Since time immemorial, concerned parents and wannabe sages alike have touted the adage “too much of a good thing will make you sick!” Granted, the first time my mother told me this I had my hand in the cookie jar for the third time that evening, but this slice of conventional wisdom does not only apply to confectionaries…
Now that I am older, and slightly wiser (at least when it comes to rationing my Chips Ahoy intake), my days have consisted of working, learning, exercising, and spending time enjoying the company of those close to me. Because of this I usually feel healthy and balanced, allowing enough time for work and play. I am a runner, I have always been, and that has classically been the primary source of my exercising efforts. Sitting in front of a computer screen coding for nine hours a day doesn’t seem to be a physically taxing task in the least, rather, a mental workout. But I would find myself exhausted, physically exhausted, time and time again come the end of the day (and especially the end of the week). I couldn’t for the life of me pinpoint from whence this chronic tiredness came or why it chose to plague me so. I was desperate for a solution, and running just wasn’t cutting it. I needed to feel alleviated and whole again.
On the first Wednesday of my stay in Cape Town my Gmail notified me of an iX sponsored event occurring that night. I opened the invitation and read the title with slight skepticism: “Candlelit Yoga”. Before coming to South Africa, my perception of Yoga was rather uninformed; it seemed to be nothing more than a glorified stretch routine. I could feel the tightness in my shoulders as I read the event invitation though, and clicked the “attending” button on a whim, thinking I could at least use a decent stretching to combat my rigidness. Little did I know that on that Wednesday night Yoga was about to take my body on the ride of its life.
7pm rolled around and I sauntered into the iX house decked out in my best excuse for a Yoga outfit, complete with headband. I walked into what once was my classroom to discover yoga mats and candles strewn across the wooden floorboards. I was greeted with a warm smile and a wave of calm positivity by the instructor (or in Yoga lingo; Yogi) and wondered to myself “Am I supposed to say Namaste now?” “Will we be doing the Downward Dog? Is there an Upward Dog? What about the CATS?! They must have their own poses too right??” I sat on my mat and the session began. Even though I was only in the beginner’s class I soon realized how difficult yoga actually was. I was contorting myself into shapes that were unheard of even in the most passionate games of late night Twister. Towards the end of the session I was posed in Downward Dog pondering to myself “ How could this POSSIBLY be considered a resting pose?” I had never stretched my body to those extents, never focused so intently on my breathing and the way my body felt as I moved around. As I lay silently in Shavasana (or the “corpse pose”) at the end of my first yoga session I felt uplifted, free, and surprisingly HUMAN.
The stresses of my day, my week, my month, had all been expelled from my being, leaving me feeling peaceful, blissful and whole.
I realized that my exhaustion originated from my internal tightness, the stress left over from my day. My body was telling me I needed to reset, to relax and find my true self beneath the layers of a long hard day, and yoga taught me how to listen. Yoga healed me in a way I had never been healed before, and as the Yogi quietly spoke the words “Namaste” my first practice came to a close and I knew that I had finally regained my inner balance.
iXperience has taught me boundless lessons in both computer science and life itself. Just as my own mother passed along her wisdom on excess and dietary balance to me so many years ago, the Mother City and my iX family have taught me how to rebalance my mind, body, and soul through code & yoga.