In the Midst of Practice, Lessons Learned from my Yoga Practice

I often get asked “why did you start yoga?!”I've asked myself the same question, examined the intention behind it and the lessons learned on the mat in the process.
Reflecting back, I originally started yoga later in my fitness journey as a way to gain more flexibility and avoid injuries when working out. Two years ago, as my muscles stretched and my perspectives expanded, I delved deeper into my practice. What started as a physical activity, became a holistic approach of wellness and my focus realigned itself from an isolated work-OUT to a dynamic work-IN with an intentional way of living.
As a medical student and more recently as a medical practitioner, the stress load, physical and emotional fatigue I experience on a daily basis increased, and the usual gym workout that used to be a great outlet stopped working. In juggling and pursuing the career of my dreams, I lost my balance and forgot to take care of my own inner peace. I realized embracing a new mindset of reexamining my practice was essential in my journey and in life. I thought I was learning asanas but in fact I was learning lessons in life:
  • I learned that shifting perspectives matters: and just like any inversion, sometimes you just need to see things from a different angle.
  • I learned to be optimistic and patient: that some asanas are challenging and so is life. Each time I strike a difficult pose or challenge myself to go beyond my own comfort, it gives me more drive to challenge myself on a bigger scale with the idea that everything is possible with a little more effort and a little more patience.
  • I learned to go with the flow. Just like vinyasas: that some days are better than others, and when things are on the downside, breathing helps in finding balance.
  • I learned that failure is part of life and so is falling ; and that I am strong enough to get back on my feet.
  • I learned that balance is not a pose, it’s a way of living. Balancing life and play, inhales and exhales, mind, body, and soul, and self love and love to others. As a healthcare professional, I like to have a holistic approach to a person’s wellbeing and look beyond the physical aspect of health and that is why I think yoga and meditation is an important practice to achieve the balance between the body and the mind.
  • I learned to listen to my heart and trust it. To ease out of a pose when it doesn’t feel right and lean into discomfort when my body gut tells me to.
  • I learned to celebrate differences, that each person approaches life and yoga differently, through their own needs, lens, perspectives, and journeys and the only right way is your way so listen to your heart.
  • I learned that I am always learning, these are my lessons, what have you learned from your practice?

About Hajar Hamadi @hamadihajar
Hajar is a 26 year old general medicine and urgent care doctor from Marrakech, Morocco. She graduated from Marrakech faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy with a degree in general medicine in February 2018 and aspires to pursue a specialty in Neurology. She is an active volunteer in local NGOs providing medical care and health education on preventive medicine to remote areas. In her free time, she enjoys being active, drawing , painting, learning languages and practicing yoga. She loves teaching others about the practice and sharing her journey, failures and struggles to help others come to the same realization and achieve their goal be it flexibility or mindfulness, and to see it from the perspective of an everyday practice.