“How yoga changed your life?”
This was the answer when Yalla Yoga asked their students to take a photograph in the streets of the most yoga pose they can relate to, and explain how yoga influences their lives.
Sandra Shama Kaur
I only felt free when I was high on drugs and alcohol and I was obsessed with my figure. My perception of everything was so flawed to that extent that I even thought I was in love. Yoga helped me realize my true self and my true potential. It changed my life style. I left unhealthy relationships and habitual energies behind. I’ve been alcohol and drug free for five years and vegetarian for five years. We can truly serve the world with this unlimited energy residing in every one of us. Yoga truly changed my life. It’s like magic.
I was born with a S shaped spine. This applies pressure on the vertebras, which causes me a lot of physical pain. Doctors recommended stretching everyday, so I took their advice a notch further and signed up for yoga. Today I experience much less back pain, which allows me to practice the usual day-to-day activities in life. I practice yoga three days a week, this alone brings me so much serenity and calmness while living in chaotic Cairo.
Suddenly I had no support. There was no one I could depend on. It was hard for me to breathe. Every second was shocking me. But I pushed myself on the mat, and I felt most alive while practicing. After every class I felt like I was vibrating all this positive energy. The physical struggles I experience on the mat strengthen my heart and prepare me to face conflicts in life. Today I’m aware, balanced, present, relaxed and strong.
I was a much angrier person before yoga and I often lost myself in the chaos of day to day living. Yoga taught me how to breathe! You don’t realize you’ve been breathing wrong all your life until you try yogic breathing. My practice gives me humility. It teaches me to talk less and to rid myself of the desire to be heard. It also teaches me how to focus better and how to give proper perspective to things. This posture; halasana, is calming. It gives me that balance I need when life’s chaos tries to take over again. At first, I could barely get my legs up straight but, one day, my feet just found their way to the floor behind my head on their own. That was a happy day.
I neglected my body for five years. Constantly injecting myself with toxins in the form of junk food, nicotine, caffeine, you name it. I was also a workaholic; never gave my mind a days rest. Then I started yoga and gave it time…all of my negative habits shifted to self-love and acceptance. I let go of the extra weight I carried emotionally and physically. Yoga simply helped me find the real me.
Yoga sparks my inner light and happiness. I feel this cloud of calmness all around me after my practice. It’s all in breathing deeply. You open your chest softly on the inhale and release all of the tension residing in you through the exhale. The breath carries me through life everyday.
Yoga helped me understand the bigger picture. What you do on the mat is a direct reflection of your life off the mat. When I switched my thoughts from “I cant” to “I can and I will” my practice shifts. I’ve learned to mindfully carry this perspective off the mat. Yoga gives me strength and confidence in my daily life.
Mariam Azmi Mariam
I never focused on enjoying my journey, rather focused on the end result. This made me run and put off dealing with my emotions. I believe my physical illness was built from emotional blockage. Yoga opened my heart and revealed my true self. I no longer run.
Years have passed where I would rather forget than forgive. I wasn’t thinking of the past but it haunted and destroyed me vigorously. Learning to breath through difficult postures helped me through difficult times.Through meditation, visualization and breathing techniques I connected to my body. Being physically flexible led me to mental flexibility. In order to find inner peace you have to truly forgive everyone and everything.
Mamdouh El Safty
I’ve carried the basis of yoga into my daily life since I first started practicing in the late 90’s in Egypt. Conscious deep breathing and mindful walking meditations have helped me solidify my concentration. Yoga effortlessly helped me shift my perspective in seeing things as they truly are.
I had a fixed perception of who I was, and viewed myself as an emotionally strong and grounded person until I saw this false perception break during a yoga class. Realizing how I was deeply wounded with shields manifesting in constant anger and resentment changed everything. I felt vibrations strong enough to start breaking inside, and I realized the power this subtle force held. All of this awareness helped me heal and I felt my body clean itself from the heaviness, giving my mind room to breathe. That’s when I regarded yoga as a journey, not an exercise.
I’m a business consultant. Well, I used to be until my illness took away my ability to sit or stand in one pose for more than a few minutes. I have an auto-immune disease which gradually lessens the basic mobility function of the spine, eventually leaving the patient in a wheel chair. It’s painful for me to cook, write, or even style my hair. I struggle not to see myself as a less able person compared to the “normal” people around me. Yoga is the only thing that reminds me I still can do something; it supports me in overcoming every obstacle in my life by through challenging me to bend, twist, hold, sweat & above all breathe.
Sometimes a muscle hurts or the body aches, but you don’t stop or quit when it hurts. You only stop when you finish the practice. You learn to give into the struggle and maintain perseverance while holding a pose. And just when you think you’ve got it right, you realize there’s no mastery in yoga. Ego tells us to be perfect, to never fail, but yoga takes you outside that box. You’ll always find people who are better and you’ll keep improving. That’s such an indispensable life skill and a life changing experience for me.
Post your photo now mentioning Yalla Yoga and CairoGyms and the most inspiring photo will win a free week from YallaYoga #HowYogaChangedYourLife