bloom from within

series 2: amilton Brandão

Yoga practitioner & teacher.Artist. Writer, Martial Arts Practisioner.

From Brazil. Currently based in India.

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"I started doing yoga because I couldn’t sit straight to meditate. At the time I used to see them as separate activities, now I see them as different manifestations of the same energy."

I’m Amilton, originally from Brazil and passionate about anything that aims to bring some light in search of ourselves. The tools I found along the way for that are many; philosophy, mythology, music, cinema, literature, martial arts, meditation and Yoga, to mention a few. Through them, my ever-present thirst for knowledge, curiosity and growth have been quenched, but also igniting me to move, to continue the search, to re-signify meaning of each step I take.

I started practising  yoga in August 2017. I knew very little about it. My knowledge boiled down to the physical aspect of it. Before I immersed myself in spiritual practices, I was more familiar with meditation and Buddhism, but not so much with yoga. Since my knowledge was very narrow, it definitely turned out to be way more than my vain ignorance could aspire to.

Looking back, I find it very hard to believe now that meditation or Yoga comes to our lives for ‘’pragmatic reasons ‘’.  It is definitely connected to the moment you’re facing in life and the moments you’re about to face. So, the way I see it, the conscious reasons we choose to do it when we start it are kind of a disguise. Behind, there’s much more. Something within is calling you for it, an existential necessity that at the time, we’re never able to fully grasp it, simply because you haven’t experienced what’s about to come. With all that said, for me, the disguise was very simple and pragmatic. I  started a meditation practice three months before I turned to yoga. The thing was that I simply could not sit straight for many minutes to meditate. I thought yoga could help me with that, it definitely did, but that was just the beginning of a series of transformations in life, mind, body and spirit.

What are the main changes you observed in your life since you started practising yoga regularly?

On a very tangible and physical level I felt like I was given a new body. I gained two centimetres in height (this is not a joke), a chronic lumbar pain that I had all my adult life simply disappeared, my whole body got a new format, in accordance with the internal transformations I was going through. My energy levels increased significantly, mentally and body wise.  I felt like water, emotions simply flowing, and even the hard ones, I could find a way to eventually accept, become equanimous about them (at the time, I was going through a separation from a four-year long relationship). It also made me understand and process my shadows, behaviours that emerged during that relationship. It also brought me a sense of adventure of ‘’conquering new land’’. Psychologically and mythologically speaking, with yoga I found in me a new persona, this persona was telling me to go out into the unknown, ‘’face the dragon’’ (chaos, uncharted map), emerge and test myself into new scenarios, to learn, to grow with, to engage in the ‘’Hero’s Journey’’, as coined by Joseph Campbell.

What is your favourite thing about yoga (physical practice, breathing techniques, chanting, relaxation) and why?

For me, they’re all very much intertwined. One prepares and enables you to be more at ease with the other, but of course, they can be done independently. At this point in my life, I’m still very connected with the physical practice, again, in connection with all the others, but I assume that in the years to come, this will naturally change, then my practice will maybe more focused on meditation, pranayamas and chanting. For now, I enjoy the peculiarities of each one of them. The ‘’alive’’ feeling I get with the physical practice, the feeling and certainty of taking care of our vehicle on earth. The concentration and ‘’high connection’’ with the breathing techniques, the opening of heart and soul with chanting and the complete surrender and liberation when in relaxation.

Would you recommend it to others and why?

Most definitely. If not for any of the reasons I experienced myself, at least for others to try to see it for themselves. We all need connection, we all need cleansing, purging, we all need to move, we all need to be still, and we all need to breathe. For those reasons alone, I would recommend yoga to anyone.

Are there other practices that you use regularly in your life that help you maintain balance in life? What are they?

I read in a book once (Prometheus Rising) that ‘’specialization is for insects’’ and that a human being should be able to do as many things as possible. The potential for that is in our innate nature and brain. To be as plural and polymathic as one can be. Exploring the infinite in ourselves through manifestations of colours, sounds, words, movement, images…

In that spirit, yes, I definitely make use of several ‘’tools’’ to keep me (in)sane, to keep me alive, to help me keep one foot on Order, the other on Chaos, balancing myself between those in the journey of my own Tao. Some of them are to connect with my partner, my twin flame. Vipassana meditation, martial arts (Capoeira, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Kalarigram), to immerse myself into literature (fiction and non fiction), playing and listening to music, cinema, singing and chanting, talking and connecting with people, manual labour at a farm (Karma Yoga), laughter and being close to water, nature.

Have you observed big changes in your life through yoga?

As I mentioned, I started doing yoga because I couldn’t sit straight to meditate. At the time I used to see them as separate activities, now I see them as different manifestations of the same energy. After three months of daily meditation I decided to book a 10-day silent retreat in Thailand. There, I would reencounter the love my soul already knew but this body had not had the chance to experience yet. There I would have my first interaction with the manifestation of beauty, love, spontaneity, wisdom and intelligence. Through smiles, laughter and silence, a strong connection was stablished. I met her one day before the retreat, we talked for a short while, ten days of silence, then talked again at the end of the retreat, exchanged contacts and went our separate ways for the time being. After one year of conversations through digital means, she would channel a beautiful poem, send it to me and told me she would come to Brazil. Two weeks after she arrived, I was on my knees asking her to marry me. Since then, across different continents, languages and culture, our souls merged in a natural alignment with our physical avatars. This is the short, short version of this beautiful story, but what is certain is that because of Yoga, union, search for the Divine in all of us, the pure life potential made itself present, clear and constant in my life ever since.