Happy 2016!

The year is still crisp, fresh and new, and expectations are high. Clearly, we all want to become a better version of ourselves. Today na today: We want to lose weight, clear our debts, get fit, and stop drinking alcohol. We make New Year’s resolutions in order to break old habits and cultivate new practices.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with starting a new year on a new note. But does a new resolution really help us achieve a new lifestyle?

Many, many years back I stopped making New Year’s resolutions. At the same time I also stopped reading Chinese horoscopes, as well as I stopped setting annual goals. I, indeed, changed my habits. (Feel free to re-read my post on changing habits here).

Now, at the end of every year I simply try to be still. I might light a candle or two, ponder on past events and note all the things I’m thankful for. Today, I understand that each single day presents itself with infinite possibilities. Every day invites us to take a closer look at our lives from different perspectives. We can change any-time, anywhere.

I’m haptic and physical exercise has always been an integral part of my life. I played basketball for 10 years, spent at least five days a week on the court and later became a fan of early-morning jogs in parks and forests. These hours of the day provided the space for my early-morning-meditation.

I’ve experienced my deepest and most intense prayers while jogging on lawns, passing lakes and inhaling oxygen. After about 15 to 20 minutes I would get to the point where mind and body are totally connected and the breath dictates the pace. You no longer consciously run, you actually are being run. You become one with your environment, your mind stops wandering around and you are totally focussed. It is an awesome experience to feel physically and spiritually connected. You might now understand why jogging on Lagos’ roads does not appeal to me. Watching out for pot-holes, gutters, men urinating and drivers wanting to run you over, simply does not blend with my concept of relaxation and recreation.

When I understood what yoga is all about, I instantly abandoned all prior means of work-out. And this is somebody who has always been very sceptical about the whole notion of yoga. This is somebody who was used to broken fingers, strains and torn ligaments. This is somebody who would never ever have imagined in her life to accompany others on their individual journey of healing and transformation.

Yoga is NOT a religion. The word yoga gets its origin from the Sanskrit word “Yug”. It means to join or to bind. The fusion of asana (poses), breath (called pranayama) and meditation resp. visualization (which to me symbolizes a stillness of body and mind) et al. helps you achieve a type of mind-body-harmony, which allows you to appreciate the very moment. Yoga, hence, becomes an embodied experience of spirituality (from the Latin ‘spiritus’ – meaning breath or breathing). A deeper level of practice can only be attained by understanding breath and body more profoundly. Poses function as a vehicle to connect body, mind and breath.

One of my clients recently was so trilled to share with me that she now understands the deeper meaning of prayers and meditation after having prayed her daily morning prayers following her yoga practice. She experienced a deeper level of connecting while meditating on God’s lasting truths.

When I stand on a 60x182cm non-slip mat, my body is forced to be still. And since my body is forced to be still, my mind tries to escape. I would remember all the things to do, people to call and places to go to. But once I move the different parts of my body in sync with my breath, I listen to the melody of peace. Yoga is meant to be practised in silence. And this discipline is so much harder than running the fields and parks and bridges of this world.

Unfortunately, many Nigerians tend to allow fear to cloud their views. Yoga becomes this weird construct of fetish misconceptions and traditionalist superstition. Today, I work with Christians, Muslims and Hindus. Some time ago I had a session with a catholic priest.

Yoga is thousands of years older than Hinduism. And, if yoga belongs to anybody, it belongs to everybody practising yoga. It belongs to humanity.

Observing my friend’s daughter Chisom actually made me realise that this ancient practice is as old as (wo-)mankind. This little girl was barely able to walk, but performed poses most of my clients struggle with with ease and perfection. Poses like the “Downward Facing Dog”, “Child’s Pose” “Forward Bend”, or “Happy Baby Pose” came naturally and instinctively to her. She simply included them into her daily routine. And if we became a little bit more like her, we would stop excluding a life of completion and would start to invite a life of joy and fulfilment.

Chi’s Yoga fundamentally is about breath, mind and body work. It is about the moments of inner peace and connection. Chi’s Yoga provides space for your personal communion with God.

You are blessed!

Chi’s Yoga – Your yoga is yours only!™

Getting Started with Chi’s Yoga: Is Yoga a Religion?