Translated from Sanskrit, this means “may all beings find peace”. It’s my meditation mantra: a phrase repeated continually, either silently or out loud, with the intent of cultivating intense focus on awareness and quieting of the mind.
I first started practicing yoga here in Columbia my freshman year of college. I would go to the free classes in the Green Quad a few times per week. I picked it up seriously last summer, when I discovered the foundation of yoga, which is centered around meditation and mindfulness (contrary to popular Western belief, the physical workout that yoga offers is only secondary. Yoga isn’t yoga at all without intense presence and focus on the breath). Devoting myself to meditation naturally brought yoga into my life as an every day practice to strengthen my mind and body at the same time. I bought a membership at Yoga Masala last August, and since then I’ve been an active and passionate yogi, setting aside time to practice almost every day.
Yoga has brought me so much peace, love, and perspective. It’s one of the most important aspects of my existence, and something I know I’ll continue to do for the rest of my life. The picture above is of my favorite teacher at Yoga Masala, Haley Duggan. She’s been an inspiration and a role model for me throughout my yoga journey, with her happy attitude and positive perspective on all aspects of life. With the help of Haley and the rest of the Yoga Masala team, I’ve been able to establish a strong foundation in yoga and meditation, advancing my practice far beyond what I could have imagined was possible last summer. A year ago, I could barely touch my toes, and couldn’t fathom the concept of a mind free of thoughts. Now, I can fold over in half, and I come home from school every day desperately craving the peace of mind that 30 minutes in silent meditation brings me. Next August I hope to complete a yoga teacher training course with at Yoga Masala to follow in the footsteps of all the inspirational teachers there. I’m deeply grateful for the beautiful practice of yoga and all of the wonderful people it has brought into my life.