Finding Peace and Purity in the Land of Yoga
It started with I have heard…
I have heard that exercise can energize the body, release stress, and leave the body and mind healthy and happy. I have heard that people who exercise regularly can “freeze their age”. Compare to their peers, they are younger looking and have more vitality. It also can help them lose weight, get in shape, and increase confidence. I have heard that planning is not as good as changing and changing is not as good the advice from the doctor. So a healthy body is of the upmost importance. I have heard that our psychology and physiology affects one another. When the body is not healthy, how can the mind have ease? And when you have mental pressure and worrying all day, you’ll eventually suffer from depression.
However, I was never really sure. I thought I could give it a try, but “too busy with work” was always my perfect excuse. Until one day I realized I have been taking these headache medicines that has been in my purse for a week now and saw no improvement. There was also no end to my nausea. As I looked at my stomach medication, I started to wonder why I need to carry around these pills in my purse.
Finally with my family accompanying me, I signed up for a regular yoga class. At the beginning I would check out other students and wondered how they were able to fold forward and I couldn’t. I kept on comparing while practicing and my confidence faded little by little. My body didn’t seem to feel any different, just very sore the next day after each practice. I thought why bother, so I stopped for a week. Then after a few days of working overtime, as I felt so physically and mentally fatigued that I couldn’t even breath, a thought came to my mind - the more pressure I have the more I need to exercise. So once again, I picked myself up and went to practice. This time I was able to feel that sense of ease and calm that made me fell in love with the practice. From once a week to twice and later at least three times a week if not more. The sweet and bitter tastes of a regular practice can only be experienced by oneself.
After consistent practice for a long time, I felt much more energetic than before and I found myself smile more as well. I also met a few like-minded friends in class. Yoga has been deeply planted in my heart by this time.
Moving to Hwalien, Starting a Homestay
It was after I opened a homestay that I realized actually all those dreams were accumulated through money. I put everything I had in it; all mental effort went into how to manage it well and all the physical effort went into its upkeeping. Once again my body and mind felt overwhelmed and headaches, nausea came knocking on the door again…I knew it was time for me to start practicing yoga again.
I was very fortunate to have found teacher Emily in Hwalien. I’ve heard she has been to India, written a book, and has taught in Taipei, so I went to visit her. I told her where I have injured myself and in what asanas, how I have tried acupuncture, physiotherapy, massage and western medicine and how none of them had worked. I did a class with her that same day. She was a serious teacher and didn’t smile much. But the same asana that caused my injury didn’t hurt any more when I practiced using her method. In fact, it felt good. I knew I have found the right teacher.
After practicing with her for some time, I slowly felt revitalized. It made me realize that there is nothing wrong with the yoga practice itself. What went wrong was when I overstretched in an incorrect position. This also corrected my wrong belief of if you can’t do it, you should try hard and harder and one day you’ll get to that perfect pose. I also started reading yoga books. I felt that asana is an outer yoga. Aside from the importance of alignment, how we nurture our spirit and life seems to be a more important inner yoga.
Closing Homestay, Returning to Taipei
First time I came to SPACE, I was attracted by its bright and comfortable interior. Its diverse and numerous class offerings were also a great plus. I decided to reestablish my foundation here, step-by-step. You can’t be in a hurry when you practice yoga. It is like being with your own shadow. It is with you your whole life.
It is like a big family here. Every teacher is so kind; they care very much about student’s condition. Besides building a foundation, I also tried other classes, so the inner, outer and SPACE are all covered.
Meeting Iyengar at SPACE
Words cannot adequately describe Peter Scott’s immersion. In every pose, he talked about the muscles, the bones, the alignment, adjustment, and not only these, he also taught us how action should be an intelligent movement. We need to have meditation in action; to observe and intelligently practice asana, as well as intelligently reflect if this is the right action.
Peace and Purity in the Land of Yoga
Because of Peace…when we face situations with a steady breath, we are able to slowly find that flexibility in the dichotomy of sense and sensibility, and believe that each situation is a message from beyond to nourish our life.
Because of Purity…It turns out all things are essentially this natural. It is the complicated human mind that obscured the simplicity of nature. There is no need to envy, grasp or compare. All you have to do is listen to the message from deep within, and then it can be this simple, pure and easy.
I’m grateful for SPACE for creating such a great learning environment. I like to thank all the teachers at SPACE for their selfless giving. I also like to thank Betty for allowing me to continue to enjoy my Iyengar practice.