Rita Chohan

September finds many around the world celebrating festivities of Ganesh Chaturthi. It’s a tradition where the Indian deity Ganesh (the elephant headed son of Shiva and Parvati) bestows good fortune on all. Although I’m not religious I like what Ganesh represents, so much so that I named my East London yoga studio after him; Yoganesh. He represents a joyful spirit helping to remove obstacles that lie across the path of a blissful life.
During this time of life, I have been supporting my mum through cancer treatment. It’s been one of the hardest times of our lives but I have been able to support her by leaning on my yoga practice. One of my teachers once said that your practice should serve and nourish your life rather than becoming enslaved to it. I can honestly say that now I truly understand these words as it has pulled me through some of the most trying times. After many years of practice I’m amazed that I can fall in love with yoga all over again discovering new layers of healing.

Gigantic benefits have come from my physical and meditative yoga practices but even more from the pranyama (breathing exercises) discipline. Many pranyama practices unblock energy channels or nadis (rivers) that lie within the body. There are 3 main nadis, ida (feminine/ moon), pingala (masculine/ sun) which both crisscross at the chakras (energy vortexes) starting from the left and right respectively. Sushumna nadi (ray of light) lies along the spine and once ida and pingala are balanced prana (vital life force) gathers along this middle channel which boosts our feeling of vitality. Paying more attention to balancing my inner environment has helped when the outside world has thrown more obstacles than usual towards my direction.

Yoga for me is a non-dogmatic way to structure a balanced life; emotionally and physically. Although I live life with the usual ups and downs, being conscious of these fluctuations means that the negative aspects have less impact each time I get thrown a curve ball. Practicing yoga highlights that true abundant happiness lies within; and luckily for us, all it requires is the discipline of practice.

Although it’s hard seeing my mum suffer, it has driven me to live and focus in the present more than ever before appreciating that this is the only true moment to really exist in. It’s human nature to focus on the problems in our lives but with consciousness we can re-train our thought patterns towards more joyful living. I guide my students along this path towards health and happiness and help them connect to their own true light which will ultimately illuminate the rest of their way.


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