From pain to perfection: a journey in yoga
Kamala Venkat narrates her story of how she passionately took to yoga and her joy and conviction of being on the right path
I was sitting on the floor with my father and was not able to sit continuously for even 10 minutes due to a pain in my back and legs. But my 60-year-old father was sitting in the same place for more than an hour. And, at that time, I was only 22! I was wondering how my father could manage it, and in that moment, I became aware that I needed to make some changes in my life.
I was introduced to yoga only by watching television and reading some books. When I began to practise it, I had no idea that I would end up here. I loved the flowing sequences and the deep stretches as well as the combination of both gentle movement and energetic vinyasas (seamless flow of postures). I liked how, after a yoga session, I felt both energised and relaxed. I started to find that yoga allowed me to connect to my body in a new way, to really listen to what was happening, and tune in to what I needed each day. I was also amazed at the remarkable impact it had on my fitness levels and strength.
At that time, I was just pursuing it as a hobby, but soon, with a growing interest in yoga and the aid of instructional videos, I became more proficient in it. After five or six years of practising, I had to give it a break as I was pregnant. After a two-year break, I resumed my yoga journey with an instructor, an amazing woman who passed on her wisdom through movement and words. I rediscovered my DVD and began to practise again. Once more, I was reminded of how wonderful these postures made my body feel. And this time, I also began to experience some of the mental benefits. I found that during my practice, I could find some relative peace and also escape from the constant worries and pressures that I felt at that time as a new mother. Years later, it immersed me into a new community that offered friendship and support. It introduced me to a healthier way of living and led me to undertake a yoga teacher training course. Over the past three months, I’ve learned more about yoga than I thought possible, but, perhaps, more importantly, I’ve learned so much about life.
During our yoga class, my friends would tell me that I always practice with hosh (consciousness) and not with josh (vigour). Yes, generally, when I start any difficult pose, I do it slowly and consciously without any hurry. Because only then can we do the practice without a break, or if we overdo it, the next day we could feel the pain or strain and may have to discontinue.
I believe that how much you can practise is less important than continuous practice, which will lead to perfection, and the right things shall unfold at the right time. It is a simple but deep and meaningful statement. Don’t give yourself too much pressure. Don’t take things too seriously. Learn to accept challenges playfully. Balancing between persistence and letting go will go a long way in every aspect of your life. You will feel the joy when you can achieve your goals naturally without any force.
Yoga is the union of body, mind, and soul. My practice has been transformed from a physical exercise to a practice of awareness of my feelings and emotions. I have changed my approach by focussing on feeling every part of my body and my breath. Though I have been practising for more than twenty years, I feel the seed of joy has just sprouted inside me, and that I still have a long way to go. I am sure I am treading a joyful path, unaffected by external circumstances.
Try stepping onto the mat confidently with determination and create a passion for the practice that keeps you moving towards your goals. In today’s world, with so much unrest in the wake of COVID-19, everyone needs to practise yoga to maintain peace, stability, and healthy living.
Mrs. Kamala Venkat is a home maker with a great passion for yoga. Inspired by Shri Swami Ramdev of Patanjali, she has been practising it with complete dedication for the last 20 years.
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