THE VALUE OF YOGA

Yesterday someone called me and said: « I want to take classes with you every day for a week. What I expect from you, is to teach me the value of Yoga so I can develop a regular practice. »This request really got me thinking: what am I going to tell that student when he comes to class? How am I supposed to teach the benefits of Yoga? Despite being detailed and explained in the myriad of books, Yoga, and the value you give to the practice, really is a personal thing. My practice, and what I get from it, is probably different than yours, because we have different paths in life.
As long as I can remember I’ve always been through emotional highs and lows in my life, the highs being very high, and the lows being very low (think: below sea level, not too far from the abysses). I’ve always been a little wary towards the others. Just the result of being bullied on a regular basis throughout my childhood and teenage years : I was a very ill child (read: different), not very pretty and certainly not very cool by my classmates standards. It was rough but it made me develop a strong, independent character.
When I was in college, my dad got sick from cancer. I guess I entered in some kind of denial mode, burrying all my emotions deep down and telling myself « everything will be OK ». As a result, I ended up developing a series of eating disorders and getting very sick myself. My battle with anorexia and bulimia lasted long after the passing of my dad. I struggled for over 10 years. I struggled until I found Yoga (or until Yoga found me, whichever you prefer).
With regular practice, I became conscious of a lot of things: my breath, my heartbeat, my body, my mind, my emotions, even my soul. I became the observer of my inner life. Meditation led me to real moments of epiphany: moments when I connected with the Infinite, moments when I could feel the Universe dwelling inside of me. I was not my negative self-talk anymore. I realized that no matter what was going on outside, no matter what my mind would tell me, everything -including myself- was just perfect the way it was.
I learned to observe and eventually control the fluctuations of my mind; the discipline I put in my asana practice, led me to discipline of the mind and self-healing: the emotional roller coaster I had always known, started disappearing, almost getting to neutral position. I now experience less passion, less attachement, and as a result, less suffering. I’m not saying I’m a Light Being sitting on a lotus flower all day long, but my inner life is definitely more calm and balanced.
This is my story and it probably has nothing to do with yours. But I can tell you one thing that is true for every single person on this Earth: Yoga will not always bring you what you want, but it will always, always  bring you what you need, exactly when you need it.
Practice, and everything will come. Om shanti.

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