My name is Iris Tai, I was born and bred in Taiwan. I’ve lived in Singapore for almost 4 years since 2017. I stepped onto a yoga mat for the first time in mid 2018 when my younger son started his kindergarten in Singapore. My neighbor Mel, one of Grace's students, introduced me to her yoga class. That was how I met my first yoga teacher, Grace.
The very first thing I did for yoga was that I went to the world's biggest and one of the most famous sporting outlets ---- Decathlon ---- to buy a yoga mat. After attending Grace's class, I could see how she put all her passion and focus onto yoga. She remembered every student's name and gave individual cues for me and for other students. “She is so professional”, I shouted in my mind. I enjoyed Grace's classes. I admire her passion and her dedication to yoga.
I was in Grace's class for about 3 years. At the same time, I had many yoga friends from Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia who shared their experience with me. That was the other reason why I pushed myself to practice yoga everyday when I saw on their social media how hard they worked on yoga. I could not say it was love at the first sight with yoga, but it grew on me. After each class, I could see my improvement. A lot of times there were some poses that I could not do initially but after consistent practice, I could eventually do them! That brought me a lot of joy and happiness.
2020 was the pandemic year when the whole world suffered from Covid-19. During the circuit breaker, one of my Japanese friends asked me to join an online class with an Indian teacher, Dr. Kuldeep, who is totally different from Grace. There were different themes every day. It was kind of intensive for a stay-home mom with two young kids and no helper. But I could not deny, I learned a lot from Dr Kuldeep. Even though I never met him in person, I appreciated him for leading me through another yoga journey.
These two yoga teachers inspired me to contemplate if I could be a yoga teacher myself so I took some time researching for information online. But I am not a self-motivated person so I just waited for "the sign". In the meantime, two of my yoga friends intended to do their YTT -- Debbie decided to sign up with Dr. Venky and Wei Pei told me that the course timing suited well for 'busy mommies'. That was the sign that I needed and that was how I started this YTT chapter.
During the YTT course, for the body anatomy and physiology part, I spent a lot of time inquiring about academic vocabularies that I could not understand even when I translated into Chinese. I also searched on Youtube and viewed anatomy videos before each class and shared them with my batchmates at the same time. I was very excited and enthusiastic when it came to the yoga theory part. I looked forward to the time when Dr. Venky taught us the traditional yoga philosophy and history. He not only taught us from the books, but also shared a lot of unique and interesting stories from his personal experience. I fully enjoyed and loved his course. This is precious knowledge that we can't buy even with money.
The YTT was originally supposed to be completed in one and a half months, but the progress of the entire course was delayed repeatedly due to Covid-19. After 3 months, we finally graduated. I was sad and reluctant to see the course coming to an end because all of us had to go our separate ways and launch our next milestones.
At the end of YTT, we accepted the advice given by Grace who urged us to strike while the iron was hot and continue our victorious pursuit. So we immediately jumped into the complimentary Zoom online program, Keep Moving, put together by Grace. We had to practice teaching everyday and create our yoga sequences. The teaching process was very lively. I was very busy but also happy and contented. I felt satisfied whenever I received compliments from the joiners when the class was over. I am very appreciative of Grace for pushing me to start teaching right after our graduation. I am proud of myself for working hard and being able to conquer my fear and anxiety to achieve my goals.
Now yoga has become part of my life. I find happiness when I am on my mat. I am fortunate that I have met such wonderful teachers, yoga friends, and YTT batch-mates in the past 4 years. I am grateful for my teachers who inspired me to become a yoga teacher myself. I am thankful to all my yogi friends and batch-mates for sharing their practice with me and supporting me all along. I am blessed to have the opportunity to have learned so much about yoga and also about myself during the course of this journey. Learning is a lifelong process. I hope to continue to learn, grow and improve. As I watch the rest of my life unfolds itself, I don't know if I will be a full-time yoga teacher. However, the one thing that I am certain of is that I will continue with this yoga journey for the rest of my life.