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As if I was outside my own mind

“Having played football from a young age I had the typical aversion to stretching that most people who play football do. I wasn’t even really sure what yoga was, and like many others, I thought that because I couldn’t touch my toes it wasn’t the thing for me. I did my first yoga class at an event where I was persuaded into joining by the yoga instructor. Somehow, after not really knowing where my limbs were going, a few fun arm balances and a short guided meditation, I came out of the class in complete awe of how it made me feel; having experienced a revelation in my perceived relationship between my body and mind and the physical world around me. By being acutely aware of my breathing and the sensations and placement of my body, I was able to turn my mind away from my thoughts and external distractions. For the first time, I felt as if I was outside of my own mind.

I had been experiencing anxiety for a long time, but through yoga I felt the greatest sense of relief. I realized that my mind was in need of something that could take it out of that vulnerable place; to be in a flow-state, practicing patience, and accepting the physical body. Yoga taught me to focus inwards, which allowed me to discover all the different elements of my mind; the sense-driven thoughts, the ego - the source of opinions and prejudice -, and lastly, the Self - an element deep within our mind that purely observes, but is always present. We tend to give more space for our thoughts and ego than for the Self, which leads to internal conflicts. Through practice, we can learn to connect more with the Self, and as a result we can cultivate a more still, unprejudiced, and conscious mind. I am grateful and excited that I found this tool; something tangible that I can practice to improve my mental health. As Sri Dharma Mittra says, “Bury your mind deep in your heart and watch the body move by itself.””

- Camilla, Singapore

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