Mandala Art on Yoga

9 Brilliant Lessons I Learnt By Practicing Yoga For Last 1 Year

Mandala work showing Yoga

How Practicing Yoga Can Make You Understand Life Better.

On March 25th, 2021, I and my husband will complete one year of Yoga. For us, this has been the best time to adopt Yoga. With so many things happening around us, Yoga brought in the sense of calmness, discipline and a routine in our daily lives. With more than 240 sessions behind me, I can confidently say, this was one of the best decisions we took. I have learned so many important lessons from yoga that I will try to pursue it lifelong.

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Before I move ahead, a little backstory on my fitness journey, for all those who read my blog on why I moved from Gym to Yoga (7 Reasons Why This Is the Best Time To Adopt Yoga), this may be a repetition, but for others here’s a quick recap.

I have been an ardent gym freak for the last 15 years. Though I joined the gym intending to lose weight after my first daughter was born, it soon became an obsession. My motivation to work out were many, with the biggest one being the “ Me time” I used to get for that one hour.  I was a regular except for the weekends and days when I was out on vacation.

Lady doing Yoga with backdrop of caption - learnings from Yoga

After a few years of working out myself, I got a personal trainer and worked out under his guidance for 4 years. My workouts moved from being simple exercise sessions to focused training sessions. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed these as I could see the results initially. In between, I tried to shift to Power Yoga but moved back to the gym as I did not find it engaging enough.

While monotony did set in, I continued with the same routine. The big change to Yoga happened in March 2020 when all gyms closed down, and we all had to look at alternate modes of exercise to keep ourselves sane. Thus started our online Yoga classes with our Guru Mohan Sharma.

As I dwelt further into Yoga and read up, I realised that yoga is intertwined in our everyday life, and all of us practice yoga in some form or the other. Want to know how? Read on.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Patanjali, in his book, the Yoga Sutras, classified yoga and declared that there lies an eightfold path to yoga. Simply put, there are 8 limbs of yoga practice.

(These are taken from The 8 Branches of Yoga & Their Philosophies)

1. Yama or Abstinences

Yama means ethics or Moral principles. The five Yamas are ahimsa or non-violence, satya or truthfulness, asteya or non-stealing, brahmacharya or chastity, and aparigraha or non-possessiveness.

2. Niyama or Observances

Niyama means virtuous such as – shaucha or purity, santosha or contentment, tapas or persistence, svadhyaya or studying and introspection, ishvara pranidhana or acknowledgement of the true self.

3. Asana or Postures

The specific postures used in yoga practices are called asanas.

We all start with basic asanas and then move onto more difficult ones.

4. Pranayama or Breath Control

Pranayama is the conscious practise of breath regulation. In pranayama, we learn how to inhale, hold the breath, and then exhale rightly—the timing and duration of your breaths matters.

5. Pratyahara or Withdrawal

Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses. In this stage, we try to consciously draw our awareness from the materialistic world and dive deep within. This practice gives the practitioner a chance to do self-reflection. In this stage we become self-observant.

6. Dharana or Concentration

In Dharana, we practice concentration. In this stage, he will learn how to slow down the thoughts by concentrating on a singular object.

7. Dhyana or Meditation

If you can practice  Dharana for a longer period, you enter into the seventh limb of the Ashtanga YogaDhyana or meditation is an uninterrupted flow of Dharana

8. Samadhi or Absorption

The eighth and final stage of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is the attainment of Samadhi. It is a state of yogic ecstasy in which the yogi merges with the divine power, and spiritual enlightenment occurs.

So you see, we start with some basic Yoga practices and slowly move from the outer world to our inner world. Some of these practices are done by all people regularly. Therefore Yoga is embedded in our life right from our birth. It’s we who decide how far we want to take this.

Honestly, very few people may reach stage 5 and above and eventually attain stage 8. But whatever little we can do, has its own benefits and should not stop us from pushing ourselves at every stage.

So after practicing Yoga for last 1 year , there are many things I have realised which I probably was ignorant of before.

What Can Yoga Teach You About Yourself ?

Here I share with you my amazing lessons from yoga.

Lady doing Yoga

1. Yoga Taught Me Flexibility

When I started Yoga, there were so many asanas that  I could not do or had difficulty getting the right posture. But that was because my body was not used to it. I could not bend and hold for a longer period of time. But as I continued to practice those asanas, my body started to mould accordingly.

I learnt that I can be Flexible provided I am ready to work upon it diligently and practice regularly to ultimately conquer it.

2. Yoga Taught Me To Stretch My Limits

When we stretch in Yoga, there is always “a little more stretch” you can do. I have seen that really work for me. Every day I try to push myself to do a little more. That little more may be very small in insolation, but the total will amaze you.

 I had started with a 1-minute plank and pushed myself every week to achieve a 10-minute plank. I must acknowledge that it all started with a friendly challenge with my sister, who has been practising yoga for the last 7 years. But it made sure we both stretched our limits a little more every day.

