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  • Writer's pictureDessislava Mladenova

Beyond the Physical: How Yoga Transformed My Mental Well-being

Updated: Apr 8


 

Brown pencil Drawing: a yogi in Downward Dog, celestial bodies, lines aligning with Earth & Moon centres and body parts.
How arranging mindfully body parts in space can help our mental well-being. Image credit: DessiYoga


Within a few short weeks of consistent Yoga practice, I felt lighter, happier, and energized in a way I couldn’t recognise myself.



 

"How can something so physical be so transformative for my mental well-being in a way that does not require any effort other than being consistent and present with my practice?" I asked my husband, the excitement evident in my voice.


For just a few weeks now, I've been dedicated to my morning Yoga home practice, following along with various YouTube yoga channels. Initially, my focus was solely on the physical aspect we commonly associate with Yoga in the Western world — Yoga asanas (postures) —without delving into the other beautiful dimensions of Yoga. Yet, astonishingly, I found myself undergoing a profound change.


Prior to starting Yoga, I used to feel as though “poison is running through my veins” — a feeling I carried all day, every day, like iron chains — heavy, lethargic, tired, unhappy, crashed under the burden of my own thoughts. Constant thoughts. Negative thoughts. Circling me, suffocating me, drawing out the very life source out of me.

That was who I had become.


But within a few short weeks, I felt lighter, happier, and energized in a way I couldn’t recognise myself.





Was this magic? What was this phenomenon called Yoga that had sparked such a remarkable transformation within me?



 

Having undergone numerous sessions of cognitive behaviour therapy in the past, yielding only fleeting results, these few weeks of dedicating just 20 minutes a day to Yoga asanas had profoundly reshaped the very fabric of my mind — thoughts and emotions re-weaved and re-patterned in a way nothing else had accomplished in the past eight years.


I came to realise that there was immense depth to Yoga that I had barely begun to explore.



Could it be that there exists a wisdom, a self-healing methodology, beyond the confines of my own thoughts and rational mind? And could it be accessed by simply engaging in a sequence of postures, synchronising breath and movement?



Was that too hard to believe?

The answer I initially whispered to myself, out of fear of ridicule, is one I now wish to shout proudly:



"Within each of us lies a wondrous, transformative power, and the gateway to unlock it is through the body."




 

For years, I had neglected my own physical body, prioritising the intellectual development of my mind in pursuit of scientific growth and my career aspirations. But my experience had illuminated a fundamental truth — one that surpassed mere scientific papers and theories. It was a deep knowing that arose from direct experience.


Curiously enough, I found myself unconcerned with deciphering the precise mechanisms behind this miraculous transformation. My sole focus was immersing myself further and deeper into the world of Yoga.


However, almost serendipitously, I stumbled upon "the answer" during my wide-ranging readings on Yoga. It was through the words of Sadhguru, a modern-day mystic, yogi, and philanthropist, that I discovered resonance with my own personal journey —



“…working consciously on the physical level can alter the way one thinks, feels and experiences life…”*




 

That was a profound statement and rang absolutely true for me.


I would like to give you some of Sadhguru’s wisdom on Yoga so that you can start seeing the purpose of Yoga asanas in a different light.



“The quality of an earthen pot depends on how well the clay has been kneaded. Similarly, asanas are about elevating consciousness by thoroughly kneading the body”*




 

Yoga is an all-encompassing system of methods and technological tools crafted to help human beings realize their ultimate potential — not only on the physical plane but also mentally and beyond. These methods encompass physical practices (Yoga asanas), energetic practices such as pranayama (breath control practices), and subtle practices that enhance focus and mental acuity, such as sense withdrawal, concentration on an object, and meditation. In essence, Yoga addresses every facet of the human being, spanning from the tangible, visible structures to the intangible, invisible energetic, mental, and other systems that constitute our being.


The ultimate goal of Yoga is to guide practitioners toward a state of pure consciousness, free from memories and transcending the intellect, where individual consciousness merges with the Ultimate Reality of Oneness, Bliss, and Joy. Yoga, which means Union, is the process of unifying oneself with the nature of Ultimate Reality, opening up boundless possibilities for human transformation.



The wonderful news is that you needn't concern yourself with the full spectrum of techniques and practices that Yoga offers, nor must you seek complete Union with the nature of Ultimate Reality to experience the profound benefits of Yoga.



In fact, by consistently practicing Yoga asanas alone — mindfully, with breath and movement in synchrony — you can gift yourself tremendous benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. I can attest to this from personal experience.


As you continue your journey and maintain a dedicated Yoga asanas practice, you will find that it brings about changes even in the subtler aspects of your being — transformations you never anticipated or consciously sought. Once again, I speak from personal experience.


Yoga is an ancient science, empirically tested and proven.


The Yoga asanas are not arbitrary postures; they have been chosen for their specific effects, transmitting their benefits from the physical plane of the body to the more subtle and intangible realms of our mental and energetic existence.


“The quality of an earthen pot depends on how well the clay has been kneaded. Similarly, asanas are about elevating consciousness by thoroughly kneading the body” *



It is both an honor and a joy for me to share with you what I have read and what I have learned through my own experiential journey.



My hope is that these insights can enrich your own experiences with Yoga, guiding you on a path of self-discovery and transformation.



*(Note: The quotations with an asterisk in this blog post are from Sadhguru's book “Karma")

Sadhguru. (2016). Karma: A Yogi's Guide to Crafting Your Destiny. Harper Element.

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