The first moment I had earth on the top of my head
First moment when I stood successfully with the earth on top of my head is when I finally understood it. It was about the abdominal lock, confidence, concentration, fearlessness and courage. That’s right; it was the legendary king of all poses – the headstand. They said the level of its difficulty – is extreme. The courage to look at the world upside down is not out of nowhere. To cross that threshold of fear takes sustained concentration and core practice, then the confidence naturally develops. Thus, the degree of its difficulty is actually not important.
It has been so long ago that I don’t remember my impetus for starting yoga. But due to lack of consistency in practice, the initial desire to do it naturally went away. It wasn’t until I started coming to SPACE that it really opened up the door to my exploration of this ancient philosophy of yoga.
The settling of the mind with the breath
Yoga, this ancient practice from thousands of years ago, allows us, the busy urbanites living in the modern society, to get centered and calm. All we have to do is to open our hearts. There is no need to go with the rhythm of the music or someone else’s pace or even the teacher’s instructions, all we need to do is follow our breath and feel our body. It is not about our physical skills, but rather it is about observing our body with gentleness, repeating that practice over and over again, then the body will allow the mind to settle down.
Gladys often said: “Don’t have a frame. Don’t have a goal. There are no expectations, just “abide”. Yes, the mind just abides in this body of mine, this body of tight shoulders, hips and prematurely deteriorated back and knees.
There was this one class, where Ann guided everyone to close their eyes and to very mindfully bring their hands together. And I remember at the moment when my palms were about to touch, a magical thing happened – I felt in between my palms a ball of energy that has a magnetic yet resisting quality. One moment it was there and next moment it was gone. Amazing! I was speechless! I suppose it was the energy that was created by my concentration.
The harmonious negotiation of the brain, heart and the body
Every teacher at SPACE has her own way of teaching, providing a different perspective. So when I go to different teacher’s classes, often a blind spot would be pointed out.
Of course, I don’t always walk out of each class feeling light, clear and recharged. But the minutes spend on the mat, concentrating do connect the mind and the body to some degree. Even though when I leave the mat and there are still the chaos of life to contend with; even though it is still “the brain” deciding, the “heart” doesn’t agree, the “body“ doesn’t even cooperate; even though Buddha tells us billions of thoughts occur in a singular moment - To cease the fluctuation of the mind does require consistent practice time and time again.
The continuing journey to the other side
A few years ago, my usually smooth sailing life encountered a big wave. Besides my family’s support and understanding, I believe it was my continual yoga practice that allowed me to have enough energy and calmness to accept and face the situation.
I will continue this never-ending journey of yoga exploration, one step at a time. I will mindfully experience and be aware, and try not to chase a negative thought when it arises. After all, only you yourself can allow your mind and body to communicate with each other. I hope someday I would arrive at the shore of peace, tranquility and freedom
I’m grateful to all the teachers’ guidance: the silvery-sweet-voice Michelle, the light- as-a- fairy Gladys and the energy-abundant Ann, who speaks with a cute accent. I’m also grateful to SPACE for their thoughtfulness in everything.