I managed to work my way up to about an hour a day of yoga. What I found to my surprise was an overall improvement in not only my physical but also my mental health. I initially had zero interest in the philosophical aspects of yoga, but I came to change my mind over time. The concentration on the inner workings of the body and of the mind is highly therapeutic: the focus inward is a healthy withdrawal from the frenetic pace of life and material obsessions. As Jois is fond of stating: "practice, and all is coming."
This was also my first introduction to Indian philosophy and ethics. I have been particularly moved by the closing prayer traditionally said at the end of a practice:
"May all be well with mankind. May the leaders of the earth protect in every way by keeping to the right path. May there be goodness for those who know the earth to be sacred. May all the world be happy."
For many reasons, I stopped doing yoga. My stress levels have since gone up quite a bit and I can feel myself grow tighter and more tired. I decided to make time again for Ashtanga Yoga in my life. The first two sessions were brutal, but invigorating. I'm hoping this will be a first step to some much needed lifestyle changes.
Labels: ashtanga yoga