Trying to lose weight is one activity that I have been doing consistently for most of my life. I have tried all kinds of ways: various diets, weight loss pills, traditional Chinese medicine, gym, aerobics, boxing...the only thing I haven’t tried is perhaps liposuction.
Weight loss was also the reason that I first got interested in yoga. I have seen the results in my friends after they started practicing yoga. Their energy level increased and they have lost weight and were more in shape. So, I decided to get on the path of yoga as well.
I first tried a small yoga studio, but it didn’t make much of an impression on me. The only thing I remembered was the final relaxation pose. Later that studio was closed and I stopped practicing too since I didn’t think of yoga had that big of an impact on me; I only thought of it as another way to lose weight. Then about more than a year later, I saw an article in a magazine about SPACE Yoga. I was immediately attracted to its bright, spacious environment, so I made the call that truly brought yoga into my life.
Still wanting to lose weight, I tried really hard making the time out after work to take classes at SPACE. After some time of going though the motions in yoga basics classes, some teachers had suggested that I could try out more challenging classes. When I took the more advanced classes such as flow, hatha and ashtanga classes, I was happy to see that I was really sweating it out, as if by sweating through these classes, I would be that much closer to my ideal body weight. Flow and hatha classes were the only classes I would take at that time, but after a while, I was surprised to find my wrists, hips, ankles and even my knees in pain. And the number on the scale was decreasing in a disappointingly slow pace. Thoughts of stopping began to pop up in my mind.
Fortuitously, I started to take Angus’s classes and he would remind us at the beginning of each class that: “Yoga practice is about gaining an inner awareness; it is not just practicing the poses. It is about adjusting our attitudes, a balance to our mind, body and spirit.” Thanks to his thoughtful reminder of the details of the practice, I realized that I have been taken my yoga practice too lightly and recklessly. I wasn’t been mindful; I was just making the motion in each pose. It was at this time that I remembered other teacher’s warning from before that “if you are not mindful in the small details, even if you have been practicing for a year, you’ll still get hurt…” Humbled, I decided to build a solid foundation for my practice and went back to yoga basics classes. And thanks to Michelle’s teaching and other students sharing their experiences that I’m even more aware and careful now.
After letting all things return to the zero state, I discovered that yoga is not just doing the poses, working up a sweat, or forcing myself to finish a whole class, yoga is about transforming from the subtle details, from a small point to a grand scale, from inside to the outside. Yoga is no longer just yoga for me. I’ve become more self aware and reflective. Once I was impatient and rash, now I learned to calm my mind, to slow down and contemplate. Yoga had allowed me to connect with my inner self. It has no goals or causes. When you feel the present without any obstructions, you’ll discover that this instant moment is even better the previous one. I have gained so much from practicing on the mat.
I’m grateful to the teachings from all the SPACE teachers.