My Yoga journey

Initially I decided to try yoga because it sounded cool for its stunt and benefits. I remembered seeing some photogenic poses and picturing how cool I would look doing that. So yoga then was simply stunt poses and different kind of exercises to me. On my first day of class, I looked around and noticed all the housewives and aunties. My spirit was down because I think I was very fit. Then the teacher arrived, a slim Indian man, Dr. Shiva. I remember thinking in my head ‘here go my one hour of early morning.’ To my surprise, an hour later, my body was beaten up by some seem-to-be simple poses. My pride was hurt because I could not do a simple stretch like the housewife next to me. I was out of breath next to a super calm auntie. For the next one week my full body was aching badly. I went back to the class because of my pride and curiosity to understand how such a slim man can do stunning poses without breaking a sweat. For the next 3 months, I remembered mental battles in my head everyday as I dragged myself to class and pushed myself to hold the poses for 5-10 breaths (honestly, it seems like forever). I didn’t love yoga then. It was just a pain that any exercise junkie would love to conquer. My love for yoga only sparked when I was introduced to all the breathing techniques and the meditation. I found myself feeling more at ease at each pose. I started hearing less and less of the mental battling voices in my head. I started to feel the weight of my body shifting, to notice the alignment, and to sense the balance from within. I didn’t feel my body weighing after each lesson anymore. I felt light and refreshed. I started to get addicted to this feeling and came to class everyday regardless of rain or shine. As I moved to a different neighborhood, it became very inconvenient to come to Dr. Shiva’s class. I started venturing out practicing with other instructors. However, I didn’t like it. The self-practice effort ended very quickly simply because I was not motivated. Then I temporarily broke up with yoga for 1.5 year until a drastic – life changing event happened. I was down. I could not even find peace in my two ‘sacred rituals’ swimming and diving. I had to stop grasping for air during lap swim because the emotion was so tense. I could not find solitude in the underwater world like I used to. I was miserable. Then one morning after waking up, I unconsciously sat down on the floor and started breathing deeply. I felt at ease. The next thing I knew, I started the Surya Namaskar sequence. It was like riding the bicycle after a long time of abandoning the experience. It felt really good. I resumed classes trying out different instructors and followed the ones I enjoyed. I could be fully present while practicing the asanas. Along the way, I learn of many stories from other yogis on how they come to yoga. It does not matter if the reason is fitness, spirituality, curiosity or even hipster. Yoga is personalized experience. To me, yoga is my quest to understand my body and be aware of myself from within. I do not know to where my yoga journey will lead but what matters more is how I will journey.

Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

-An-