THE YOGA JOUR­NEY

BY IM­MERS­ING HER­SELF IN YOGA, DOMINIQUE (NICO) KLIMEK BE­GAN A JOUR­NEY OF SELF-DIS­COV­ERY

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“I don’t like this,” I thought, as my fin­gers sunk into the mat and I pushed my hips into the air in an at­tempt to find the ‘down­ward fac­ing dog’ pose. My gaze wan­dered around the room, scan­ning the other yo­gis and their form that I tried to mimic. This went on for the en­tirety of the class. We moved and stretched and twisted and breathed, and all I was try­ing to do was keep up and not con­fuse my left and right. As we made our way into the fi­nal pose, Savasana, and I lay there with my eyes closed, I fi­nally felt peace. The room that was hot with en­ergy had sud­denly be­come calm. I could feel the air still­ing and ev­ery­one’s mol­e­cules of en­ergy that had been rac­ing around the room now felt like they were float­ing above us all. I de­cided I would go to an­other yoga class. Not be­cause I liked it, but be­cause I knew that I needed it.

It’s 5am and I’m wo­ken by the most ir­ri­tat­ing alarm clock in the world. The city is still dark and asleep, but I am putting on my sneak­ers and head­ing out the door. When you’re train­ing for a marathon you don’t need much mo­ti­va­tion to wake up and run – if you want to make it to mile 26, you have to train. I get twelve miles down be­fore my nine-hour work­day. I shower, chug a smoothie, make my

lunch and head to the of­fice. By 7pm my body is sore and my mind is numb. I don’t want to go to yoga, but some­how my legs take me there and I find my­self sit­ting on my mat with my eyes closed and my hands on my knees, as we set­tle in and calm our minds for class. I’m a bit more fa­mil­iar with the poses since I’ve been go­ing to yoga a cou­ple times a week, and it’s get­ting eas­ier to fol­low the se­quences. Do I dare say that the asanas are even some­what en­joy­able? This evening feels bet­ter than usual. I found a gen­tle yoga class and my body needs this as much as my mind does. By the time I rise from Savasana I feel ut­terly peace­ful. I sleep well that night.

And so my yoga jour­ney con­tin­ued. I needed yoga to re­lax my mind and stretch my muscles. Long runs, in­tense spin classes and heavy gym ses­sions would be com­ple­mented by evening asanas and breath work. Once I had com­pleted my marathon I started putting more time and ef­fort into my yoga prac­tice. I no longer went be­cause I knew it was good for me, I went be­cause I wanted to go.

Yoga is pos­si­bly most chal­leng­ing for peo­ple with high lev­els of en­ergy – those of us that love run­ning, spin­ning, box­ing and fast-paced ex­er­cise. This is the most chal­leng­ing part (and also the most re­ward­ing). When al­low­ing the mind to set­tle and be still, your senses awaken – the feel­ing of your breath en­ter­ing and ex­it­ing your body, the thump of your heart­beat, the weight of grav­ity hold­ing you down – all of these things that oc­cur ev­ery sec­ond of our lives, you sud­denly be­come con­nected with. Yoga al­ways re­minds me, es­pe­cially on ‘off days’, that I am here and I am alive and that is some­thing to be grate­ful for.

It’s be­cause I en­joy prac­tis­ing asana in group set­tings, and be­cause I en­joy teach­ing and pub­lic speak­ing, that I de­cided to get my Yoga Teacher Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. My week­ends be­came filled with yoga lec­tures, asana prac­tice, med­i­ta­tion and anatomy lessons. When im­mers­ing my­self so deeply into yoga I dis­cov­ered so much about my­self in my prac­tice and in my life. And through­out this self-dis­cov­ery I had the priv­i­lege of con­tin­u­ing my yoga jour­ney with the most in­cred­i­ble group of peo­ple. Yoga seems to at­tract the most beau­ti­ful souls from all walks of life. The com­mon fac­tor is al­ways an un­der­stand­ing of the ben­e­fits of yoga.

Now that I have grad­u­ated I aim to teach classes that draw in peo­ple who are new to yoga. There is al­ways a hes­i­tance to try some­thing new or un­com­fort­able and I think the way to in­tro­duce yoga to more in­di­vid­u­als is by mak­ing it avail­able in dif­fer­ent forms. Asana does not need to take place in a yoga stu­dio – it can take place in a gym, a park, a store, a bar – any­where that you can fit some mats in a safe set­ting.

Yoga does not need to be limited to any spe­cific lo­ca­tion and I hope to share it with as many peo­ple as I can.

Fol­low Nico on Instagram @neeks.peeks

“Yoga s ms to aŒract the most beau­ti­ful souls from a walks of life. The co on fac­tor is al­ways an un­der­stand­ing of the ben­e­fits of yoga”

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