Asana is like a poem; you need to read it over and over again for the meaning to sink in.
When I started practicing yoga in my 20’s, it was all about challenging myself, chasing after more and more difficult poses. At that time, I could easily present a pose in its external form, but I didn’t have much understanding of its internal essence. Practice can develop the experiential understanding, as stated in Light on Life: “the form of each asana needs to be reflected to the wisdom body (vijnanamaya kosa) for readjustment and realignment.”
Before I came to SPACE, the practice of cultivating intelligence was an area that I was lacking. I only experienced action in the outer physical layer. When I started taking various workshops and teacher trainings with foreign teachers, my practice became more systematic. As I developed my Intelligence, which included sharper awareness of the body, I started to understand how to maintain strength as well as ease in a pose.
After I attended Doug Keller’s workshop, I began to realize the importance of anatomy in yoga practice that allowed me to have a greater respect for each student’s individuality. I also realized my teaching skills were still lacking in certain areas, so I spent three months studying Doug’s “Yoga as Therapy” book and then took an Anatomy class at Taipei Medical University to improve my knowledge in yoga anatomy. When I had a better understanding of my own body, I was able to treat my body in a safer way. It was about bringing intelligence into my actions by observing the reaction of my action so I’m able to guide the breath to flow more smoothly.
Students are also Teachers
Having taught for seven years now, I have encountered students with many different physical conditions. Each special physical condition became an opportunity for me to grow as a teacher. And luckily SPACE also has a group of professional physical therapists on staff. Each time I came across an issue that I couldn’t answer, I would for their help. Interesting things happen when it comes to yoga anatomy. Solving problem also became an opportunity for cultivation of experience and wisdom.
The other aspect of knowing the body is to observe it. Observation skill is a must for a yoga teacher. Right now, I have completed two terms of my Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training. Aside from learning the knowledge of Asana, what’s more important is learning how to observe the differences between students and how to give different instructions appropriate to their situation.
In 2013, I spent four months in Melbourne studying Iyengar Yoga with Peter Scott and his wife, Sue. During this time, I really deepened my understanding of Asana and its precision. I also learned how to use various props to make the practice more complete and safe. Not only my inversion practice became more stable, I also gained many observational skills that greatly improved my teaching skills.
To be able to meet good teachers and to study with them for an extended period of time really was such a fortune. It was also my first time living overseas for so long to really experience all there is to offer there. I still really miss the life there, practicing at Yoga Jivana and meeting fellow yoga enthusiasts.
13 years of yoga practice allowed me to realize yoga is not just an exercise; it is a guideline on living. It changed the way I lived my life and allowed me more opportunity to get to know good friends with positive energy. This is a wonderful transformation; living a simple life, being content and happy. I believe this transformation will continue, as my life and spirit become more enriched.