04 Mar “A journey to be my most authentic self”
Written by Sofia Poggi
Yoga has taught me to listen to my body and given me the desire to work with it, rather than against it. I never had much of an awareness of how my body was feeling or what it was trying to tell me. I didn’t notice how stress manifested in my body or the amount of tension I held in my shoulders.
We are often told in class to feel our way into a pose or to observe the physical sensations that arise, which has given me an awareness of myself I did not previously have. The connection I feel to my body has improved in a way I never thought possible, which has only fueled my desire to treat myself in a loving and healthy way.
Yoga teaches us to be true to ourselves, where we strive to be a true expression of our inner nature on our mats. By practising authenticity (which is a huge underpinning of yoga practice), we learn to listen to our body and honour what it is asking of us in the moment. It is a practice that teaches us to tune in and then respond accordingly, regardless of what others are doing. On my journey to be my most authentic self, yoga has given me the strength to not only embrace who I really am on the mat but has also given me the confidence and freedom to be that person off my mat as well.
We are frequently reminded in class that yoga is a personal practice: encouraged to turn to child’s pose for rest when we need to, to modify poses in any way we feel, or even pause to mentally send ourselves some love and attention halfway through a vinyasa class. It is ultimately a class on compassion where you learn to accept the ‘shortcomings’ of yourself and those around you and to allow whatever is surfacing within yourself to be. Once this becomes a habit, it can have profound changes in your day-to-day life. I’ve found, after acting more compassionately in my own practice, my desire to treat others the same way has increased dramatically, as well as the amount of love I feel within myself.
Connected me to my inner child
Whether it’s sitting in child’s pose or happy baby, there’s something about yoga that is childish. It is almost like a game between the mind and body to increase and test your limits. It allows your childhood self to step forward and help you break free from the limits you’ve created in your adult mind, both in your practice and in your daily life as well as adding a little bit of fun and carefree nature into your life as well.
Yoga is a platform to explore your behaviours, actions, feelings and thoughts, and how they are serving you or affecting others. By observing the mental patterns that arise on the mat, it is often synonymous with what comes up off of the mat in your life. Some of the poses can be challenging, you may lose balance and fall, or simply not want to make a fool of yourself. Part of practising yoga is recognising those fears holding you back and letting go of them to enable yourself to grow and move forward. Not only does this deepen your trust within yourself, but it is an amazing tool to improve the quality of your thoughts and life.