What does yoga mean to you?

On the first day of YTT, we were asked one question.

“Why did you sign up for YTT?”

“It was a natural next step for me. I was a gymnast for 10 years, and as it was not possible to continue being a gymnast due to physical limitations and practical considerations, I decided to continue the sport through yoga.” 

Looking back, this clearly showed how yoga was, more than anything else, a physical exercise to me. And there is nothing wrong with that. But over the past 8 weeks of YTT, my perspective has shifted and I am thankful to Tirisula for teaching me about the meaning of yoga beyond the Asanas.

Yoga is a practice for both the mind and body.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that comes from the root, “yuj”. Simply put, yoga means union. In Patanjali’s yoga sutras, yoga is said to be the cessation of fluctuations of the mind. 

Through my journey into learning about and practising yoga in a committed manner, I have discovered what yoga means to me at this stage of my life. While I still struggle and am uncertain as to the extent of the yogic life that I want to embody in my own life, the reason why I keep practising yoga daily has become clear as day. 

The practice of yoga begins in the mind. It necessitates 100% control over the mind, in order to become steady, stable and comfortable in the Asanas. 

As a Singaporean trying to break out of the typical mould and find her true self, this practice empowers me to believe that I can overcome anything with effort and commitment. There is also no competition in yoga, except within oneself. The power of yoga to calm and tame my mind, this power which is then translated into physical poses and other aspects of my life, is what keeps me glued to the mat.

What is the application of yoga in life?

Yoga has taught me many things – the importance of looking within to discover the truths and how to be a kinder and more compassionate human being, both to myself and others. 

Yoga, like life, is a journey. It is only by focusing on the process, can we truly enjoy it. 

If I were to become a yoga teacher one day, I hope to always remember my motivation – to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of others through yoga. In order to do so, the class will be catered and personalised to every individual to the best of my abilities – and yes, even in $20 studio classes.