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.