BEFORE YOGA 瑜珈之前
I was born loving arts and designs. Since I was young I have always been interested in things that are creative and beautiful, hence drawing and painting naturally were really my thing. I later move to America and finished two degrees in fashion design and merchandising and became a fashion designer for the next 10 years.Since then, my reason for doing yoga changes everyday, it started the second year I moved to Taiwan, I was under stress, I tried gym and that didn’t stick very long, I had some dance experience prior and was still very much in love in dance; namely ballet and modern, but the art is too much to pay for given my body constantly under stress. I recently wrote this down and it sums up my relationship with yoga.
On a good day, doing yoga cheer me up, it gives a pleasant feeling.
On a bad day, yoga frustrates me even more.
when I have time, yoga seems to be a luxury.
when I don’t have time, yoga seems to be a burden.
when I am emotionally well, yoga help me to stay even keel.
when I am emotionally drain, yoga help me feel a little bit better about myself.
The reason for practice never feels the same, it changes every day, every season, every year, and every phases of my life. The key is no matter what the emotional and physical stage I am at, yoga has always been there to serve as a refuge.
YOGA & PRACTICE 瑜珈和修行
Throughout the years, I have studied different yoga disciplines such as Anusara, Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Iyengar, occasionally have taken classes from Bikram and Sivananda teachers. I am grateful to such teachers Richard Freeman, Doug Keller, Peter Scott, Chuck Miller, Neil Pearson Vincent Lu and Heidi Chen who have shared with me their wisdom.
過去的幾年，我練習了不同派別和種類的瑜珈，如Anusara, Vinyasa, Ashtanga 和 Iyengar等， 偶爾還也會向Bikram和Sivananda的老師學習。我很幸遇的遇到改變我練習的老師們，特別非常感恩 Richard Freeman, Doug Keller, Peter Scott, Chuck Miller, Neil Pearson，Vincent Lu 和 Heidi Chen等老師分享和教導他們的智慧
It was in 2012 where I have a privilege to meet my current teacher Hart Lazer, who is a student of well known teacher Ramanand Patel and B.K.S Iyengar. Hart has an extensive background in trauma, therapeutic and counselling. He trains teachers worldwide of Ashtanga, Iyengar and Sivananda lineage with a therapeutic approach for more than 30years. It was an eye opening experience in term of restructuring my own understanding of what yoga practice really is about. It was the first time where I have been able to systematically looking at the psychological and physiological aspect of practicing without falling into a fixed doctrine.
在2012年，我瑜珈了改變了我瑜珈練習的老師Hart Lazer. Hart 老師是著名瑜珈大師Ramanand Patel和 B.K.S Iyengar的學生，曾經是心理和創傷療癒背景的諮商師。Hart老師在世界各地教導瑜珈給Iyengar, Sivananda和Ashtanga的學生有30年以上，綜合了療癒瑜珈和各派別的智慧，有系統化的傳授瑜珈。第一次向老師學習的時候讓我有突破的感覺，讓我從新整理了練習的理念和意義，跳脫了派別的思維，站在心理學和生理學上看待瑜珈，並非被某個信念而框住了。
I have decided to reboot my training by enrolling at the beginner’s 200 hour teacher’s training with Hart. After 3 years, I have finally completed an iyengar inspired 350 hour LEVEL 1 teacher training, 50 workshop hours and some apprentice works. I have learned the fundamental of yoga asana with the Iyengar tradition, pranayama awareness, buddhist meditation, injury prevention, trauma healing and therapeutic approach in restoring the body. I am humble to say that even after years of teaching experience, I am a beginners again ! Hart has helped me to deepen my practice by integrating my previous experience along with the current therapeutic training. Yoga practice has taken on a different meaning, I feel the more I study the more I am afraid to teach.
I would not say that the training was easy, I struggle through meditation, verbal precision and asana integration during the 3 years span, however I have grown in my understanding of what practice means to me and how yoga practice should be. I am often reminded by Hart: “ every time you teach, you see big letter of AHIMSA painted in front of the mat, every time you practice, remind yourself of the three poisons : ATTRACTION, AVERSION and INDIFFERENCE ( Buddhism three poisons ) . As I struggle, I cry over my own unhappy life as much as I struggle in my own practice. My yoga practice helps me to reveal my own emotional reaction, and I am finally confronting my own enemies. It is quite an amazing experience because as simple as it sounds, yoga helps to see clearly who you are.