3. Yoga Says Never Give Up

This is a corollary to the above point. While you are stretching your limits, there will come a time when you would want to give up. Postpone but never give up. I know so many times while doing some asana, I feel I can’t do it. I may leave it for that day, but I always return to it the next day and give it a shot again.

So don’t give up, give it another day

Lady doing tree pose

4. Yoga Taught Me that there is No Alternative to Being Disciplined.

After having done a 10-minute plank once, did I repeat it… No !! Another lesson- I did not follow the discipline of practising it regularly, so I lost my strength and confidence to do it again.

The same was the case with Surya Namaskar. My husband and I both used to do 100 Surya Namaskars is one session. But in between, we lost the rhythm and stopped being disciplined about it. We missed doing Surya Namaskar regularly and hence could not reach that feat again.

I have now again ensured that I practise Surya Namskar at least once a week and have reach 120.

Lessons from Yoga- If we are not disciplined enough to practise any skill or sport, we will lose out.

5. Yoga Taught Me To Be Patient

There is no doubt that Yoga has healing powers. But it is not like popping a pill and getting the result in 30 mins. It’s a slow but steady process that gives long-term relief from pain.

There have been numerous instances where I have used various Yoga postures for my everyday aches and pains.

It all started with the world moving online and work from home becoming a norm. We are spending more time on the laptops than ever, and unfortunately, there are no coffee breaks or a quick stroll after lunch with colleagues. The zoom meetings are happening while having lunch, and the workload has increased.

The result was acute pain in the neck and shoulders because of our posture. And that’s where Yoga came to my rescue after popping in many pain killers.

I had injured my knee while doing a few sessions of Zumba. That again got healed after regular exercises over a period of time.

7. Yoga Can Relax As Well As Burn Calories

It is well known that breathing exercises and meditation are integral to yoga and can relieve stress.

Yoga also has cardio which helps burn calories.

But one has to be patient with the results.

We have a comprehensive exercise schedule for the entire week which looks like this:

After doing the daily routine of stretching & breathing exercises, we go to a targeted workout. Every day of the week, we focus on different things.

  • Monday – Rigorous Cardio
  • Tuesday – Surya Namaskar ( Sun Salutations)
  • Wednesday – Stomach & Sides
  • Thursday – 31 Yoga Poses for the whole body
  • Friday – Stretching & Meditation

Of course, this schedule is not carved in stone and we do alter it depending upon our energy levels some days ( Our Yoga guru is quite patient with us )

However as I mentioned before, we need to be patient with the weight loss part of Yoga.

Lady doing meditation

7. Importance Of Balance & Concentration in Life

Whether its tree pose or head stand, all asanas require balance & concentration. Any diversion can lead to a fall and injury.

Therefore yoga teaches us the importance of balancing your life and concentrating on the present in order to make the most of that moment.

8. Yoga Taught Me To Focus On My Breathing

We all know breathing is synonymous  with life. If you are breathing , you are alive. Before I started Yoga, breathing for me was an involuntary action.

But after doing Yoga for 1 year I have realised how we can control our breathing. Coordinating Inhale & exhale with the right posture helps our body and mind to relax as well as gives us the strength to do difficult asanas.

I have realised that focussing on my breath has improved my threshold of holding on to different postures.   

 

9. You Need To Have A Good Teacher/Mentor

I think one of the biggest reason why we continue doing Yoga with the same enthusiasm is because of our Yoga Guru Shri Mohan Sharma. He has done M.Sc. in Yoga and now pursuing his PhD. His Facebook Page is called Shriyoga International.

His knowledge, dedication & patience comes through so strongly even on a video call. He puts in tremendous faith in our ability to do the most difficult of postures which in turns encourages us to do our best.

He ensures that the monotony does not set in and introduces variations in every class.

Having a good teacher ensures you look forward to your class and make the best of it.

To summarise,  Yoga is limitless and lessons from Yoga stay with you life long.

It is believed that there are 8.4 million “Yonis” or different forms of life-based on their birth location. And there is the same amount of postures available in Yoga. You can do a different posture every day of your life, and it will take you multiple lives to go through all the postures. The only limit is in our mind.

Once we open our minds, we can achieve what we set out to.

Therefore for me Yoga is here to stay and there is one more positive side effect of 2020.

Lady doing Yoga in sunset

If these lessons from Yoga inspire you to adopt this practice, please share them with your friends & family. And if you are a Yoga proponent, I am sure you will.

Thank you my dear sister -Dr Minni Chadha for the lovely artwork for the header. And ofcourse for inspiring me to start with Yoga.

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Rippy Gauba
Rippy Gauba

I am a working professional and a mom of 2 teen daughters. I realised my passion for writing during the pandemic and thus My Ripple Effect was born. Though my corporate commitments take a major part of my day, I am very particular about spending quality time with my family, my pet CoCo, painting and blogging.

I write on Mindset, Motivation & Management. These are everyday, practical tips I picked up from my personal & professional life. These learnings have impacted my life as an individual, as a parent and as a working professional. I am sure these will be useful for you too and help create Ripples of change in your lives & that’s my intention.

Welcome Aboard!!

