Thursday November 29, 2018 By: Reem Jabak
When I started practicing yoga a few years ago, it was solely to exploit the flexibility benefit it provides. As I practiced it on regular basis, I gradually learned its true essence. The flexibility was just a tiny branch of it. Little did I know when I dived into yoga, it would not open up just my eyes, but also my heart, and teach me life’s greatest lessons. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would lead me to become a certified yoga teacher a year later.
Yoga is a treasure box and the physical aspect is just opening up the lid. As my practice began to unfold, I started to feel something shifting. A famous quote from the book The Bhagavad Gita, “Yoga is the journey of the Self, through the self, to the Self.” I felt my journey begin to unfold…
I want to share with you some of life’s greatest lessons that yoga has taught me:
1. Acceptance is Key
On the third day of my teacher training course, I folded forward and to my surprise, I couldn’t reach the ground which I could the day before. I panicked. I was very sore, and my hamstrings were really stiff which limited my movement. I thought how is this possible, how can I be a teacher if I cannot even reach my toes, and anxiety began to build up inside me. Then my teacher’s voice came to me as guidance, “Accept your body. Accept your flaws. Only when you do, your body will open up.” That, was my very first lesson: acceptance. Yoga taught me to replace fear of falling, with acceptance of falling. Once I let go of the fear, my anxiety about the uncertainty of the unknown began to dissolve and I started to grow.
2. Replace Expectation with Appreciation
I am a Leo. I am very much guilty of setting expectations, high ones too, and wanting perfection. Such a life can be very hectic and during many times, disappointing. When you feel disappointed, you begin to lose hope; and when you lose hope, how can you heal and grow? I am not saying aiming high is wrong. As a matter of fact, shoot for the sky, but do so with gratitude not with greed for more. When you rewire your brain to be grateful you take that attitude to every aspect of your life.
3. Live. Be Present
Ever since I was young, my parents would say to me that I never truly enjoyed my time. When I would be on a ride at the funfair, my eyes would look out for the next exciting ride, ignoring my parents’ constant reminder to live and enjoy the moment. That attitude reflected along the years on many areas of my life. I was always rushing, and looking out for the next adventure, never truly savoring the current moment. Yoga pulled my attention to the now.
During a yoga class, you disconnect from the outside world. No distractions, no cell-phones, simply a room filled with energetic yogis and you are asked to “connect to your breath.” First time I heard that, I wasn’t sure what it meant or why was it important, but when I practiced it sincerely, I realized that when you connect to your breath no matter where you are, you connect to the current moment. I learned to adapt the same approach into my life, constantly reminding myself that the present was all I truly had. When I started to do that, I unlocked one of life’s greatest tools for sheer happiness; Living the moment.
My yoga practice has truly shaped the person I am today.
Check Reem Jabak’s Instagram account here
Reem is a strong believer in the power of play and its ability to truly open the mind. She is a certified Ashtanga instructor and Level II Reiki practitioner, who stayed true to her own playful side by becoming an Air Yoga instructor as well. Reem is also an avid lover of chocolate, coffee and ice cream!
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