I remember my very first yoga class. It was in Colombo, Sri Lanka, nine years ago, with my good friend Haissa. I can’t recall what prompted us to join the class but yes, one morning, we found ourselves looking at our toes, bum up, fingers wide spread, navel to spine, doing our very first downward facing dog at a local Hatha Yoga Institute.
Back then, I knew absolutely nothing about yoga apart from the mere fact it originated from India. But that was fine with me. After all, I’ve always been curious, open-minded, and ready to try new things. So I practiced yoga on and off for many years. I always went back to the mat when I was bored with the gym, with Zumba, with my morning runs, and with the many other workouts I was engaging in to keep fit. At that time, yoga for me was just like the rest: just another form of exercise.
After a while, Haissa got pregnant and couldn’t join me to classes anymore. Our regular teacher also took a break for a while, and her sub, who was this serious yoga-oriented jokes-aside male teacher, literally scared the hell out of me. Each time we were in child’s pose, he would walk next to me, kneel down, and gently whisper to my ears in admonishment, “Put your buttocks on your heels”. After the sixth time, I looked at him almost in tears, and told him, “I’m trying my best but my buttocks won’t go any further”! That was pretty much the last time I attended a yoga class in Sri Lanka.
After giving birth to my son, we moved to Cambodia in 2014. Being a new mum in a new country was an overwhelming experience—yes, even for someone like me who was game for new adventures. I had so much stuff to figure out, especially motherhood. And as much I had help at home, I was always paranoid leaving my baby behind so everything I did had to involve my son. He was my must-have clutch bag.
After a few months in Cambodia, I joined a weekly yoga mummy group, which held once-a-week classes on a friend’s terrace. What was special about this group was we could bring our kids along to practice. Our kids could crawl around, make funny noises, cry, or sit on our faces or bellies during poses. Believe it or not, it was amazing! That was when I learned that there’s more to yoga than its physical fitness aspect. It was also about being open to whatever surprise the Universe decides to throw at us at any day—whether it was a screaming baby, an undisturbed-for-five-breaths tree pose, and so on. I always looked forward to our weekly session, and I really do miss those days.
That was also the time when I developed a profound interest in yoga. I was inspired to deepen my knowledge, and started dreaming of eventually becoming a yoga teacher someday.
Lora by Lora. x