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Yogi of Feburary - Mavis Lin
Ever since I was little I never liked to exercise. But with age, I started to wonder perhaps I should consider some sort of work out to maintain my health. The idea of doing yoga popped into my head. The thought of exercising with minimum effort was appealing to me, so I went to the nearby community activity center and registered for classes. That was how I started my yoga “exercise”.

The weekly yoga classes at the center made me think that exercising was not that easy. Also, these yoga classes all focused on stretching, which was very difficult for someone who is as stiff as me. I felt quite discouraged and frustrated. The notion of giving it up was always there in the back of my mind. It made me think that yoga was not suitable for everyone.

That lasted until the spring of 2008, when my sister’s colleague recommended that we try SPACE. At first, I had some reservations because I didn’t like the fatigue and frustration I felt after my community center yoga classes. However, I decided to give myself a chance to see yoga in a new light and thought maybe the classes will be different in a professional yoga studio.

When I first started practicing at SPACE, I made the commitment to myself that I was going to be consistent and regularly take classes every week. But, the exhaustion after each class made me again want to quit. So, I decided to put these thoughts aside and started to look for a way that I can really focus and stay the course. I found the key to a consistent practice during class when teachers were explaining some basic principles and that key point was “mindful breathing”. Almost all of the teachers will mention the breath in class, yet that is something I easily tend to neglect. Once I understood this key factor, I started to pay more attention to the breath. Even if I couldn’t do the pose, I still remind myself all the time to just breathe. After awhile, practice consistently became much easier. And breathing mindfully also helped to train my muscles to relax. With the increased flexibility, I was able to really experience the benefits of the asana practice.

All these years of practice at SPACE, change naturally took place, without me being aware of how the practice and teacher’s simple guidance and sharing can transform some of my attitudes and habits. I first noticed that the alignment I learned in practicing asana gradually changed my posture in everyday life. I later also discovered that I have changed mentally and spiritually. I used to rashly react to many things, never pausing to contemplate my action first. And now, I would slow down and not rush towards a conclusion. To me, this is an unexpected benefit of practicing yoga.

I like to thank all the fellow practitioners along the way and my first teacher at SPACE, Justin. His emphasis on the fundamentals and the alignment taught me how to practice safely. I also like to thank Carol for her challenging classes, which made me expand beyond the basics and to farther explore my limits.

Every time I came across a bottleneck in practice, one of my fellow practitioners would always tell me as an encouragement that “yoga practice is a lifelong event”. Now this phrase has become a corner stone of my practice, a direction that I’m continue to progress toward.

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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