The Yoga Intelligence

The Yoga Intelligence

I started to practice yoga about 4 years ago during a visit to my daughter in Newcastle near Sidney, Australia. While I stayed with her, I joined her daily routines and she took me everywhere she would normally go during the day, even to the laboratory at her Uni where she was researching for her PHD at the time. I was very thankful for this opportunity to get to know all about her life in Australia.

She loves the laid-back lifestyle and great work-life balance there giving her the freedom to do more of what she loves most  – not only use her brains but also intensively her body and to do sports every day. She is an enthusiastic rock climber, plays beach volleyball every day, partially also coaching it, and enjoys yoga several mornings a week. In addition, she is also jogging regularly and loves deep sea diving, when possible.

While I could only watch the beach volleyball games and her climbing, she took me to several yoga classes to try out myself. I really loved the yoga practices from the start. At home, I had already been looking for an additional activity to complement my street biking but at that time had not really found anything else I liked doing on a regular basis.

Finding the right practice

When I returned back home after 3 weeks, I was ready to try out several yoga studios in my area. I did not have to look very far. I found a yoga studio that offered practice at the times that suited me and I liked the atmosphere immediately. I started going regularly twice a week and have since then never lost motivation or felt that I would rather skip a class and do something else.

As I do not believe in plain coincidences but have always known that there is a greater plan in motion for each of us, I was sure, I had found the right place at the right time.

The studio is called the Yoga Loft near my home and the name suits the premises well. I love the big room and high ceiling with its wooden pillars in the middle. What I also like about it is the variety of yoga lessons offered. The teachers have their regular class hours at certain times during the week and participants are free to choose which ones to attend. I got to experience their individual styles and methods on the different days.

Reading about what yoga is

While doing my regular yoga routines in class, I also became interested in the original yoga teachings and philosophy and wanted to learn more about its true purpose.  I found a great book, written a long time ago, called “The autobiography of a yogi”, by Paramahansa Yogananda.

His life story is quite a fascinating one and he was one of the very first illuminated masters of India to bring the ancient Eastern knowledge, teachings and philosophy to the Western world in the early 1930s, when he first travelled to America and England.

His story and description of mind and body changes through yoga are amazing and, without a doubt in my mind, all true.

Then, I had my acute ascending aortic dissection close to the heart and NDE, nearly dying and needing a life-saving emergency operation.

Trying to get fit again

During rehab, after a lengthy stay in hospital, I was given daily exercises to tone and strengthen my muscles again after having been almost immobile for several weeks. The exercises were incredibly tiring, painful and with very little effect at first.

I could not move my shoulders very much and was afraid I would hurt the chest area after the open chest operation by doing any lifting, twists or stretches. I had to overcome the fear that particular movements might possibly rip something open again or at least delay the healing process. But at the same time I also wanted to straighten myself again, particularly the shoulders and upper torso, despite the pain it caused.

When I first came home, I was still very weak and unable to carry even a very light shopping bag. The prescribed physiotherapy and work-out at a fitness studio did not do the trick. I had no muscle strength and could not push the easiest weights I was supposed to start with. That was more frustrating than beneficial and I stopped after a while.

When I asked my cardiologists whether it would be ok to start my yoga practice again, they were not sure as they had no knowledge of the particular movements involved and I needed to decide on my own whether or not I wanted to risk it and start with yoga again after coming home from rehab.

Yoga is the answer

I decided, I needed yoga to help me recover.

I had the amazing feeling that every time I went to a yoga practice from then on, the yoga teacher only focussed on areas of the body for practice that I personally needed for my recovery and could cope with.

That might have been only my imagination as there were, of course, lots of other people taking the same classes. But from my perspective, it was exactly so and trusting completely that it was the right thing to do, I was able to let go of my fear of making some harmful twists or stretches. I was getting back into the flow of the movements.  Of course, at first I could not keep up entirely but it felt really good trying. And I slowly regained some confidence in my body, which I had lost during my life threatening event and after the operation. 

As I was still on sick leave, I went more often than my previous two times a week and although strenuous and demanding for my slowly recovering body, I managed to participate and to bit by bit improve my flexibility and strength.

Because I was able to go more regularly, I got to know the other participants better and started to feel part of that small community. We started talking after practice or having a coffee at a coffee shop near-by. The teachers were great, too – always ready to advise when I was not sure about particular positions or movements and ready to support.

Going to the practices had become part of my weekly routine and had helped me structure my day when it would have been easier and less painful to stay in bed or at home. For me, it was my motivation and a way to reconnect with other people again.

Not all my yoga teachers and participants know about what happened to me and I do not think it necessary to share this part of my life with them. I feel their kindness and acceptance and I feel good going there.

I can honestly say that yoga practice has been an important part of my path to recovery and awareness change. I have learned to live the moment during the exercises and to let go during the relaxation time. The exercises feel like they are grounding me in reality and in my body and at the same time spiritually opening me.

Every time I go, my body feels different and sometimes my mind seems to take hold of me telling me to be resentful, tired or judgemental. I do not mind and take it as it comes. I completely trust the yoga practice and the people who conduct it as there truly is a higher intelligence present, directing us all and I am glad to be a part of it.

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