My experience with Yoga

My lovely friend Gladys who started Dawn of Gaia featured me in her December 2016 Newsletter. So here’s my little sharing on my experience with Yoga :). Enjoy!

My first yoga class was when I was in high school – 10th grade if I remember it correctly. That was about 17 years ago, before yoga was cool, before trendy leggings and fancy mats. My mom bought some of those puffy exercise mats for her, my sister, and I, and we did Yoga in the studio, or sometimes at home.

As the years passed, I did yoga on and off, never continuously in a long period of time, but somehow, someway, I always came back to the mat. And as how most people’s yoga journey goes, it started off for purely physical reasons and evolved to become a tool to find myself.

I remember going to a boot camp in college that had yoga elements in it and the instructor told us that yoga is great cause we all are going to get a Yoga butt – a.k.a a very nicely heart-shaped toned butt. And I, who was overweight at that point, was like “hell yes, give me a yoga butt!”

And I remember years later, when I was a young professional in LA, finding (by chance) a Summer yoga session at the beautiful Santa Monica pier. And despite the start time of 7 AM on a Saturday morning, and despite my crazy 12 hours work days, I showed up every single Saturday just for that 1.5 hour of being under the sun, surrounded by the ocean, to find some solitude in my life. My greatest memory of that summer was receiving the most beautiful gift of witnessing a school of Dolphins jumping, playing and swimming in the distance as I was balanced in the Tree pose. At that moment I thought, “Life is perfect.”

Now, if you think I’m stretchy and bendy and can fly and do magic with head on the floor and feet up in the air, you’re not quite right. Despite years of getting to know yoga, I’m not quite advanced in the Asanas (postures) yet. I’ve only recently learned arm-balancing poses. All the years I’ve taken yoga, we tend to focus on Sun Salutations. Plus, back then, there was no Instagram, so there was no push and incentives for showing off the ability to do a hand stand while doing funky legs while being inverted. 😀

Actually, that Instagram Yoga culture got me a little frustrated and became the trigger that pushed me to finally take my Yoga Teacher Training this year. (So, thank you, Instagram!)

I love Yoga. I also love meditation – but that combination of moving body and breath just has a certain magic for me. And when suddenly the Western Yoga world exploded in the last 8 years and now everyone seems to be a yogi and there seems to be a huge emphasis on Asanas, I got frustrated. Cause to me Yoga is bigger than all that. I knew that Yoga wasn’t just about Asanas (or the physicality of it) and I was curious to find out what actually is Yoga.

And now that I got a glimpse of it, my oh my, it’s truly such a beautiful Philosophy of Life. Yoga is all about the coming together of opposing energies and about the balancing of the male and female energy. It’s about finding the highest Self and the connection between the highest Self and Divine. It’s about living a contented life without being affected by results. It’s about a centeredness that is not affected by the changes in emotions. And at the core of it all, is still Love and Light.

The goal of Yoga, as the goal of any spiritual journey, is enlightenment, or Samadhi. And to get to Samadhi, one has to do so many other parts of Yoga (which includes meditation, and breathing exercise, and having values and morality and devotion, and many others) and Asana is just one tiny elements of it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love Asanas because I do love moving body as a way to learn. There’s so much wisdom stored in these beautiful bodies of ours. But now that I understand the bigger picture, there’s so much deeper meaning of these Asanas and I will now share Asanas with that in mind.

As many readers in this community, I too discovered Meditation through Gladys at a time when I was in desperate need of help and at a risk of losing my life. And in the last 5 years, I had healed myself through Meditation and Rebirthing Breathwork, as well as through dance, creativity and art, yoga, and a lot of solitude, self-work, and reflections, all with the guidance of the ever loving Divine.

In 2015, I came to a point where I realized that one of my clearest purpose in life is to share about Love and develop a bigger community of Love. Since then, I had left the comfort of a stable job and a life in a modern country, shook it all up, embarked on a journey to get more centered in my Truths so I can contribute to Love. And I am extremely thankful that I have been led to this path where I’m given the tools and opportunities to share, and one of them is through Yoga.

Dumbledore’s Army

I’m sitting here, on the aftermath of everything that happened today, feeling weird.
Weird like the world as I know it is going to change significantly and we are going to lose our sense of bearing and we’re going to flail around for a little bit.

I’m also feeling like a sobering is happening – like people are coming down from a high and slowly grasping with reality that the world is not happening without us being involved. We create this world we’re living in.

With the presidential election in the States and the recent unrest in Jakarta, emotions are at their most high. Plus, there’s been lots of flooding in my hometown. Chaos, is the word that comes to mind.

Here’s what I think: I think things didn’t go so well (horrible might be the right word if we’re gonna judge). But the way I see it, it wasn’t straight up ugly.

There were a lot of beautiful things I witnessed, like women rising – finding sisterhood and remembering their power, embracing it and actually using it to make a difference. I also saw a vast number of people coming back to their values on what matters to them and persevering in creating the community they believe in. With the rise in people highlighting differences, there is also equal number of people rising with their beliefs that we are all the same humans and that we’re brethren in this life. These are things that matter that we should continue to hold in years to come.

As humans, we always have choices on how we react to grim situations. I personally choose to hold my faith in all things good and positive cause I believe in the good of people.

I like to see myself as being a part of Dumbledore’s Army – yes, like in Harry Potter. Remember when Voldermort came back and the whole world was invested with Dementors and it was just bleak, and there was a group of young wizards made up of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and eventually joined by all the other awesome wizards, believing in the good, staying and fighting? Yep, I like to see myself as a part of that group, staying strong in my faith, cause I believe that love eventually wins and someone eventually slays Voldermort.

