That was a question I frequently received from people around me when I first started practicing yoga. Before yoga, I was madly into workouts by Shaun T. His workouts produced quick results for people who are determined enough to follow through his grueling schedule and I was hooked. Alas, my good ol’ knees couldn’t handle the impact—or rather I did not listen and respect my body enough—and doctor advised me to stop what I was doing. I could remember how he suggested “yoga or pilates, something gentle” to better cater to my body’s capabilities.
I had a membership with a big gym back then and it offered both classes in their studios. I signed myself up for a Beginner Hatha class and though it was a huge difference from Insanity in both speed and intensity, I found myself genuinely liking it. Ever since that first lesson, I would register myself for yoga lesson after yoga lesson every. single. day. It’s a common sight for me to step out of my classroom after the end of a work day and everyone at work from my Principal to the support staff knew Ms Kaiwen is off for her yoga lesson. In fact, it was my favourite part of the day—to head off for a yoga class.
“Oh it’s relaxing”, “It helps to stretch my body” were some of the general replies I gave when people asked. I knew there probably was something more but I did not give it much thought. Till one fine day, my then-boyfriend-now-husband casually mentioned, “I’m sure there’s something more than just you liking it. You like so many things and I don’t see you spending as much time as you do for yoga. You are just not putting in effort to try and look for the real reason la”.
Ok. That made sense.
I tucked that comment to the back of my head and it was only after several months later, when I just finished two hours of yoga classes when I had an epiphany. Whenever I’m on the mat, I rarely think of anything else in my head except to concentrate in the Moment. Perhaps this realization may seem minute to some people with superb concentration skills. But not for me. If I’m writing a report for a child, the next minute I can find myself replying to a parent’s email, even though the report was uncompleted. Or when I’m having a conversation with a colleague, I find my mind drifting off to that cup of iced kopi that I really would like to drink at that very moment. My mind seems to be all over the place… it’s as if it has a mind of its own as well! Having an easily distracted mind can be pretty counterproductive. More time is needed to finish off tasks, precious moments could be missed because I wasn’t paying full attention… you get the drift.
My eyes, ears, body and mind are working in unison in executing the movement, ensuring that I could balance, focus. For that one or two hours,
I’m actually training my mind to be Mindful of the present moment and to not worry about things that had already happened or things that hasn’t happen.
When my muscles are burning I would gently remind myself to just “hold on and breathe… inhale… exhale…” If thoughts managed to worm its way into my mind, I don’t find myself being dragged along with it and it’s episodes. I constantly bring myself back to the present moment, to breathe. And I like it. I like the fact that the little voice in my head isn’t trying to have a conversation with me. I like the fact that my Mind is focused. I like the fact that in general I’m a lot more aware of what’s happening to me, by me, on my mat.
And this is the reason why I like Yoga so much. How about you? 🙂
Love & Light, Kaiwen April Weekend YTT Batch