I went for my first yoga class more than 10 years ago after returning to Singapore from my studies overseas. I distinctly remember thinking how boring it was during the class and was not certain I would want to do this again. Somehow, I kept an open mind (or maybe because I’d paid for a gym membership anyway), and continued trying various types of yoga classes that were offered.
Fast forward a few years later when my work schedule started getting more and more busy, and I was struggling to find time to maintain an active lifestyle, I turned to practicing yoga at home whenever I had pockets of free time because it was something easily accessible – all I had to do was find a guided yoga class on YouTube. I started to see positive results; less aching shoulders from constantly sitting in front of a computer, losing some weight and feeling more energised daily. This became my reason for keeping my yoga practice a constant part of my life. But at the same time, I was pushing myself to try new and more challenging classes and poses. I was also aware of my body’s ability to be flexible, from doing gymnastics at a young age, and was therefore thinking that I could do more. A part of it was also my ego pushing me. I was going for more advanced classes, thinking I was really good, could do difficult poses and even a few headstands. Sure, I’d fallen a few times and got a few bruises here and there, but I kept going. Until about 2 years ago, in a standing forward fold position, I felt something give way in my hamstrings after an adjustment from an instructor. It’s common to think it’s good to be able to fold forwards like a book – and I learned the hard way that it’s not always a good thing.
That incident put me out of practice for a few months, set me back a few thousand dollars for scans and physiotherapy treatments and rehab sessions. And even with all that, I still experience pain in my hamstrings and sit bones till this day.
Now, I still practice yoga on a regular basis, but with a more mindful intention. Not to show others/myself how good, strong, flexible I am, but rather to keep my body healthy and active, in a safe and informed way. I may not always be able to touch my toes with my knees straight, but that’s ok. I’m still able to get a good workout through my practice. And that’s all that matters to me now.