Yoga to Me

In  the beginning, Yoga was just a type of sport/physical activity to me.

I remember my first time in a yoga class several years ago and hating it because it was so “slow and boring”, now realizing it was actually a Yin class that I signed up for.

It was in ashtanga vinyasa classes that I found myself enjoying Yoga and how it made me feel; calmer, happier and just feeling more content.

For someone who grew up doing mostly cardio and group sports like track and field, basketball, volleyball and dodgeball, I enjoyed the new-found ‘intimacy’ in Yoga. I was able to for a moment, focus all my energy on just being present and listening to my own body telling me what felt right/wrong.

Now, instead of seeing it as just a type of physical activity and sport, it’s slowly becoming a way of self-love and self-discovery, a complete lifestyle of its own. I yearn to learn more and equip myself with more knowledge and skills about this whole new world I’ve just discovered and hopefully be able to share it with others one day.


Understanding Myself Through Yoga

This week, I learned that my dosha is pitta-vata with a pitta predominance. However, I have more vata than pitta mental and emotional attributes.

I have almost always had perceptions of a perfect person and what the ideal personality or character traits are supposed to be. However, the standards I hold myself against are difficult to live up to, likely also because they are vastly different from what my dosha inclines me to be. For example, even-temperedness is an ideal trait, but I am naturally hot-tempered (pita dosha). Therefore, when stressors in life get to me, or when I don’t live up to the standards I set. myself, it leads to feelings of anger at myself (from my pitta dosha) as well anxiety that I will never be good enough (from my vata dosha). To make things worse, I also fault myself for my short temper and anxiety, which perpetuates these emotions further. I guess that self-destructiveness is another quality of my vata self.

As I strive for self-growth and am quite hard on myself for my imperfections, I really liked finding out my doshas/life forces for a few reasons:

1. It helped me understand that attributes of myself which I deemed to be unideal or abnormal are in fact, normal and explainable, therefore helping me to accept myself as I am.

2. It helps me to manage myself through knowledge of my inherent strengths and weaknesses.

Understanding that such negative emotions could have been contributed by imbalances of my dosha has been helpful in easing off some of the pressure I put on myself, as well as provided me with some strategies on how I can manage it through my diet and lifestyle.

Master Sree/Max also said something which was very comforting to me. He explained that there are no right or wrong types of dosha, and while it is possible to change our dosha types through diet and lifestyle, he did not encourage it as he believed that we were born with specific life forces for a reason, mainly in keeping the balance of the world. His words serve as a reminder to forgive and accept myself for my inherent shortcomings, while I continue striving to be the best version of myself.

3. It helped me make sense of internal conflicts I experience.

For example, the pitta in me loves order, which means I enjoy making thorough plans for the day or week. However, the vata in me can also be impulsive, which results in last minute changes when the time comes for that plan to be carried out. This contradiction between vata and pitta qualities tends to create internal conflicts, where I’d admonish myself for being unable to stick to my set plans or routine (pitta), while also disliking my ‘uptight’ self and wanting to be free to change (vata).

Here is another example of internal conflict I experience. My pitta self is ambitious and competitive, which is expressed in my desire to be best in a specific field. However, I also have many different interests and am enthusiastic to experience it all, therefore my focus changes constantly (vata). This is frustrating because it means that even though I want to be a master in all things, I know it is literally impossible.

While the journey through life is always going to be challenging, I’m glad I found yoga as it has been proving to help make life a little more manageable. Initially, it was purely an outlet for exercise through which I can manage my stress but delving deeper into the theory of yoga has been so insightful and has shown that it can be helpful to my self-discovery and self-management. I know that I have barely only begun to scratch the surface of it all and am very excited about everything else there is to learn.  

Thank you Mr Yoga.

