How yoga changed my life

How yoga changed my life.
July 2010.
My life leading to this date was very unhealthy.
I have been smoking since 16 years old and never had I had a day without a cigarette. Gradually my smoking habits grew to a packet of cigarettes a day. Every morning I will start off the day with a stick of cigarette before doing anything else. Similarly, when I wind down at night before bed. I was what you would call a chain smoker. Out of habit I will be lighting up every other hour. Before meals, after meals, waiting for a friend, and taking frequent smoke breaks in between work.
I never took breakfast and meal times were when I was with friends. Chocolate and chips were my daily staple and I could go through the day without drinking water except sugary soda drinks. After all I assume there is a certain percentage of water in those drinks. Fruits and vegetables were not a requirement in my diet or at least I thought.
The only form of exercise was walking from one end of Orchard Road to the other shopping with my friends. I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without panting. I thought elevators and escalators were the best invention.
Start of a healthy lifestyle
I was encouraged by friends around me to consider giving yoga a try because of my unhealthy lifestyle and constant lack of energy. So I decided to give it a try, and went for a trial class- Bikram Hot Yoga. My very first beginner’s yoga class and boy! It was a wake up call. The room was pre heated to 42 degrees and students will be served a dialogue and practice 26 asana poses in 90 minutes.
At the start of the class, the teacher reminded us to breathe and to give our best effort and stay in the room for the whole of 90 minutes.
All this while I was thinking yoga was a walk in the park, just a few simple stretching postures in a hot room. Just 10 minutes into the practice, I found myself panting and falling behind the class and was wondering did the room just became hotter? The heat was overwhelming and I struggled to breathe. By the third pose, I was feeling light headed and gave up. Just as I was about to get up to leave, the teacher insisted that I stay and sit down and concentrate on breathing. My emotions got the better of me as I found it difficult to breath much less stand up. If this is what stranded in a desert feels like, I couldn’t understand why everyone else was unaffected. I believed then that they had superhero power. My mind was in chaos thinking of many reasons to give the teacher just to get out of the room. Every fibre in my body was screaming for help and I was scheming for ideas to get out of the room. I gave up and lied flat on my back and before I knew it class had ended. The teacher brought me aside after the class and complimented me on a good effort to stay in class and not giving up and encouraged me to come back the next day. At the same time I felt a sense of accomplishment, and euphoria running though my body and I was determined to press forward.
Since that day I had build an appetite for healthier food options and also found myself drinking lots of water. I had no cravings for cigarettes and found myself gradually cutting down on smoking. I was attending Bikram yoga every day, and found myself stronger to attempt more poses and hold it for longer. Also, smoking makes me breathless in class. It was counter productive to smoke and to do yoga at the same time. It wasn’t too long before the cigarettes didn’t agree with my body and soon 2 months after my first class I quit smoking for good.
October 2010
3 months after my first class. I finally completed my first Bikram Hot Yoga class, all 26 poses and 90 minutes in a hot room. I never felt better in my life at that moment, my perseverance, determination, commitment and never give up attitude paid off. It had trained my mind to be stronger and I am now more positive and able to tackle anything that comes my way in life.
Just like what Bikram Choudhury once said “You’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to start from scratch once again. “
Evangeline Tay
200 Hour Teacher’s Training course March-April 2013

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