ON AND OFF THE MAT

BEFORE THE MAT

Some misconceptions I had (based on my limited knowledge of the practice) –

  • It’s too slow for me! Being a highly active person, I never thought yoga to be suitable for myself. My first encounter with the asanas was 4 years back, when I attended a yogasana class (hatha-based) and nearly fell asleep as I could not focus on the practice.
  • I don’t need to be zen… I was happy being hyper-zealous and extremely excitable. I believed this to be the mojo in my life.
  • It’s steeped in a religion that’s not mine, so it’s safer not to practice. But to be honest, everything only has as much meaning as you give to it.

After reading this I only realise how much I have grown, haha!


ON THE MAT
I reconnected with yoga in Jan 2020, using it more for stretching post-HIIT/kickboxing. I truly began to enjoy the practice in Apr 2020 during circuit breaker, where I discovered vinyasa and my practice was as much physical as it was emotional. What it meant to me –

  • Me-time: This is time I get to spend with myself, and better understand and appreciate me. As an extreme extrovert, I’ve much preferred to spend time with others than myself. With yoga, I found the time to practice gratitude, patience and love for me.
  • To be in the present: With the intense focus on the drishti and the poses, I was able to focus on my practice at the here and now rather than having my mind wander to several places and be in my usual multi-tasking mode.
  • Impermanence: With one breath per pose, it serves as a reminder that postures, like most other things around e.g. our feelings at the moment, our encounters with people, are fleeting – hence there is not much to be hung up about. (A good read related to this is also The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson)


BEYOND THE MAT

The past 3 weeks have given me a deeper understanding of yoga beyond the asanas – bringing it back to the breath, rooting it in the yamas and niyamas. These, in particular, stood out to me –

  • Breath: The beauty of the practice was my connection with the breath even off the mat, where I could soothe the turbulence in my emotions by just coming back to the breath.
  • Ahimsa: Coupled together with other books I was reading (Milk & Honey – Rupi Kaur and Code of the Extraordinary Mind – Vishen Lakhiani), these revolved around the importance of self-love – how you need to love yourself first before you can love others – and when love stems from yourself instead of being based on others’ love for you, you are not affected from external forces.
  • Asteya: Moving through twists and heart openers, I brought this yama off the mat and it reinforced my belief that being jealous of others is me being upset with God’s generosity and love to them.

As the practice continues morphing (also while I transit from student to teacher), I’ll continue flowing and see where it takes me.