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Teacher of October 2007 - Takei Chu


I was working out a lot in gyms when I first encountered group yoga classes. The poses that looked simple made me sweat and my so-called strong body couldn't hold them for long. This was shocking to me. Why? Out of curiosity, I returned to Yoga classes repeatedly. This is the way I started my daily yoga practice. Gradually I understood that yoga develops a deep core strength. The process of re-conditioning my muscles brought my body a lot of torture, but my heart felt bliss. Oh my God, what a marvel! I had to ask myself, "Am I crazy?" I think not. The charm of yoga draws people into the studio. Yoga slowly changed my diet and lifestyle. To practice yoga is to develop a dialogue with the body. When I listen carefully and am aware of my body, my mind becomes calm and focused.

I never thought I would become a yoga teacher. The more I practice, the more I come to realize the depth of Yoga. When I look back at the different phases of my practice, I see how it has evolved. ?In the beginning I practiced out of curiosity, next I became enthusiastic, soon after I became obsessed, and finally I found calm and balance.

In my "obsession" stage, I took many challenging yoga classes everyday. When I got up in the morning I often felt like I had been hit by a car, my body was so sore that I couldn't get up from bed. In order to be able to jump higher, I ate very little everyday and skipped my dinner. I was truly determined. I was so hungry that my legs were like jelly when I walked. Yet I was determined not to eat. My friends asked if I got sick when they saw how skinny I had become. I practiced even when I had injuries. Yoga was the only thing in my life.

Slowly yoga became an integral part of my life. I still practice every morning with concentration. Whether I achieve challenging poses is no longer so important. I simply enjoy the process. Often times a student tells me that he is afraid of some poses. I encourage them by telling them everyone meets their challenging pose. To do it anyway without worrying about the final outcome allows one to overcome the fear. ?When you practice daily, the body has a lot of excuses telling you not to practice. Yet when you go to the practice, you master your own heart. You don't need to practice long. I think this is the real meaning in yoga.

Some students ask me why I do the same sequence everyday. I used to be interested in learning all kinds of asanas. Now I focus on repeating the same movements, the same sequence. Everyday the body has different feelings, so the practice is new and fresh. The repetition becomes a habit so that we concentrate on the breathing and become single-minded, and the focus shifts to the heart. It's like Taichi. One practices the same Taichi sequence their whole life, and makes it smooth like floating clouds and flowing water as in the Chinese idiom.

I thank all the teachers who instructed me on the way. Your selfless teaching nourished me a lot. I dedicate my deep gratitude to you, thank you all.

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