Yoga: Tapping into your power within
The practice of yoga is widely perceived to be a physical practice involving contorting the human body into a variety of bendy poses. A wandering yoga instructor, Teresa Richard, relied heavily on her yoga practice
The practice of yoga is widely perceived to be a physical practice involving contorting the human body into a variety of bendy poses. A wandering yoga instructor, Teresa Richard, relied heavily on her yoga practice to get through the wins and stumbles in her life. Here are her words:
How do you cope with life’s day-to-day challenges and unexpected events? Have you every had to deal with the overwhelming feeling of anxiety, fear and overwhelmed with worry? We all have to find our own way to cope. I did. I turned life’s ups and downs into an exciting adventure and an inspiring game. It was not always this way. I guess it was partly a matter of luck that I stand where I am today.
When life challenges brought stress, confusion and uncertainty, we humans are wired to find ‘solutions’ and the more I tried to do things “right” according to others, the more I was breaking on the inside. I could sense the inadequacy. Something was not fitting. The approach of healthy living has our society separating our minds from our physical health and well-being — denying our body’s wisdom and neglecting our emotional desires. I believe that separation has created an unbalance that is deeply affecting many of us. The idea of yoga is not to overshadow your physical practice over mental ones or vice versa but more a union of them both (physical and mental) to work in harmony together.
“Yoga is a handbook to how we live our life.” – Teresa Richard
Using my yoga practice, I listened to what my body was trying to tell me. It is through yoga that I began to address my stressed mind, exhausted body and confused emotions. Of course I didn’t know that when I started practicing, but it felt good and right from day one. Soon, the changes were evident in my body, in my mood and my reactions. Everything changed. I became an “empowered” version of myself. The word yoga means union brings about the attention and intention, having awareness in whatever we do. Awareness of the body along with the mind, and all the sensations and emotions that comes with it.
Far beyond physical, getting back to the basics of yoga, it is to harness the power of your mind. This is the important point that i want to share: do not be blinded by only the physical practice and lose your own ability to listen to your own body. The body is far smarter than we give credit and if we could listen and use more somatic approach alongside the yoga practice, it is the most ideal combination on how we tackle all areas of being. Here I am sharing how I navigated my way to find what works for me on my healing and life journey. These are a few things i learned through my yoga practice and i take it off the mat into my daily life.
Expand your mind
We are trained to focus, which is necessary sometimes, but focusing all the time narrows our perspective. Enlarge the frame and what you were seeing as a problem may suddenly become “a blessing in disguise”. The wider the angle, the more the possibilities.
Acknowledge your body wisdom
When something “feels” wrong it might be wrong for you or you might be not ready for it. The body can be a trustworthy inner compass if we learn to listen and decode the messages it’s constantly sending to us. Keep in mind that we process everything through it (what we eat and breathe). We embody tendencies (call them genetics or karma), memories (emotions) and psychological distress. If we can retain all that in our bodies, it also means that we can release them as well. Learning to do that is an intuitive process in which Yoga can be the key.
Be curious, creative and playful
Be a good child, but a child. Instead of instantly reacting under a new circumstance, inquire kindly: Can I do something about it? If yes, what? And even if I can, should I? And, do I want to? Many frustrations are born of doing “what we have to” when actually we don’t. When you allow yourself to be creative and playful about how to deal with daily life situations, you might be surprised by hilarious ideas that you might not finally use but will surely help to remove unnecessary drama and make whatever burden more bearable. Play, laugh and be kind; that means giving, to yourself and to others. However, never do it forcefully: “Emotional relaxation” is as important as physical relaxation. It requires you to be honest to yourself.
Love is the answer; experience it
Feel it and practice it. Love yourself in order to love others. Be compassionate to other’s suffering and acknowledge your own. Attention is love in action, so be aware and take care of the intention you put in your deeds. Accept that you cannot control their outcome.
Remember that every step counts
It takes time to alter whatever habit that may be negatively affecting you. Carry on with patience and let go of expectations. If you catch yourself in an old pattern, don’t judge and get upset with yourself. Instead, be happy and thankful that you noticed. In this way, you make every little step of the journey count towards your goal.
All this tips continue to help me find harmony and peace of mind on a daily basis. In words of the Vedanta Sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj “Nothing is necessary, nothing is inevitable. Habit and passion blind and mislead. Compassionate awareness heals and redeems. There is nothing we can do; we can only let things happen according to their nature.” At the moment, I especially encourage balancing the excess of thinking, action, reaction and rush in our lives with more passive and intuitive methods such as some breathing techniques, relaxation, Yin Yoga, Yoga Nidra and meditation.
“Power has been always inside us but we managed to lose awareness of it. Listen with your body, acknowledge with your mind and accept with your heart. Release and reconnect to reclaim that power.” – Teresa Richard
Join Teresa Richard on 11th June in Singapore for a one-day training at Yoga in Sync (Singapore) on “Guiding Yoga Nidra: The Essentials”, hosted by Outta Hatha Yoga. This program, combining both theory and practice, is designed for yoga teachers, practitioners, healers, and therapists. It will equip you with all the basics in order to both practise and confidently guide effective Yoga Nidra sessions. Yoga Nidra (a healing “yogic sleep”) is a yogic relaxation therapy that is effectively used in the management of many health disorders including cancer, asthma and high blood pressure. It is also a powerful tool to help people cope with psychological issues including anxiety and depression. The practice of yoga nidra is deeply healing for the body and mind. Register here.