The transformation I have experienced from yoga was a process that started from the outside in then inside out again. I wasn’t expecting change. It just happened without me knowing. I simply gave myself the time, patiently allowing my heart and mind to open up, and the warmth and wisdom to slowly flow in.
Ten years ago, I was an aerobics teacher at a fitness club. I started getting into yoga because I wanted to have another type of class that I can teach to make my resume look better and have the opportunity to make more money. At that time, I was only interesed in advance classes and only practice those really cool looking and difficult poses that made me felt good about myself. When I first really fell in love with yoga was when I was facing all kinds of pressures and problems in various areas of my life. I discovered my worries went away while I was practicing. Even though after corpse pose, they resurface again, but that short period of calm and clarity was enough. At the same time, some of the insights shared by the teachers during class also started to change my point of view.
I was very fortunately to have met Heidi; she started another chapter in my yoga life. She often encouraged and exhorted us, the students who would only take advance classes, to go back to the basics classes to renew our understanding of our body and reconnect with our selves. Because of her, I finally rediscovered and reconnected with my mind and body. I was able to enjoy the exploration of the deeper and more profound meanings and feelings in simplicity, while patiently listenng to my own body. As it turned out, one need to set up the foundation first in order to fly freely. After that, I change the types of classes I would take and only going to advance classes once in awhile. I found that it helped me progress and my mind became more steay. Heidi never cornered us in; we did’nt need to grow within her pre-set structure. She gave us plenty of room to learn and to contemplate. We were able to use our own intelligence to decide what is the wisest for us and not to blindly follow others in order to have a true transformation that was our own.
In 2009, I completed an Anusara Teacher Training with Patrick Creelman. From it, I learned to value myself, to be kind with myself. It completely broke down my cold and detached defensive front. After the first week of training, I’d be at home and tears would just rolled down. Even when I was watching comedy, they still came out. I asked Heidi why that was the case. She simply said:” Congratulations! You are now open.” That was the actual moment my yogic path began, the moment when my heart was finally melted open.
Never have I thought about changing my eating habit. Two of my most influential teachers have never asked their students to change. All I learned was to listen to my body’s need and eat accordingly. However, it was not until 2010 when I took Richard Freeman’s immersion that I finally heard my body. As I immersed in Richard’s steady , energetic, and gently led morning practice, I felt the smell of the beef roll from the previous dinner emitting through my breath from within, circulating inside and thereby interupting my focus. From that point on, I tried making various dietary changes, from pescatarian to full vegetarian, all led by my own body. Through this process, I realized certain things we do are not out of necessity, they are out of habit. And whether or not if I want to keep that habit was up to me. I can take it or leave it. This was also something Heidi had illuminated through the story that she had told us about a monk lighting up, which made the same point. After practicing consistently after awhile, I started hearing from other members, my friends and colleagues how I have changed, more gentle, less harsh, and more open. Slowly, I felt it myself. I like this change and I plan on continuing to let the transformation naturally unfold.
I am certain yoga is a lifelong affair. I’m thankful for all the teachers and friends who I have met on this path.