How To Do Yoga | Methods That Changed My Life

When we encounter the word “yoga”, we may conjure up an image in our minds of someone twisting themselves into a pretzel shape or in other intricate positions. And though that form of postural yoga, called “yoga asana”, is highly beneficial and deserves its well-earned praise, it is only one aspect of a much, much larger concept.

Yoga is a Sanskrit term which means “union”. This union can happen between the self and the Universe, Nature, God, or even just our very breath. Union means presence, full awareness, steadfast focus, and ease of living. Indeed, union can be akin to the flow state, as expressed in the Dao in ancient Chinese scripture. When we’re in flow, we trust in the way of the Universe, allowing our actions to happen naturally, listening to our intuition, and appreciating life for all that it is. In this blog, I want to share the yoga practices that have changed my life. 

Keep in mind that you do not have to do all of these, and if you do, you don’t have to do them every day. See what works for you and how it fits in your schedule. 

  1. Sitting in absolute silence

In the summer of 2021, I attended a 3-day silent meditation retreat. The meditations only took up a few hours of the day, and in the remaining hours, I had to work and rest in silence. The first night was wildly disorienting. The buzz of meditating, eating, and walking around nature had stopped. I had to confront my discomfort with the silence and stillness. I was too afraid of my own mind; I didn’t trust myself to just be

What I found in those 3 days of absolute silence was a profound glimpse of total peace and clarity. Without the constant distractions from life and my phone, I was able to give my frantic mind rest; rest that I didn’t even know I needed. I learned to trust myself. I learned that not everything has to be done as soon as I think of something. I learned that, sometimes, I have to simply allow things to fall into place. I had to let go of control, and though it felt uncomfortable at first—though I expected nothing to come out of it—I experienced the kind of clarity I’ve been yearning for my whole life. 

Try to take out a least one hour of any day during the week that you can dedicate to sitting in silence. You can try lying down, too, but I’d advise against it as you may fall asleep. Don’t look at your phone, don’t listen to music, don’t do anything. Just sit. See what comes up and write about it. Go into this practice with no expectation. Give yourself the gift of patience and compassion, and allow this practice to slowly cultivate inner peace. 

  1. Yin Yoga

I’ve never fully enjoyed vinyasa flow, though I’ve attempted it several times. It just didn’t feel right for me. A few months ago, my sister introduced me to Yin yoga. We followed videos by the YouTube channel, Breathe and Flow, and it immediately clicked for me. For the first time ever, I felt fully immersed in movement and breath. 

Yin yoga involves just a few poses that are held for several minutes. As you hold a given pose, you’ll begin to experience a deepening of the experience, while taking deep, full, and soft breaths. My body and mind were working harmoniously. At the end of each session, I lay in shavasana (corpse pose) with my eyes closed, feeling peace literally wash over me. 

I recommend this playlist: 

  1. Reading

Like most people I know, I had completely fallen out of the habit of reading due to my busy schedule. When I started commuting to work, I found that I could spend my time catching up on books that had been on my list for years. Before I knew it, I read 2-3 books a month. I didn’t think reading could be considered a yogic practice, but as I’ve gotten more dedicated to reading, I’ve noticed how inherently meditative it is. 

Reading directs our attention to the book in our hands and demands our full concentration. The act of reading engages not only our focus, but our colorful imaginations. You must be fully in the act, fully present to surrender to the words of the author. In other words, reading encourages the union of body, mind, and even the breath. 

Novels may be the easiest types of books to delve into, as the narrative of a talented author can draw us in quickly. Non-fiction books, for me, demand even more concentration and presence. I hope you all give at least 30 minutes a day to reading to quiet your mind and explore your imagination. 

  1. Listening to classical music

Classical music has been shown time and time again to improve concentration and promote relaxation. Anecdotally, I can certainly advocate for those claims. Listening to classical music brings forth feelings of joy and fulfillment. I find myself listening to both Western and Indian classical while I work to keep me in the zone. 

Often, I’ll take some time in the evening or early morning to listen to the music with my eyes closed. I connect so deeply with the music that it feels as if my heart moves with it. Consequently, the music allows me to explore emotions that need to be addressed or expressed. With the tragedy my family and I faced during the pandemic, music has been an especially important tool for me to heal and connect with a part of myself that I thought I lost. Classical music is grounding and in this way, music becomes yoga, quieting my mind and unifying me with my true self. 

I hope you all find the time to incorporate at least one (or more) of these practices and enjoy the benefits that come with them. Remember, yoga does not have to be restricted to a yoga class. You don’t even need a mat to practice yoga. All you need is conscious breath, focus, and a calm mind. 

In light,


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