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What I want to achieve through asana practice? This is a question we all should questioning ourselves before our yoga practice. I had been practicing yoga for a few different reasons before attending my YTT training. I have been practiced yoga for weight loss, for flexibility, for relaxation, for therapy, for alignment, for strength…and eventually, lost with a question, how should I practice yoga in order to achieve my expectation? To become a yoga teacher and to design for yoga class helped me get my answer. Firstly, everyone could practice and benefit from practicing yoga. Depends on individual’s body condition, it is impossible for most of people to perform each yoga asanas perfectly. We could definitely choose variations and assisted props to make asana easier and benefit from the pose at the same time. It is like singing, you could enjoy it no matter whether you could sing as good as a singer. Amazingly, though our body type is in nature, but we still cam improve our body condition gradually by practicing yoga. Secondly, it is important to analyze the muscle engagement for each asana. Analyzing muscle engagement for an asana is not only for knowledge but also help you to category an asana, help you with the adjustment and choice of variations. By accumulating the knowledges, we could design our own yoga sequences that tailored for our own needs. Ultimately, by practicing asana, you shall achieve a full body awareness. It is amazing the first time I realized the importance of body awareness when I succeeded in performing a Teddy Bear pose after many times of failures. I couldn’t held my body weight on both my triceps initially. Until I finally get to feel the engagement of my core muscles to pull my legs into my chest, I barely feel the weight on my arms. Be aware of the muscles that are supposed to engaged or stretched and be aware of the body parts that are supposed to be positioned is very important part in asana practice. By trying to feel my body and gaining body awareness, I found that those poses that were initially difficult for me become simpler and easier. Not only that, with muscle engagement and body awareness, each asana has its meanings for me that I am no longer memorizing an asana by its shape but to memorize it by checking whether I am engaging the same body part.

Ma Jiameng
RYT200 YTT February 2019 Weekend