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Yogi of June – Sophia Hung

When I was recovering from my cancer, I walked into SPACE seeking an effective exercise to help rid of the toxins from chemotherapy. The first class I decided to try was hot yoga, but I could only last 40 minutes before I had to stop. The teacher then suggested I start with yoga basics classes instead to build foundation and to progress slowly. Overtime the practice helped lessen the aches and pains in my joints and I became more motivated to continue. Now with close to a year of consistent practice, I felt it had transformed my mind, body and spirit.

Thinking back to the date of my surgery, March 5th, 1997 to now, the loving supports from the doctors, nurses, volunteers, friends, family, colleagues, and clients were invaluable in helping me get through this trough in my life. With their encouragement, I was able to endure one whole month of chemotherapy. During that time, I couldn’t even turn over in bed or even feed myself. I was someone who used to be fiercely independent and now I needed assistant even in the simple tasks of life, in eating and changing. Wanting to face it alone and not burden my family, I felt I couldn’t even maintain my dignity. All these negative, conflicted, and hopeless feelings made me wanted to just give in and let my life to just end. Fortunately, there was a kind volunteer who made me understand that accepting helping was not being weak and rejecting well-meaning help was just being stubborn. With tears, good friends would encourage me to get my health back saying that it was the best way to repay everyone who had lent me a hand. Feeling so touched by them, I’ve decided then to positively face life’s challenges and to live each day with joy, vitality and a sense of gratitude.

For over ten years, I had shouldered the burden of the being the eldest daughter, taking care of big and small things for the whole family and facing workplace competition. Demanded myself to be perfectly dependable, until my body was failing and I had a life threatening disease that I realized I had never truly lived for myself. I didn’t know how to relax, be compassionate to my body, or listen to my own inner voice. It was after I started practicing yoga that I comprehended sometimes it is better to give others the opportunity to learn and grow on their own; not just taking on all the responsibility myself.

To do something right,one must start with the right tools. When I embarked on the path of yoga, I developed my foundation by taking mostly yoga basics classes. Teacher Michelle always allowed students to ask five questions in class. In answering them, she would touch upon the meaning of yoga and the importance of alignment. She explained the main reasons why each class we start and end with chanting “om”. It was to initiate and seal in our energy and to remind ourselves to be centered as we step onto the mat. Our body is like a light bulb, it needs electrical current to shine and the current that allows the human body to stretch is the breath. Through meditation, we can let go of the depressive, the worrying and all the negative thoughts with an exhale, allowing the full positive energy and thoughts to fill up with an inhale. The key to practicing asana is to allow the breath to guide your movements and to explore the present moment, good or bad, during the pulse in between the breath.

I don’t follow a specific style. It all depended on what I felt like at the time. The popular yin yoga classes always brought me to a peaceful state and my body a sense of ease. With my busy work and the fast paced life, stepping into SPACE is like finding my sanctuary; my restless mind is then able to settle. I am most thankful to Michelle, for her timely, warm hugs. The chant of “God is lover” that she taught me is truly inspirational. That everyone’s true nature is love and that the lover and the beloved are all within. It had moved me so deeply that I’m surprised how a chant can led me to a state of joy all day; that music has such power to pacify the human heart. I can actually feel happiness. Unknowingly, yoga also affected and changed the attitude I had when I was misunderstood. Michelle said to maintain the witness attitude and not to judge. As long you are clear and true to yourself, you can calmly deal with the situation. This attitude transformed the way I handle unfairness at work. I used to get really upset and was always argumentative. Now I realize truth exists and situations will right themselves given time. I am also grateful for the super patient Teacher Lee. He was always so good-natured as he answered all of my questions in class: breaking down the triangle pose, explaining the correct placement of hands in fish pose, and how the breath in practicing yin yoga should be soft like wind, yet deeper than the natural breath.

SPACE has an excellent teaching staff. All the teachers are so selfless in sharing their knowledge. The classroom environment is always kept spotless by the cleaning team, and the service staff is warm and friendly. I welcome friends who are seeking spiritual peace and interested in health to join this wonderful world of yoga.

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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