People often ask what yoga means to me and why I practice? To me, yoga is a science of self-discipline.
Yoga helps me in many ways. On the mat, I get in touch with many emotions—anxiety, fear, self-doubts—emotions we all carry and don’t always want to confront. Yoga helps me to relieve these emotions, to have courage, to feel lighter, and to let go of what ultimately does not matter. The rat race, the competition, the constant craving to have more; these are not important in yoga. I start on the mat and take this practice to the outside world. This discipline and devotion to the simple things in life—the kindness we are capable of, the beauty we all have within, the simple truths we can accept, and the sharing of our practice—this helps me to become strong. Through yoga, I become mentally and physically strong, and emotionally balanced. With this awareness, I can be kind to myself, kind to others, and take this attitude to help make better the lives of other people.
In India, we say, “Shut up and do it.” People spend much of their time and efforts thinking about the “what if” or “why” or “should I do this or not.” Yoga helps me to embrace each moment, and to live each moment simply, without thinking too much or worrying, or taking more than I need. By noticing each breath in a coordinated effort when I practice asana, my mind becomes quiet, and I feel alive in every part of my body. It’s not voodoo, it’s not black magic—it makes logical, biological sense that yoga can do this for our minds and bodies. It’s a simple yet thoughtful science.
Yoga is a way of life. I am grateful and thankful for my grandmother—she introduced me to the practice. She is no longer in her physical body, but her influence and her constant presence around me is a reminder that our definitions of right or wrong, or hard or easy, are all in our minds. It is this awareness that yoga helps cultivate for us, and this awareness can be so significant that our attitudes can positively shift even in just 90 minutes of practice. We gain perspective, lighten-up, and remember our sense of humor in life. We can devote ourselves to something greater—it does not matter if it has two legs, four legs, one leg, no legs—we can practice to be the change we want to see in the world, and to touch the lives of others for the better.
Why do I practice yoga? I practice because YOGA MAKES ME HAPPY.
Born and raised in a small village outside of New Delhi, Pradeep Teotia is an internationally certified yoga teacher who draws mostly from his training in India. He has practiced and studied yoga his entire life – starting with his grandmother in his early years. He is known for bringing the roots of yoga alive for modern practitioners through the integration of meditation, yoga philosophy, nature’s vitality, spontaneous humor, and joy. His unique teaching style brings alive the holistic nature of healing in a way that is simple, powerful, and accessible – allowing people to connect more deeply with their own authentic power and spirit.
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