Saturday, 3 December 2016

My Story

In 1998, I sustained a bad fall whilst wakeboarding and hurt my back. At the time,  my knee was already bothering me from repeated impact & falls from an active lifestyle, competing in various sports since the age of 10. Someone suggested to take up yoga as they had heard that it might help. Desperate to be pain free, I went along to a class with my friend. I wasn't hooked right away until I attended my first Ashtanga class not long after. And here began my lifetime journey of yoga practice. It was no longer about healing my body, I just fell in love with it. At first, it was the physicality of the practice that i loved. Everything was amazing! My muscles were so tight, i couldn't sit up straight & needed at least 2 blocks. I looked around & remember being so intrigued by all these bodies in Trikonasana (why can't i put my hand on my shin like they are??) I know it is hard to imagine it when you see me now. It has been a long (16 years), wonderful journey that continues to evolve with age. Looking back now, i feel blessed that my body challenged me in all those ways because it has taught me patience, perseverance & commitment, and more importantly, taught me all the ways to support someone else on the same path. 
The pain-
It wasn't magic so I wasn't healed overnight. The knees felt better quite quickly and it didn't take long before i stopped wearing a brace. I think it is pretty impressive going from an unstable, painful knee to climbing 5 big mountains. I continued to have regular severe back pains for several years. There were days when nothing could comfort the pain- sitting? laying down, curling up? hitting it?? It was just something i lived with. One day, i realised that I had not had the pain for awhile! And since then, I have been virtually pain free! Today, I am beginning to feel the wear & tear of my body again. My orthopaedic consultant tells me that any other person would not be walking in the way I am with the stuff that is going on in my body, so whatever I am doing, keep doing it. It is all thanks to yoga.
Apart from this, I also started to notice a HUGE change in my personality. I was no longer impatient, or reactive. I was calmer, my thoughts were less hectic, less judgemental (especially towards myself) Whilst my body got stronger and stronger, my personality got softer. I was much happier. I stopped self harming & stopped dieting (& everything else that abused my body) My relationships with my family, friends & people flourished and I just fell into a happier place. 
It looks like you are just doing exercise. But i have discovered for myself how it shapes your beliefs and your life! As you get more in touch with your body, you get more in touch with yourself. Some of these crazy poses, they teach you to trust yourself. They are like keys that open the doors for you to see your strength, your potential & your infinite possibilities! They teach you patience, commitment & also acceptance of all that you are.
My yoga practice is an inside-outside journey that supports my life. I have seen what it can do for me & i have seen what it has done for so many, whether in their physical body, mental health or a shift in their energy, their self belief. It is this that I share with all my heart. The belief that this practice can change your life! 
thank you for reading

Ignite The Warrior

Sankalpa is the yoga practice of focusing your mind and energy to fulfil your heartfelt desires (or dharma) It is similar to the new year's resolution except that it starts from the assumption that you already are who you need to be to fulfil this. One of my teachers, Rod Stryker (Para Yoga founder) explains that the main influencer of life is the mind. So to create the life you are meant to live or want to live, you must draw the mind again and again to your clear and deepest intentions and sankalpa does this for us.

'Kalpa' means vow - "the rule above all other rules"
"San" is the connection to the highest truth
So sankalpa can be said to be the commitment you make to support your highest truth. Sankalpa is a statement that helps us align to our intentions. A statement we can repeat to help us remember- draw our minds again and again to our purpose and intention. It helps us align our decisions because every choice is an opportunity to strengthen the energy of our resolve.

Igniting the warrior is my personal practice of sankalpa. It is how I interweave sankalpa into my practice and how my practice supports my sankalpa. Like all practices, it took many unsuccessful sankalpa attempts before I even managed to really fulfil one and quite frankly, I am not always successful at it even today but it is important to keep trying and keep reaching for these milestone steps. Although sankalpa is supposed to be practiced during yoga nidra, I have found that incorporating it in my other practices have tremendously helped me achieve them. 

I will be sharing this workshop once a year in January. During the workshop, we will discuss about setting sankalpa, weaving it into your practice, the use of mudras and mantras to support you and also meditation and yoga nidra. Please bring a notebook / paper and pen. I look forward to share this with you