By Dr. Anjali Joshi, Nagpur
It is said that “Faith plus action equals transformation.”Through this article, I share my yoga experience, how it helped me to transform my persona and how it changed my perception toward
In the photograph, my pictures before and many years after yoga practice are seen. The transformation is not just limited to outward appearance or dressing sense, but about the attitude, self esteem, confidence and the personality I developed through yoga practice.
From a shy introvert, anxious girl with low self esteem and inferiority complex to a confident, efficient and proud achiever with many credentials to her credit…!!It’s been an incredible journey. I believe that, each one of us has the potential to blossom, we don’t realize it so it goes unutilized. I now inspire and motivate others to achieve it with yoga. My message to all the youngsters is that, “If I can do it, you too can do it!”
How I Began My Yoga Journey?
While going through a challenging phase of my life, I was looking for something to reduce my stress. That’s how I started my yoga journey in 1999 at the age of 29. Although I am a dentist, I developed a keen interest in yoga and I acquired educational qualifications in yoga and this gave me a lot of insights and changed my perceptions about life.
How Yoga Helped Me Accomplish This Transformation?
- The Physical Level: Yoga helped me be fit, develop work capacity, endurance and stamina. My body became proportionate, the weight became optimum, my skin gradually improved and I started looking younger than my age. It helped me to deal with the biological and physiological changes in the body every woman goes through. Practicing yogasana and pranayama daily makes me feel energetic and enthusiastic towards my work.
- The Mental Level: Pranayama, Om chanting and Meditation helped me in gaining self-awareness, and in developing the self-regulation. It helped to regulate my emotions, thought patterns, habit patterns, values, and drives too. It has helped me accept myself as I am and this improved my self esteem and confidence. I learned how to age gracefully.Mindfulness meditation taught me to live in the present moment, stop worrying about the future or regret over the past.
As mentioned in Patanjal Yoga Sutra, my yoga practice helps me to transform chitta vikshepa to chitta prasadana.
Coping with Day to Day Stress: Yoga helps me cope with day to day stress, anxiety and depression. Deep abdominal breathing with breath awareness and mindfulness helps me to relax when I feel frustrated, angry or upset.
- Coping with Major Life Events: Major life events such as the death of a near and dear one, life threatening illness affecting them, being a caregiver for a terminally ill family member had tremendous impact on me. Surrender to God (ishvarpranidhana), support of family members and my Yoga practice helped me to overcome the major challenges in my life.
- The Emotional Level: Yoga helps me to achieve a sense of emotional balance in the midst of the chaos of life and challenging situations. Bhagvat Gita mentions “Samatvam yog uchyate” It’s about striking the right balance and harmony of emotions, mind and body.
- Interpersonal relations: I have learned to let go, not to hold grudges and forgive others. I also developed the feelings of empathy, compassion and love for all. I am learning to deal with difficult people and accept them as they are.
- “Why me” to “Try me”: I often used to think “Why this happened to me?” Yoga helped me to change this perception to “Try me.” I accept the reality and believe that god has chosen me for the difficult role and I become stronger through such situations.
- The Intellectual Level: Yoga practice developed my imagination, creativity, grasping, memory, concentration and will power. This has helped me to sharpen my intellectual skills, focus and work efficiency. Meditation before doing important intellectual work gives me insights and helps to improve my creativity. As a result, I received many awards and honours as a token of appreciation for my work.
- The Spiritual Level: Spirituality fascinates me. At some point in our life, we seek answers to questions like who I really am, from where did I come and where will I go, what is the purpose of my life. Reading about yoga philosophy gives me insights in finding these answers.
What is Yoga for Me?
According to me, Yoga is not an escape from the reality, or leaving the world and going for tapasya in Himalayas. It is to accept the realities of life gracefully, cope with them and learn to face the challenges effectively. I strongly believe that, “Whatever you do in life, yoga shows you how to do it better.”
My Connection with Yoga:
As far as possible, I never skip my “on the mat”yoga practice of yogasana, pranayama, meditation, mudra and relaxation. However, I have realized that yoga is not limited to on the mat practice” but its yogic living 24*7. Whenever possible, I practice mindfulness, breath awareness, micro-meditation “on the go”. I try to apply the insights gained through yoga in everyday life. I understand that “Yoga is not to be performed, it is to be lived”. In other words, yoga is not about “doing,” it’s about “being.”
Discipline, dedication and direction is a ‘3 D’ approach towards achieving a goal. Yoga gave me the direction. With my disciplined lifestyle and dedication I was successful in my transformation.
It is said that “Yoga is training the body like a dancer, training mind like a scientist and training the soul like a poet..! and that is just the beginning!!” After 20 years of dedicated yoga practice, I now feel that what I know is just a few drops in the infinite ocean of this sacred knowledge. There is so much to explore, gain wisdom to enrich my own yoga practice and contribute my bit to the society. The journey continues….
Note: This Article is from “Article Writing Contest on Yog, An online event organized by Shriram Yog Society, kunda pbh, UP, and rishikesh, UK, INDIA”