24 thoughts on “9 Brilliant Lessons I Learnt By Practicing Yoga For Last 1 Year”

  1. Dr Minni Chadha?

    Every word written about benefits of doing yoga is true….but you have to do it yourself to realise it..
    After cancer surgery/chemo/ radiation…it was doing yoga that brought me back to normalcy… I remember I started doing it even with a drain inside my chest cavity …under the guidance of my yoga teacher…
    Here I must give credit to our teacher Mohan Sharma for never giving up on me even when I was not able to do anything….slowly & steadily he worked with me ,encouraged me & made me see that it was ok if I was not able to achieve my pre disease standards….
    I started yoga on 11th October 2014… it’s been a long journey…I must say it’s been interesting to see what all we can achieve if we put our mind to it…like a 10 minutes plank…. 🙂
    I strongly suggest that everyone should give it a try as it not only benefits the body but it’s effects on the mind are amazing…

  2. Dr.Sweta Rastogi

    Thank you for the excellent writing .. Yoga is absolutely a blissful thing . I am truly delighted by reading the above post . But setting a routine for the same has been the most difficult part for me . Everyday when I go home I decide to go and join the yoga class being held exactly next door in the Sports Complex but just postpone it. Every time when I go for a walk to sports complex and see people doing Yoga it’s extremely motivating … I tried meditating at home but wasn’t able to …
    With so many benefits of Yoga beautifully highlighted i will definitely try and make it a point to get it into my routine soon ..
    Thank you

    1. Dear Dr Sweta,
      Thank you for sharing your feedback on my Yoga blog and I hope it motivates you to take that first step. I am sure once you start you will get addicted. So take that first step.
      All the best. Have a great day, and please do keep on sharing your valuable feedback on my blogs.I really look forward to that.

  3. Dr Ankit sharma

    Beautifully penned down benefits of yoga.. I am sure it is going to motivate the readers to make yoga a part of their lives..

    1. Thank you for sharing your feedback and I hope this blog motivates more people to adopt Yoga. 
      Have a great day, and please do keep on sharing your valuable feedback on my blogs. I really look forward to that.

  4. Lokesh Chandra

    Very informative and interesting description of yoga and it’s benefits.. readers will definitely get benefited and motivated

    1. Thank you for sharing your feedback and I hope this blog motivates more people to adopt Yoga.
      Have a great day, and please do keep on sharing your valuable feedback on my blogs. I really look forward to that.

  5. Dr.Susmita Saxena

    I love reading your insightful blogs. I enjoy doing yoga and have been doing under the guidance of a teacher who too has been guiding online. I am not too sure if yoga helps in weightloss as mine seems to have a constant ascending graph!! Maybe diet control alongside would help! Improves discipline and focus and of course flexibility! Your write up inspires me to be more regular with it! Thank you for motivating!!

    1. Thank you for always sharing your feedback and encouraging me. Yes, Yoga does not necessarily help in weight loss that’s why I have started gymming with it. 
      But its benefits are way beyond weight loss which you would have experienced. And yes being regular really helps. Have a great day, and please do keep on sharing your valuable feedback on my blogs. I really look forward to that.

  6. Yet another captivating blog…one.of the amazing result of yoga is that flexibility you speak of…experienced it… love your way with words and the equally lovely mandala art by Dr.Mini?

  7. I tried Yoga a few years ago but didn’t continue. You’re post has encouraged me to give a try again! Well-written post and informative. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Yoga indeed is for the mind, body and soul. Yes, for me, Yoga has been a blessing, especially during the Pandemic. Hence I wanted to share my experience with my readers and inspire them to try it out. I hope you try it out again, and please do share your experience with me.

  8. Indeed, an amazing blog post. Yoga is best for flexibility. I have not practiced it regularly as I am more inclined towards weight training and cardio. And, prefer yoga for relaxation and especially on rest days. These benefits are absolutely true and have witnessed few of them myself.

    1. It’s great to meet another workout fan. Yoga indeed is for the mind, body and soul. Yes, for me, Yoga has been a blessing, especially during the Pandemic. Hence I wanted to share my experience with my readers and inspire them to try it out.

  9. Sumita Mallick

    Every word written by you about yoga is so true. Another super impact full blog from you. I do enjoy doing yoga. Thanks for sharing always such insights.

  10. This is yet another insightful post. There’s no other way one could attain flexibility simultaneous to meditation than yoga. Furthermore, in view of pandemic, yoga plays even more vital role.

    1. Thanks, Neisha. Yes, for me, Yoga has been a blessing, especially during the Pandemic. Hence I wanted to share my experience with my readers and inspire them to try it out.

  11. I’ve tried doing yoga before but after reading this article, I must say I didn’t do yoga at all. I must admit that my yoga days might me caused by the hype of everyone seeming to do it, that’s why I follow. Understanding more about what you do and why you do it makes a big difference. After reading your article, I’m now thinking of practicing yoga again but with more intent on doing it. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s an eye-opener for me!

    1. Hi Jeannine,

      Thank you for your feedback on my blog.
      Yoga indeed is for the mind, body and soul, and you should give it a try again since you now know more about it. You will appreciate it more.

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