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I chose to practice yoga when my life was disillusioned and unsatisfied by the mediocre life of living in a major city with a night shift job for about 15 years. I was teaching then too; however, I wasn’t content with what I was experiencing and did not connect to my innate self. I connected with Yoga the first time when I read a few verses from the Yoga Sutras, it was a spiritual pull because a lot of what it embodies resonated with my inner self. The very pull and drive of what it made me experience was proof enough to commit to make it a habit and then a discipline.
My first ever yoga class was Ashtanga Primary series. I experienced resilience that I hadn’t since my school days as an athlete. I re-lived every athletic moment and victories from my school days and the increase in focused concentration to push through and surrender to the moment at hand. Ashtanga lead me through the darkest and difficult times in my life by being the only constant that never changed but also changed my life and its experiences. I started to reap the mental, physical and emotional benefits as my spiritual awareness grew. My mind’s chatter became quieter and I was able to create a higher sense of self with regular and consistent practice. The physical practice of Ashtanga makes you stronger, flexible and balanced. It also breaks down the barriers of human conditioning of a ‘’success driven mindset’’ to ‘’surrender to the practice’’ mindset. For me this changed my view of yoga because then I wasn’t fighting and pushing to achieve a proper asana but allowed my body and mind to control my experience the way it was able to at that time. I gradually started to explore the hidden potentials of my body and mind uncovering the intelligence and wisdom it carried. This heightened my awareness of being mindful about checking in with my body and mind to simply notice how it feels.
It doesn’t have to be Ashtanga or Hatha or Yin, any form of yoga that allows you to work with your current body, mind, emotions and mental state are all beneficial because yoga does not have to be intense asana practice, it can be meditation, pranayama and living by its philosophy.
Apart from Ashtanga asana practice, a big chunk of my practice and teaching lies in Yin and Vinyasa sequencing. I cannot love Vinyasa flows more, as this is one area where my creative behaviors thrive naturally and it is so much fun to teach Vinyasa flows compared to set sequence like the primary series which becomes monotonous after a while.
Practicing Ashtanga yoga is like a prayer to the universe and my higher self. My breath is my anchor and exploring the power it carries as Prana helped me discover that I can immediately switch from an agitated state to a calm, balanced and relaxed state. This is how I am learning to control my experiences. Yoga can change the way you view yourself and everything around you, most importantly it creates a discipline of a lifetime whilst practicing ethical standards of living.