When I was in my twenties, I was the type of girl who didn’t have much confidence in herself. I was a late bloomer. Boys in junior high, high school and college didn’t pay attention to me, I was a short and stubby girl with a fruity name that some teased me with, I didn’t have thin arms because working part-time in fast food restaurants and retail while putting yourself through school and college, I started developing awareness of the food I consume and how my body was shaping. As an Asian girl who didn’t speak English as a first language, I was self-conscious being treated differently and made fun of with things I say. One day, my sister decided to offer me a gym membership. She said it was free and it is an extra pass she got so I can go and try for myself. I decided to go and the minute I went to a yoga class, I started to practice yoga. I never thought I would get bored doing it. You sit, you do certain poses and you control your breathing for that one full hour. When I kept going for weeks, I told myself, ‘I’m not going to lose weight’ and ‘My arms will not get skinny’ doing this for an hour. I also vowed to NEVER give up the foods I was eating. I’m Asian and deep fried food is important for eating in our heritage. After two decades of practice, I looked back on that girl who kept going everytime she gets and did other work out practice like strength and cardio but NEVER gave up doing yoga.
Anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga but not one who is lazy. Constant practice alone is the secret of success.
-Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The benefits that came out of this long term practice has been wonderful. I limited eating junk and fast food, I completely gave up coffee (which I used to love), substituted all sugar and pop drinks for a lot of water and one cup of tea every morning. Most importantly, the Asian cuisines my mother makes are not limited for me to eat without saying it’s a “cheat day”. My body is reacting to certain things telling me that “yes you can eat certain deep-fried foods but you will have to work extra hard to flush it out”. I still don’t have skinny arms but the muscle I built around my arms are strong and toned. The energy I surround myself with friends and family are at a positive time (with family it can be sometimes a coin flip) because I am aware of what and who I want to surround myself with. I hope the people I spend my time with feels the same. I want to make them laugh, take away their sadness and end up be a better person of themselves after they hang around a very talkative woman like me. Practicing yoga and I don’t know if this make sense, has also allowed me to avoid being in certain environments and energy negatively.
The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.
The difficult time I am going through at the moment is finding my path back into my career. Yoga had stepped up for me to keep me going. I was faced being laid off last year and finding my career path back again after ten months being sidelined, is exhausting and filled with constant disappointments. Whenever I am rejected from an interview because I was passed over by someone with direct experience or I wasn’t the right fit, yoga stepped up keeping my mentality focused practicing to keep going. Despite of this struggle, I am grateful of my current situation. I know the dark situation I am going through will not last long. Mentally I am strongly focused but my heart has taken a beating which I need to tend self-care to.
“Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better.”
It has been a fortunate adventure after all these years for me to keep going and be given the best advantage practicing yoga like I have. I want to end this blog with some parting words for anyone feeling happy, lost, lonely or just reading this blog post: If you choose to be active, choose something you will enjoy and add to your life immensely. Everyday. It doesn’t have to be for competition or sport. The ego whenever I practice yoga needs to be left outside the door. The moment I step into the studio and lay on my mat, I do my best to clear my mind and challenge myself with each pose. I think this is one of the reasons why after all these years, I still enjoy practicing yoga. And I will keep practicing until I can no longer do it.
This headstand practice took me two decades to achieve… So, take it one day at a time…