My interest in yoga began 10 years ago, while participating in my first hot yoga class. With the humidity and heat turned up, I was definitely worried about fainting or tipping over other veteran yogis. Determined to learn what yoga was about, I took a deep breath in and set my mat down at the back corner of the room. While practicing, I observed that no one was actually looking at each other during the poses and instead there was a sense of community where you felt fully supported. The teacher would demonstrate poses and offer modifications, while the rest of the class remained grounded, sharing their positive energy. With this sense of comfort, the hot temperature no longer bothered me, and instead my focus shifted inward. While getting deep into my practice, I noticed that my body was me sending signals about how I was feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally inside.
This powerful experience made me recognize that yoga creates a safe environment where you can let go of negative thoughts and fears so that your mat can serve you. I learned that we can give ourselves permission to let go of expectations of how the poses should look like, because what matters more is how the asana translates within our body as our receptors bring awareness to areas of tension (mind-body-breath). The mind-body-breath connection is what makes yoga therapeutic and unique from other physical activities. In yoga, our breath flows like a river, whereas in other sports we may become short of breath from overexertion. I am grateful that I can breathe freely everyday as breathing is essential to life.