By Dipabali ILR'14
Yoga, in literal definition means union. Coming from an Indian background, I’ve seen many of my family members seek the benefits of this ancient discipline. Various Hindu texts and religious figures depict yoga as a practice that leads to a higher state of being. Though I’ve had exposure to yoga, I never had time to practice it. Therefore, I made it my goal to attend every yoga session in India and see what this magic was all about.
On the first day of yoga, I woke up at the crack of dawn, as the sun was just about to bloom to prepare for the first day of what would
begin my spiritual journey. I’ve always known yoga as a form of Indian exercise. However, today, I learned that this practice goes beyond just healing the body. Practicing yoga harmonizes the mind, the body and the soul. It is a practice that helps you take control over your body and delve deeper within yourself. Every yoga session is commenced by humming “Om.” “Om” means peace. By starting the class with this humming, we are preparing to rid our bodies of negative energy and polluted thoughts. It helps to assure that the body is at ease. As I sat there and hummed “Om”, I found it difficult to concentrate. My mind was filled with countless thoughts and I could not focus. This just made evident that the life we live in America is one dominated by stress. There is never a moment where I’m not thinking about what I have to do next.
Yoga made me realize how simple it is to become relaxed. Deep breaths and concentration can help loosen nerves and alleviate tensions. At school we are overwhelmed with an immense amount of responsibilities and work that we forget to take care of the most important aspect of life- our body. We become less aware and more lethargic. Yoga is an art that heals this detachment from reality. The first session, though challenging taught me a lot. I learned that I have a lot to work on, in terms of learning how to focus and building perseverance. Many yogis can hold yoga postures for hours while many of us are shaking after 30 seconds. I look forward to this amazing opportunity and hope that by the end of this journey I have a deeper understanding of myself and my body.