Hart老師的訓練來的不容易，我在靜坐冥想的過程中掙扎，在如何正確的應用語言上的引導中結巴，同時也在統整瑜珈體位法上的知識充滿了疑惑。但是在這三年裡，我深深的理解了練習的意義和如何透過正確的練習來改變自己。我常被Hart老師叮嚀 “每次你進入教室教學時，請記住學生的墊子前塗鴉了很大的AHIMSA這個字。每次你踏上墊子練習的時候，請記住佛學上的三毒：貪、嗔、痴，” 在掙扎的過程中，我為了不快樂的人生和困難的練習上流下了許多眼淚，我的練習開啟了我內在的敵人，面對了內心情緒上的矛盾和恐懼。如果能簡單的說我練習瑜珈到最後就是為了“看清自己” ！
YOGA & TEACHING PHILOSOPHY 瑜珈和教學理念
A well-designed asana class should empower the student so they can see clearly about themselves and not just a routine exercises. By using the Astanga 8 limbs method, a complete yoga experience also must include Dhyana (meditation), Dharana(body awareness and concentration) and pranayama(breath control) work. Through Abhyasa (effort) and Vairagyam (non-attacnment), We explore different levels of practices with discipline but eventually also letting it go wholeheartedly without attachment.
The muscular and skeletal level practice in asana allow us to drive the kundalini into the susumna nadi, which propel the prana (inner breath) to flow evenly throughout the channels, the practice is meant to awaken the buddhi (inner intelligence) of the body/mind/spirit of the yogic body. In buddhist text, it is to awaken the buddha nature which my own teacher would often call it the essence of who we are. I am therefore no longer chasing the superficial aspect of the asana practice but the essence of it. I began to pay attention to the sensation and emotions generated from the practice and how it has changed the gunas (attribute of the gross body) of my body. I began to see yoga alignments as not just the structural alignment of the physical body but as an optimisation of the forces within in order to achieve an intention. I use meditation as a practice to de-condition the past experiences and return to the present moment. I use breath control practice to help with my focus and awareness so I maintain an open awareness on my own citta vritti (agitated mind). Deepening my own yoga practice has becoming about understanding the sensation of my body and learning to listen before I act. After all, yoga transformation occurs only when we comprehend the intention.
在肌肉和骨骼層面的練習，體位法的目的是要讓kundalini (生命力）能在脊椎的中脈輪由骨盆低端進入，促使Prana(生命能量）能平均的分佈到身體的每個經絡路線，最終是要喚醒內在瑜珈三身（身，心，靈）的智慧。在佛學裡統稱佛性，也是我的老師會常說的人性本質。所以我也開始不在追求體位法的外在形式，偏向體位法如何帶給我們在探討人性本質上的練習。我對體位法如何給練習者在觸感和情緒上帶來的影響深感興趣，如何改變練習者身體的gunas(屬性)。我也覺得身體的順位不只是肌肉骨骼的正位架構，同時也是帶著正念的有效率利用肌肉骨骼的力量來達到平衡。我練習冥想來協助我削減過往的業率，讓我時時刻刻回到當下。我練習呼吸觀想來幫助我的專注力和提高我的覺知，讓我能在citta vritti （心靈的變化） 時能夠駕馭著它。深入的自我練習的意義是在帶著正念的感覺身體，學習聆聽後才行動。真正的瑜珈轉變來自於正念的行動。
I now teach so that I can better understand my own intention. I am grateful to all the students that come to my class; I look at it as an opportunity to practice AHIMSA and COMPASSION instead of self serving purpose. I structure my class accordingly with my own teaching philosophy in mind inspired by two teachers that influence me the most, Hart Lazer and Richard Freeman. I remembered once from Chuck Miller class, he said” You are always a student !” I believe that I am student first before teacher.
