Having spent 8 consecutive days rising at 6.30am, sweating bucket loads and learning bucket loads, I took the decision to have a Sunday ‘rest’ day and explore beyond the city. As a newbie to Singapore I had been itching to see some green land and nature in place of the skyscrapers and busy humans that make up Singapore.
My partner and I took a boat to Pulau Ubin – an oasis of calm, wildlife, jungles, and secluded mountain bike trails.
We immediately hired bikes and spent a beautiful (still sweaty of course!) day exploring the island, finding trails, monkeys, turtles, and paddling in the lakes and sea.
On our way back to the ferry we set off down a fairly steep hill. It felt so nice to have the wind in my face and hair (having just climbed this hill on the bike) and to release my tired quads! Until…from what seemed like nowhere, another cyclist came crashing into my bike from behind – knocking me flying to the side of the road.
Luckily no bones were broken for either of us, but my entire right hand side was scraped and blood was flowing from my knee and elbow. People were pointing and mouthing ‘ouch’ at me as we walked back to the ferry. As it got later into the evening my whole side was burning.
My pain beyond the physical evolved to frustration, anger, self blame. Frustration at the way I was feeling and the effect it was going to have on my practice (which I had already found challenging, I didn’t need further challenge!). Anger at the person who crashed into me, blame and negativity towards them. Self blame – why had I gone to Pulau Ubin in the first place? I should have stayed at home.
However, I found that my attitude and feelings altered significantly when I applied YAMA (the practice of managing oneself due to external stimuli) to the situation I found myself in. I felt calmer, less emotionally fraught, and in some ways have used the situation to further my experience of yoga and what it it like to adjust practice.
YAMA is the first limb of the Ashtanga Yoga and simply means ‘the disappearance of all suppressions’. The elements of Yama are categorised as below:
1. Ahimsa – non violence, being non injurious and abandoning aggression towards others. Love arises from the abandonment of violence and soothes.
2. Satya – living the truth. When one becomes firmly grounded in truth their actions will reverberate their whole being.
3. Asteya – non stealing, freeing oneself of jealous instincts. A person controlled by the conditioned mind will covet and crave for things and attitudes that they do not possess. Asteya is releasing oneself from this.
4. Brahmacharya – transformation of the sexual energy and and establishing oneself in non duality, choosing how you feel in relation to situations. Being aware that you are in control of your emotions.
5. Aparigraha – non possession of anything that gives suffering for someone else. When you are aware that nothing can be possessed, suddenly your whole energy moves inwards towards you. You comply to the present.
I aim to apply this practice to situations in future to (hopefully) move towards releasing the mind and manage myself well, despite hurdles that arise in life!