My maiden attempt at yoga was with a gym in Beijing, about 5 years back. I was studying abroad and had to find a way to sweat during winter. Having zero confidence over my flexibility, I decided to just give it a go since my existing membership with the gym granted unlimited access to their classes. The class was conducted in Mandarin, taught us nothing about breathing nor alignment, and I left untouched by the teacher (i.e., no adjustments done on me). I didn’t sweat in the class and most importantly, I couldn’t hold any of the poses for long. My mind was running wild because it was my first try at those poses and there was no meditation to compose the mind at the start of the class. I told myself never to do yoga again!
Last year a friend gave me a complimentary one-week trial at Amore Fitness, allowing unlimited access to their classes. The ‘auntie’ side of me decided to reap the most out of it by attending whichever class that could match my schedule. The first class I went to was a yoga class led by a teacher named Junko. Although I entered the class still holding my reservations for yoga from the Beijing experience, it turned out to be SO MIND-BLOWING. Here’s why:
- The class started with anuloma viloma and kapalabhati breathing. I was startled by the fact that I was having a conscious awareness over my own breathing for the first time in 27 years. This breath had kept me alive for years and I had never paid any attention to it.
- I perspired so much during the class that I felt as if I had ran 2.4km. My body sored for 2 full weeks after that class and I was surprised at how poses that appeared so simple could work my body so much. (On hindsight, I think it regular breathing when holding the poses would have prevented such a bad muscle ache 😉 )
- Lastly, the class was fun! At times I felt I was twisted like a piece of dough into various poses but the teacher broke down the steps to ease our body into each pose. I never knew what the actual pose was (also due to my lack of knowledge of poses then) until we stayed to hold the pose. There weren’t any arm balances or inversions, just basic but interesting poses and I was already having so much fun.
After the week-long trial ended, I signed up for K-Fit, which allowed unlimited access to yoga classes across various studios. I took the chance to studio-hop, try out different types of yoga, and indulge in the unique ambience of each studio. I was first exposed to arm balances and inversions at a Hatha 2 class with Teacher Suffian at Tirisula Yoga, who soon guided me to my first crow pose and tripod headstand! 😎 Any one who first succeeded in entering an arm balance or inversion would probably experience that thrill and surprise over what the body was capable of. My first class with Tirisula Yoga piqued my interest in yoga and since then, I started practising regularly.
(Sep 2016 Weekday 200hr YTT)