Why did I start doing yoga? I was the type that disliked physical activity and now I am paying good money to be active. It all started because of my company's annual employee fitness test. At the time, we were all surprised that our "senior" supervisor scored much better than us younglings and she told us it was all because she practiced yoga. Curious about yoga's benefits, I would try to follow the photo descriptions in the newspapers when they wrote about yoga. I even bought some yoga books and DVDs to practice at home, but I always felt I was missing something and I never knew if I was doing them correctly. The thought occur to me that I should just take a class.
I happened to read about SPACE in the paper. That prompted me to do some research on the web, where I learned that SPACE had just opened a studio in Tien-Mu. Being nearby, I went with a colleague for a visit, expecting it to be like those other small yoga studios around. I was pleasantly surprised to find the environment of SPACE to be so serene. There was a soothing aroma that welcomed us as we stepped through the door, along with soft calming music playing in the background. It was all very inviting and relaxing. Plus, SPACE's flexible and diverse schedule was perfect for my own rotating work schedule, so I decided to sign up for a membership.
In the very first class I took at SPACE, Amanda’s flow class, I finally found what I have been missing from my own attempts to practice yoga. It is difficult to describe that sense of satisfaction, but what I had experienced in that class just felt so right. At last a physical activity that made me felt joyful and even challenged.
At the beginning, I was often impatient about my shortcomings during class - not able to touch the floor or lay my belly flat on my thighs during forward bends. I was anxious to get myself into deeper poses, often forcing my body into postures that I was simply not ready for, ignoring the all painful warning signals my body was sending. Still, I just kept on being hasty in getting to that perfect split or inversion. This went on until a tear in my inner thigh pulled a stop on my restless eagerness.
The injury forced me to re-evaluate why I was learning yoga. Was I trying to be a show off? It made me realized that yoga is not a competition. The point is to feel a sense of joy in the process of learning; it is a spiritual as well as a physical practice. So, I readjusted my attitude by approaching each class as if it was the first class. No longer was I insisting on practicing only the difficult poses, instead I learned to concentrate on making each pose as mindful as possible and enjoying being in the moment. I also learned to be humble. At the beginning, I thought if I can just master split or inversions, I'd be an expert yogi. But, the more I practiced yoga, the more I come to understand that there is always more to learn and there is always someone better. It is just like life, in that we need to maintain the beginner’s mind by being humble and not arrogant.
Throughout my yogic journey, I'm especially thankful for Vicky. She had always made her class fun and interesting. Even though it was at times difficult, but it was always joyous. I would leave her class already looking forward to the next. It was addictive like a game that you just can't put down. I'm also grateful for Wawa's patience in teaching us the basic poses, breaking them down step-by-step, allowing us to really grasp the fundamental techniques.
Lastly, I'm happy to report that after practicing yoga for a year, I went from scoring "poor" to "good" in my firm’s last annual fitness test. So, how long do I think I will practice yoga? I'm sure it will be for the rest of my life!