I just returned yesterday from a trip to Thailand for the New Year holiday, and it was every bit as relaxing and rejuvenating as I’d hoped! Although I had originally wanted to spend some time at a yoga retreat center on one of the islands, I ended up staying in Bangkok for the week, which gave me plenty of time to explore the city, spend much needed time with a close friend, and focus on relaxing.
The more I travel, and the more cultures, religions, and languages I am exposed to, the more I feel like we are all just part of one unified whole. As an expat in Korea, I sometimes feel I’m predisposed to assert my cultural and linguistic differences, to hang onto my identity by drawing boundaries between my native culture and the one I now live in. However, I have been learning through my yoga practice that underneath all the boundaries and distinctions, we’re really the same soul. This realisation came to me most strongly when my friend, Jet, and I visited the Erawan Shrine to pray for the coming new year. The shrine was teeming with people from many different countries, all speaking in their respective languages, all bowing and offering their prayers and hopes to the four-faced Buddha. As we placed our incense on all four sides of the Buddha, breathed in the fragrance of incense and sweaty bodies, and felt the smoke stinging in our eyes, it was as if all the distinctions we make between people in our day to day lives began to melt away. It was a new sort of quiet that I’ve only begun to feel recently, and I’m savouring it every time it comes.
Lately, quite a few friends have been asking me how I got started with yoga. I began less than a year and a half ago, and as I’m not very advanced yet, I sometimes don’t feel qualified to give much advice. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my yoga practice it is that yoga, like everything else in life, is a journey. The beginning is not less meaningful than the middle, and in fact, there is no end. I hope that I can be a support to others who are interested in starting down this path, providing resources, advice, and encouragement. As I move into this fresh new year of 2016, my prayer is that I will find acceptance in all situations. This doesn’t mean that I won’t have disappointments or hurts, but it does mean that I will strive to see the lesson in all the rough spots. I completely believe that the Universe gives us what we need!
Ganesha shanaram shanaram Ganesha!