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March 2015

Yoga is for everyone

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Life is series of ups and downs. I am not telling you anything new here – We all go through hard times at some points in our lives: Is there anyone excited about the idea of going into a tough time tomorrow? I assume no one is equipped to cope with this: Are we ready to face the death of someone we love, are we ready to deal with a sudden relationship break-up? Are we ready to face a job or a financial loss? The answer is NO.

Ladies & Gents, I have acquired a new string on my bow that helped me to go through bad times and it can be beneficial to everyone despite life situations, physical condition, body shape and flexibility. This new string is called YOGA.

In 2008

I came cross yoga for the first time on a ride share form Toronto to Montreal. I stroke up a conversation with the girl sitting next to me and we shared our travel experiences; she has spent a year traveling throughout India and has told me about various life experiences, lovely encounters, locals hospitality and most importantly; how she discovered yoga and the positive impact it had on her life downturns. I initially had the perception that yoga was for Hindi people, part of their religion. Since I am an open and curious person, I initially bought a mat and a yoga DVD and began practicing it on weekends; and then at some points joined a yoga studio. In the beginning, I was feeling my body: Oh I have a lower back now, legs, and hips. I realized I barely could stand on one foot (where was my stability?). First, it triggered a body awareness combined with some physical pain. However, something happened after 8-10 weeks, I started noticing slight changes such as feeling various physical benefits as if I had a message: I’d feel relaxed, all the daily tensions would have dissipated after the practice; I have acquired serenity as the postures calmed down the parasympathetic system: the nervous central system.

Late 2011

I met my life partner and she happened to be a yoga instructor so I could not ask for more. Slowly, I discovered a more profound physical practice. First, she helped me rebuild my anchoring (from the feet up). I slowly augmented the number of practices to twice a week and then my practice took a spiritual shift: practicing yoga as a genuine discipline 4-5 times a week to invigorate my body and generate more energy to take care of daily duties and chores. Around the same time, my boss confessed to me: “Amine! I am very glad to have you part of my team because you bring such calmness in the team and myself”. In introspection, I realized such calmness came from my yoga discipline and science is catching up today with all it’s benefits on the brain and the body (just google yoga benefits and you will see thousands of studies out there).

Mid 2013

I was let go at my job and was devastated at first. Fortunately, my yoga practice was there to lend me a hand transcending this situation to get back on my feet (if I did not have this genuine discipline, I might have gone down the drain). Yoga contributed to establish an unshakable foundation; the more I attend to my practice, the less the mind gets busy. In addition to this, yoga postures have promoted efficient functioning of my internal organs. For example, when I do passive torsions, it creates more space around the organs, which invigorates the entire region. Beyond the physical practice yoga has become a spiritual practice as it helps me go through my days; bad time & good time.

In sum, yoga brings equanimity in our lives. Yoga helps us take care of ourselves so we can take care of loved ones and duties. Yoga is a genuine discipline despite our body shape, flexibility, culture and/or religion. Most importantly, it doesn’t take much. We can all start today! Yoga is for everyone.