My first encounter with Yoga
Every single cell in me believes in Yin-yuan (fate). Our experiences and the people we meet unfold naturally in a way that can help us to expand the way we see ourselves and the world. When it’s time, our hearts open to accept different people and new experiences. These circumstances guide us toward an unknown future. Our life encounters are never an accident. This also holds true for my meeting with yoga.
I was attending an art festival in the French Pyrenees when I first encountered yoga. I believe it was fate that led me to try yoga again in college. After some time, I started to go more deeply into the essence of Yoga. I wanted to dive into the essence of myself; to know my body, my mind, and my spirit. The purpose of my study of Yoga is to help me to understand who I am.
Yoga postures should not be forced. They should suit the body and mind as they are in the moment. Every time we practice, we should first feel what we really need and than honor our body and heart. I often use this motto to encourage myself in practice. When I first began hatha yoga, I was using force to practice. Coming from a dance background, I had a lot of flexibility and endurance. So, I often practiced intensely without a willingness to really listen to what it was that I needed in that moment. A turning point made me realize the imbalance I had caused by over emphasizing the physical body. I was participating in the Moksha Yoga Teacher Training on Ko Samui Island. During the training my lower back hurt me so much that I could not lie on my back without pain. Then I realized that for a long time I was so concerned with physical appearances, that I was not paying attention to my heart. So, I began to search, to search for a method with heart. I needed to find away to align the body properly and to avoid injury. I started to practice Anusara again, with an open heart.
I often ask myself the question, “Why do I study yoga?” Yoga is not about the external or about perfecting challenging poses. On one level, we begin to understand the physical body better through each practice and on another level we begin to learn to understand our minds. I understand that it is my perspective of the world that shapes my experiences. Our thoughts, past experiences, and attitudes shape the experiences we have in our lives. In other words, yoga helps us to understand the mind so that we gain confidence, open to possibilities, and accept the world as it is. It gives us an opportunity to change the way we see ourselves and the world we live in.
I would like to thank my PE teacher Ms Tsai from Tamkang University for inspiring me on my on my spiritual journey. She was always there for me in the times when I was troubled. I was feeling really trapped by the city, by the concrete jungle. She helped me to discover myself and to be comfortable in my environment and in myself. She is the one who caused me to ask questions about life, and to begin a spiritual journey. I thank Bruce Bowditch for sharing a story about the struggle of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly during my first Anusara class. This story helped to instill in me the strength and courage to never give up. I thank Chris Arcucci, John Friend, and Ted Grant for sharing their precious knowledge and experience. These teachers and friends are the fuel that keeps me studying. I am also thankful to Frank Jude Boccio for the wisdom he offers in his book Mindfulness Yoga, which accompanies me through every difficulty in meditation.
I am ever thankful to the yoga community, for all of the love and compassion you share!