Yoga Mail

By Rutharra

Yoga and I have come a long way. I started my journey when I was three and have been practicing it diligently to date. I am now 17.

I started my journey at the Brickfields Centre attending the Super Yoga Kids (SYK) classes. Those classes were one of the best things that have ever happened to me. They paved a path for me into being who I am now. They have helped me listen to instructions intently, and more importantly, listen to my body. At such a young tender age, I was already pushed to my limits, but I was constantly reminded to respect the limits within. To me, that is a very important lesson to be ingrained in children.

Fast forward, I have come to understand the importance of attending yoga classes. The most important outcome bestowed upon me by the SYK lessons was the ability to write with both hands simultaneously. I don’t think you can find this skill being taught in any normal school. This may seem like a simple enough activity, but the benefits are voluminous. These near-the-end-of-the-class activities held the same weight as the asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing). They have helped activate both my left and my right brain. I think these activities are the reason why I find myself excelling in not only languages but also scientific calculations, while other students, who are non-yoga practitioners usually excel in either one of those fields.

At the age of 13, I was promoted to the Teens Yoga class. I met with teenagers who were all older than me. However, I realised that my level of maturity was similar if not higher than theirs. Looking back now, I realise that the SYK classes have helped me mature and become independent. In the Teen-yoga classes, I still learn asanas, do pranayama and occasionally engage in brain stimulating activities. It is similar to what I learnt in the SYK classes, yet different in a subtle way.

In the Teen -yoga classes, we discovered the benefits of everything we did. After every asana, we were questioned on what we felt and how we felt. If we could not feel anything, we would be asked to perform the asana again (and again) until we can feel it.. However, now the benefits are spoon-fed to the students.

Apart from the obvious benefits, yoga has helped me in many other ways. More importantly, it has given me confidence, a skill which most children or even adults lack.

I gained confidence through many avenues: mingling with others since a young age at yoga classes, attending the annual National Yoga Camp and also by participating in yoga competitions. Now that I am 17, the stage feels like home to me, and the spotlights don’t bother me at all.

Another benefit I gained from Yoga is the absence of stress in my life. As students, many of us are bound to feel stressed due to peer pressure, workload or family problems. However, I am seldom stressed. Sometimes, I noticed that when others are stressed out over exams, I simply feel calm and composed. I have shared this with my father, who is a yoga instructor himself. He professes that it is the effect of Kriya yoga, which both of us practice. The absence of stress in my life has made me perform my duties more efficiently.

Speaking of the National Yoga Camp, I have been attending it since 2012. From a camp participant’s point of view, I believe it will be extremely beneficial if parents can send their children to this camp, which is held annually. The camp is so holistic that it not only enforces natural discipline, but it also teaches one how to live a healthy lifestyle.

In my second year at the camp, I was given the opportunity to attend the “Learn to Teach, Teach to Learn (LTTL) program.

Upon completion of the programme, I became a certified teen yoga instructor. This has given me a chance as a teenager to teach others yoga and help them enjoy the same benefits I had experienced when I was a yoga student. The LTTL programme has also boosted my level of confidence as a teen instructor.

All said and done, yoga has and will always play a major role in my life. It has made me who I am today, and no words can explain how much yoga means to me. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my yoga instructors and also my yoga-mates for being a huge part of my life.