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Teacher of December 2016 - Gina

I only have vague memories of when I first started practicing yoga. I can’t recall what type of classes I took or what I have learned. All I remembered was I was unhappy with my figure and yoga was just an exercise for me to look better. That’s why I often took classes that left me drenched in sweat. The most memorable class around that time was a class we had to partner up with another person. I first thought it was just to work on particular pose, but the teacher actually wanted us to share the hardest experience in our lives with each other. My partner shared the story of a loved one who was so depressed he ended his own life. When it was my turn, I was thrown off. I felt I was just complaining over nothing.

It was then I realized my life has been smooth. I grew up in a well-off family, with many opportunities and resources for learning. It was just my grades were always poor. Because of certain inertness in me, I didn’t like to leave my comfort zone and had hard time finding my passion. My poor school performance left me feeling deflated and consequently I never liked school. It also brought up self-doubt; I was not as good as others. This lack of confidence resulted in me not wanting to try new things, afraid of change, of losing face, of not performing well, and not fitting in. It left me wondering what if I was the stupidest and lousiest person? On the outside, I may look like fun and lively, but on the inside I was consumed by all these negative opinions of myself and feelings of I will never be good enough. I was deeply insecure due to this lack of self-confidence. After I ended a relationship that was serious enough for marriage discussions, I panicked. I shut downed and just wanted to escape my current situation, so I ran away to Thailand to do a yoga teacher training.

I began teaching yoga after I completed the training, but I became even less self-confident. The way I tried to get over that was to transform my body to be more of a “yogi”. That was when I started my “asana marathon”. No matter if I was menstruating or how many classes I had taught, I would always take classes during any spared time that I had. The highest record I had was taking four classes in a day. At the time, it didn’t feel like hard work. I actually felt gratified with the progress my body was making, as if I finally became what a yoga teacher should look like.

This ego-led practice created all sorts of pressure and physical pain. I began to doubt my marathon approach and the bit of confidence that I worked so hard to build up. Gradually lingering sounds of doubt were appearing. This lasted till I took Michelle’s Yin Yoga teacher training and I started a mindfulness practice. I observed how I had all these insecurities and self-doubts, how that made me always felt unsatisfied and caused a lot of stress. I noticed how I never wanted to stop and take a good look at what was right in front of me and appreciate what I had, but rather always looking at other people’s achievements and comparing myself and criticizing how I didn’t measure up.

And now, slowly I learned to practice looking at things as they are, without judgments and seeing the many facets of things, no matter its good or bad. I sincerely appreciate all the ups and downs and things that I have been through, as well as the power of nature. I’m grateful to all the teachers, friends and students I was fortunate enough come across on my yogic journey. I’m also grateful to all the frustration, the injuries, challenges and the tears in Shavasana. All of it has allowed me to learn slowly from within, understand the whole of me, see things as they are and unconditionally loving it all. I have come to understand my connection to all being, understand to enjoy all of life’s journeys, understand and completely accept, as well as being thankful to all the imperfections and perfections.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.
"May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all."

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