Has Yoga Changed Your Life ?
A journalist asked me recently so « how has yoga changed your life ? »
OMG I mean where do you start ?
From spotty overweight teenager to busy career girls in London riddles with anorexic & binge drinking tendancies to yoga teacher mum of two organiser of festivals & yoga classes on and offline living in France.
Yep on the face of it everything has changed !
Ok so lets start with the Ayurvedic principles of Doshas & Prakritis – well why not ! Fundamentally we are hot-wired to be the person and character that we are. We have a blue print we cannot change – we are born with it. A unique pattern of Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth). It is like an ayurvedic DNA which is called our Prakriti. This not only forms many of our physical characteristics but also many many of our personality traits. Any parent with two or more children will tell you that despite the fact they they « brought their children up the same » they are both incredibly different. The whole nature versus nurture debate.
So why say all of this in response the initial question ?
Because fundamentally I haven’t changed. I am the energetic whirlwind I always was full of life and fire and very little earth (although I do have a strong homing instinct and have to have a « chez moi » in place to function and be all the many and varied people I am or seem to be now a days.
However there is a definite BY & AY – Before Yoga & After Yoga.
A little like the BC & AC - Before Children & After Chlidren – because yes, lets face it this is a definite life factor for those « in the know »…. Similarly in yoga there is a before and after. Yoga is not a step or spinning class. You don’t usually go there to get fit there is usually a deeper rooted reason why you end up on a yoga mat in a studio with a teacher talking in « yoga speak » - you know the soft voice that guides you into the realms of « this is a totally fffing impossible pose but she is making it sound and look so easy I am going to give it a go for the greater good of my body and soul….. »
Chatting recently to a friend who knows all about internal battles and who like me has fought weight gain and loss over the years with good, bad & indifferent results, she said that she believed we were born with tendancies to get fat, be large, put weight on by just looking at a bar of chocolate. I am not so sure this a physical tendancy. Yes we are born with our body types and character – as per the Parkriti debate - but does that mean we are also born with tendancies to be and do things to ? If my mother had not fed me solids at the age of 5 weeks, if I hadn’t been made to finish my plate of food, if the girls at school hadn’t called me a fat cow & a loud-mouth would I have later on confort ate, been over weight ? Life throws all sorts of events at us and we can choose how we deal with them. Mine BY was a definite move towards over-eating then starving myself, partying so hard, smoking & drinking then destroying myself with guilt and self-loathing.
So AY ? Was it a magic wand when I turned up on my yoga mat and wrapped myself into pretzel-like shapes ? Did my life and my character and everything radically change about me all of a sudden ? No of course not. But it set the wheels in motion – it took time but to brought me back to where my Prakriti wanted me & needed me to be. It helped me learn to appreciate and love all the aspects of my natural character. Well nearly all !
Years of ashrams, early mornings, hours of yoga practice, meditation, plunging into parts of my brain and my body I didn’t know and sometimes didn’t want to know.
All of this « yoga » showed me my path and taught me to BE more. Simply BE. Not TRY to be.
I live my yoga daily, I love my yoga daily….. I gave up my job as a sales director in IT, I moved to France, I became a yoga teacher……
So has yoga changed my life ?
Yes radically on so many levels – not over night and not magic wand like but yes. And also no it hasn’t. I am the person I am character body and all. I have changed directions, I have changed them again. But yoga has taught that life is not a permanent painting, that we have the power to change some things – attitudes, geographics, jobs – but that we can also not change or do not need to change others just life with them and except them more.