Like any substantial relationship, my journey in Ashtanga Yoga depicts an unresolved love tale, hateful discourse and a glorious undying revelation of my true self.
When tenacities stretch thin and I waver on the verge of giving up, in the end, it is the principles of Ashtanga Yoga that propel me to find my way back on the mat every single day.
Ready to quit your day job and become a yoga teacher?
I would like to share with you what really goes on behind the Namaste scene.
Being a yoga teacher presumes the role of teacher, mentor, friend, sage, field psychologist, career advisor and—depending on which style of yoga—an acrobat. If you desire to do what you love, practice yoga most days (if not every day) and have a thirst to learn and share ancient yogic philosophy, it’s a dream job!
Most people would agree that it’s instinctual, for without it one would be trampled and expelled in this worldly game of survival of the fittest. However, as important as it sounds, I absolutely despise the feeling of fear and all that would come with it--insecurity, accusation, jealously.
Always that fearless child, I went on crazy carnival rides, got scrapes and scratches at the playground, and bravely explored the woods at night in camps. Young, ignorant and free—I blindly pursued the dreams of one’s heart desires and sworn to never regret a bad decision. Yet as I grew older, my invincible self seemed to be diminishing ever so quickly.
From the wear and tear of time and experiences, I began to replace my bravery and conviction with doubt and insecurity.
Am I pretty, smart, skinny, funny, tall, flexible, creative, feminine, masculine, witty, generous, sociable, capable, caring, strong enough?
This simple yet overbearing question seems to consume my mind day in and day out. I reminisce my childhood and long to be young again; to conquer the world of deceits, strip down the facades of pretensions; to put on my wonder woman suit and frolic in a field of dandelions and the glowing sun.
This morning I snapped at the smallest comment my boyfriend made.
“Hey, that’s a full plate of food you got there,” he said.
“What? Am I fat? Is that what you’re trying to say?”
I must be fat.
That poor man has no chance. Having an insecure, and at times hormonal imbalanced girlfriend takes a great deal of patience—hence his increasingly long, daily meditation practice.
The reality is his innocent comment is filtered through my judgmental ears into my hypothalamus, which signals a chain of electrical neural reactions, and finally project to the core of my inner being: fear.
Fear to love myself for who I am. Fear to live authentically. Fear to be the one and only, original copy of myself.
Undeniably we live in a society where we honor the great, admire the talent, follow beauty and despise the odd.
To survive the game of the fittest, whether consciously or unconsciously, we always end up fitting in somehow.
For the truth is, being perfect and flawless does not make me whole and happy. I shamefully admit that I’m elated whenever I receive a compliment, yet when the comment passes and the facade of maya unveils, who am I?
Getting in touch with my inner being is like diving into the ocean blindfolded, wrapped in the sea of fear. I might discover the likes and dislikes, the beautiful and the ugly. Unlike an open market where I can pick and choose what I want to be, the hardest part is that I must accept what is there.
“Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.”
~ Jason Crandell.
Each morning as I step on my yoga mat, I vow to be genuine, truthful, and kind to myself.
I reach for my capacity, and a little more, but I am never too ambitious as ambition is a game of the ego.
Every inhale composes determination and commitment, and every exhale expounds humility and forgiveness.
You get to know yourself pretty well after a few breaths. For the easy postures, I breeze through them in lack of awareness, just as I take for granted the kindness given to me by others. Meanwhile I grasp and cringe on the hard postures unable to let go and surrender. The incapability to let go denies me the reality of what is, whether it be a yoga posture, or my distorted self-image.
Authenticity is by and large a strange term in the world today. Where does one begin to peel away the layers of preconditioned imprints?
For me, rather than to undo what is already there, I vow to create the present I’d like to see in my past. So I let my hair flow in its natural way and my skin glows in its purest form.
I shall look into the mirror and acknowledge the person on the other end.
“Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.”
Life is too precious to live in denial and grudge, worst yet to live in the fear that one is not perfect enough.
After all, I might just put on that wonder woman suit and find a field of dandelions to frolic in.
As a starter yogini, I’m constantly learning new things on a daily basis. Quite early on in my journey I realized that Krishnamacharya was the pioneer of yoga and not Briohny Smith and that Mysore is not a muscle pain reliever. Entering this field of infinite knowledge and ancient history, wearing lululemon and having an expensive membership no longer suffice me as a yoga devotee. Eager to up my game, I’m lapping up every ounce of yoga knowledge I can get.
Coming to a yoga teacher training can be a life transforming experience. Beneath the facade of expensive yoga wear and props, you’re stripped emotionally bare where going within is the only way to seek the true-self.