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Yoga – The Pathway Into Myself

The thoughts and feelings of a stressed manager - How Yoga helped me manage stress and find balance in my life.

What can we do when time never seems to stop running, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, second after second, dashing on at a crazy pace?

We feel consumed by the clock, the schedule, the tasks and all the things that occupy our mind and stir our emotions, while our body almost acts on autopilot.

Some years ago, this question was deafeningly screaming inside my head and led me to a path of searching, a trail of discovery… the pathway into myself.

When I was a little girl, I felt like my song was playing out of time to everyone else in the world. I didn’t feel understood, like I was speaking a language difficult to understand by those who were close to me, almost as though I was communicating in a tone that human ears could not hear.

I often felt that way, having so many questions… What was my role in this world? What was the role of the world in the universe? What was the meaning of time and space? How did time and space affect the world? I simultaneously felt fear and fascination with infinity… What was my role in this infinite space and time?

Over many years, these issues began occupying more and more of my mind. At the same time, the “real world” and my life’s routines were burdening my body with tension and fatigue. My mind alternated between the past and future, remembering past experiences that negatively affected me, anticipating their recurrence in the future.

These repetitive thoughts can affect every moment of our existence, as there is a tendency to believe that our future will simply be a perpetuation of the past, because that is our mind’s well-known “reality”. Presumably, the mind has a tendency towards favoring the familiar, even if it is “negative” than to risk surrendering to the unknown…

This was an explosive mix… My overloaded “real life” combined with my existential doubts turned into a tsunami. It was everything that was wreaking havoc inside me, a giant wave full of memories, emotions and thoughts that flooded everything. It was almost as though I had unleashed a mighty dam on a riverbank. The water, finally released, wanted to flow freely, along the course of the river, past the scenery, travelling to the sea to experience an encounter with the ocean.

This powerful wave led my search for myself… I wanted to find the balance between my yearning and aspirations, between my thoughts and emotions, between my personal and my professional life.

I wanted to balance the different facets of my being, between what I am and what is expected from me, between my inner and outer self…

I felt like a train moving, day and night, between two opposite stations. A train full of goods, with people entering and leaving. They filled the carriages with voices, laughter, colors, textures and perfume… In due time, they departed, leaving the empty train continuously moving in a limited space. Driven up by the expansive force of the steam, I travelled beyond the train line and decided to try something I’d heard about… it felt like a familiar sound whistle on a distant station.

My first Yoga class touched me deeply.

It felt like the minutes of that hour had more than sixty seconds… Time slowed down. My heart slowed down. It was almost as if it knew it didn’t have to run anymore, looking for something. My breath slowed down as well. My breath was the bridge between my mind and my body.

In those longer minutes, I had a chance to rescue some parts of myself… My attention was no longer on what surrounded me, on what was outside of me…

I started to focus on myself, only myself, feeling the words my body wanted to convey, paying attention to all that was accumulated within… the stress and fatigue that I stubbornly refused to listen day after day, the camouflaged emotions I “liked” to hide, the vicious and deafening thoughts that were wearing me out.

In those minutes, I allowed all of it to reveal itself and to show me how I was in that moment in time and space.

I let that part of myself come to the surface, and let these feelings find their way out of me, releasing them with every breath… freeing them with every stretch.

Each posture was an encounter with me; every breath was an opportunity for renewal. Each exhalation allowed me to release what I wanted to let go of and every inhalation allowed me to rescue lost parts of myself… a continuous and endless cycle…
It was almost as though I was a train crossing infinite stops inside of me, driven by a rainbow tinted steam. Driven by the energy of a river’s water turned into steam by the sun’s heat. A river that knows its entire course… From its source in the green and mighty mountain, to the grooves through the flowery and colorful fields, past the pebbles and the obstacles on its way. A river that runs continuously free until it reaches the sea and the great ocean, where it finally meets many other rivers that have also followed their path.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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