By Milda Urban, Summersalt Yoga founder
Yoga, yoga, yoga… These days you can find an array of opinions and ideas about how it benefits you, what it brings to your life and how can you incorporate into your daily habits.
I love yoga. I have started practicing a few years back and continue to this day. However, I do not subscribe to the idea that yoga has to seep into your ever cell or take over your life and your decisions. (It does helps on multiple occasions though!).
I don’t practice yoga everyday, sometimes I take breaks as long as 2-3 months before I get back on the mat. And even though I believe in many truths the yoga philosophy teaches I surely do not follow all of them blindly (hence the glass of wine and sleep-ins).
At first I thought that if I wanted to truly experience yoga’s power I had to go to class at least 4-5 times a week and get new knowledge about it regularly. And I truly enjoyed it. Hey, I’m not joking, I really like yoga – I’m running yoga retreats, man!
Up to a point when I start feeling overwhelmed and that it is getting too much. I felt guilty – how can I cut back something I found to relate so much and now – after I’ve come so far? This questioning took over me for a while.
But after some time of soul searching, I realized that I do not have to be so hard on yourself and go against my nature. It is not for everyone to deeply immerse into the philosophy and it is not a crime to enjoy different types of physical activity or “mortal pleasures” (your mind’s dirty, my friend) too. I have also realized that taking breaks helps me stay fresh, learn more and easier than forcing myself to hit the studio when my intuition suggests the opposite.
I admire my friends who are yoga teachers and to who I can turn to with questions or inspiration. But even they are real-life people, who occasionally (or often) listen to gangsta rap, question whether the skirt makes them look too round in the hip area and read celebrity news.
Chillax (yes, I’m that old), don’t judge yourself and listen to your inner voice – this way you will gain the most benefits from this wonderful yoga practice and enjoy it to the fullest.
And for those who are still not sure what yoga actually gives you, I’ve asked our lovely yoga teachers to share their thoughts on how has yoga influenced their lives. Namaste!
Before I started studying yoga and yogic philosophy, I was much more short tempered and would get caught up in the minutiae of life. With practice, I have been able to integrate the belief that all things pass and are impermanent. It helps tremendously to get me to slow down, evaluate, and not react with such impulse and carelessness, but rather mindfully and with awareness.
Because of yoga, I have more patience and tolerance in my day-to-day life. Yoga has taught me to accept things as they are, without judgment or agenda and allow the passage of time to either change me (my physical capabilities, my mental blocks, etc.) or to change my attitude and view. I am learning the art of surrender thanks to my forever evolving yoga practice and that inevitably bleeds into every aspect of my life.
When I fist started yoga I remember that phrase we hear so often ‘yoga will change your life’ and I just thought this as a rather ‘fluffy’ romantic idea, little did I know the power and enormous influence yoga and learning about yoga has made In my life and those around me. I do not believe it is necessary to change your life completely for yoga to influence you. I eat what I like, I enjoy wine, I have fun. Yoga is not about denying ourselves happiness but finding ways to balance and enrich ourselves so that we can better support those around us and learn the value of kindness to ourselves, our bodies and to others.
There are so many branches of yoga I find that different fields affect me in my day to day life and choices. I am very drawn to anatomy and physiology and therefore to the study of how the body functions and reacts to what we put in our bodies, move our bodies and the value of stillness.
My yoga journey really began in Tulum, Mexico and having lived there for 5 years taught me patience and the value of good friendships. I was lucky enough to live in a community, who supported me as I grew in confidence and experience as a yoga teacher.