Inner Peace

by Shritin Patel – Houston Baptist University

At my yoga class today, my instructor said something interesting and profound:

” If you change your wants into preferences, you open yourself to a whole new world. Wants breed expectations, and expectations lead to disappointments; and expectation and disappointment are horrible companions to have.

She went on to tell us that meditation is not about creating that perfect haven in the corner of your favorite room with your favorite mat and blanket. Meditation is about being able to sit in 105 degree weather, in rush hour traffic, staring at the back of the blue suburban that has just cut you off for the third time, trying to hold in your pee, and still being at peace with your situation. Yoga is all about inner peace; your geographical location is irrelevant.

I think I have a love/hate relationship with the yoga room, or torture chamber as Bikram likes to call it. I love the feeling of walking into the 105 degree room; the heat envelops every inch of my being and makes me feel instantly at peace. What I hate though, is the illusion of a breeze the fans in the room give off. I lay on my mat staring up at the ceiling willing the fan to caress my face with just a flutter of a breeze, but no, that would be too easy. It takes every ounce of my resolve to not give up and just sit in a corner and pour an entire liter of water over my head. When I’m lying in savasana though, and I am surrounded by the overwhelming feeling of peace, I fall in love with yoga all over again.

Hatha Yoga puts you in that sweltering hot room and forces you to disregard EVERYTHING except yourself. It makes it necessary for you to leave your judgment and self-loathing at the door; it strips down your defenses and makes you take a good hard look at yourself. When you spend 90 minutes staring into a mirror concentrating solely on yourself, you learn things about yourself that you never even knew existed. You finally begin to see yourself as the strong, independent, and beautiful person you truly are. The person people keep telling you that you are, but you never believed simply because it sounded too good to be true. Well, it’s not. We all have that person inside of us; all we have to do is look. My way is through yoga.

I’ve come to realize and appreciate that yoga isn’t just a form of exercise; it’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle that I am beginning to greatly appreciate and love.

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