When I first stepped on the yoga mat five years ago, I had no idea I was embarking on the greatest adventure of my life. Yoga did not only take me around the world, it also took me on a more important journey – the one within. That is also where I found the answers to these four important questions:
How do you feel?
If you asked me this question five years ago, my answer would most probably be: “I don’t know.” Before I started my yoga practice, I had no idea what was going on in my body or mind. I wasn’t aware of my emotions and of the reasons behind my actions. I didn’t know how to listen to what my body was telling me. By simply being aware of sensations during the asana practice, and then slowly expanding this awareness into my everyday life, things gradually changed. Being able to recognize my sensations, feelings or fears, also gives me the ability to act upon them. For example, if I am having trouble keeping a job or a relationship, and I recognize that the reason for this is my fear of commitment, I will know what I have to work on in order to resolve the problem.
Who are you?
We usually answer this question with our name. But we are not our name, our profession or nationality. We are not the image we create about ourselves. Who are we really? I used to think I knew exactly who I was. With the help of yoga I realized I didn’t know myself at all. Through the practice of awareness, I got to know myself better and discovered some pretty amazing things. For example, I always thought the worst people in the world were hypocrites. Until I realized I was one. All my life I have been saying how much I loved animals, but on the other hand I was eating them and supporting their killing and torture. This also made me realize how many things in life we do without even thinking. We go elephant riding without even considering that elephants may not enjoy the ride. They are wild animals that have to go through a very cruel taming for people to ride them. If we stopped for a moment and really thought about our actions, I’m sure some of them would look pretty absurd to us. Which brings me to the next question.
What do you want?
A degree, a job, a house, a car, children? Is that really what YOU want? When I started asking myself those questions, things got very interesting. I realized I was living a dream – it just wasn’t my dream. I was doing everything that was expected from me, and I never bothered to think if this was really something I wanted. If someone told me 5 years ago I was going to become a yoga teacher, I would probably tell them they were crazy! And yet, here I am, knowing that this is really MY dream.
Where are you going?
Even if yoga has taught me to live in the present moment, it also showed me the importance of having a direction. It gives me motivation and prevents stagnation. Too much planning means living in the future, but having certain goals keeps us moving forward and growing. After all, yoga is a journey. And not just any journey, it is THE journey. Like the traveler explores different places around the globe, the yoga practitioner explores their inner world. It is a great adventure that is different for everyone. That is what makes it so special, it is your own journey that no one else can take. So embark on Y.O.G.A., embark on Your Own Great Adventure.