We all know about the health benefits of practicing yoga positions or asanas. But one inspiring girl also uses them to convey a powerful message.
You probably won’t have heard of Heidi Williams unless you are a social media loving yogi, but you should know who she is as she and her beautiful yoga positions are a total inspiration to us all.
American yogi Heidi is a survivor of rape, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and depression. She turned to yoga to help her try and take back control of her mind, body, and spirit. She has said that yoga has brought her to “a place of peace and self-acceptance”. She now aims to dedicate her life to helping others who are suffering.
Her Instagram account is full of beautiful photographs of yoga positions in which she hopes will show what the body is capable of in the face of adversity. Her yoga classes and retreats are aimed towards those who have suffered from mental health issues or have experienced similar traumas to herself.
According to a study conducted by the British Psychological Society, yoga therapy can have a positive impact on the nervous system. When we are stressed, whether it’s because of work or our families, our mind becomes very busy, and the thought of focusing on only one thing would seem impossible. Meditation is part of a yoga practice and with time you can use it to slow your mind down and take a moment for yourself. During your yoga practice, whether it’s holding an asana, practicing a flow sequence or taking a moment in savasana, your mind naturally slows down and you only focus on the breath. With time, you will be able to create this stillness just by sitting still, rather than needing to undertake a yoga practice.
Yoga helps us connect the mind and body, and when they are connected we often feel a sense of calmness and harmony. You will recognize the feeling if you have had a bad day, attend a yoga class and come away feeling on cloud nine. Practicing yoga teaches us to listen to our bodies and to listen to any problems that may arise. This could be something as simple as when our muscles start to pull in a certain position, we need to take a step back.
It is believed that yoga dates back to 3300 BC, the term “yoga” can be found in ancient Indian scripts. The original meaning of yoga was the action of a warrior dying, and ascending to heaven by the Gods who would also carry his chariot with him. We move to the 3rd century BC and the word yoga appears in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist writing. In Buddhism yoga is seen as a spiritual practice. So this is the first time we see similarities between yoga today and the history of yoga practice.
If we fast forward to the 5th Century AD and yoga was a set of ideals amongst Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. In the Medieval period, different schools of yoga appear, including Bhakti, which was a spiritual pathway within the Hindu religion. A well-known type of yoga also appeared in this time, Tantra. This is often seen as a sexual style of yoga. But back then, it meant having sexual relations with women who they believed were Tantric goddesses. By having sex with these women, they believed they would be able to transcend to a new spiritual level.
The popular Hatha yoga appeared in the 8th century, and it came from Tantra. The yoga we know and love today came to the attention of Westerners in the 19th century. Westerners became fascinated by Indian culture and yoga was of course part of that.
Photo: Instagram (via – @heidiwilliams89).
Heidi Williams through her beautiful social media accounts ( Facebook, Instagram) really manages to create a strong link between the spiritual aspects of yoga and the difficult yoga positions to create an awareness of depression and rape and how you can overcome and move on from it.
By Holly W.