I can’t levitate things or turn back the time. My power is spreading the seeds of peace and love. We can’t change what happened today. The past is in the past, but what happened today highlights the importance of holding kindness, solidarity, peace and love as our values. We can make a difference by sharing these values with the next generation – that we are standing here today, a part of one united Earth and that peace begins with me and can spread from myself to the next person, and that is how we’re going to change this world.

In the wise words of Dumbledore: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.”

Wherever you are in your life, whatever emotions you’re feeling, whether caused by personal matter or political matter, you can always find that light and turn it on. It might take a while to shine, it might start only as a tiny glimmer of yellow spark, but it will continue to grow to be your guiding light. And we’re called now to be these lights that will help others in making sense of the chaos and finding ourselves in this mad world.

And to close, I’d like to borrow the words of Zachary Quinto (my favorite Spock – yes I have no shame in admitting this) as he lighted candles surrounded by crystals earlier today:

“as the narrowest hope dwindles – a vigil to our strength. we will need it more than ever. may those of us in mourning find space for compassion. in these depths we must not harden our hearts. with courage and openness we must endure.”

May we continue to live long and prosper,


Yoga Day 2-3

Here’s the bottomline, body awareness takes practice. Since I’ve been dancing most of my life, I’ve already had a pretty good basic of body awareness. I’m pretty good at sensing muscles. and knowing which muscles are working and not, and how to extend energy out from one part of the body, and how to generally use the energy within myself to move the body. But my day 2 morning practice was my first light bulb moment of how the energy of the earth connects with our body and connects with the space! And I don’t think I would get to this point if I hadn’t regularly meditated in the last 4 years and working on my level of awareness. It’s been an evolution, a process.

It was such an amazing moment when I finally understood, energetically, why we need to bring the body, the muscles and the energy inwards and upwards in Asanas, while being aline with the position. It is so that the gorgeous Earth energy can use my body as a channel, so the energy can rise up and lift me up to create this beautiful energy flow between the Earth, My Body, and The Space. Wow. And THAT is why, correct posture is ESSENTIAL in Yoga. Cause it’s all about the energy, the chi, the Prana flow, baby.

The moment lasted for 2 seconds max. But I felt like I was lifted by a greater force and it was such a profound realization.

Then today, in Day 3, I corrected my Downward dog through bone and muscle awareness and energetical allignment and my body got into another sweet spot where for the first time I fully understand how the energy in Yoga, in all of its poses – whether it’s flowing vinyasa or a held pose, is never a still energy. Instead it’s a beautiful rise and flow of tendrils, like the wave of the ocean. And that my body, once aligned, is open to the flow and thus flowing with it, undulating deeper and deeper into the the energy center. It was the most amazing 3 seconds of dance with the Prana.

And this leads to another A-HA moment in Day 2. So the true meaning of Asana is freedom in a pose, meaning: there gotta be stability which will bring ease. Now, Yoga is a philosophy of life, right? So living, is kinda like that. Walking on the path of self-realization to live a life full of Joy ain’t easy. It takes A LOT of hard work, contemplation, self-awareness, self-love, emotions, and so many others. But with all that, one gets to the point of stability where one can live with ease. Just like Asanas. The correct alignment for each Asana is hard. Even standing still, the simplest one. It takes FULL engagement of the body and all the major muscles are working at the same time. Standing up correctly can give you sweat. But once fully engaged the body stabilize and energy flows easily. And folks, that is how LIFE works.

Fully engage our emotional and self awareness muscles in real life, and we’ll get to a point where we stand strong in the midst of Life, fully open to to receive the gorgeous energy of the Universe.

Yoga Day 1

Alright, first day of teacher training is done and I decided that I’m going to write something everyday (or as often as possible) of one or two things that leaves a deep impression from the day’s training.

A big realization for me today is that I actually have been living yoga in the last 4 years. Yes, I don’t call it Yoga, I don’t call it anything to be honest but I’ve been working on myself to be a better and more loving person that without realizing it, I’ve gone through the 5 branches of Yoga and Patanjali’s 8 limbs – basically all these things that you should follow to reach enlightenment (cause Yoga ain’t just asanas, yo).

So the material today, I can pretty much share and teach on it already. All the sweat, tears, angers, sadness I’ve gone through and all the work I had put in on myself, had given me so much on this. Yes of course, I still have so much to learn, but the material is already in me in a way. I just have to tap into my soul’s wisdom.

And why am I bringing this up? Cause for the longest time I had a fear of taking Yoga Teacher Training thinking “Who am I to be teaching Yoga?” 

Haha. My god. If I had continued listening to that fear, I wouldn’t have been in the class today and realized that I’m already doing that.  So ladies and gents, moral of the story here: feel your fear, take deep breaths, find courage, and do it anyway, cause fear is just an illusion that keeps us small.

Now onto the 2nd thing. The material today was just beautiful and gorgeous. I love all these yoga philosophy, a.k.a philosophy of life, the universe, and everything. But my favorite is by far this passage from the story of how Yoga was born in the Indian Mythology.

It’s an exchange between Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati. Parvati expressed her deep desire to be close and be one with Lord Shiva, yet something is holding her back and so she asked for assistance from Shiva. And this is what Shiva said..

“Your love is so strong, so genuine. That which you seek, union with me, is not an attainment. There is nothing to do, for I am your own True Self. I am not separate from you. The way to me is through knowing your own True Self. Out of your love for me, I will reveal the secret that is Yoga – the experience of communion. Yoga is the process by which you lose all identity of yourself as a separate being and become united with your nature as both Shakti and Shiva – expansive, creative energy as well as stillness, eternal bliss. Both this qualities are within you.”

Ain’t that beautiful. Ahhh so beautiful.

Thank you thank you thank you.