Words Zahra K.
Photograph Alifiya S and Fatema A.
Happy Homemaker, Bibliophile, Reader, Writer – in that order. I am very Tea-motional and I love to dig in the little details of everything that catches my attention♡
ABCedarian Theme Foreword:
Abecedarian – defined as a person who is learning the letters of the alphabet or a beginner in any field of learning.
Whether we’re students, teachers, mothers or sons, life throws us a new lesson at every turn. Every new sunrise brings us the opportunity to learn a new set of ABCs. Join our writers as they discuss how they tackle new challenges head on and be inspired to become an abecedarian yourself!
For the potato of a woman that I am, my weight never bothered me but my inability to sit in one position for a long time did. To see so many sit on a chair in the masjid gives me goosebumps. Thinking about it, I feel a pins and needles sensation in my feet when I sit in one position for too long. Our culture and social life involves sitting down a lot, and every Ashara with Maula TUS indicated to me how much I needed to work on the practice. If you ever sat next to me in a waaz you’d know what I am talking about! I am also a perpetual stresser. Even the silliest issues make me go bonkers. With time I realised how much all of this was disrupting my daily life.
I happened to mention my concerns to a friend one day and she introduced me to a Yoga class she was attending. At first, I felt that I don’t have the patience for it and I needed to do something vigorous and quick to fix my problem. I had also considered alternative therapies, medicines, diets etc. But my friend insisted and everything changed once I began.
Yoga involves a lot of bending, stretching and breathing. I was hideous in my first week of the class and was convinced that this wasn’t meant for me. I threw myself off balance so many times, had cramps, sore muscles and was sleepy. A few weeks later I started feeling lighter, better and more balanced, mentally and physically.
Beginning to do anything involves its own challenges. Learning the nitty-gritty of an art requires patience, time & practice. I pushed myself in my everyday life. I pushed myself to persevere at whatever I did; I worked longer. It was me versus my body. Yoga had awakened in me a feeling that had lain dormant for a long time… one of being in sync with myself rather than pushing myself all the time. I was no more pushing, only flowing and this sensation started to seep into all the other aspects of my life.
Yoga gave me a schedule and allowed me to relax my rigid thinking to make it more flexible. I found balance in my thoughts which were once at extremes and lopsided. I did lose sight of this balance once or twice; I might have tried to compete with my neighbour on the yoga mat next to me, instead of concentrating on my own point of focus… when this happened, I would immediately tumble over!
One day in class, the pose of the moment was the pigeon pose. I had no intention of doing it but as I bent forward listening intently to the instructions of my yoga instructor, with very little effort, it just happened! I was so thrilled; I spent the next few days in perpetual pigeon poses at home. I woke up in it, I did it to take a break, and I just did it whenever I felt like it!
My newfound interest in the steady pigeon pose reflected what I uncovered about yoga poses in general. I discovered that to maintain the required balance, I had to let my mind take the time off and let my body take over.
I now go to bed when I’m tired. There’s always something that’s left to do at the end of every day. But this art has taught me that I can always stretch myself more tomorrow, breathe and not make a big deal of it if I am unable to finish my errands today.
The cumulative effects of yoga have begun to show. I feel more in tune with my body. I am reacting differently to situations that have happened umpteen times before, only to realise I have conquered them now after this mind shift. It’s scary how subtly it has happened, but it has. I am less anxious, calmer, and even if I do get annoyed I can handle it gracefully!
Oh, and yes, there’s been immense progress in my ability to sit in the masjid, in one position, for a long time. I guess that steals the show!