My yoga journey

My yoga journey

Prachi Raturi Misra

I was surprised but I actually understood some parts when Helsinki described his injuries. Yes, I was watching ‘Money Heist’ unabashedly transfixed to the series. For the ‘Money Heist’ untouched, a thrilling series on Netflix, this one is an edge of the seat watch. That I had come back from a three-week intensive Yoga certification course in Rishikesh, with two meals a day and no indulgence (ok may be buying a T-shirt or two and some eating out on our Sunday off, if that counts), I felt I could treat myself to some binge watching.

Of course, I loved watching the series but that’s not what I am talking about right now. I am talking about my Yoga journey. And anatomy classes (which explains me understanding the injuries of Helsinki) were just some of the many classes, that we had. There was philosophy, asana, pranayama, yog nidra, shatkarma and more.

So, what was a writer and journalist doing, learning yoga?

As a journalist, if I interviewed someone who took a life changing journey in their lifetime, I would ask the obvious question of what made them do it, why now and how did it change their life.

So, I try and answer these questions and more.

All of you

Something I realised during my early journalism days was how I was an adrenaline driven person. Chasing stories, working against tight deadlines, juggling various reporting assignments, cracking a crucial interview, making it to the front page, were my adrenaline fixes.

In fact, when I got my first page 1 anchor at 19 and my boss told me I’d made the cut too early, that there was too little left for me to get excited about. It didn’t make too much sense.

But it did, years later.

When I had seen my byline in the major national dailies that I once aspired to work for and when I had over years, collected various business cards of mine that read designations I had wanted to read, the high didn’t seem as much of a high. After a decade-and-a-half, I started wondering ‘What am I writing that hasn’t been written before, what difference was it making, what is it that I really wanted to do’ etc., etc.

Of course, I continued writing. It remains my first love but there seemed to be something missing, an important link, it felt. Chasing deadlines, nurturing relationships with friends and family, raising a baby, it seemed I had forgotten an important relationship. The relationship with myself.

Don’t they say, what you seek, is seeking you?

It was the initial Covid lockdown days. I like many others, brought out the Chef in me. But as days passed and mundaneness set in, you were cut out from the world and the fear of uncertainty grew, I felt restless.

The husband, daughter and I decided to live in Mussoorie with my parents for four months. Blessed to be away from city life, reading, writing, contemplating, the hill born me was thriving, connecting back to my roots. And just like that, I found my first Yoga teacher in November 2020. Komal Semwal who I had seen as a cute pig tailed pink cheeked girl was now a Yoga instructor in Mumbai. The lockdown however, had brought her back home and I decided to start classes with her. As I did asanas and chanted mantras under the open blue skies, something felt so right. I felt reconnected to myself. I realised; I was hooked!

The journey within

My first brush with Yoga had been during my pregnancy, thanks to a book that had come my way for review for the books page I handled. There were several handbooks, yoga for stress relief, yoga for pregnancy etc. They had been packed away and never touched beyond the review till I found out I was pregnant.

The yoga pregnancy book helped me immensely, I have to admit.

But once my daughter was born, motherhood took over. So, walks, gym, cross fit (not necessarily in that order) helped me with my adrenaline fix. But I was missing that connect with myself. Over the years, I had collected the many layers of the roles I was playing, but the real me, was buried deep inside, lost in the many roles.

But in November 2020, as I sat under a beautiful blue sky, stretching my body, mind and more, I knew I wanted Yoga to find a crucial place in my life.

Then one thing led to another. A very dear friend, a soul sister as I call her, (now married and settled USA) and I got talking about the need to do something for ourselves and Yoga was something both of us wanted to explore. Over one year of planning, finding the right course, the school we thought would be good for us, we finally zeroed down on Tattvaa Yogashala in Rishikesh.

Even though we were probably the smallest group of students and the first ‘only Indian students’ batch’, we were attended to with utmost love and care. In fact, we became like a close-knit family. The teachers guided us like true gurus, settling our fears, inspiring confidence in us to believe in ourselves.

Be it trying to do sutra neti (which I was petrified of), meditating, doing asanas that I never thought possible, sitting through a two-hour philosophy lecture or understanding the human anatomy through Yoga, everything was a step further in getting closer to oneself.

In fact, striking beautiful yoga poses is all I imagined myself doing when I thought of the course. What I learnt instead is not something I could learn through any book, TV channel or lectures.

Because Yoga, as I learnt through the gruelling 21 days, is about so many things at the physical and mental level. One of the things I also learnt about asanas for example, is that it isn’t about getting to the final position of the asana, no matter how good you imagine yourself looking holding that pose. Because Yoga is about establishing yourself through the process of the asana. To feel the flow of prana in every inch of your body, as you try to achieve the asana, feel it as you get into it and finally learning to let goof it, only to come back to it the next day with new energy, inside and outside.

Why you matter

I have been working from home long before it became an acceptable term.

I quit my job as a full-time journalist when my daughter turned one. So, 12 years of working from home and working for home have been satisfying yet exhausting. I have juggled various assignments, which includes bringing out three magazines, a supplement, writing three books and of course taking up freelance assignments that come along (much looked forward to by any consultant).

Though I am very strict about my ‘me time’, which usually means waking up at least 45 minutes to an hour before others in the house, of late, before my Yoga course, I had been feeling the need to connect with myself at a deeper level.

Thankfully I found the path of Yoga.

Was it easy taking off for almost a month, to be in the course? No, it wasn’t. But I needed to do it.

So, I decided, it was okay to cut myself off for a bit. Let the father daughter handle themselves. Did I succeed?

Well, definitely I am calmer, more tuned into myself and surely better equipped to handle what comes my way. Because there is nothing, I realised that can’t be sorted by a good round of meditation.

What’s more, I have a new weapon up my sleeve. “I think I want to go to Rishikesh, for another Yoga course,” I say. Enough for the father daughter duo to fall in line.

As for me, that thought of sitting by the Ganges, feeling my breath heal me is enough to calm me.