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How yoga changed my life?

by Arundhati Baitmangalkar

People often ask me about my yoga journey and how I started. Here is my yoga story and how it has changed me over the last couple of years.

A lot of people assume I have practiced yoga my whole life. This is untrue. It will be three years this August. Before then, I had not even considered yoga or bothered to think about it. I woke up one morning and decided to study yoga. Yes! that’s how it started. I had always wanted to study a physical discipline. I explored many practices: aerobics, pilates, personal training among others. None of them seemed to fit right. My first ever yoga class was on day 1 of my teacher training. I’d never been to a yoga class before that! But on that day I knew I had found what I had been looking for all along.

Yoga started as a blind journey. Having no expectations whatsoever helped. In the asana part, I did well because of my dancing background. Theoretically, I understood most parts though I did have some difficulty understanding the basic concepts of yoga philosophy. I was a very sincere student  — I’d go home and study what we learned each day. And I began to read yoga philosophy to understand the subject better. I don’t remember ever working so hard and passionately at something. I excelled in my training and the teaching part of yoga came easily to me. I simultaneously started practicing different styles of yoga — every part of me was wanting to learn as much as I could.

What did yoga do to me? Well soooooo much. It’s almost hard to put it down in words but I will try. On the more obvious level it made me physically stronger and healthier than ever before. I had no idea how good my body could feel. Having full control and awareness of your whole body makes you feel great. But what I didn’t know was how yoga affects your mentally. It instantly made me calmer mentally. The clutter of constant unnecessary thoughts became lesser the more I practiced. I felt less strain on my senses and it was easier to deal with day to day annoyances that typically bothered me: traffic, pollution, the loud noises of my city.

My eating habits improved considerably. I was someone who craved eating outside a lot and this wanting decreased. I became more patient, less angry. More happy. More content. More positive. More tolerant. Less needy. More loving. More sincere. More hard working. Clearer of thought. Less materialistic. More tolerant. In general, I became more me and less of everything else around me. And I learned that the breath and living in the present moment is where everything exists.  I’m grateful everyday for where yoga has brought me and hold it as the most important part of my life. Thank you for being a part of my journey!

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