We are so excited to share with you a new chapter in the Lotus Story. Great ideas come and go, but when an idea starts to affect a movement and the lives within the community, something remarkable is taking place. In many of our previous blogs we share our own stories of transformation and growth, inspired by our company's philosophy and mission. This journey has led us to many great things, but there is one big reason why we love working at Lotus; witnessing the chain reaction of another person's transformation from the inside out! It is truly a blessing and an honor to introduce our newest member of the Lotus family, Malay Hendricks, Director of Business Development. In her guest post below, Malay shares with us her personal experience with yoga and how it has surprisingly changed her entire life. We hope you're inspired by it!
I was in the line of work where my days ran long, ranging anywhere from ten to twenty hours (on some occasions) per day either in an office meeting, conducting training and interviews, drifting on the road, or doing presentations in a client's home. Those days would always put a big dent in me physically and mentally, and at the end of each day I grew wary and became extremely stressed out. I could not seem to find a way to alleviate the physical and mental stress I was putting on myself. I would try to find time in gaps of my day to get some workout done at the gym. I would try various exercises to shake the stress off, but I never really appreciated the flow of the workout. I basically worked out to trick myself into thinking I was doing something good for myself, but in actuality I was just going through the motion.
Sarah, my cousin, understands the type of industry I was working in and had told me she was practicing yoga for over two years, though at the time I did not think very much of it. What I do know about her was that she would not get into something that was not beneficial and didn't change her as a person, because she was in the same line of work as I was, if not more demanding. She stated that her yoga practice had completely changed her life; it helped her go on with her busy days in a calm and spiritual manner. When I heard that, I was in disbelief...in a good way. I wondered to myself, "How could she possibly find time to squeeze in something that is so transforming while juggling her corporate career, with two children, and manning a start up company!" When she asked me to join her one day, I said "sign me up" without hesitation!...and also without realizing that she will be picking me up at 5 AM the next morning. Nevertheless, I was up for the challenge.
When I arrived at the yoga studio for my very first time, I still did not think very much of it, maybe because I did not know what to expect. Though, I instantly became attracted to the facility, the aroma, the layout, and the ambiance. The entrance of the studio opens up with a friendly front desk staff, a lounge area with water, yoga towels, mats, sofas, inspirational books, and beautiful paintings of Buddhas on the walls. The place felt warm, personal, and inviting. I learned this particular facility had two yoga studios, one for room temperature types of yoga flows (Vinyasa) and another designated for hot yoga flows (Bikram).
Once again, I had no idea what yoga was (and even now, I still have very much to learn!)... My initial impression of yoga was this: it is designed for 'old people' or it is a regiment for 'people with some sort of illness'. I only knew that it involved some sort of stretching. The first practice seemed very foreign. I started with Bikram Yoga, in a 104 degrees studio. The whole objective for new students is to follow and do as much as possible without leaving the room. It felt like a sauna, but instead of relaxing, you are stretching and balancing. And if you are brand new and claustrophobic, you probably thought you were being punished for a crime you didn't commit. Anyway, the instructor started the practice with a breathing exercise, leading to a series of standing asanas (poses), then moving onto a series of laying down asanas on the mat, and ending the class with some final breathing exercises. She also concluded the class with a laying down flat back asana (otherwise called savasana) for two minutes. With our eyes closed, we were to focus only on our breath, appreciating our bellies flopping up and down as our bodies completely melted to the floor. We were asked to set a positive intention and send it to someone we love during this ending meditation.
I did not know any of the poses because they were called out in Sanskrit and only some were translated into English if time permitted in between the poses. I followed along with ALL of the poses, gave it 100%, and miraculously made it through the entire session without someone dialing 911. The next three days I could not walk. I went back three days later and continued practicing every morning. After a little over a week of practice, I recognized the changes I felt in my daily routine. I got through my ten to twelve hour days still in great shape, both mentally and physically. I was always alert. I ate and slept better. I saw how toned my muscles got. I felt the blood evenly distributed through out my body, especially after each practice. I felt a sense of higher gratitude and appreciation towards everything! My relationship with the higher source had been amplified at an exponential rate. I can't seem to put into words this natural high I was receiving, but I could feel it saturate into my flesh. My relationships with my peers, my family, and my husband has deepened at a level where words cannot describe, and only an enlightened heart can feel. The moment I realized this change was happening within me, I started preaching the practice of yoga!
The practice detoxes my physical system and helps me get centered so that I'm able to concentrate despite the chaos from everyday work. There are times where I did not need or crave coffee (this is coming from someone who drinks 1-2 cups per day). I also started making my own green juice using organic produce. Even my easily scarred skin started improving! I have never been more calm, happy, and healthier!
I have only been in practice for less than two years and I look forward to more. I find that yoga is just simply amazing. I wish the practice was introduced to me the day I was born.
From what I understand, yoga originated in India, and was introduced into the western culture more than a century ago, yet I was not aware of it till 2013. I have always wanted to incorporate something spiritual in my daily exercise routine. I was thrilled that the yoga studio fitted with my work schedule. I started going to the 5 AM classes daily.
I urge everyone who wants to live a long, healthy and happy life, to fit yoga into your lifestyle. And I can say with 500% conviction, that it will change your life as it did for me. Who wouldn't want this? Start taking care of your body now because you are the only person in control of your health. I hope to see everyone in the realm of bliss! In fact, join us for the Live Lotus event on April 19th! RSVP your spot at the link below. The event is free, but we are accepting donations on behalf of HERS Breast Cancer Foundation. I'm so happy to be part of this amazing movement. Live Lotus is truly a fitness experience infusing mind, body, and soul transformation. Please join us!