At first I thought Yoga was a very static activity, and a grand-mother’s hobby. Today, after several years of practice I am so impressed by all the tings Yoga has brought to me and how eye opening it was:

  • Breathing and meditation exercise helps me to reach peace and empty my mind.
  • Physical practice and core Yoga has make my body much stronger and develop my core muscles. (I didn’t even knew it exists)
  • Thanks to Yin classes, I have found flexibility in the articulations in a non painful way. (I did ballet for 10 years and flexibility exercise were very painful.) It also opened blocked area such as my chest.
  • I have find balance thanks to slow and controlled sun salutations, and practicing gentle flow.
  • Through any practice I feel I can connect body and mind consciously.
  • Having a regular practice, I have build up self-confidence by seeing tremendous progress.

Today I can’t be thankful enough for all the things Yoga brought me and I hope to learn more and be able to share those benefits with as many as possible.

Why did I started YTT?

A year ago, I started questioning my lifestyle and the way I was using my time. I am working in a full-time job for a very demanding boss/Company. I lived far away from my family for the last 6 years, and I feel like 80% of my time and energy is dedicated to my work and to make the Company successful. Holidays are great but too short. At some point I thought, what about my life? Could I plan it and achieve the goals I want to reach, the same way I do it for the Company I work for? I decided to spend time thinking about what I wish for and to apply a strategic plan to reach it. I used the same methodology as I do when I work and decided to keep time to invest in my own life.

After a long introspection, 3 targets came out: live closer to nature, live as an adventurer and own my time.

In the process, I realised how much I love Yoga and how happy I would be to insert it in the new lifestyle I want to embrace. I decided to start a Yoga Teacher Training, so I could have a useful skill to share with people around me, and eventually use it to finance some extras if needed.

Now I am happy that I have identified my needs and that the plan has worked: We (my bf and I) are ready for the next adventure: live on a sailboat for a while, and sail around the world.

3 things that Yoga brought me

Yoga has brought several changes to my life, today I count 3 of them:

Escape from Noise:
Since I started to practice yoga I noticed it offers me an escape from noise in my head and stress. I now have a way to find deep internal peace even for a short while, and stop thinking. It is a great thing to know that I can always escape from stress if I want to.

New Diet:
Yoga allows me to live in a more mindful way, and it specifically make me think more about what I do and the consequences. It slowly leads me to a less meaty and less processed-food diet. I still happen to eat fish or porc occasionally, but I noticed I have no craving for meat like I did before. This is very surprising as I never really questioned my diet and I did not have external influence to make me act this way over the last two years, but now it’s just that I don’t feel like eating meat, so I don’t.

Yoga, such as any activities, has the effect to bring people together. I am thankful that I happened to share my love for yoga with my friend Virginie, and that it leads us to organise a Yoga retreat in Bintan with a bunch of friends. This was a great experience where we learn how to “work” together, and a few other organisational skills. At the end, we had the best WE, with Yoga on the beach, good food from our favourite restaurant and friends around us. I felt that this “Yoga Retreat Organizer” experience was for both of us the beginning of a new”hobby” and moment of great friendship.

My ‘Favourite’ Posture

I’ve always had a love hate relationship with backbends.
But now I can officially tell you that I love and still hate backbends.
As the saying goes,
I bend so I don’t break.

Backbend is where our spine bends backwards and it helps to align our spine and vertebrate.
Most importantly, backbend is a shoulders, chest and heart opener. As it says, when you open your heart, you open the huge possibilities to open your mind.

Doing backbends are actually a emotional journey that it will take us through. After a backbend, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and emotional because it opens up our hearts to all the feelings and emotions that are running through our bodies and mind.

This is why backbend is my favourite posture as its not only challanging to me physically but it is also a powerful lesson and journey towards knowing and controlling my emotions better. And if you can’t think straight, think upside down!


How yoga will help others

Yoga has been beneficial to me. In so many ways or another. Yoga was a help to me during my stressful, emotional and difficult days. With yoga around, I was more patient with people around me and of course most importantly with myself. I am also more confident of myself as yoga helped me and improved me physically. Therefore, I think that yoga will be able to help many more people out there.

How will yoga be able to help others? And how would I be able to link people to yoga? Yoga will be able to help people just like how it helped me. If people are willing to accept yoga into their lives, and are more open towards giving themselves a chance to explore yoga, they will be able to open themselves up to so many new possibilities. Yoga improves one person in terms of body, mind and soul. The more you open up and choose to learn and accept, the more benefits that yoga can bring to oneself.

