In 2014, I completed my first yoga teacher training and officially became a certified yoga instructor. While I was always on my mat, either teaching a class or taking one, I became increasingly fascinated with my transformation and my way of being both on that mat and off of it.
It is so common to meet a yogi who says they began their practice for the physical benefits of yoga, but stayed in the game for the spiritual, mental, and emotional benefits as well. Yes, I am one of those yogis.
Bear in mind that a total transformation and awakening may not happen overnight, but with time and dedication, I believe that you will undoubtedly begin to see the world from a different perspective.
Now, as I find myself blessed with more opportunities to write, it’s obvious to me that my yoga practice has shaped my writing. It has, and continues to, shape the way I think and view the world. Yoga has helped mold my writing, my writing process, and even my language both on and off the paper.
I think my family and friends would agree, I’ve become a much more open-minded and compassionate person since beginning my yogic journey. I certainly slip up and have my humane moments (still working on that road rage), but overall, my mind has been opened and I do my best to put myself in somebody else’s shoes, especially when I’m telling somebody else’s story.
I began to understand the importance of words and the gravity words hold. Words are arguably the most powerful tool and weapon on the face of the planet. Words have the power to create. They also have the power to destroy. When I was actively teaching yoga classes, I held myself accountable for speaking with intention and compassion. I wanted my students to always feel safe and empowered in the space they are in. When I write, I take on a similar type of responsibility. I want my readers to feel as though they are not alone, that they are safe, grounded, and capable of whatever life throws at them.
Furthermore, when I write, I tend to think of myself as a kind of storyteller. I make it my moral obligation to keep an open mind and somewhat of an objective stance as I shape my voice and mold my story. I stay true to my convictions, but make a point to see or acknowledge the fact that not everyone will, or has to, agree with me. Not everyone’s way of being is as my own.
An incredible teacher enlightened me to the fact that it is nearly impossible to tell somebody’s story without putting yourself in their world. In order to put myself in another person’s world, whether physically or mentally, I have to be willing to get a little uncomfortable. Even a small change in perspectives is both unsettling and enlightening. Discomfort does wonders for our growth.
Yoga, if you’re doing it “right” will test your discomfort levels. Both the physical and spiritual journey will take you to your edge so that you can show yourself what you are capable of and where modifications could be made. Try going upsidedown and holding a Wheel Pose for 1 minute. Try closing your eyes and being still for 20 minutes. Try looking into somebody else’s eyes for an extended period of time without saying a word or looking away (an actual exercise I did many times in my training).
These exercises are both discomforting and eye-opening, but all in all, they make me a stronger yogi and more knowledgeable teacher. Going through these motions myself and living out somebody else’s truth through my own eyes allows me the privilege to tell their story from a much more personal place.
As I got deeper into the practices and teachings of yoga, I felt my ego take a few hits which, in turn, has made me a much more humble being. Being a teacher, yes, I have the knowledge, education, and energy to hold space for you and take you through a safe yoga practice. I am not, however, the most intelligent or knowledgeable person in the room. I’m not discrediting the work of a yoga teacher because it is not easy to hold space for a group of people, but at the same time, yoga teachers aren’t know-it-alls. We know what works for us and our bodies and we want to share that with others.
As I write, I do the same. I speak from what I know but I never claim to have all the answers. In fact, I like to keep my writing somewhat conversational because I want to hear other perspectives. I want to learn, grow, meet new people, learn new skills, and hear your voice too. Your voice will help shape my own.
Of course, the benefits of yoga are endless, but one of the most rewarding experiences is when I am able to take something I’ve learned “on the mat” and apply it to my everyday life. It has helped me take a step back and become a witness to my own life and, let’s face it, life gets tricky. I urge you to return to a discipline of some kind that keeps you grounded and flexible. No, you do not have to be flexible to practice yoga, but learning to bend so you don’t break is overwhelmingly rewarding, and I am forever grateful to have been introduced to this endless practice of love and light.
Victoria (Torrie) Diamond recently earned her master’s degree in Journalism through Emerson College and is blessed to be able to contribute to the BostonMan Magazine community. Her writing is aimed to help spread positive messages, stories of inspiration, and inform the Boston/New England community with anything and everything that may concern their all-around well being. You can find more from Torrie on Facebook and Instagram.