I first started yoga in the summer of 2010, and now it has become a part of my everyday life. Just like how you have to eat, drink, wash and sleep every day, yoga is something I have to do every day. Through the practice of yoga, I gradually come to understand what contentment is and I also learned that it is more important to discipline the mind then to simply give into it.
I remember that it was the darkest year of my life with many setbacks, yet yoga brought me a sense of peace. To me yoga is not merely an exercise; it is a kind of faith. Every practice is an opportunity to heal the body and the soul; it is the perfect integration of “Prakriti” body and “Purusha” consciousness. Perhaps it was the right time and right place for me. This early period of my yoga practice was notably focused and consistent. At the time, I was living a simple country life, without the distractions of the city, a life of early rise and early to rest. There wasn’t much else except for sleep, eat, yoga and work. Day after day, it was the same routine and slowly the difficult asanas became more effortless.
I was never a flexible person. Half lotus and standing forward fold has always been a hurdle for me. The only advantage left that I may have when it comes to practicing yoga is probably a healthy, able body and a strong will. Those early months of practice was particularly grueling; I was constantly struggling with this inner desire to run away from the present moment. I think the particular kind of soreness and pain from yoga was especially intolerable for a man. Yet there seemed to be an unnamed strength within that was supporting me. As the time went on, my daily practice finally started to bear some fruit. I became more and more aware of the pulsation of each breath. Not only did my body become more open my life style and routine changed as well. I learned to sit on the floor almost every chance I get, which was quite a challenge to a modern person. The chairs and sofas went unused as I sat crossed legged or kneeled on the ground. It was when everything reverted back to the basics in life that I realize the power of simplicity.
Because of work, I moved to Taipei in 2011 and I started to look for yoga studios where I can advance my technique. It was then that I came to know Ranjan. I’m very grateful to him as he was the first teacher to teach me headstand and many other hand balancing poses. Even though at first I was a bit intimated by his class, as there were many poses I have never done before and everyone else seemed so skilled and experienced, however, I really like his sequencing. While his classes could be difficult and strenuous, but the challenging and creative poses always injected a new force of life to my yoga practice. Unfortunately for me that after half of year of practicing with Ranjan, he left that yoga studio.
Introduced by a friend, I joined SPACE in April of 2012. I really like the diverse teaching style offered here, each teacher with his own distinctive teaching characteristics. It helped me find a new direction on this path of yoga and also as a happy coincident, I find Ranjay teaching here. I think that must have been fate.
I also fell in love with Mysore at SPACE; that feeling of going along with the rhythm of my own breath, together with the Ashtanga sequence, each self practice is a certain exploration. I’m thankful to Ethan and Gladys for their guidance in Ashtanga that allowed me to get to know a different field of yoga. Although I’ve only been here a few months, but I feel every day I have grown, thanks to all these great teachers: Jay for his focus on each little detail of alignment; Chi for laying the foundation of practice step-by-step; Sharon for systematically guiding us to more advanced poses; Jordan for not only being my mentor, but my friend; Lynn for her Jivamukti classes that always reminded me yoga is more than asanas, it is also a philosophy of life; and Sean for always leading us through the classically based, yet creative asanas.
I hope I have a chance to take more classes from different teachers in the future. I’m grateful for all the teachers and friends who have helped me along the way. Each time I practice, I always go back to the beginner’s mind, just like each Samasthiti is always a new beginning.
I love this saying: “Beginner's mind is the practice for the Master.” Even when we become a master, we must have a beginner’s mind.