My Transformation – Part 1

I started going to yoga classes in early 2014. I kept noticing the signboard of a particular yoga studio every time I crossed the overhead bridge leading to my last workplace, so after I left my last job, I signed up for a 20-class package with that studio.

Needless to say, the first few classes were tough. I was clueless and breathless, trying my best to catch up and imitate other students. I had completely no idea of the Sanskrit names for the various asanas, the correct postures for the various poses, or the manner in which the asanas were to be performed. However, as time passed, I gradually acquainted myself with the basic poses.

By then, as I became more familiar with my practice and more used to a hot room environment, I was starting to really enjoy my classes. However, I was aware that I was plateauing. As I saw some of my teachers guide students into more advanced asanas such as sirsasana (headstand) and bakasana (crow) in class, it occurred to me that perhaps it would be a natural progression for me to undergo structured training in order to master some of these more technically difficult asanas.

So in early 2015, I signed up for Tirisula Yoga’s 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (weekend course) (“YTT“).

The asana lessons in Tirisula’s YTT have a strong focus on proper alignment and strength, flexibility and endurance. The 5 weekends of asana lessons, so far, have been a very intense boot camp of unlearning prior poor poses, familiarising ourselves with the Ashtanga primary series that is the focus of this course, and doing a variety of exercises to increase flexibility and build core, forearm and shoulder strength, in a very short amount of time. It’s been a very huge challenge, not just for myself but (I believe) for everyone else. The YTT made me realise that my journey in yoga has only just started.

Learning about the 8 limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, in particular the various yamas and niyamas, was an eye-opener for me. I believe the theory lessons in the yamas and niyamas firmly grounded not just me but all of my fellow yoga teacher trainees in the fact that yoga is a holistic and ethical practice, and that yoga is not just an exercise or a workout.

Though it’s been only five weekends thus far, I feel like I’ve already come a long way since day one. I now am no longer so averse to inversions, though I still need practice in handstands. But needless to say, there’s still so much to learn, and so much more training and learning to go through.

My fellow teacher trainees come from a variety of backgrounds and I’m happy to see that they can still give it their all, despite all the ups and downs of asana training in YTT.

To my fellow teacher trainees, this journey together has been an experience to remember! I pray that you all will be kind and compassionate to yourself and to others (ahimsa), and true to yourself (satya) as you keep up your good efforts in training (tapas) to encourage and motivate all of us and everyone around you (swadhyaya)! We can do it! Keep it up everybody!!

Namaste,
Jian Yuan