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Yogi of October – Terri Chen

Let life guide you by listening to your own heart?~ From Saraswathi
I am a white-collar worker who works from "five" to "nine" in this crazy paced city. Before seven am, among early rising students, young people who just got out of pubs, cleaning people who already started working, I am on my way to Space to begin my day on the mat.

I started yoga from a yoga club in my sister's company. I strived to workout out for 60 minutes with trembling muscles and hard breathing, my legs shook so much to the edge of jerking on my way out. After I joined Space, I had a chance to experience all kinds of yoga. When I first did Ashtanga, besides the non-sense mantra, the teacher repeated words that didn't make sense to me: Ujjayi Bandha, Drishti, Viniyasa, etc,. Among the endless strings of movements that never pause, with sweat all over my face, when I sipped water or wiped the face with a towel, the teacher would stop me. As I attended more classes, I managed to keep up with the pace. When the teacher encouraged us to deepen our own practices by practicing mysore at 7am, my first response was: no way.

Ashtanga makes it clear: do your practice and everything follows. For a person who is not flexible, not smart, not brave like me, the stupid and only way to achieve many difficult poses is by numerous practices. I fell (truly embarrassing stuffs you wouldn't want to know) and I felt defeated, but I found no other way besides returning to mat and practice. I did not force myself to get up early to practice until 2006 Auguest. Russell and Sally joined Space two weeks later. I was really happy to meet them. They have a tremendous influence on my yoga practice. Though Russell might seem very strict in teaching, he has a very understanding heart. He always knows the fine line between "can't" or "wouldn't". Under the gentle guidance of Sally, students always find their own confidence and the magic power of yoga. They serve as a model and get up early to practice daily. Gradually I get up early to practice daily too (except for badminton Sundays). I've been doing this for over a year. I know this is the practice I want and I enjoy doing it.

From the age of 15 years old, I've been plagued by psoriasis. Besides soothing remedies, there is nothing to cure it. The best remedy is no pressure in life and live a healthy life. I have a busy attitude and am a perfectionist. It is difficult to live without pressure. Yoga helps me to understand that the body is a naturally balanced system with precision. However, many people are too busy to observe what the body really needs. The body reacts with an overwhelming illness when the body cannot take it anymore. Yoga practices with body and mind. Body and mind achieve their natural balances. I am happy that as my body gets healthier my mind becomes healthier too.

I thank Joanna for inspiring my passion for yoga, Sally for teaching me teaching me the funs of upside-downs, Russell for introducing me the deadly attraction of backbends. Together with careful instructions from Axl and Gladys, the morning practices are rich and fun. I know how tired the body is after practice yet the teachers must get up early enough to finish their own practice before helping students with adjustments on the risk of getting kicked or hit. I thank all the teachers and every staff in Space.
I would like to dedicate this article to mysore friends, because I know how difficult to get up from warm beds in the mornings.

Keep practicing both on and off the mat through each doubt, fear, and skepticism, hopefully another me come.

Namaste!
Each month we will honor a SPACE student for his or her passion and dedication to the practice of Yoga. May their stories serve as inspiration to us all!
Asana of the Month
We will focus on a different Asana every month and delve deep into and explore all its inherent possibilities!

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