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Teacher of December 2007 - Justin Lee

I had a terrible year in 1998. A lot of miserable things happened to me. I almost died because of a severe drug allergy and I was sick in bed for two months. Too much badminton damaged my knee. Doctors insisted that I end my badminton career, which was my favorite sport. The girl whom I secretly loved for ten years became the girlfriend of a senior on the badminton team. I wondered, "What hope could possibly be left for me in my life?" When I thought it could not get any worse, the most miserable thing happened. My best friend passed away during the same year. When I learned about his death, it took me a while to come to myself. His death took away the light from my life. From that day on, I forgot how to cry, how to be happy. For a whole year, he hovered on my mind everyday. I closed myself up and was afraid of the sunshine. For a whole year, I shut myself in my room, only going out to go to school. To get him out of my mind, I put all of my attention on writing my research paper. Endless reading and writing is my usual way of avoiding these miserable feelings. This simply exhausted me. By 2000, my body had many strange symptoms, and I realized my time of escaping had to come to an end.

Perhaps out of an act of God, I accidentally went to a workshop by an Indian yoga master. I was following the chanting casually and my tears swelled up. I could not control the rising emotions. Something inside my heart was opened up. Then I looked for places to practice yoga and explore the unknown places inside my heart.

On my yogic path a lot of teachers have generously shared their knowledge and good will. My passion for life has been re-kindled. From these teachings, I came to understand that life is impermanent. My suffering and confusion when my friend died was because I was unaware of the truth of impermanence. Once we relax and observe the world carefully, we discover that nothing is permanent. Since we are all so afraid of change, we believe that we suffer with change. We drug ourselves when change happen. To choose to escape is to end up in misery. I walked through the valley of suffering and despair. I experienced how empty it was to escape and lie to myself. It was yoga that helped me become strong, to honestly confront the weak and humble parts in my heart and learn to cope with it all.

I thank Lance Schuler for introducing me to Iyengar yoga and teaching me how to be in control of my body. Lucy Roberts inspired my body and my spirit and taught me the sweetness of connecting body and mind, giving new life to my dry heart. I thank Kim Haegele for her humble teaching. She skilfully incorporated everything I had learned in the past. I became confident and energetic and my passion for yoga was awakened.

Yoga helped me to transform my life. I hope it can do the same for you.

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