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Yogi of February – Stephanie Hsu

After being in the work field for many years; I have gone from a young adult full of ambition and ideals to a soon to be thirty something. As my career developed I discovered material comforts and a high living standard, but at the end of the day I still felt empty inside. I questioned everything, not knowing what the purpose of my life was. After living in a cold and apathetic city like Taipei for many years, I gradually built thick walls around my heart. lost my inspiration to experience life.

At the same time, my body started to develop strange symptoms from the increasing pressure and accumulated stress of my daily life. During the day I felt like a soulless body in an office, burning myself out for the sake of achieving company goals. After work I became a drifting soul, lost at the crossroads of life, not knowing where to go.

Over a year ago, by chance, I discovered a fitness center in my neighborhood that offered various yoga classes. With great excitement and anticipation I went in to enroll. My God! Tai Chi Yoga, Power Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Reiki Yoga, Ayurveda Yoga…how could I choose from all these courses? The sales staff was a bit up tight and insisted that there was absolutely no way for non-members to have a trail class.

Half out of curiosity and half from feeling pressured I enrolled as a member. That very night I signed up for a course that fit into my schedule after work. I remember how shocked I was when I saw the shabby classroom overcrowded with students. The actual Yoga practice was only 40 minutes. My tense body needed more. Practicing yoga half heartedly, I started to feel that many yoga studios were like academic institutions where the teachers talk continuously using fancy words that did not touch me.Maybe I was not able to open my heart, but I felt that the talks were pretentious and disturbing, and after awhile, I gradually forgot about practicing yoga.

The idea of Hot yoga became very appealing when I pondered how my cold body could survive through the winter. (Hot yoga is practiced in a room heated to between 36-40°C to help the body detoxify, increases flexibility and stamina.) SPACE was the perfect place for me, perfect in location and perfect in timing. SPACE is located just midway between my work and my home, and the evening HOT YOGA course fit my 9-6 schedule perfectly. Most importantly, each and every one of the well trained teachers are so very patient and passionate in their teaching. (special thanks to Wawa, Sharon and Vicky) Through the guidance of the teachers, gradually my tight shoulders relaxed and softened. I was able to listen to my breath and a sense of calm spread through my body. I began to let go and empty my mind. As soon as I started to sweat, the dark thoughts that had accumulated in my mind seemed to be swept away. The 90minute session brought me to experience something new to me. I felt an exceptional sense of well being in mind and spirit.

Yoga practice is not meant to be measured by how precisely the asanas are performed. It is rather an affirmation of the strength of the inner self. There is no need to compare; one needs only focus on the present moment. I used to find it so difficult to let go of the day. However after practicing the various postures and breathing techniques my body and mind opened up and my awareness expanded.

I am so grateful to the creators of SPACE, for providing us with such a peaceful sanctuary in the midst of all of the chaos of the city. In our busy modern world, it is a great blessing to have the opportunity to experience yoga. Through this practice we are reminded to open our minds, and to find more compassion and love for those in need around the world. Yoga teaches us to focus on the present moment while letting the spirit of yoga guide us at all times in our daily life.

Namaste

Stephanie
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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