Prior to joining the YTT200 at Tirisula Yoga, I’d never given much thought to what yoga actually means to me. I attended my first class in 2013, in my first year in University abroad, as a means to fit some exercise into my otherwise sedentary Student Life. After I returned to Singapore, I continued with my yoga practice, but never committed to attending more than 2 classes per week. There were even periods where I missed practice for weeks at a stretch when I had to travel overseas for leisure or work.
Barely into my first week of training did I realise that I had merely been skimming the surface when I considered yoga to be a form of physical exercise. Delving a little deeper into the theoretical side of yoga has helped me see that yoga is truly about mental (and spiritual) practice as well: connecting with one’s inner-self through the cessation of thoughts, to feel the body and energy from within, so as to enter into a realm of intense present-moment awareness. By knowingly tuning out, albeit momentarily, of the non-stop 24/7 commentary in my mind, and through focusing on the breath and the present moment, things suddenly appeared much brighter and clearer. It is difficult to explain in words, but perhaps the inner transformation can be described as feeling like something opened up on the inside, allowing me radiate love and light from within.
The part I found most meaningful in the first week of our training was learning about Yama – one of the 8 limbs of yoga – and its 5 characteristics that are listed in Pantanjali’s sutras:
- Ahimsa (non-violence). To exude kindness, thoughtfulness and friendliness in thought, word, and deed.
- Satya (truthfulness). To carefully consider what is said and how it could have an impact on others.
- Asteya (non-stealing). To eliminate the desire or action of taking things that rightfully belong to others, non-hoarding, accepting things as is and not regretting or missing what is “absent” at this moment.
- Brahmacharya (celibacy). To move into the infinity. Non-lust, continence and self-control.
- Aparigraha (non-possessiveness). To be content with what one already has.
The above, simplified for brevity, are virtues that I hope to consciously apply and stay guided by in living life, and in relating to and taking care of others whose paths cross mine.