Our lead Vinyasa Flow II teacher and a Full Time Teacher, Joy Tan speaks about her beginnings as a yoga practitioner and how it has transformed her life!
I first found yoga when I was 19. When I first began, yoga was a workout to lose weight. When I first stepped onto the mat, I certainly did not expect to wobble and sweat so much. I recall my first Savasana as sweet euphoria – I swore I even dreamt a little. That feeling certainly brought me forward to many yoga classes after. As a young, energetic, naturally flexible yoga studios-hopping free-spirited poly student, I dabbled in different styles – Yin, Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Anusara and Bikram. Vinyasa was the one that resonated with me the most – it was a nod to my need for movement and creativity – so I stuck to it for the longest.
In 2013, I took my 200 hr YTT with Tirisula Yoga. Training was gruelling yet life changing. Not only I knew more about the practice, I realised that there were so much more to Yoga then the Asanas. It was the first time in my 4 years of practicing yoga that I knew what meditation or pranayama was.
It was challenging for me to slow down my mind and meditate. The first few times I did so, I fidgeted and perspired. There was a puddle of sweat around me after the 30 minutes meditation that even my teacher was amused. After the training, I made it a point to incorporate meditation and pranayama into my own practices.
My yoga practice softened with age and lifestyle changes. Stepping into the working world, handling kids (and adults) from 7am to 1.30pm (many times beyond), made me a weekend warrior. I was listening to my body even in the classroom with 41 children. I count to 5 and take in deep breaths before I blow my top off at any child who incurs my wrath. Best feeling ever.
My advice to new practitioners is, try. Just try. Different styles, different teachers, different places, different durations, different platforms. In this world where we have so many choices, we are letting ourselves down if we get defeated just because a yoga class at xxx place with zzz teacher did not work out the way we wanted. I have met so many people who gave me a try.
Sure some stuck with me, some left, but I was glad to have that one hour of anybody’s life, to have made a small difference. You never know when your yoga practice starts to creep into your daily life, so take the first step and just try!