In September 17, 2012, I had my first yoga class with Jaya Indra (it took several classes before I finally got his name). My next class was a couple of days later. Yesterday (September 17, 2014), I had a deep stretch class with Jason. So I have been practicing for 2 years now.
At the beginning I could not touch my toes in a forward bend. Then one day I could grab my wrists around my feet in a seated forward bend. Now most of the time I just sit there and hold my toes, deep bends seldom happen, only when my back is sufficiently warmed up. Now I can’t stand on my left foot in a Warrior 3 or Half Moon Pose for more than a second. Early this year I finally went into a headstand but up to now I still need assistance or against the wall. I no longer take the full pose of twists and the wheel scares the hell out of me.
I tried Ashtanga early this year and immediately fell in love of it. Then suddenly in the middle of an Ashtanga class, my back stiffened and later on developed to a debilitating pain that was alleviated only when I lay down. I had hurt my back and would later on hurt my hips. I had several sessions with the chiropractor and slowly went back to my practice.
I finally tried flying yoga a few weeks back. I was apprehensive in the beginning that I might suffer from vertigo but I loved the inversions that don’t require any arm and core strength to reach the pose and stay there. Also it released the tension in my spine and was wonderful for my creaky back and hips. Only the P500 per session fee is keeping me away from making it a regular practice.
I started seriously to learn the Sanskrit names of the popular poses but have now forgotten most of them when I had to lessen my practice. I learned the Ashtanga opening mantra in one evening but still haven’t memorized the closing mantra. I became familiar with the 8 limbs of yoga, the history, the philosophy and the different types that have evolved through the years.
When I saw info about a yoga retreat late last year, I wanted to join until I saw kirtan in the activities. I had no idea what it was and thought the retreat was for non-beginners. Later on I sang my first kirtan song (Babanam Kevalam). I discovered the Gayatri Mantra which I later learned to be the same opening theme of Battlestar Galactica (loved the show!). Through youtube I found Krishna Das, his Om Namah Shivaya was put on infinite repeat on my playlist for several weeks.
The asanas are a form of moving meditation for me. However I want to try guided meditation and mindfulness meditation. During savasana my mind still wanders, I think about yoga, food, etc. At least my mind has become more still, it no longers jumps from one thing to another in an exhausting manner.
Through the years, I tried going to other studios as long as it was physically possible. I learned to enjoy the different classes and various techniques and approaches of different teachers. I learned something eventhough I hated a sequence or the pose was impossible for me. There have been a few times that I would feel overwhelming anger in a class, I could be angry at the teacher, at the pose and most especially with myself.
When the teachers see you as a regular practicioner, they laud your dedication and take interest with you. When other yogis see you regularly, you become acquaintances and later on friends. I am usually a shy person and hardly make friends outside my comfort zone so I am thankful that I found my divine family, people of different backgrounds, ages and temperaments, all of us united in our love for yoga.
When I evaluate myself now, it feels like I took two steps forward but at the same time took one step backward. Since my back/hip problems, I dread going to class, all I want to do is go home and lay flat on the bed. But I force myself to go and even if I end up lying down while everyone went ahead, I never regret not going. If the sequence is right or my body was moving the right way, my back and hips heartily give a sigh of relief.
So what is next? Primary goal is to use up my sessions at Gold’s Gym so I can move my practice to either of the two yoga studios in Mactan. Also I want to start a home practice which is very difficult because the moment I arrive home all I feel is overwhelming lethargy. My objective is no longer to be able to do a handstand, pincha mayurasana, flying crow, koundinyasana, etc. All I want now is to keep on moving and have healthy back and hips. Also, I would like attend more workshops esepcially on restorative/yin yoga, meditation and philosophy.