Yes, you read the title correctly. Yoga has ruined my life. It has changed and shifted me inside and out. The way I think, speak, and even the way I eat and breathe is totally different because of yoga. It has changed just about everything about me, but here is how its “ruined” me in 3 big ways:
- Response vs. Reaction: There was a time in my life when I didn’t really think about things. I didn’t think before I spoke. I didn’t think before I made big decisions… such as what colleges to apply for. I didn’t really question anything either. I was OK with whatever life path I was on. I was OK with the mean boys I dated. I was OK with the clothes I wore. I rarely ever took a moment to wonder if the activities and people I was engaging were harmful or careless. I just reacted to life as it came. And then yoga came along… that damn yoga… and changed everything. I was introduced to the word “svadhyaya,” or self-study, as well as the idea of mindfulness. I started noticing things in my environment. I started noticing how I played a role in my environment. I started to think before I spoke. I realized I was kind of an asshole. I took note of how people spoke to me, and realized I’d been hanging out with a lot of assholes. I began to care about my life’s path and started taking my career seriously…which led me to spending my free time searching for a job that made my soul happy. I noticed how my peers and family received me, and I didn’t like the feedback. So, I took some time to polish the mirror. I started reacting to life—taking moments to pause, breathe, observe, feel… and then act accordingly. Damn you, yoga!!!!
- I Became a Morning Person: There was a time in my life that I never really had to get up early. Sleeping until noon was the norm. 9:00am was early. Getting up before 8:00am was an absolute nightmare. And then came the yoga… particularly the Ashtanga yoga. One of the studios where I practice opens at 5:30am, but closes by 10:00am. The latest I can get there to practice is 7:30am. Now, there are mornings that I get to watch the sunrise on the way to practice, or even practice as the sun is rising. There are mornings when I get up and its still dark, and depending on the time of year, I can catch a meteor show or view some mysterious planets. Most days of the week I have practiced, showered, and had breakfast all by 10:00am. I care about my morning practice, and have become more mindful about how late I go to bed, as well as how late I eat and what I eat in the evening. I trained my body to practice on an empty stomach. Damn it yoga!
- Selflessness: There was a time in my life that I was really, really selfish. It was all about me (it kind of still is to be honest). I didn’t care if I hurt your feelings. I thought volunteering was for nerds. I always satisfied my own pleasures. I would lie and manipulate to get my way (OK Mom I admitted it, are you happy now?!). I wouldn’t return favors. I used people. And then… the damn yoga. Yoga kicked and scratched and bruised my ego. It put me in my place on more than on occasion, and force fed me some humble pie. It made me care about other people. Yoga led me to Kula for Karma, and then I realized how important seva and volunteering was. Now I can’t imagine a life without it. As mentioned earlier, it made me think before I spoke… and in those thoughts, other people’s feelings and circumstances came up. I found myself forgiving people and praying for people rather than threatening people and pulling hair. Now I want other people to feel good. I don’t lie…. as much. I don’t think I’m manipulative anymore, (but my mom will have to confirm that). Now I’m a favor-giving queen, and a lot of the time I really, really don’t expect anything in return. I’m apologetic. I’m kind-ish. Not only to other people, but to myself. That damn yoga!