Through my family, I came to practice yoga. Initially I thought yoga was a highly challenging, a kind of bending back and forth, but non-sweaty “calisthenics”. I admired how my family member was able to put her feet on her shoulders, or do inversions, so I followed along and practice these poses that looked difficult and required a great degree of flexibility.
After I grew up, I went with my family member to SPACE to try out a class. I don’t even remember who the teacher was, but what I recall the most was the teacher kept emphasizing alignment of the pelvis. I couldn’t even feel where my pelvis was at all and just felt she was speaking some sort of alien language. We had to stay in a pose for so long. I didn’t even know what happened, I just remember wanting to give up after only three seconds. It all seen so incredible to me as I concluded yoga was a type of gymnastics that challenged the limits of the body.
With the thought of wanting a challenge more than wanting to exercise, I joined SPACE looking to take on various types of classes, to test out my own limits. In the process, however, under many teachers’ guidance, I gradually felt the changes in my body. I felt the alignment of my body. I no longer chased after difficult poses, but rather allowed the poses to lead me to the more subtle and sublime changes. The meditation at the beginning of the class took me away from the burdens of life into poses, and in the pose I was once again able to reconnect to my body. Dale’s lively description of the movement always allowed me to successfully complete this journey. Wawa’s subtle descriptions led me to find the proper position to place my body and it also initiated different ways of looking at my work.
Working in one of the few natural parks in the north seemed to offer an envious job environment, with its beautiful ponds and paddy fields. However, gradually I couldn’t see the natural beauty any more. I was only left with the boredom and anxiety of work. Being in this state, I was surprised when there was one time I actually felt a tremendous release in Dale’s guided final relaxation. At the time, what she was says seems to be: “ Return your body to earth, let it relax you. Feel your feet connected to the earth…”Aside from the teachers, I also got to know other students I admired. One of them said; “it doesn’t matter if your pose is not up to standard, but as long as you want to do it, whether it is right or wrong, just look forward!” It seemed to resonant with what the teacher was reminding us of not looking down, but looking forward.
Taking classes, I was able to in that short time, temporary let go of plight of work and rediscover the clarity of my mind and thoughts. Also I discovered a power that I never thought I could get through practice. To me, Yoga is no longer a gymnastic or exercise that challenges the body; rather it is a way of finding ourselves. Through the yoga poses, whether it is dynamic or static, we can all find the balance of body and mind. This is my current conclusion on yoga.
When yoga becomes a habit, even at times when you are too busy and can’t practice as frequently, the body still able to find that balance and peace. I look forward continuing my steady path of yoga. I am grateful for SPACE for creating the space to allow teachers and students to meet and share everything.