I am Mariana, Brazilian, currently living, studying and loving in Portugal. When I first was interested in Yoga, four years ago, I asked the opinion of a dear friend from my hometown, who was already practising. He said it was nice, but “it can’t solve all the problems of your life” – his words. It was not the most exciting encouragement but I gave it a try and signed up for classes. Since then, I’ve been practicing and I think there’s no coincidence the times I am more into Yoga, it feels good to live.
The first benefit of the practice is the awareness it brings to my life. The focus on the breathing and the concentration for the asanas – the Yoga postures at the Yoga morning sessions; follow me through the day, making me more conscious of what I am doing, what makes me feel good or bad. This awareness is positive for everything, from my actions, reactions, feelings and even to food, for example. I started to notice what kind of food was hard for me to digest and I just reduced or avoid it.
The connection with the body increased. At each asana I can feel my body working, twisting, stretching. I became more aware of the limits of my body, gained equilibrium, flexibility and strength. The asana itself gives for the yoga practitioner good health, since it massages organs, stimulate glands, strength the muscles and lubricates the joints.
If until now, you are not yet convinced it is worth to stop the rush of life to breath, sing some mantras and work your body into the session, I will drop the most revealing thing Yoga brought for my life: LOVE.
The word Yoga means union, and the ancient yogis say we are one (Yes! Me, you and the universe). The teaching say we should love, respect and have compassion for ourselves and for the others. Being kind with yourself, during the practice and expanding this for the life, also being kind with others, with the best intentions for the world, uplifts and gives life a meaning. It may seem a big challenge, but completely worth taking. And now you know I completely disagree with my dear friend from my hometown.
Practicing Yoga requires discipline, but once you start to feel good it’s no longer any sacrifice. What I recommend for everyone to start is with a simple stretch in the morning. Right after you wake up, don’t even get out of bed. Stay there for a couple of minutes and stretch. Feel your body waking up, move each part of it consciously, the feet, legs, hands, arms, neck. It will feel good, and you will want more, that’s a great start.