each pose with a sense of ease. If you slow down, you find yourself easing into the pose more comfortably.

In my opinion, when you come to the mat it’s not about rushing to achieving pretzel-like poses. It’s an experience, a journey, a process.

Yoga removes the frantic pace of life and you find yourself surrendering to the moment. And when you surrender, the pose becomes easier.

As a beginner, it can be challenging, for some poses are not easy. However, in a short amount of time with regular routine, you’ll be blown away by how the body stretches and changes. Certain poses that I couldn’t do in the beginning are now somewhat breezy, although I’m not ready to try Taraksvasana!

Yoga is teaching me the importance of patience. We often find ourselves wanting things straight away. We’re living in an instant society with the desire for instant gratification & recognition.

We want the high paid job, the flashy car, perfect partner, beach-ready body, long hair, the list goes on! However, although these externals may seem important to some they’re certainly nothing without your health!

It’s not about how flexible you are with your body, rather flexibility in opening your heart and mind in cultivating self-love & gratitude for being alive & well!

Yoga opens your Heart to look within and go deeper.

As someone who suffers from mild generalised anxiety, Yoga has had a positive impact on my mental health. Although my anxiety has shifted immensely over the years I still experience moments of weakness at times. However, I am surprised at how what may have triggered me into feeling anxious in the past no longer has an effect.

I can honestly say I never thought I would find myself on Youtube following a channel and regularly watching Yoga videos.  Since I found Yoga with Adriene, I now practice Yoga every morning and night. As soon as I watched her first video, I connected with Adriene right away. I love the fact that she is humorous (vinyasa moufasa) and keeps you engaged.

In Yoga, we refer to the breath as energy. The breath is our life companion and one of the most effective tools in balancing the mind and nourishing the body. Pranayama keeps the nadis (flow or motion of our energetic system) clear and our energy circulating in an optimal way.

Particularly in the western world, we are often so caught up in our heads that we forget about the connection between the mind and body and the intelligence of movement utilising the breath.

So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself a mat and hop to it! (go on, do it!) just kidding!
My intention in sharing my experience is not to force and insist that you make the change today. I am merely sharing what Yoga is doing for me. I am learning more about myself and my body. I’m learning the language of Yoga and a new and positive approach in dealing with life and its complexities.

I only wish I had started sooner, which brings me to my closing words. The two C’s – Change and Commitment. I had an itch to practice Yoga for quite some time but struggled to make the change and commit. Change is not easy for most of us, we don’t like it. However, as hard as change is when you meet change with courage and an open heart and mind, you find yourself feeling empowered for saying yes to you. Positive changes can cultivate inner-peace and genuine happiness.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.

I say to you now, make the commitment to yourself to try something new! It will calm your Heart, transform your body, and open your mind!

From my Heart to Yours,

Chanelle Elana

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