我在教的時候會常提醒自己教課的意義，我非常感謝我的學生，每次給我機會練習Ahimsa (不傷害）和Compassion(慈悲），並非為了自我的滿足感。我排課的方式和教學理念都包含了生理，心理和哲學的考量，受了Hart Lazer和Richard Freeman老師的引導。我曾經上過Ashtanga大師Chuck Miller的課，他說“你永遠都是學生！”讓我印象深刻，所以我相信我首先是學生，然後才是老師。
YOGA & HEALING 瑜珈和療癒
I came to yoga to release stress ! I find that “duhkha ”(suffering/stress) is the root of all imbalances in the body, it inhibits our body and mind, separated us from our own soul. When we are not who we are, we are not happy with ourselves physically and emotionally. When we come to yoga because of suffering, we often come with a “ fix-me “ instead of “what’s-happening-to-me” attitude.
In the first introduction page of Richard Freeman’s “The mirror of yoga”, he starts with “ Yoga begins with listening. When we listen we are giving space to what is.” It was the “what is” begin the healing process in yoga. The healing process in yoga always start with self, a therapeutic treatment always start with awareness of self. The process is best explained in Doug Keller’s “yoga as therapy” : “ Any good therapist will involve the patient or client at least to some degree, empowering him or her to participate in the healing process.” In my own healing practice, I have learned from listen to others from listening to myself a little bit more over the years; in my own teaching, I learn from teaching what I prefer to teaching what’s necessary. In my own life, I have learn to taking control all the time to stepping back and listen to what the present moment required.
在我自我療癒的練習中，我學習了聆聽自己的聲音多於別人的聲音；在我的教學裡，我從教自己喜歡的內容到教當下學生需要的；在我的人生裡，我學習從不斷的追求下一個慾望到停下來感受當下的一切。在Richard Freeman老師一書『 The Mirror of Yoga』裡的第一章第一段開始是這麼寫的 “瑜珈是從聆聽開始，當我們開始聆聽的時候，我們給予自己空間，感覺到自己的存在感 ”。 每個療癒的階段都會從自我開始，所以一個療癒的課程必須建立起自我的覺知。這在著名的療癒瑜珈老師Doug Keller在 『 Yoga As Therapy』裡提到 “一個很棒的療癒師必須在某個過程上讓練習者或患者參與，賦予他更多的能力來參與復原的過程。”
By listening to “what is” at the present moment in all three layers of the yogic body, namely Stula Sharira ( Physical Body ), Sukshima Sharira ( Psychological Body ) and Karana Sharira ( Spiritual Body ) is the beginning of a good healing process. First we shall correct any imbalances at the physical level.A physical asana assessments usually required to examine any misalignment or imbalances at muscular and skeletal level of the practice. It follows by organic level where practitioner should stay at a position for at least 3 min for one cycle. By staying longer at a pose, the major human system such as cardiovascular, endocrine and lymphatic system are nourished to ensure proper circulation. The nervous system also plays a part in the healing process; it provides us information about how we feel, sense and move the body. Therefore, giving time to observe our sensation and feelings is to give space for the nervous system to complete the healing process. Any body and emotional tension, stress and tightness at that linked to physiological dysfunction may begin to release and let go. Then come the pranic level of the practice where inner breath ( prana ) is moved in different diaphragm of the body, for example, a tight pelvic floor possibly means Apana does not move into the pelvic floor to complete the breath cycle.
YOGA & LIFE 瑜珈和生活
Through yoga, we always make complicated matter simple and back to being complicated again. The duality of yoga resemble an endless paradoxical parity of life, and that is the nature of yoga practice. Just like in asana practice, when we make it too simple, everything goes back to physical level of the practice, but if we make it too complicated, we then will miss the inter connectives between the ego ( Ahamkara) and the openness of the mind ( manas ), and because of suffering, so you can experience happiness, and vice versa. Most of us can only experience suffering because of happiness, but rarely do we understand the happiness is impermanence.
Perhaps to live a blissful life, we must ask these questions:
Can we surrender ourselves at any given circumstances, happy or sad ?
Can we surrender to love and kindness an compassionate towards people who are suffering ?
Can we forgive those who have hurt us and asking for forgiveness to those we have hurt?
Can we be grateful to those who have connected to us in any way ?
The true bliss comes from a direct experience of happiness and sorrow without reacting to it, when you have an experience of a emotional reaction, try to stay with it and experience the inter-dependency of our true nature and the world around us, so we may develop enough attention to find peace in our life. Practice often so we may return to a sattvic stage without holding on to any emotional reactivity. Practice, Gratitude, Peace !
Let our practice help us to be happy, well and at peace
Let our practice bless those in suffering and tragedy
Let our practice make this world a better place