UnitedLife 06

10 ways how YOGA saved my life


Soňa Zajačeková
Editor-in-Chief of United Life
Bratislava, Slovakia

I still remember my first yoga class. Thanks to a certain handsome young man, I felt as miserable as a 21-year old could only feel. I felt like a whale on dry land during practice, but also good. And I vividly remember waking up the next morning with all my heartache gone. To say I was astonished would be an understatement. I was mesmerized.


I am infinitely grateful for this gift in my life. Don’t get me wrong – I am not particularly yoga-gifted in any way. I am simply grateful that yoga crossed my path and I listened to my intuition and decided to walk it.

I do not see a great need for theory in these days when yoga is an ancient Indian teaching and a profaned work-out practice at the same time. I can however offer an insight into my personal relationship with this amazing teacher.

Gracious moves and calmness of mind merge into one in yoga. I often noticed how a peaceful mind and even a complete absence of thoughts are key to many poses, especially the ones requiring balance. If you don’t know how to achieve that, focus solely on the rhythm of your own breath.

Yoga teaches us to examine our limits. If putting your leg behind your head stops being impossible, you might wonder what else formerly impossible can be done.

It also teaches us about kindness and humaneness. My personal lesson in kindness had been a live show in my yoga classes for almost a year. The room for the yoga class used to be packed since my teacher enjoyed great popularity – up to an extent that people had their yoga mats in a thirty centimeter distance from each other. I got possessed by other feelings than the love for fellow human beings when two more ladies spread out their yoga mats right next to me before the class started and thereby claimed my carefully chosen spot (and life space). Yet after a while I noticed how the practice started to melt these feelings. More and more, until one day I had an epiphany in the “you are just another me” style – which is also a well-known yogic mantra.

What are the things your body will be grateful for? It will be grateful for your loving attention. It will be glad that you consciously work with muscles and body parts that otherwise don’t get much action. It will be grateful for the significant increase of oxygen since pranajama, the art of proper breathing, is an inseparable part of yoga.

Your body will thank you for unclogging your meridians so energy can flow freely again. It will also appreciate the massage all your internal organs are receiving. The actual yogic breathing is a blessing for the entire digestion. First, you exhale all residual air from your lungs. Then you slowly start inhaling first into your belly, then you fill your lungs and throat. You exhale twice as slowly and in reversed order, belly last. Yogic breathing works as a plunger that gently pushes and massages your stomach and intestines. The Chinese would agree as well since they have been claiming for ages that a properly working intestinal tract is key to good health.

It is more than probable that your taste buds will change and you start preferring different, cleaner food. You might discover the most valuable source of clean renewable energy right inside of you. You will radiate vitality like your own sun.

Yoga poses are called asanas and they can be practiced separately or following one another. The famous Sun Salutation is only one example. Important are calm and harmonious movements aligned to breathing.

The more gracefully you are able to practice the asanas, the more gracefully you walk through life; metaphorically as well as literally. Your posture changes. You will move, walk and talk with grace. Your yogic and life attitudes won’t be rigid nor callous. You will become like water, strong in your flexibility.

You will reach nirvana when your body knows the asanas intimately so you don’t have to focus on a correct posture or stamina. Your body takes over and an entirely new horizon opens up to your mind. You don’t register a difference between your movements, sounds and your surroundings, because for a while you become one. This is how paint must feel during painting on a canvas. It is the act of painting and the finished art piece at the same time. You simply exist and you continue to flow. This state is well-known to those who meditate. Yet to experience it in motion add another dimension to it. My favorite one.


Yoga is my connection to the ungraspable, the unfathomable that I and the world around me are made of. Yoga is much more than a couple of hours spent on my mat, it is a way of life to me. It is one of my most beloved tools for self-discovery, my lifebuoy. Or as my teacher Holly used to say – you can yoga your way out of every s..ituation.

In Lak’ech Ala K’in, namaste.

Soňa Zajačeková


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