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Yogi of January – Diane Kao

It was late September 2007. The heat of Indian summer was making me sweat as I walked down An-ho road. My 27th birthday had just pasted, but I haven’t given myself a gift. Not that I have a habit of giving myself birthday presents, but at that time, there were certain losses in my life that I found myself alone and upset. So, I wanted to give myself a belated present, something that will change me, something that will make me happier. With that thought, I walked into SPACE YOGA.

At first, coming to classes was so that I had something to do after work, something that I can shift my focus towards and that I can at least get some benefits from the exercise. Gradually, as it became a regular and continuing practice, I started to discover the positive changes yoga had on my body and mind. Most importantly, yoga was no longer a practice that I needed some external rationalization for, it became an internally motivated practice that simply became a part of my life. It was all so natural.

In my practice, I do not limit myself to a particular style. I think there are benefits to all the different types. Plus, my leisure time outside of work is limited, so I am happy as long as I can make it to class to practice. I believe that with will and consistency, everyone can find a style or a way of practicing that is suitable to them. This is what the world of yoga is like, spacious and free. It welcomes you to experience all it has to offer.

When I practiced “flow”, “Anusara” or “Ashtanga” yoga, I enjoyed the feeling of my own power, as the sweat pours down my back. I also enjoyed that connected moment in class when everyone’s energies were integrated. During each practice, it was wonderful to find, unexpectedly, that my asanas had improved. And when each class was concluding, I always noticed the shiny light, glistening from everyone’s sweaty body. Even though their hairs were in disarray, but the flushed faces were the most beautiful sight – it was the fruit of an earnest practice.

With Restorative and Yin yoga, it was the release and calmness I treasured. What made me really excited was that through these quiet practices, I started to realize my increasing inner awareness. I became more aware of my breath, my asana practice, and in turn my thoughts, beliefs, actions and all that around me in everyday life. I was even aware of the awareness itself.

I think yoga is not about difficult, challenging poses. As long as you maintain a steadfast practice and through the process, you’ll learn to face your emotions, understand your body and hear the messages from your body. And your body will respond back. The responses could be allowing you to be more energetic, more flexible, with less aches and pains, have a shapelier body, or it could even be someone telling you that you look younger than you really are.

I like to thank SPACE’s thoughtful staff, the cleaning crew for their hard work and the supportive and passionate teachers for their selfless dedication. I particularly like to thank Ann for letting me experience the synergy of stillness and motion - the state of meditation in motion and the flow in stillness. I’m also grateful for Shirlyn‘s attentive alignment instructions and her committed and generous teachings. The warmth from all the teachers really had an impact on me. I learn to do the poses correctly, avoiding injuries and at the same time, felt the truth and beauty of yoga.

Even though I was always in a hurry coming and leaving classes, but just stepping into the practice room was enough to let my mind to settle. Although there wasn’t much verbal communication with others, but with a nod and a smile, we exchanged our mutual appreciation and understanding. The yogic path is like life’s journey, with a joyful heart, I will continue to progress. At this moment, I wish to transform the joy that yoga has brought me into blessings to you all!

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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