In 2011, I stepped onto a yoga mat for the first time because I wanted to escape my hellish life. It wasn’t because I wanted be physically fit or for all the other benefits of yoga. It was because I was seeking for something to do, seeking some kind of spiritual liberation. In that one hour class, as I focused on practicing the pranayama and asana, I felt an unprecedented peace. Ever since then I have been completely captivated by this feeling on the mat.
I have continued to practice in the past few years. All the different experiences and feelings have surprised me, and I found myself feeling touched in small things. I started to encourage myself to release the external comparison and judgment. I learned to let go of competition and expectation, in order to have a deeper experience in yoga. These experiences affected my life, allowing me to be more content and happy. I like myself like this. I became more in touch with my body; I’m more able to hear what it is telling me and to treat it in a non-violent manner. I became able to control my emotions. When I was feeling frustrated and chaotic, I would strengthen the power of my mind by focusing on my breath and connecting back to that sense of peace when I first stepped onto the mat. All of these made me realize yoga is not just about loving myself; it is more of loving all beings.
Gina often said to be grateful for all the good in life, be grateful for fellow student’s presence. I really like her message. It coincides with the idea of the Chinese saying: “observe good deeds and feel grateful”. What it means is when we see other people doing good deeds and we feel grateful to them, it doesn’t necessary benefit them, but we are benefitted by that attitude. On the other hand, if we observe other people making mistakes and we feel resentment, they may not suffer by it, but we certainly suffer. So having the intention to see all the good that’s already there, observe everything in life with a positive attitude, we would be filled with joy and gratitude.
When we experience pain and suffering, we can go from “why does it happen to me?” to “why isn’t it me?” I learned to be grateful to ones that have hurt me. Without those pains, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t have started doing yoga, and even fell in love with yoga. I am very thankful for all the positive changes that yoga had brought me. What was tortuous to me made me stronger. Yoga is a journey and not a destination. It ultimately has to come back to life, to the initial intention. Everything happens for the best.
I like to thank my parents. If I didn’t have them by my side when I was at my lowest point and encouraged me to do yoga, I would never have the chance to enjoy such delight. I’m also thankful to Gina, Wawa and all the other teachers for allowing me to see my potential and break through time and time again. I like to thank all my fellow practitioners for their presence and encouragement, allowing me to look forward to class each day. Let’s let go of the past and let each day be a new beginning.
No matter what kind of difficulties and setbacks I may encounter in the future, I hope I would never forget my initial intention. It is about meeting myself on the mat. Let the initial inspiration forever stayed in my heart.
Let us cheer each other on.