Going Beyond Mind is the Door to Infinite Possibilities

by Crystal Rydall

I came here to Paramanand Yoga Institute, knowing basic yoga postures and would categorize myself as a beginner level student regarding asanas. I had no expectations or in-depth knowledge of yoga other than some of the popular poses. When I came here, my intention was to learn the true essence of yoga, in India, the country where this ancient school of thought originated from and obtain a deeper understanding. I accomplished this and more.

Before coming to India, I was aware that there was a deeper level of yoga, something beyond “doing” asanas–being physical and breaking into a sweat–but I wasn’t sure what that deeper level meant. In the two months I spent in Indore as a residential student studying to complete my 500 hour yoga teaching and therapy certificate I gained the knowledge that I was looking for. With full days of study that begin at 6:00 am and don’t finish till 10:00pm, I learned very quickly. I learned that yoga is a vast subject that encourages one to investigate their inner-self rather than the common outward physical self. While we do study the subject of Asanas, it is a small portion—one limb—of the entirety of yoga. Cleansing and developing a healthy mind and body, learning to let go of the ego, realizing how becoming free from desires and attachments can release us from sorrow and pain, going beyond the thinking mind, the energy (prana) we have built inside of us, becoming a witness to life’s experiences, are all components of yoga. They are all essential and have each aided me in finding “oneness” and my “true self”. I have also gathered that our outer, physical body is a reflection of our inner body’s health.

I have never been a flexible person. Even as a child, in public school I was unable to touch my toes. If pushed, I could maybe maintain that pose for a moment, but could definitely not find comfort in it. To me, this was the way it was. I am simply not a flexible person. Within my first month here in India I was not only able to touch my toes, but can hold the pose effortlessly, resting my head on my knees. If you had asked me a couple months ago if this was possible, I would have been adamant that it was impossible. This is just one of the many examples that taught me that there are no limits to the self. We need to be taught how and must trust in our abilities.

I was taught that using and focusing on the breath helps us reach further. Through this, I came to the conclusion that our mind is our only obstacle in reaching our desired goal. Truly trusting, surrendering, detaching ourselves, and practicing discipline are the four components required for infinite possibilities. This accomplishment may be minor for some but for me it was transformational. The main point that I would like to reiterate is that the unthinkable is possible through yoga.

There are so many elements that have the potential to complete us that we, unfortunately, ignore or are simply unaware of. We all have the potential for a healthy balanced life, especially if we discover and nurture these factors. I have just shared with you some of my experiences, but it would take many more pages to put into words the knowledge I have gained and how eye opening these experiences have been. I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity and support in finding my true inner self in a very special place with beautiful people.

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