Practice yoga for healthy mind and body – Ioanna’s experience

4 November 2022Up Stories

-Do you work out?

-Yeah, I practice yoga.

-Oh… So, you do a lot of stretching and breathing right… it’s relaxing I guess… but what do you actually do for your body, to be healthy?

Yes, yoga. To be healthy both in body and in mind.

What does it mean to be healthy? In a time where everyone is not sleeping enough, working too much, worrying too much and feeling depressed, is it enough to be merely physically healthy? No, in order to be physically healthy one must be mentally fit as well.

At my graduate year of my bachelor studies, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my mum was in despair and I also had to choose where to go abroad for my post- graduate degree. All went well in the end, my dad survived, I postponed my post- graduate studies and things looked back to normal. And then, I had my first panic attack. I felt the pain literally of a heart attack and I couldn’t move. And then I got another one and another one. And finally, the big one happened, where I paralyzed completely from my right side and thought I was getting a stroke.

Nothing was normal, I was out of balance.

The thing about panic attacks is that the mind itself creates them and although one can acknowledge it, at the same time he feels completely powerless to put an end to them. At first, you start to feel unwell and it escalates to a point where you actually experience all the symptoms of a real heart attack.

Panic attacks are like an alarm for our overall wellbeing. When we suppress emotions, thoughts and push ourselves towards complete meltdown, panic comes along to force us to slow down and confront all that we have been avoiding to deal with.

It was at that time when my sister took me to my first ever yoga class. The yoga teacher was an old-fashioned British guy, who looked like he was working at a pub. Gary was his name and after one hour and a half I felt like I had been sleeping deeply for 24 hours straight. The noise in my head was gone, I felt that finally I was breathing normally, inhaling and exhaling, and not holding my breath like what seemed forever. And my healing journey begun through yoga, to find my balance all over again.

What is yoga?

Yoga, according to the sage Patanjali Maharishi, is the restraint of the modifications of the mind. “If you can control the rising of the mind into ripples, you will experience yoga”.

In yoga one must focus on their breathing and stay focused to be able to hold a pose (asana). It might sound easy but it’s not, because the mind has the tendency to drift and quit when the body feels discomfort. One must know how to persevere and stay in the moment.

The spectrum of our nervous system consists of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic system controls “fight-or-flight” responses. In other words, this system prepares the body for strenuous physical activity. This process in our bodies is a primitive response to danger. It alerts us to start running so that we don’t get eaten by predators. Therefore, we are being proactive so as to survive. But nowadays, stress accumulates in our bodies and although we are not being attacked, we react as if we were constantly in danger.

Today, our working environments tend to be quite stressful. Deadlines, targets, meetings are stressful even the smallest things like emails and commuting have a ripple effect to our mind. The only solution is to be able to govern our minds.

Yoga is the restraint of the modifications of the mind.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (Om peace in body, peace in mind, peace in spirit).


By Ioanna Liosi, Key Account Manager of our super team!

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