The YTT experience at The Yoga Mandala has just been full of positive and emotional surprises. But since the very first class, , I have made a startling discovery of myself – I LOVE breath work and guided meditation.
I wouldn’t say I hated pranayama or meditation prior to the experience, but 2 out of 3 times, I would leave early or arrive 5 min late to a class just so that I can swiftly avoid all the “close your eyes, focus on your breathing and meditate on one thought” nonsense. No offence to all my past teachers, but honestly, the corporate Jane was trained to look for “excellence” which meant high “productivity”. And that meant multitasking. In fact, focusing on any one thought for more than 30 seconds, would just be the exact opposite of “productivity”. I mean, come on, I could’ve scrolled over at least 2 youtube short videos and squeezed in 3 insta stories. My mind was a jungle.
What made the pranayama & dhyana experience so different during the YTT? Well, to start off, Jess explained what they actually meant – both the literal meaning, the purposes and where they fit in the 8 limbs of yoga. Suddenly, pranayama, the expansion of life forces, made sense. It carries not just the air to fuel our organs, it carries the very awareness that brings meaning to life.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t attain nirvana from day 1 at TYM (and probably wouldn’t want to include that as the goal of my yoga practice). In fact, thinking back, the lack of a loo break just before we took a 10 min Ujjayi pranayama was probably God’s way of focusing my mind on one thought (yup for me, it was the bladder). But that was not the only thing I felt, there was also dizziness as I struggled to make the ocean sound during inhalation. But slowly, my chest started to rise, my rib cages felt pressed against the side of my sports wear and my tummy was filled with air (not carbs) for once. And that was addictive. 10 minutes felt like 2 minutes or maybe even just 1 minute? And when my eyes opened, I couldn’t help but smile. I knew I was at the right place at the right time and doing the right thing.
Once I felt the piercing mental clarity and the engrossing warmth of my inner self, it is something that cannot be unfelt. The sense awakens and it’s looking for more. And throughout the month, after many more pranayamas and guided dhyanas, it then became clear to me, the awareness of our body, mind and soul, is self love.
The universe blessed us with a world inside waiting to be discovered. And if we are lucky, we can live our entire life inside there, I’d like to make it a dazzling place to be. 🙂
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course