However, yoga is not a destination or a stepping stone that you can forget after becoming ‘better’. Yoga is actually a journey. A long journey together with our bodies, hearts and minds. Therefore it is important to continue corporating yoga into our daily lives.

I think that I can link people to yoga by first being a better version of myself. And then which I will be able to introduce yoga to more people that have never been in touch with yoga before or had an misunderstanding with yoga.
Of course with a yoga teacher training certification, I will be able to life people up mentally, emotionally and also physically. So that I will be able to benefit people around me and people in our community.

Most importantly, to me, yoga never forgets about spreading love in this community! Yoga brings people of all walks together and yoga is a journey filled with interesting explorations and fun about oneself.


Yoga in my current life

Today, after 8 years since I first know about yoga, I find yoga being a kind of therapy for me. Yoga makes me happy and helps me alot in my daily life and the way I live.

With yoga, I’ve improved alot on my health and physical wellbeing. Other than that, with every practice I have, it helped me with my confidence and happiness. With every practice, I realise that I was slowly transforming into someone better.
I started to have more patience in my daily life and was more understanding towards people around me.

Yoga also helps me during difficult situation during work and my personal life. Yoga teaches me to take a step back to understand the situation before coming to a conclusion fast.
Yoga also taught me to have self love for myself and to give myself enough time and space to self reflect even during hectic time.

Yoga also allows me to understand my physical body better and if course to be more accepting towards my body as in some days my body is not at its best. So yoga teaches me to be patient with myself and my body.

Yoga is life changing for me and helps me alot!


How I came into yoga

I was first very skeptical about yoga.
Is it a spiritual thing? A religion thing? A meditation? Does it make me fitter?
Because of all of my what ifs, I didn’t take the first step to understand and to try yoga.

I first started to get more interested at a roadshow. I remember it was outside a mrt station. That was when I first met my yoga instructor and she spoke to me about yoga.

I clarified all my doubts and at the age of 18, I started doing yoga. When I first started, I was so excited about it. I started doing yoga and going for yoga classes EVERY SINGLE DAY. thinking about it today, I’m thinking that how hardworking I were back then.

But it didn’t last long, after about a year of daily practice, I started to get bored of yoga and stopped completely. After stopping for 6 months then I went back again to start yoga again. I realised that the reason why I stopped was before I was just going through the routine and I didn’t understand about it. I wasn’t focus and it was merely just a physical practice to me.

That was when I realise that I wanted to understand deeper about yoga. So I started to learn about postures and to improve them. Then it was it I realise that I found meaning in my practice and how my practice will help me. And therefore continued to constantly do my practice.

Looking back, it has been a great journey with yoga. And now that I’ve understand that, to continue my journey with yoga, I will have to understand why I am doing this and how I want to do it. It has also became a life lesson for me in everything I do in life. To make our lives more meaningful and fruitful!


First Yoga Class?

  • The first time I went to a Yoga class was totally unplanned: a friend of mine had a free ticket for “hot yoga” class at Great World City and she asked me if I would join and have dinner afterward. I accept thinking I would be happy to have a moment with my friend and then go to a nice restaurant, where I could eat plenty.
  • When I arrived in the yoga class, I found my friend sitting on a matt, first raw of the class just in front of the teacher. I entered the room and sit next to my friend, and I was thinking, “it’s so hot in here, why don’t they put the aircon?” I could barely breath and was already sweating while waiting for the teacher. The class started and I ended up sweating and falling from posture to posture, I was completely lost and suffocating all along the class. I also could not retain to giggle when falling from a supposed-to-be “crow pose” and the teacher looked at me with a severe look as I was disturbing the class. At the end I told my friend this was a very bizarre physical practice and I could not understand why people practice yoga, or even worse Hot yoga.
  • A year later, I started to practice yoga during my lunch time, at the Gym next to my office, and since then I have learnt to love yoga and practice it daily!