Years ago, a few of my colleagues and I pulled together our resources and decided to do a yoga class once a week during lunch time. It was my first time doing yoga. Every time our teacher would teach us a slightly harder pose, we would start to complain. After awhile I felt this didn’t seem to be enough, so I started to look around for a suitable studio to take classes. SPACE was the second studio that I tried. I remember before my trial class ended, I already knew it was the place for me. Practicing at SPACE made me realize that lunch time yoga class we did was so basic; the world of yoga is actually this big, with so many different styles and classes.
I was interested in trying out hot yoga class when I joined SPACE. When I actually did it for the first time, I remember wanting to run out of the room before it ended, however I persevered and finish the class. Amazingly I still wanted to take the class afterwards. Gradually I got used to the temperature. After I have taken a few hot yoga classes, I wrote in my diary: “Teacher Joanna is very strict, yet I just like going to class and be tortured by her. Today she said my down dog has improved.”
Today I still like Joanna’s class. Her eyes are really sharp. Don’t think you can slack off because she is not next to you. She could be on one side of the room adjusting one student, but talking to the other side of the room telling so and so student to squat lower and telling someone else her hips are off center. I often felt it is as if the source of the heat in the hot yoga class is actually from Joanna; it is her warmth and passion for teaching that warms up the room, like the sun, filled with energy.
I love the feeling of being drenched in sweat after a hot yoga class. It is as if all the toxins and the bad moods were sweated out of me, leaving me feeling light and fulfilled as I walked home from class.
I have been at SPACE for four years now. Friends have asked me since I have been practicing for so long, can I put my foot behind my head? Do a split? To be honest, I didn’t become a super woman from practicing yoga. There are still many poses that I cannot do. I am still a normal person, with thoughts of not going to class because I am tired. However, I do find it easier going up the stairs or chasing down the bus. My feet don’t get so sore after I have been walking for awhile either. And every time I took a class, I would sleep through the night and feeling refreshed the next day. Also, I often receive comments of how I looked rested and well. The body is very honest. If I didn’t go to class for some time, I actually feel more tired, tight, all knotted up and simply not well.
Joanna had once told students who were in a hurry to finish a pose not to rush these five minutes. You have fifty years to practice, she would say. I really treasure the time that I spend on the mat. The poses I can’t do yet I know I have a lot of time to practice. Yoga has become a regular part of my life. Continuing to cultivate my yogic mind is the direction I am aiming for the future. What makes me even happier is that I got my good friend interested in yoga as well and she also loves it.
I will not stop my exploration into yoga, just like I would not stop breathing. I’m grateful to all the teachers who have appeared in my life.