“Practitioners of Yoga are people who know to take care of themselves, whether they already know how to love themselves or they are learning how to treat themselves better.”
This is the conclusion I got from my interactions with teachers and other students after practicing yoga for some time. Because if you didn’t love yourself, how can you endure the struggle and pain of the practice and then still come back to the mat again and again. For this reason, I decided that I should be better to myself and give myself more time to do things that I really want to do.
But life is impermanent; things do not always happen according to plans. When I thought I have found a new direction to follow, the various pressures that I thought were “no big deal” started to have a concrete affect on my body. They made a clear and cold announcement that my body couldn’t possibly take on any more burden.
Things always happened in a strange opportune time. If I haven’t started practicing yoga, it would have been a mess. As luck would have it, I was already practicing yoga at the time. Even I was surprised by how I was able to support my family through this frightening period, at the same time remaining calm and composed.
Just like Naichin had said, crisis is a very good opportunity to understand ourselves and to treat ourselves better. I remember the first day of her teacher training. She wanted us to keep on asking ourselves why we wanted to practice yoga and why we were doing the teacher training. This constant reflection not only served as a reminder of our initial intention, but at different times, with different situation and mindset, answers may not be the same. But no matter what it was, the main point was that we develop a better understanding of ourselves. To me, yoga is this never-ending journey of self exploration.
For almost a year I stopped practicing asana. During that time, meditation and pranayama were my main home practice. The journaling I did during the teacher training not only helped me view my own practice, it also helped me to examine everything in my life and work. Why were there certain things that I can never do well? Was it some difficulty that I really need to overcome, or is it laziness that I wanted to run away because it is easier to just give up? Through this constant back and forth, I realized that everyone has their own homework that they had to do. I didn’t need to force myself to fit into someone else’s mold. Understand what is really suitable for me and find my own balance, so I can “live a true life and have a true practice” is what is important.
I’m thankful to my sister for recommending SPACE and Sally, my first sales rep, for helping me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have started this yogic journey of self exploration. Another reason I’m thankful to Sally is because she had planted a seed in my mind when she invited me to register teacher training along with her. I’m grateful to all my yogic friends for their encouragement to advance on and off the mat. I’m also grateful to all the teachers I have studied with, especially Felina, Naichin and Chi for sharing their wisdom, love and knowledge, as well as Steeve for his guidance in meditation for the past six months.
I Hope everyone can also find the stillness inside by “living a true life and having a true practice”.