My Love Hate Relationship with Yoga

I chanced upon yoga a few years back when a new yoga studio opened just 5 minutes from where I stayed. I went for their open house during their grand opening and signed up for a one-year package. Took my first hot yoga and fell in love with it. That hotness in the studio makes you perspire like hell, but you feel so good after. That same night I slept like a baby.

I continued various different classes with different teachers. Hatha, flow, hot, yin and Ashtanga. That’s where I discovered the style (Ashtanga) that I love the most. I started attending Ashtanga classes more frequently on a weekly basis with the same teacher without fail. However, it started my love hate relationship.

Ashtanga has a fixed sequence that your body will remember after consistent practice. You just flow through the variation poses like water flowing with the tide. However, I find certain poses intimidating and challenging especially the inversion and backbending poses.

I guess quite a lot of beginners like me finds those poses a huge hurdle. Without proper guidance or explanation, there is no way you can learn to stand on your head or bend it gracefully like a gymnast. Pun intended…  

Even though I continued my weekly classes without fail, I have yet to conquer that hate. After one year, I quit from the studio and yoga practice. And went on a hiatus. Until early last year, where my sister suggested to try out a studio (Tirisula) that she has been attending yoga classes regularly. I attended the first class with her and fell in love again. Angelika, the yoga teacher for that day was amazing. Her dedication to all the students of all levels was undivided. She pays attention to every student individual different needs and adjusted our posture for every class that I have attended. I must say, the teacher, teaching the classes plays an important role. She motivated me to overcome my hate. And from there I fall in love all over again and has never look back since.

Patsy Kaye Ang, YTT200 Weekend Warrior – March 2018

 

Power of Yoga

Yoga is the only thing that keeps me going, that is my journey out from depression.

Depression once brought me down in the dumps from relationship and family problem, weight gain of almost 10 kilograms and I am still struggling to lose them.

Giving up was once my thought and I decided to see psychiatrist. I asked myself, what on earth could lift me back up to running and kicking again. I used to dance ballet when I was in school, flexibility was my strength back then till I stopped dancing from pelvic bone injury. Yoga become my choice that I could make use of and improve again my flexibility and at the same time build up my muscles as well as mental strength and toughness.

This journey is so tough that I always feel negative energy in my body and lack of motivation, only when I am practicing yoga the negative emotions will be temporarily put aside with no harm. That being said, the longer I practice the longer I am temporarily happy, hopefully the closer it is towards a permanent state. It is also driven by the strength I feel from the collective energy of yogis around me. Yoga is more than movement, it is more than just a mat or a set of stretches and balances. My 10 kilograms were gained from binge eating since the start of my depression. Breaking a bad habit often requires inserting a sustainable replacement. For instance, a counselor might recommend that smoker to drink water rather than smoking another cigarette. Gradually and eventually, that person will naturally begin to reach for their cup rather than a cigarette whenever there is a craving. The breaking of bad habits is essential for our wellbeing.

I learnt about the five kleshas (obstacles) that we need to overcome:

 

Kleshas

Sanskrit

Description

Translation

1

Ignorance

Avidya

Lack of discernment, not understanding the way of things

Confusion, bewilderment, delusion

2

Ego

Asmita

Having an inflated opinion of oneself and a disrespectful attitude towards others

Pride, arrogance, conceit

3

Attachment

Raga

Attachment or desire for what we like becomes an affliction when it creates suffering. A healthy need or want is one that gives you happiness, inspires you, and has a lightness to it

Desire, passion

4

Aversion

Dvesha

Aversion for what we don’t like, or for what prevent us from getting what we like, or being unable to bear the accomplishments or good fortune of others

Anger, hatred, jealousy

5

Clinging to life

Abhinivesha

Dilutes focus and interferes with the ability to experience the spiritual freedom

Fear of loss

Healing power of yoga is bound up in self-realization. The kleshas are walls that stand in the way of our self-realization, blocking us or blinding and keeping us from achieving our happiness. The sooner that we achieve self-realization, we overcome the five kleshas, the sooner we can begin to find happiness and peace.

It is easier than a lifetime spent suffering. I believe yoga can be a path to healing, no matter what our core spiritual beliefs might be. The path to knowing You is never a bad one to tread.

 

Shu (aka Sharon Chong)
200hrs YTT, Sept 2017 (Weekend)
— Blog 2/4