February 2010 – Changes


Parinama is the sanskrit word for change–ironically the translation is closer to transformation than change . . . Change is the natural state of the universe as it creates, preserves, and destroys refining our lives. Usually our response to change is fear or apprehension, but you can choose to embrace change and recognize it as good–as working for the highest good for us and the universe. With transformation or change the possibilities are limitless just imagine where you can go and how much fun the change will be 🙂

However the changes I want to talk about is how yoga changed/ing your life. Last month I spoke about how this practice changes you; it changes your body, your mind, your heart, your attitudes, and even your lifestyle. So I have been asking you to email or send me some changes you have noticed in your life from the practice, and I will talk about some of those changes (I will not reveal your name). For example someone said “I used to be able to eat bad food occasionally and not feel bad, now when I eat bad food I feel it”. Well this is not bad . . . if you have a mud puddle and you throw a mud ball into it you will not notice it, if you have a crystal clear pool and you throw a mud ball into you, you see it. The yoga has cleaned out your system, so you are more sensitive to bad foods, this naturally changes your appetite to want to eat healthier foods, no struggling required 🙂

I will share some of my changes:
In my Body – I have always been fit and athletic but the yoga has totally changed my shape. Weight lifing made me “thick”, yoga has given me a leaner line. Also yoga has made me a lot more coordinated than lifting weights and running, weight lifing does not usually work the body as a whole, instead it isolates muscles and works them separately–this does not carry over to life outside the gym. Outside the gym your body and muscles have to work synergistically–together. Yoga poses promote this coordination where as weight training does not. Also with running and weight training I was developing pain in my joints, the yoga has totally taken that away. I am more fit on yoga than on an advanced workout routine.

In my MInd – less worry, more confidence. I can easily roll with the changes as I have learned to let go of my preset ideas about how things are supposed to be. It is so much fun and very surprising to just be open to what is happening even if I feel fear or apprehension about it. I have learned that my mind is not me, the weird thoughts that roll through it I can laugh at and dis-associate myself from–and I don’t need to “beat myself up” for having those thoughts as my mind is not me . . .

In my Heart – more love. family = everyone, I like working with the all is one yoga philosophy and I can feel the change in how I look at people. Although this does not come without some challenges, now my daughter not only has two older siblings to compete with . . . but all of you . . .

In my Attitudes – I have learned to sit back and enjoy the dance . . . (Lila), to not let the dance of life pull me from my center.

Other changes people have shared:

Physically, my body has changed a LOT. I use muscles even just standing and walking that I wasn’t even aware existed before! My posture has improved immensely. Also, I think my circulation has improved. My hands and feet used to always be freezing, especially after being out in cold weather, but now they warm up pretty quickly.

Yoga has also affected my mental state. I have become more conscious of my actions and tendencies, and am more able to view myself and life situations objectively. Also, I notice parallels between my mental state in my practices (laziness, fear, excitement, determination) and in my everyday life. For example, if I have the energy to do extra vinyasas between seated postures but decide not to, that is a tendency toward laziness. I can see this tendency come up in other places in my life too – for example, in my study habits. However, knowledge of this laziness gives me power to change it when I see it interfering with my life work. Practicing yoga has been a great way to cultivate the attitudes I want to experience in my everyday life.

I don’t let the stresses in life affect me as much. I stay much calmer and patient in situations like driving in traffic or when my car breaks down. There are many other stressers in life, but I feel much more at ease when dealing with them.

I actually feel good!

I stand up straighter, i have noticed rounding spine, hunched shoulders runs in my family (from my mom to my daughter) and the yoga has helped me stand up straight with ease.

You are standing in the line at the grocery store just waiting and listening to the hustle and bustle around you . . .wait did someone say trikonasana??

Since I have been practicing I have noticed I am sleeping longer and deeper and wake up feeling better rested. Also the practice has helped me with my eating habits, I don’t seem to get as hungry as often; when I first started I would be ravenous after class but as I became stronger and the practice became easier I noticed i needed less food–and the yoga has given me more energy. And when I threw out my back I was so surprised how quickly yoga put me right back–of course I practiced with TLC.

I can actually sit in a chair without feeling pain.

I have noticed the longer I practice the less competitive I have become, and I have noticed the less competitive I am the deeper I get into the poses . . .

During my surgery my yoga really helped me remain calm and relaxed.

Thought I’d share these…
Before Yoga
Hated my body and dwelled upon the things it couldn’t do.
After Yoga
Love my body and marvel at the things it can do and is capable of doing with patience and practice.
Before Yoga
Compared myself to others (better jobs, bigger houses, better behaved kids, more helpful husbands,
After Yoga
Developed drishti for not only my poses but my life. Concentrate on setting my focus on my own
goals and personal happiness.
Before Yoga
Allowed myself to get upset and emotional over things that really were out of my control.
After Yoga
Spend less energy worrying and face each challenge as it comes. I use yoga breathing to calm myself
and clear my mind before I make big decisions.
Before Yoga
Go, go, go, go…
After Yoga
Stop, reflect, relax, enjoy the moment… Breathe
Thank you for helping to bring these changes about in me!

Oh, and I thought of a change lately from yoga. So I spend a lot of my day thinking about yoga, practicing postures, talking about yoga — I could persuasively wear a t-shirt that says “yoga is my life.” But right now I’m wanting to live by an inversion of that statement, and to be able to honestly say “my life is yoga.” (especially the yamas, the lovingkindness meditation, and the enthusiasm of Ashtanga) However, I think that it might take a few more lifetimes for me!

Desikachar on Change (pg. 79 from his book “The Heart of Yoga”
There are many definitions of yoga, and I have already mentioned some of them:

  • yoga as movement from one point to another, higher one
  • yoga as the bringing together, the unifying of two things
  • yoga as action with undivided, uninterrupted attention

These definitions of yoga have one thing in common: the idea that something changes. This change must bring us to a point where we have never been before. That is to say, that which was impossible becomes possible; that which was unattainable becomes attainable; that which was invisible can be seen. One of the basic reasons many people take up yoga is to change something about themselves; to be able to think more clearly, to feel better, and to be able to act better today then they did yesterday in all ares of life. In these endeavors yoga can be of great help, and it requires no prerequisites that must be fulfilled before we set out on this path.


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