Yoga has many different benefits and it can also be described in many different ways. However, one thing always returns: yoga changes your perspective.
Yoga has a great influence on how we perceive our body, what we believe we can do with it and how we look at things. We often think we are not flexible enough, or we can’t do something that requires silence / sitting still. It is these ideas and perspectives that are on the surface that we can work on immediately.
When we go to a class we realise that our bodies are stiff in one part and more flexible in others. We learn that many poses have to do with strength or a combination of the two. You learn how to play with your body, with the perspectives and beliefs about ourselves.
If we go more in-depth into our practice it opens a whole new world. Towards who we are, but also towards the outside world. We get different ideas on how to feed ourselves, we get different feelings about the nature and animals around us, and we learn to deal with daily struggles in a different way. And above all we learn to literally see things from a different perspective: through inverted poses.
Seeing the world upside down helps to see things differently, see people differently, the room you’re in from a different view point. But also putting the pressure on your head instead of your feet will create a completely different perspective on what you carry around on your feet every day. And if you are able to find your balance and be stable, you can find a peace, which is different, then any kind you can experience.
What this meant to me is that I changed my food habits completely. I tested which foods were not beneficial to my body and tried to cut them out as much as possible. I also learned more about how I perceived the outside world. A good example is traffic, either being on my bike in a busy street in Amsterdam or being in my car in traffic in São Paulo. The moment I realized I personally cannot change the traffic, I realized it was me that could make different choices: go into the busy street and face the traffic as calm as I could or I could try to avoid it by going at different hours or with different routes.
Also the perspective of who I am on this planet and why I am here have changed completely. The world I grew up in has a very strict determined path for young people, at least, that’s my perspective. It took me a while to realize that it is an idea that lives in my mind. Once I was able to let it go, I was able to come closer to who I am.
Simple things you can do in your daily live that can help you see things from a different perspective:
- Switch your fork and knife when you eat.
- Brush your teeth with your other hand.
- Take a different route home (on your bike, in the car, in the train).
- When taking the same route, look out for something you have not seen before.
- Practice yoga (or any sport) in a different spot then you normally do.
- Start a conversation about something that is bothering you (or something you’re stuck in) with somebody you do not know, or normally do not talk to about these subjects. They might have new and interesting insights.
- Try to stand on your head (if you have never done this, please only do it with a certified teacher!) and see the world upside down.
- For one day only give compliments to every one who crosses your path.
- Smile to everyone you pass by in the street.
- Download the app Cucalu. It will help you look differently to your environment
- Don’t eat meat for a whole week (or any other thing that you can skip from your diet)
- Write down 10 positive thoughts about your day – every night, for at least 7 days.
Try at least one action from this list and see if that changes anything and if so, what has changed, what did you discover. If nothing changed, pick another one and take the challenge again. Get out of your comfort zone, because that is the only place where we get to learn more about who we truly are.