November 18, 2010 § Leave a comment
My yoga teacher of the past year left us earlier this week to take up a new teaching position at a major yoga studio in Taipei, Taiwan. As sad as it was to see him go, it was an excellent lesson in attachment, letting go and cultivating an open attitude to change. It was comforting to practice with a teacher who had helped me develop my Ashtanga practice from virtually zero to an *almost* daily practice. But I have to remind myself that it’s not about the teacher (the person), because the real teacher is in the practice itself.
I can’t believe that it’s been a year that I’ve been doing yoga regularly, and Ashtanga yoga at that. I am in love with the Mysore-style structure because it allows me to really connect with myself and tune in with my body. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as figuring out why your right hamstring is tighter than your left, and using the breath to open it up, slowly.
There are so many thoughts swirling in my mind about this practice of yoga, but it doesn’t seem to translate well on the screen. I want to talk about how it’s changed my life – a big statement to make, for sure – but instead of the futile task of qualifying what counts as “changed my life”, I’m going to leave it at that and dwell on the peace and awareness that I feel now, compared with a year ago. The opportunities that have arisen in that time, professionally speaking, have been nothing short of a blessing. The supportive network of friends I find myself endowed with, is a real treasure I keep pinching myself about. The health and vitality of my body, all aches, strains and cracks included, is at the forefront of my consciousness, and all I need to do is to tune in, and be aware of being alive. All these, make the year, my first year of a consistent Ashtanga practice, seem like a divine one. It’s as if by doing the practice I have tapped into a reserve of spiritual energy that is way bigger than I am, which has given rise to all these blessings I have received.
Or perhaps it’s just my heightened awareness, cultivated through the practice of yoga, that’s causing me to notice the good things. And the perception that there’s some ‘divine energy’ at work, a by-product of my Catholic upbringing, believing in the existence of a benevolent being that’s looking out for me.
Whatever the case, I’m not complaining. It’s good to give thanks, and in the spirit of the season, highly appropriate. One can only look forward to another year of a fulfilled life, fuelled by a dedicated Ashtanga practice.