My yoga adventure started a few years back in Beijing, China. But before I delve into that, let me tell you a little about Beijing. Any expat who has ever lived in Beijing can tell you that it is a city that can lift the spirits to the highest degree or drag you down deeper then you ever thought possible. You can experience the happiest days imaginable, or the terror of your existence. I can say that while I lived there most of my days were filled with absolute joy. But oh boy! When you are having a bad day, forces collide and finish the job. This is not my experience but a well-known fact. Trust me.
So, when I came across Yoga Yard I was having one of the terror days. I won’t get into details but lets just say that in a mere two hours-I had gotten accidently spit on, attacked by a taxi driver, and had a blazing headache due to the pollution. But as soon as I walked into that yoga studio I felt better. And once the practice was done I realized that all the afternoons’ troubles had melted away. I did not think once about the fact that I would not have electricity or a hot water when I got home because my roommate forgot to go to the bank and pay the electric bill or that my passport had still not been returned by the visa agency or missing my family and thinking of how far away they were. I was just there, on my mat, filled with content. I was hooked! I had found my home away from home.
It was at Yoga Yard that I learned what it means to breathe -I mean really breathe! It was at Yoga Yard that I got the foundation for understanding awareness for alignment in yoga. I know everyone says that self-practice is best, but there is something to be said for being in a room with people who are all moving and breathing at the same time as you, almost like a dance.
I have practiced dance in the past and breathing is sometimes incorporated but not nearly to the same extent or way as it is in yoga.
It was Jess Meider who really introduced me to using my breath. As a singer, she is constantly emphasizing the importance of breathing and showing her students how breathing can help in every movement. In her class, you reach a sense of connectedness with others, because you all end-up inhaling and exhaling with profound and deep ujjayi breath. Almost like a tempo.
It was Ren Jinsong (Sean) and He Wei who built the blue-print for my understanding of alignment. Their constant and gentle reminders to always remember the lines of the body. They have mastered getting students into proper alignment so well that most times you do not even realize the process that took you from point A to B. I cannot count the number of times that Sean has made me do an entire yoga class with a block between my thighs, so that I could undo the decades of ballet training that had molded my body. I know that because of them my bones, muscles and ligaments are much better off, for I have no doubt that they have saved or at least delayed injuries that I will or could have in the future. For that I am forever grateful.
And while I am only halfway through my teacher training at Tirisula, I know I will be forever grateful to Hui Yan, for brining much needed strength to my bendy body. Thank you.
Mariana- (200hr TTC Sep 2014)