Joining the 200 hour yoga teacher training course has been a delightfully fruitful experience for my soul. Not only did I experience the beauty of yoga as a whole, but I got to learn more about myself and appreciate my existence in the world.

People now may view me as a steady and grounded person. However, about three years ago, I went through clinical depression, panic disorder, and anxiety attacks. I felt lost with my direction in life and had a bad fallout in my relationships which resulted in me wanting to commit suicide. It was a dark time in my life that I don’t want to go back to.

I took anti-depressants and had weekly therapy consultations. Did it help? No. For a while it was okay, then my depression, panic disorder, and anxiety attacks would surface again. I felt like riding a rollercoaster every few weeks or months. I stopped taking anti-depressants then I had to take them again when things got bad. This went on like a never-ending cycle for almost 1.5 years.

There’s a lot of story behind all this and the stories in-between that led me here, but then I’d have to write a book. So let me fast forward to main points of the timeline so I can get to the point of why I’m writing this.

My clinical depression gave me a binge eating disorder and I hit 74 kilograms. It was so bad that my mother literally dragged me to the car, took me to the gym and forced me to exercise right next to her in group exercise classes. I was trapped and there was no way out. She’s a tiny woman with so much anger (and love) whose hand slaps hurt like a bi***. This went on every single damn day for 3 months. All my finances were cut; passport, debit card, and cash taken away from me. Had to only eat low-carb food that my mother would personally prepare for me, so no dine-outs. I was imprisoned. This is not funny, I wanted to run away. You think Jillian Michaels is tough? Try living with my mother, I was shooting my own BIGGEST LOSER tv show. Eventually, I lost 9 kilograms over 3 months and then the fitness club manager asked me if I was interested in becoming a spinning instructor. Truth be told, my mother pushed me to go. She thought once I become an instructor, I would have no choice but to work out, which is true. That opportunity allowed me to become a spinning instructor.

Eight months after, I moved to Singapore to study for a second bachelor’s degree. I didn’t know if I would be able to teach spinning again, but Virgin Active gave me the opportunity to be a spinning instructor trainee (from being a member) which led to me becoming an instructor for their gym. Class participant numbers increased as members loved my classes and kept coming back. People told me I was a good instructor, that fed my ego and motivated me to go for advanced trainings to become a better instructor. And every training I went to, the master trainers told me the same thing — that I am a natural connector with clear coaching skills. I realised this was my skill since everyone was seeing it. Through that, I found purpose to help my participants (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) become healthier and happier through fitness.

Yesterday (week 4 day 1 of the training), whilst doing theory class on manipura chakra, Paalu said that you have to find your skills, talent, abilities to have goals, objectives to finally find and have purpose. It must be in this order. Not the other way around nor skipping from first to the last. And this deeply resonated with me and made me think about where I am standing at this point of my life.

I am currently in the phase of realigning myself, and this was slowly in progress even before starting the yoga teacher training course. I’m finally seeing my skills, talents, and abilities to form goals and objectives. Long before during my depression phase, I was looking for purpose first without asking myself what I am good at nor accepting my strengths and weaknesses which imbalanced me. I only realise now that I was focusing on the wrong things. Now that I understand, I aim to have a good relationship with myself with a lot of self-love. And I can finally say this genuinely, “I appreciate my existence in this universe.”