Updated: Oct 4, 2021
The Beginning to Yoga
I am Debbie Lai from Taiwan. For the last 20 years, I have been suffering from lupus which causes muscle weakness because of the side effect of steroid. It dawned on me one day that I needed to do something for myself and for the sake of my health. Since my house is only 5 minutes away from Joo Chiat CC, I stepped into the office and signed up for Pilates and yoga classes. After a few months, a classmate introduced me to Grace’s yoga class. After attending Grace’s lessons, I was overwhelmed by how a fundamental hatha yoga class could be so impactful giving a sense of energized feeling. From then on, I signed up for all her classes at the CC. This is the beginning of my love for yoga and my enthusiasm to broaden my yoga knowledge.
In order to pursue my love for yoga and gain self-achievement, I decided to sign up for the YTT course which Grace took. It’s quite challenging for someone who has been a stay-home mom for the past 10 years. Suddenly there is a need to commit to lectures, tests and daily practice, including teaching practicals. It’s quite demanding physically and mentally. But I psyched myself to take up this challenge and refused to let age define me. I was so grateful that I made it happen. I have learned so much during the program about anatomy, body alignment, physiology and yoga philosophy. Discovering and understanding the importance of correct alignment and adopting the right mindset about yoga is beneficial to our bodies from our musculature to our nervous systems.
"Do yoga as yoga" is the philosophy from my YTT instructor, Dr Venky. To gain the full benefits of yoga, a yoga practitioner should include meditation, pranayama and asanas in his or her practice. He or she should also avoid treating yoga as a form of workout, which was what I used to do in the past with power Vinyasa. After YTT, I have changed my yoga perspective and practice accordingly.
After YTT and Zoom Teaching
My YTT course took about 3 months to complete with on-site and online learning. Being clueless about what I will do after the course, Grace offered me the chance to be part of the “Keep Moving” online yoga program. While preparing myself for the program, I had the opportunity to understand and experience what it is like to be a yoga teacher. It definitely requires a lot of plannings and rehearsals to make every lesson a success.
The Real Deal
After 3 weeks of preparation, I was finally teaching my very first yoga public class. From the night before until the start of my class, I constantly had butterflies in my stomach and never-ending fleeting images of yoga movements in my head. All these intensity built up for just a 45 minutes zoom class. But once the class started, time flew by really fast because of the focus required towards my movements, my instructions and my students. It was such a fulfilling experience of what I could achieve through my hard work. I am very appreciative to my friends who attended my classes for their moral and physical support. I am particularly proud of myself that I did not let fear stop me from taking up new challenges -- from attending YTT to teaching my first yoga class. Most importantly, I am indeed happier, healthier and more positive.... now that I am no longer affected by lupus that much any more. I genuinely look forward to a new start every day!