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Teacher of June 2008 - Joanna Chow

Starting from the body, to begin the journey into the self.

The first time I participated in Aadil’s Purna Yoga class, Aadil directed each student to stand in Tadasana on their yoga mat, with eyes closed, and take a few moments to think about the question.“What is my purpose in life?“ In that moment, this question filled me with emotion, my breath became rough, and my eyes felt uncomfortable. All of the events of the past, words spoken to me by others, etc.…all began to surface. I was taken by surprise. All of the feelings were so sad, so painful and angry; there was nothing light or bright in my mind. I wondered, “Could it be that I have lived most of my life with negative emotions, all the while I thought I was happy!”

This is why Yoga finds us, or why we find yoga. Deep in our hearts, our utmost goal is to love, to find bliss and truth. However, living in a competitive society like this, with all of the cultural expectations and social regulations we stray away from our true selves. In the end, we are not able to recall—what is the true purpose of our lives?

Practicing yoga give us all we need to be confident in being ourselves, without being arrogant. Ironically, the first yoga session often challenges our self confidence, and suddenly we are forced to look at how we are living our lives. It is not comforatble to see how we have allowed our bodies to slip into such a pathetic state, or to see how fragile we are. Though it is a harsh reality, it is the only way we can come to realize that ---it is time for a change!

To change takes courage, strength, and discipline. If you are willing to embrace Yoga, you will certainly receive all of these gifts. When the body is strong, will power becomes stronger. Those temptations of the mundane world become less powerful and we are able to live according to our values. Practicing yoga we are constantly reminded, we cannot force our lives or circumstances to be as we want them, we are not in control. The most important and hardest lesson is to know when to surrender.”

To admit that the body is not perfect, to admit that one's character is not perfect, to admit that life is not perfect, that is "surrender”! To be gentle is more difficult than being tough, to admit to mistakes is harder than ignoring them, and to be silent is more challenging than to talk continuously, we must never forget that it takes courage and discipline to surrender. The act of “surrender“is the highest expression of the wise and courageous; the ultimate spirit of yoga.

Now, when I close my eyes and ask myself: “What is my purpose in life?” I feel happy as I remember, my dog is cute and clumsy, and when my students leave my class, they give me beautiful smiles, and there are so many more reasons.

A warm current runs through my body and I think this is what it means to be full of love and joy!


Namaste

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