Learning about the eight limbs of yoga during my teacher training was absolutely fascinating, and often part of our homework was to write about what each of the yamas & niyamas meant to us. Having to reflect daily on what yoga meant to me was at times quite emotional! Yoga is home because it lifted me out of my fear to feel. Due to a number of experiences I had unknowingly cut myself off from my emotions. I got through life getting good grades, making it to university, but I was somewhat detached and destructive. Destructive because I was missing out on my own life by plodding along to the beat of someone else’s drum. Never taking the time to realise this was a once in a lifetime sensory experience…so what did I want to make of it?
Thinking back to the first class I went to I was a huge sceptic. Despite this after class I felt better, and started going once a week at the university gym. It was enjoyable, a workout, and for some reason I just felt more comfortable in my skin afterwards. However, it wasn’t until I moved to Edinburgh for my MSc that a more regular practice developed. I discovered a great teacher called Evelyn up the road from my flat and would go twice a week, as well as attending the Yoga Society classes. Evelyn’s classes were dynamic, challenging, but also introduced me to the spirituality of yoga. Class would begin with a chant and during the practice yogic philosophy would be weaved into cues or intentions within an asana. It was during this time I fell in love with yoga- not only because of how it made me feel during and immediately afterwards, but because of how it was influencing my life off the mat. I carried myself with more confidence, and I had a thirst for life. I wanted to live, feel, explore, develop and had pulled myself out of a negative headspace which I’d been in for as long as I could remember. I had not been aware of being in that space. It was just life. That’s just how it was. Yoga made realise it wasn’t just life, it was a version of life I was choosing to live.
Yoga showed me we all make choices, and that these choices influence the lives we live and the version of the world we experience. No longer was I a victim of circumstance, I was taking control and making changes to navigate my life. Having finished a BA at the University of Leeds and undertaking an MSc at the University of Edinburgh, I was at the time where careers and goals were a frequent topic of conversation. I knew what themes I found interesting- inequality, power imbalance…basically the superficial ‘fixings’ of social issues. Not set on a career per se but knowing I wanted to help others and be involved with something creating positive change, falling in love with yoga meant that a yoga teacher training was too good to pass up!
Yoga is home because the space we create during class is always there, patiently waiting for us to return. Reflect inward, go a little deeper, and develop a sense of ease in your strength both in a physical and emotional sense. The lessons we learn on the mat follow us off the mat. Falling out of asana but getting back up and trying again is a great way to approach life. Similarly, a more recent development is the realisation of paying extra love and care to those areas that are tight and tense, rather than avoiding asana that wake them up. Yoga can teach you so much about yourself- your fears, your strengths and your capacity for growth! Conquering asana that once seemed impossible is amazing, but as practice deepens you see that the asana is simply a tool to living life with more zeal. We find ourselves in these asana because we have cultivated greater confidence to try something new, built up strength in the mind and body, and worked through areas of tension creating space to move.
Yoga is home because home is where the heart is afterall.