Atha Yoga Anushasanam (Now, the teachings of Yoga)

Sleazy, doubt, discomfort, numb, confusion – Not the words you’d associate with yoga but these were my exact thoughts and feelings I had when I went for my first yoga class. My friend had purchased a cheap package of classes on Groupon and convinced me to accompany her to a small studio in Orchard where I was greeted by a Chinese lady (who doesn’t speak English by the way). Feeling sore and off balance after the class, I told myself, “nope, yoga is not for me”. Looking back, it really is quite amazing to see how much things have changed and how much I’ve come to love a practice I did not resonate with at the start.

It was no surprise to learn that my ayurdevic dosha is Vata, considering how my thoughts are constantly running in my head, never stopping, and I never felt quite grounded. For some reason, there’s always an underlying feeling of anxiousness and even fear that engulfs me. This is the exact reason why time on the mat is so special to me. I’ve tried many sports and while I really enjoyed the intensity and the competitive nature, sports gave me something I liked, but not what I needed. I was happy playing sports, but the injuries kept coming and dragged me down. It is only when I’m on my mat, that I feel like I can accomplish some sort of dharana and to really be in the present moment, without hurting myself. Yoga puts me in a trance, and on good days, my soul feels lifted, I don’t feel like I’m in my physical body anymore. Aware but not thinking, being but not feeling.

As Pantajali puts it in the first stanza (Yoga Sutra 1.1) of the Yoga Sutra, Atha yoga anushasanam which means “Now, the teachings of yoga” – a reminder for all of us to always be here, now in this present moment.

As we reach the end of the course, while I’ve irrefutably learnt so much in terms of asanas, alignment, anatomy and the yogic philosophies, I’d like to share one of my biggest takeaways that I personally feel is overlooked by many of us – the newly found respect I have for all yoga teachers out there. I have always had great respect and admiration for my teachers, but it has definitely reached a new level now that I’ve had a go at teaching myself. Teaching looks easy, but the amount of preparation skill and flair needed is incredible. So to all my teachers, especially Master Paalu and Master Satya, thank you for sharing your knowledge, experiences and all your light. I really am so grateful.

Undoubtedly, I frequently think about how my life will change once we’ve graduated. I’m unsure of my path but as with everything, it will all work out in the end. My only hope and desire is for me to internalize all that I’ve learnt, continually seek more knowledge and ultimately, lead a yogic life for myself.

 

NJ ॐ

 

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