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Teacher of January 2007 ─ Gladys Huang and Axl Chong

Gladys Huang

(Gladys has written a letter to Ashtanga Yoga to express her experiences and grattitude)
Dear Ashtanga Yoga,

Time flies –I re-call the time in Mysore when I ended my first practice after struggling through Surya Namaskara A and B.  Now, I am now someone who understands that to find beauty and wisdom we must plant seeds and nurture them.  Looking back, since I fell in love with you at first sight, you brought me face to face with a journey that is full of fear and suffering.  The inner peace and joy come from commited practice.  While learning and sharing your wisdom my vulnerabilities and fears all appear.  My hesitation conjures confusion when attempting to awaken genes that are deep asleep inside the body.  Everyone says women in love are the most beautiful, but the price I pay for loving you are pimples, tests of my strength and will, soreness and discomfort (you said to be faithful, confident and to trust you. You said only then  would I have clarity).

Little by little I realized what you said.  I started seeing the wonderful connections between myself and others.  Everything seemed simpler: life, emotions,  my reactions to the world. They all enrich my life!  I finally realized, vulnerability is there to teach me honesty, bravery, and strength; while the doubts I experience help me to cultivate a fuller personality.

Cold winds have brushed the blue sky of Taipei into grey.  My old friends enjoy visiting in this freezing season: Ms. Stay-in-bed, Mr. Extreme, Aunt Anger, Uncle Insecurity.  I think they will all visit again and again.  I will introduce you to them. You will help me to understand them more, so that my mind and heart will be more open.
May love, peace and joy embrace us at every moment.

Love and gratitude forever,


Axl Chong

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." I now feel more of this famous “Gumpism”, because Yoga to me is like that box of chocolates. This is what life is like. It is full of surprises.

The day before I went to Mysore for the first time, I really knew nothing about Yoga.  I’m not going lie to you, I had no clue about what I was beginning.  I just went.  You may think that I was a brave explorer, but I wasn't.  I was 30, an age when most men are ready to have a successful career. At this time I experienced some rough times with my chosen career.  I lost everything; my wealth and my dream over night, leaving only fear behind.  I couldn’t keep my head up.  This is when I went to India.  Of course, without Gladys, who played an integral role on my yogic path, there wouldn’t be any yoga in my life.

I'm a sporty person.  Back in Malaysia I played basketball in my free time.  I often played for at least two hours, ending the game covered in sweat.  I thought that this was the type of sport men should play.  I had always heard, anything slow and quiet and twisty is a woman’s thing.  Looking back I feel embarrassed now that I ever looked down upon Yoga.  After my first practice, I quickly changed my perspective.  I laughed out loud when Gladys asked me to bring a small towel and to prepare to sweat.  I thought, people sweat while doing yoga?  As a result of my stubbornness, I did not bring a towel and ended up using my t-shirt!  I sweated as much as I did when I practiced basketball.  The fun part came the next day when I woke up in extreme soreness, especially, my thighs and arms.  I stayed in bed almost for the entire day.  From then on, I woke up and left my warm bed at 4:30am when people were just returning from pubs.

I had an opportunity to talk with an old friend of mine and I shared my Yoga experience with him.  He then said to me, “you've definitely been transformed. You were different from when we were back at school in Taiwan.  Your violent temper is gone, you’ve become more mature, thoughtful, steady, and you look so much better than before!”

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