When I joined the Yoga Teacher Training program in 2018, I was filled with self-doubts. “Will I be able to teach another person all the yoga postures and help them with their physical fitness?” – This one topped the list.
It was a time when I was discovering my body and I made a list like this – the “can do easily postures” and “hmm…not now…cannot stretch beyond this postures”. I had a task at hand to work on the second set of postures. And this list did not even include the inverted asanas.
During that time, I also had a family responsibility – to take care of my mother-in-law (amma). She needed some help and along with the household work, I had a tight schedule. By the time I could find some free time to practice asanas, I used to feel exhausted to practice. Sometimes the free time was after mealtime. And it didn’t work great for my practice.
The teacher who handled the asana practice session for us was very good and nudged us in gentle ways to do better than before. One day I told her about the situation at home and how I was unable to practice daily. She just me gave this answer – “Every day you practice is like a spider climbing and building a web. You gain flexibility and strength. But if you let go of the practice, it is like the spider falling from its web. It has to be rebuilt again. You need to start from scratch.”
And I used to feel bad for all the days I couldn’t practice because of all the work at home. Taking care of an elder person needs continuous presence and the willingness to be present with them.
While I was going through all these thought processes, we were learning Yogasutra parallelly. And I am thankful for all the lessons learned from Yogasutra and all the credit goes to my Sir who had a knack for teaching and also to making us think. As he says “The idea is to plant a seed”!
Yoga is placing oneself in a new position (in life) / new physical posture (asana). It is like we are embarking on a journey to understand life or our body better.
In Yogasutra, the first lesson was of course the meaning of yoga. And understanding the meaning changed my perception of what I was thinking about the asana practice which I was missing. At that point in my life, I decided that my yoga was to take good care of amma, to be with her when she needed me, to be present for her. The moment I formed this sentence in my mind, it was like some weight was lifted off my shoulders. So, even though I practiced only twice a week or so, I didn’t feel bad. The spider story didn’t scare me. I was doing the best I can in that situation and I was happy with that.
It was like prioritizing what was important at that moment of my life. Once it became clear, the body and mind worked in sync to be there for amma. All through the pandemic, without any help from nurses, I was able to manage the care given to her with the help of my daughters.
After amma’s passing away, the definition of yoga changed in my life. I was able to prioritize my practice sessions and there was a remarkable change and improvement in the way I held the postures and also in the way I was approaching life.
The sincere effort to the practice of ashtanga yoga helped in lots of healing inside me and I am grateful for that moment I was guided to this path.
To be continued…