Yoga asks for us to put in our best efforts and detach from the results. No matter where I am, life continues to remind me of this over and over again.
When I left Taiwan in December I was learning the first few poses of third series. I never thought I would reach this far in the Ashtanga series, so of course I felt proud and excited. When I settled into my new life in New York, I started practicing with Eddie Stern. Eddie is quite the legend in the Ashtanga world so I was really excited to practice with him. However during my first few days with him, he did the complete opposite. Instead of adding new poses to my practice, he took away many poses and asked me to stop at Mayurasana of the second series. For a moment, it was difficult for my ego to accept what has just happened. Then I reminded myself that I am not defined by the poses in my practice. I am just here to show up, put in my best effort, and detach from the results. This is where I am on my journey and it’s exactly where I am meant to be.
In the ancient scripture Pantajalis Yoga Sutras, yoga is defined as “calming the fluctuations of the mind.” In our modern day yoga practice, we use our body and our breath as a tool to achieve that calmness, that stillness, that peace. This yoga practice gives us a chance to sit and to BE with ourselves. We start by observing what’s happening within our physical bodies, then as our practice develops we begin to have awareness of our breaths, then we learn to observe and be in control of our thoughts.
Once the mind is able to quiet down, that is when we are able to BE with our true selves. In order to be with our true selves, we have to learn to detach from all the things that society has taught us to define ourselves as. So in that moment where my mind is completely still, I am not a yoga teacher, I am not a New Yorker, I am not a daughter. I am just ME, pure and divine. The more we understand ourselves, the better equipped we are to face the challenges up ahead and the more we’re able to hold steady and find freedom in this ever changing world.