The exact moment I fell in love with Yoga

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with….YOGA

I have been doing yoga on and off over the past 12 years or more. After school my twin sister (Naomi) and I picked up a tremendous amount of weight while au pairing in the Hague, Netherlands. For the next 10 years our major focus was geared towards cardio in order to loose the excess weight. To be fair I believe mainstream yoga has only surfaced in the West approximately 10 to 15 years ago.

As with our mom, we only measure 1.52m and with our Kapha (Ayurvedic dosha reference) rather stout frame, everything we look at is added to our weight immediately. We found this out the hard way.

After being more happy with my weight at a critical point in time, a good friend and colleague (thank you Louden) started influencing me towards strength training. Simply put, I realised that I can do as much cardio as I wish, but without a properly formed muscle, I will never be able to process the fat effectively. 

A bit further down the line I also started realising that our diet contributes approximately 75% to our body weight, regardless how much exercise we are doing. Even over-exercising is futile if we are eating the incorrect food or proportions for our specific body type.

The reason I mention this is because for the longest time I resisted all non-cardio or non-sweat based exercises because of not fully being aware of what role our diet plays in our lives. 

Slowly, but surely, I started inserting more yoga classes in my exercise regime. Just to be clear, after our experience in our 20’s with weight gain, and due to our DNA and natural tendency to pick up weight easily, my sister and I have been exercising at least 6 to 7 times a week, without effort or force. I believe some part of this discipline comes from the days we did ballet, almost 10 years, as well as a love for sweet things. Keep exercising to keep eating what we want. 

For the longest time, whenever we have the opportunity to spend time together (seeing that she lives in London and I live in Singapore), it’s a very special part of our routine and we would carefully work out what exercises will be part of our time together. These days, more often than not, it would be yoga and meditation practiced together.

Concurrently to my exercising I also started meditating regularly about 7 years ago. I followed my sister’s example. I still recall using Jon Kabat-Zinn meditation CDs as a guidance in the beginning. Naomi and I chat every day over WhatsApp. Our first message daily would refer to our meditation and which exercises we did for the day.

The reason for our interest in meditation was stimulated through the realisation how many thoughts we have. This was a conscious effort to calm our busy minds. We are both professionals with a busy and often stressful lifestyle. Today I believe we are all experiencing some kind of stress, whether internal or external, in a profession, family situations, etc. The technology and social media has evolved so much and that has increased the pressure and pace at which we move and have to make decisions every day.

More recently I have also taken steps to further my meditation practice. I am using the Transcendental Meditation (http://sg.tm.org) technique for meditating. I meditate 20 minutes twice a day. It has been a life changer for me.

It still took quite a bit of time before I started doing yoga more regularly. There was definitely a strong correlation between my yoga practice and times in my life that I was experiencing some emotional turmoil though. 

When I look back I have some fond memories of various teachers and special experiences, for e.g. performing a yoga class in Germany with my mother in law and Naomi. Apart from not understanding much, it was easy to follow as yoga is such a universal language. Then there was the yoga on the beach in Santa Monica with the sea breeze on my face and the sun gently kissing my whole body. And a very special rooftop yoga with Naomi and my youngest brother Carel, following a YouTube class by Adriene (yogawithadriene.com)

Shortly after my divorce I had a work trip to Auckland, New Zealand where I combined some personal holiday with my work trip. A friend took me along to a yoga festival (Wanderlust), and even though I was not sure how much yoga I could do in one day, I had a wonderful and unique experience that day.

After a Kundalini class, during Savasana, I clearly had a vision of the sun, illuminated in the brightest yellow you can imagine, followed shortly by a heart appearing at it’s center in a red as bright as blood. At first I was not sure if this was just a dream or hallucination, but then the teacher proceeded to lead a song which she said was normally used to conclude a Kundalini practice session. The song that followed had the following lyrics: 

May the long time sun shine upon you

All love surround you

And the pure light within you

Guide your way on. 

(long time sun song)

Of all my yoga experiences I believe that day is the day that I fell in love with YOGA. It left such a lasting impression for me that I designed my first tattoo around the image of the Sun and the heart. 

Since that experience I did several retreats to Bali where I spent some time at the Yoga Barn at critical points in my life. After each trip I felt rejuvenated and ready to tackle whichever experience or challenge it was that lay ahead for me. 

Approximately a year ago I decided to Stop smoking (with Allan Carr https://www.theeasywaytostopsmoking.com) after a long period of harbouring this habit. It was an incredible relief as it felt like the sword that was hanging over my head vanished within weeks as I started breathing more easily. I also felt a tremendous improvement in my yoga practice. No longer would I be the sole smoking yogi at Yoga Barn.

Another few pieces of the puzzle had to fall in place, before I started looking further into a possibility to pursue Yoga Teacher Training. After coming across Tirisula Yoga studio and speaking to Wei Ling, I was even more convinced to complete my training with her and Paalu. 

My love relationship with Yoga has even deepened further since starting the Yoga Teacher training in March of this year…I am particularly excited about knowing the exact alignment of each pose as well as realising some of the other obvious benefits to my exposure by being more intimately familiar with Pranayama and Kriyas. I can’t wait to be able to share this powerful knowledge with family and friends. I find a strong purpose in being able to help other people, which matter to me, what changes they have to make (in life) to be able to move forward in life. 

Yoga does not judge, Yoga provides a unique experience of a brief encounter on my yoga matt, where my mind, body and spirit is aligned. I have resolved many issues on the matt. Normally this feeling stays with me for the rest of the day and has the power to restore balance and order in my thoughts as well as encounters throughout the day…

I believe my relationship with  YOGA will be a life long relationship…

Karin Schoombee – YTT200hr March 2018

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