I first got to experience the mind-body connection when I began to have bloating, stomach cramps and sharp pains in the kidney area due to high levels of stress. (It also happened to be the reason why the doctor told me to ‘chill out’ and ‘start doing yoga’. Thanks, man.)
The second most acute time that I got to experience it was just a few weeks ago, during YTT.
On a Friday evening, I had met someone from my professional network and the hours’ long conversation left me with more questions than answers. Questions such as ‘am I not good enough?’ and ‘why wasn’t I accepted?’ and ‘why did that happen to me?’ These were questions that remained on my mind even till the next day, which happened to be a YTT day.
That day, I came into the studio with a huge fog over myself. I was physically there but not actually present. I wasn’t very communicative. And I remember how during Pranayama, I kept thinking of the earlier night’s conversation. The fog was too heavy for me to even attempt to push away from my mind.
As we got into our physical practice for the day, I couldn’t do any of the new poses – and many of the ones we had already been learning. One of them was astavakrasana. Everyone seemed to be getting it but I couldn’t, no matter how much I tried. When it was finally time for savasana (aka my favourite pose!), I lay down with my eyes wide open and only began to shut them to stop my tears from spilling out. I was miserable.
The next morning, my alarm rang at 6am and the first thought I had was ‘I am going to have a fun day at YTT today’. And I did. I still couldn’t do a number of the poses but I laughed it off. Easy and breezy. Strangely, I decided to attempt astavakrasana again and I did it! I was in shock but also deliriously happy. I wasn’t much stronger compared to the day before. In fact, I was more sore and more tired. But the biggest difference was in my mind. I refused to let that fog overpower me. I refused to let myself have anything less than fun. I kept my mind light and somehow, my body also became light enough for me to take on that pose.
Since then, I make it a point to check in with my mental being before my practice because I know how much of an impact it can have on my physical being. The mind-body connection is so powerful. Since yoga is all about staying in the present, it’s even more important to clear the mind because I’m learning and experiencing how yoga is as much a mental practice as it is a physical one.
RYT200 Aug’20 Weekend