Rising to the challenge using Classical Yoga!
Life is a journey filled with so many experiences as we travel along – joy, bliss, love, success, celebration, loss, failure, pain, trauma, heartaches and the list goes on… My journey has had pretty much all those except poverty and homelessness. But, I’m truly grateful for all of them. They definitely have helped me become more resilient, wiser, more compassionate and more sensible. The irony is that while negative life experiences make people stronger, the imprints of the experiences remain within us for years to come. As a result, most people become wounded within themselves. Even modern science recognizes that unresolved emotions and old wounds can manifest into variety of imbalances and ailments in the body and mind. Not to mention the stress that most people experience on a daily basis. All these things can rob the inner freedom in a tremendous way. One may be strong, successful and joyful but they may have some sort of friction in their mind all the time. They may even find it hard to sustain their joy all the time. Well, I too was guilty of this! Certain adverse life events that happened in my life in the past certainly made me become more resilient, but they also manifested into imbalances in my system. Unfortunately, I quietly suffered for a long time. Fortunately, it was the Classical Yoga practices (namely #InnerEngineering and others) that eventually turned things around for me a few years back. As I started practicing them everyday, I came to realize that I actually had the power to determine how I should be within myself regardless of my past or present situations. Even, the old baggage that had been holding me down for so long started to loose its grip on me. I wouldn't be where I am without these yogic tools! 🙏🏽 They are helping even more in these challenging times🌷 The COVID-19 storm has left nobody untouched. I’m sure all of us are trying our best to brave this storm. Every one of us is affected by it in some way. Nobody knows for sure how everything will play out in the next few months or beyond, though predictions are plenty. Many people aren’t comfortable with the uncertainties and are waiting for things to come back to “normal.” Like it or not, a ‘new normal’ is already here – it's up to us to embrace it or suffer it. Let’s not forget that uncertainty is Life, certainty is Death! It is those uncertainties that make life much more interesting! Personally, this pandemic has given me an opportunity to look deep within and reflect on my personal growth over the last few years. I’d prefer to call it my ‘spiritual growth’ although I’ve consciously been avoiding the word ‘spiritual’ because it’s become one of the most corrupted words. But it is the only word that can appropriately describe the transformation that’s been happening within me. About 9 months ago, a severe low back pain forced me to stop all my Yogic practices for some time. A herniated disc in my lumbar spine must've somehow got irritated. This had happened a few times in the past whenever I failed to take care of myself properly. Initially it was helpful to take a break from my daily hatha yoga practices. But as the time went on, without the practices, I started to feel some lethargy and rigidity in my system. And, certain old habits (especially with regards to eating) and tendencies started to creep back in. Though the intensity of the pain came down after 3 months or so the pain still persisted to some degree. By this time, however, the body and mind got used to being ‘lazy.’ So, getting back into my routine became challenging. Started with some simple practices, but struggled to keep them consistently. Frustrated, overwhelmed, questioned a lot of things! If you’ve ever experienced pain especially low back pain, you will know what I am talking about😊 Ironically, the struggle has also taught me a lot more about myself… When the lock-down came, I took advantage of it to take a much-needed break from my other activities and focus on re-establishing my yogic practices. Regaining my health and evolving myself further became my priority. That is when my guru #Sadhguru happened to offer a Sadhana(practice) support system to those who had learned certain kriyas from him. Extremely grateful that he offered it at these challenging times🙏🏽 It’s been about 40 days since I resumed. Been waking up every single day around 5am to do my practices. It takes about 2.5hrs to finish them all. Still not able to do all the practices I had been doing before because the pain has not entirely gone yet. The transition has not been easy but haven’t missed a single day of practice yet. I could clearly observe how my whole system is bouncing back to a healthier state. When I restarted the practice after a long gap I expected that