'My Story' by JJ
Updated: Mar 4
Kiwi blokes dont do yoga!...
I’ve always just thought of myself as your average Kiwi bloke. You know the one, a bit rough around the edges, loves a few beers and a game of rugby on the weekends. If you’d asked me two years ago to give a live All Blacks game a miss and maybe watch it later because we were going to meditate on a Saturday night instead, I’d tell you you were absolutely dreaming!
Like most kiwi blokes I was always in search of a reason for a few beers or a high to get into a better state of mind. Where did that behaviour get me? Nowhere! All I ever got out of those experiences was a quick high to get a rush of endorphins lasting the night followed by an emptiness the next day until I found the next excuse. It's too easy to say this is normal and is enjoyable, but in reality it is not and in fact it is just a form of suffering.
Other forms of escape I have used include taking stupid risks with adventure activities or punishing myself with extreme exercise to get the endorphins flowing. Spending hours upon hours to improve my fitness and get the fix that I so desperately wanted. Eventually this led me to endorphin fatigue and I was unable to fill that void.
This was when someone told me I should give Yoga a try. If I’m honest, I was keen to give it a go but for all the wrong reasons. Back then I thought that the most attractive part of yoga was the attire that the woman wore. It once even led me and a mate of mine to Bikram yoga. What a hot sweaty disaster that was. Two unintelligent Māori boys living London, jammed in a sweltering 40 degree room, sweating like crazy, lungs burning and massively uncomfortable. Not attractive! I realised that this type of Yoga was not for me.
On the other hand, everyone I knew who practiced Bhakti Yoga seemed to be insanely happy, so I took a leap of faith with the help of a close friend of mine to discover the true value of yoga.
The word Yoga literally means union. But with what? Once someone actually explained the point of yoga I was hooked. The path of yoga for me was to bring myself closer to the Supreme Being and acknowledge that I am not my mind. I am not my body, I am an eternal spirit soul.
Fast forward two years without a drop of booze, I practice Yoga every day, host weekly meditation gatherings at my house and absolutely hit the pause button on the All Black games in favour of meditation. For I have found something truly amazing. Something transcendental. Bhakti yoga, mantra meditation & kirtan music. I mean it, stuff the beers and other stimulants! Rugby can wait too. This form of meditation will take you to the place you’ve been searching for and once you get a taste for it, it just gets sweeter. You don't need any qualifications, or even be able to sing. Just an open heart and a willingness to shift to a new normal. These sweet transcendental sounds from the spiritual world free you from your mind and reach deep within your heart.
For those of you who love a happy ever after. Each day I am thankful for the lifestyle change and the decision to make Bhakti yoga my life. I have now found the purpose, the absolute truth & an undying love for the Supreme Soul.