My body was never really healthy. I have had chronic migraines and sinus allergies. I have had surgery before marriage and three C-sections after getting married. Later a car accident caused ligament injury and my collarbones to protrude. I even fell off a high stool once that resulted in a foot fracture. Compare to other average women, my physical condition was really poor.
Initially I wanted to improve my condition through exercise. I took classes on and off at three different yoga studios, but I didn’t systematically learn about yoga and simply wanted to move my body. It was not until I came to SPACE to study that I really realize what kind of yoga I wanted and that I can achieve health through the practice.
Sharon in her basics and Hatha classes taught many pranayamas and asanas. She allowed me to understand that “the breath” is an integral part of a yoga practice, and it is not simply breathing in and out. At the time, all the different poses presented a certain level of challenge to my body, but at the same time, it also ignite the strong desire in me to learn. Later, through Axl’s Hatha and Ashtanga classes, I’ve learned that aside from an exercise to strengthen the body, yoga is also an attitude towards life, a certain mind set. Having this belief, along with practicing consistently and quietly, I deeply experienced yoga as an inside out, a body connecting to mind and spirit practice.
Ann is even a better role model for the students. She selflessly teaches us everything she has learned and experienced. Through her detailed and rich led classes, I gradually became more aware of my body. Each class, she would remind us repeatedly how the breath connects with the muscles to feel the energy of the core. We have to observe our inhalation and exhalation in each vinyasa, immerse the body in the flow of the breath, listen to the sound of the breath and gaze at the direction of extension. In practicing each asana, she teaches us to use the ujjayi breath to increase stamina of the muscles and the extension of the body, emphasizing both strength and softness. And because of all of these, what was originally cumbersome body would then become more and more light and the breath also becomes deeper and smoother.
“We are practicing the body at the same time practicing our mind.” This statement was difficult for me to get at the beginning. With time and regular practice, letting the muscles stretch deeply and expressing the beauty of a balanced body, now I enjoy that pleasure of sweat running down the back, relaxation of the body and the peace within after each class.
When I come to class everyday at SPACE, seeing how the students of various age study diligently, I truly realize that learning is such a fortunate and happy thing! Yoga has become a source of power that I can’t live without. I’m grateful to all the SPACE teachers for constantly developing themselves and then sharing their yoga with us. I’m grateful to SPACE YOGA for providing a wonderful learning environment and teaching staff, allowing me to courageous cross over the obstacles and challenges of menopause and strive for my own comfortable union of mind, body and spirit.