In the beginning, Yoga was just a form of exercise for me and to increase flexibility. My practice, however, was not consistent and after practicing for a few years, I had not found tejas, the inner light. I felt this big black hole lingering deep inside me. In 2009, I decided to take a 200 hour yoga teacher training with Gaia Flow Yoga to grow my practice and to discover the essence of yoga.
Teacher training had brought me into a different realm, not just from the physical aspect, but spiritually. I learned that the big black hole inside me was the starvation of enlightenment, which is food for the soul. By incorporating Patanjali’s eight limbs path of yoga sutras into my practice, I began to experience changes from the inside out, the deeper knowing of the Self. Since childhood, I had built a wall to protect myself and lock my emotions. As I tore it down brick by brick, I found myself vulnerable but at the same time feeling abundant and liberated. Alas, I can live life and breathe again. Yoga had taught me Self-awareness, compassion and surrender, amongst many others. I become more patient, less fearful and I can practice yoga without fighting my own breath. After teaching yoga for more than 1 year, I found myself enjoying it more every single day. At the end of each class, I have this astral experience with the body – blissful and light. Yoga is healing. This inspires me to be a yoga teacher.
Apart from teaching yoga and continuing my personal practice, I spend time reading books from other yoga gurus and inspirational writers. Some of the books I read are from Gary Kraftsow on Viniyoga for Wellness and Healing and inspirational stories from leading teachers like Rod Stryker. They all are teachers to me and I believe that I can study new things from anyone, even the trees and my dog. Adopting this view allows me to learn with an open mind and life itself is my mentor.
To further my journey, I would like to take the 500 hours teacher training at Tribe Yoga. This one month intensive training allows me to focus in the study of yogic lifestyle without interruption. It concentrates on Vinyasa, traditional Hatha yoga and application of the eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga. Movement and breath in yoga practices have helped me flow with the pace of life, and I intend to deepen my practice in these disciplines. The curriculum teaches adjustments, asanas refinements and how to assist students which are skills I want to enhance. This will help me to be a better teacher.
Tribe Yoga emphasizes on three important subjects that appeal to me: cleansing, meditating and healing. It teaches the principles of Ayurveda – the science of life, conscious eating, detoxing and fasting. I have never fasted but I believe that body purification is an important aspect of yoga practice. I hope I can gain the ability and support to fast and cleanse the body during my yoga teacher training. Meditation practices using different techniques will also be taught, including mouna – the practice of silence. The meditation takes place in a small village nestled amongst lush greenery and surrounded by mountains, meadows and lakes, making it a perfect spot for meditation. Finally, there are massage and healing workshops to train how to connect with the subtle bodies, chakras and pranic flows to nurture personal energy and relax the body. All these are paths to healing which I hope to bring back and offer to my students.
As a teacher, I not only teach the correct alignment of yoga postures, but more importantly how yoga principles can be used as a tool to face challenges in life and still be grateful and joyful. Through practice and pranayama, I will remind students to be present with the way it is, accept who they are and change nothing. I want to bring compassion into yoga practice, not pushing, clinging, or come into conflicts with reality and to entrust our lives to the divinity of the universe. We live in a world of constant changes and yoga brings awareness to influence our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors for the better.
2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay
By: Megawati Li
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