I have been taking yoga classes on and off for several years now. For my birthday last year, I gifted myself with a blissful 5-day yoga retreat on Koh Phangan, and since then- when my body felt the best it has every felt- I have given yoga a bigger role in my life.
Yogatique Yoga Studio in Bangkok recently hosted the New Year New You Yoga challenge: 20 yoga classes in 30 days. This was a great way to deepen and improve my yoga practice, and it was so dang rewarding. During those 30 days, here 10 important lessons I learned about yoga and life in general.
Photo Credit: Minh Minimum
At some point during the day, it’s essential to tap into the sources that allow you to feel alive, grounded, and centered. Yoga is my time for re-centering. During the challenge, I walked into Yogatique everyday and focused only on my body and breathing for a whole hour and a half; this was powerful. Indulge in what you love and in what feels and good and right every single day; you’re not selfish for it.
There are teachers whose style might not jive with your own, but you can take something away from every teacher. I love the diversity of yoga teachers at Yogatique, and throughout my 30-day challenge, I experienced many different class styles and workshops.
Teachers, like Apple, will make readjustments that leave you gaping at your body’s capabilities. My arm can do what? Others, like Supapan, inspire us with their graceful movements and ever-tucked tailbones. We can even learn how, with teachers like Jannica, to purposefully, fearlessly, and safely fall over. With all this insight, I have been able to create my own mosaic of poses and modifications for home practice. Thank you, Yogatique teachers!
When you’re straining and shaking, that’s when you turn inward. The harder it gets, the deeper your breath becomes; let it consume your mind and your thoughts. The breath is always there- at any time, in any situation.
It’s as if yoga can’t be mastered, and that’s the beauty of it. One day I confidently held half-moon pose (a tough balancing pose for me), and the next day, I couldn’t balance whatsoever. Yoga allows you to inwardly applaud yourself when you’ve hit a pose on the mark but reminds you to stay humble because tomorrow may be a different story.
I felt myself slowly building more core and upper body strength; with this came more stamina and ease in my practice. With more core strength, I was able to have more control in balancing poses. During the ‘Art of Falling’ workshop, I went up into a handstand and had an aha moment: so thissss is what engaging your core means. I stayed in my longest handstand yet. I improved in my posture, flexibility, and noticed more muscle definition in my upper body.
There were days when I had an abundance of energy to give to my yoga practice. I surprised myself with unwavering poses I had previously struggled with. On those days, I gave myself a pat on the back and let the rest of my day be infused with inspiration from my internal strength and determination.
Other days, I was sore and fatigued and I just couldn’t get motived enough to do yoga, and that’s ok. The important part is listening to your body and knowing when to take time to rest and rejuvenate.
You don’t want to push myself too hard, yet you don’t always want to be on the path of least resistance. Listen to the ebb and flow of your energy levels. There were some days when I had high energy and felt up for additional challenges. Other days, my body craved child’s pose. I believe got just as much from my yoga practice in both cases because I gave my body what it wanted and needed.
This doesn’t only apply to yoga. There are nights your body may want to be grooving to music and other nights where it wants to be in relaxing in comfy clothes. Listen to it.
I have been to studios I don’t love, studios where a toned body and trendy yoga apparel felt like prerequisites for a yoga class. That’s not me; I believe yoga is not about your brands or your figure. If you’re going to dedicate time and energy to your yoga studio, it’s important to love their mission and to make sure their beliefs align with your own. Ask yourself, will this studio positively influence my yoga growth?
I’m so lucky to have found Yogatique in Bangkok, which is a beautiful community based studio that loves every part of all bodies. Every time I walk in, I feel like an old friend, and it’s easy to strike up conversations with fellow yogis. I admire Yogatique’s support and dedication to the local, healthy food scene. I love the energy in the studio, the daily quotes on a small chalkboard, and being part of a community whose ideals resonate with my core. When you meet the one, you just know.
My yoga challenge reinforced this. After every yoga class, I navigate my day more mindfully and with more compassion. I’m more discerning and critical of all that I put in my body; I want to love on my body and feed it high quality ingredients. Yoga is strengthening, softening, detoxing, twisting, sweating, breathing, omming, surrendering, embracing, falling, and balancing. It’s everything I need!
Photo Credit: Michael Carrano
Yogatique had the real challenge: enlivening my body while simultaneously helping me find peace in chaotic Bangkok- and lord knows it’s not always easy to find peace in this city. But I’ve found it- Yogatique and repeat! Om Shanti om.
Are you in Bangkok and looking for a down-to-earth studio? Click here to see Yogatique’s class schedule.