my body would have lost its flexibility, but to my amazement I still had it, for the most part. Maybe it has something to do with the muscle memory in my body - developed through daily Yogic practices. I wish people would make use of tools like Yoga to go through these challenging times with least amount of struggle. I’ve tried to encourage my kids to do some Yoga. My son, being a hockey goalie, had been doing #Angamardana on a regular basis to stretch and strengthen his body before the lock down happened. But now he has stopped it altogether! My daughter on the other hand was practicing off and on a 21-min kriya she’d learned at the #InnerEngineering program last year. But it has been quite an effort on my part to get her to do it every day. Nagging anyone for anything is not my thing at all! Depending on her teenage mood, sometimes she'd tell me straight in my face "you and your yoga shit." I’m like "I do like your brutal honesty though. But you know, I am sure that this powerful Yogic TOOL you call ‘shit’ will become so darn useful one day when your body is in need of some repair or your mind is not able to handle the stressors in life.” I don’t like forcing anything on anyone, but as someone who has tasted the value of this 21-min kriya practice, I try to encourage her to do it as well. I know it will be a great support system for her, to manage her high school years and beyond. Unfortunately, it is falling off on deaf years now, but I know she’ll get it, eventually!😊 Isn’t it true that we tend to wait until our body and mind start to fail and then we become so desperate to find solutions? I wish I had started doing Yoga at least in my 20s. Yoga is neither a philosophy nor a religion although some people around the world are desperately trying to project it as a religion, cult or it is "Hindu", which is not a religion either, but that is another story for another time. It is a fact Yoga has been around for over 10000, way before any religion was born. It neither fits into the attributes and the limitations of a religion nor does it care what your beliefs are. And, it is not about twisting your body into impossible postures or standing on your head either! It amuses me when people often ask me if I can do these. In their mind, that is what Yoga is, unfortunately. Yoga certainly does make you become fit ! But, as Sadhguru points out, using Yoga just as a fitness system is like using an “Airplane as a bullock cart” OR “…you chop off the wings and drive around with your airplane. You may be pretty happy, but one who knows what it means to fly will cry.” So, Yoga is a powerful scientific tool for self-transformation. Essentially, all the yogic practices are designed to cultivate the body, mind, emotions, and energies so you can ultimately take charge of your life the way you want it! I am sure that is what everyone desires for - to take charge of their life the way they want it! This magnificent vehicle we call body carries us throughout our life, but it needs proper care and nourishment otherwise it’ll for sure break down easily. The beautiful thing about the body is that the more you use it the better it works. The body shouldn’t become a hurdle in our life. If it does, we’ll have to drag the body instead of the body carrying us with ease. Trust me, I know what that means, in every sense of the word! Age gracefully not miserably, is my motto. I’ll let my lovely kids come to their senses on their own terms. They certainly will, once the hormone-fired, teenage drama is over, sooner I hope!😄 Meanwhile, I am striving to become better today than I was yesterday. More and more I am able to see things the way they are not through the lenses of my past experiences . But, it is a work in progress. I am completely not there yet. Constantly evolving through the process. But, it's been a beautiful journey so far... My lower back is still healing and there are challenges that come my way every day. Despite all that, I am able to maintain a certain level of inner balance and joy. Most importantly, I feel like I am still in my 20s in terms of my energy level and the aliveness in my system. I am grateful for having reached this far🙏🏽 Hope you’ve invested some amount of time towards enhancing your health and well-being - may be 10% more now than before the lock-down? Every one of us is capable of doing this! “Yoga is a mechanism and a technology to get you to that state of experience where you see reality just the way it is” ~Sadhguru . Thank you for taking time to read my story. Please feel free to leave a comment if you've felt inspired by it! Love, Bavani #Bhutashuddhi #Angamardana #Suryakriya #Yoganamaskar #ShambhaviMahaMudra #Shoonya #ShaktiChalanaKriya #Samyama #Meditation #SadhguruInChallengingTimes #ClassicalYoga #ClassicalHathaYoga