A little more than ten years ago, after 2.5 years of studies, I finished my M.Phil. thesis (anthropology) on yoga.
I spent 16 months conducting research in yoga studios, interviewing teachers and students, and participated in classes as a participant-observer. The 200-page thesis “Yoga in Hong Kong: Globalization, Localization and the Fetishism of the Body” documented the history of yoga in HK, from Indian swamis arriving in the 1950s to share the practice, and its popularization after westernised yoga was brought to the city. I also looked into how people make meaning of yoga: whether they see it as a physical or spiritual pursuit, as I felt that the spiritual pursuit is “higher”, more in line with the teachings.
The concluding thoughts is that despite some essence got lost in the popularization of yoga, it allows many more to get in touch with the practice, which can have immense benefits on physical and emotional health. Even if a small percentage goes deeper into the practice and an exploration of life, that’s a huge gift.
Fast forward to the last three years, following an unexpected array of events, I started teaching yoga. Coming across many people who are looking for more ease in the body-mind, yoga practice became a place where their needs are met. I practice to be open-minded about why people come to practice, but reminding myself what feels true to heart. To meet people where they are, but not forgetting my intentions: to enhance well-being, emotional awareness and open up to the wholeness of life.
I am also fortunate to come across contemporary mindfulness practices and Buddhism, both of which have had and continue to have transformational effects on me. Through contemporary mindfulness, I got interested in Buddhism and its rich teachings. This is not dissimilar to yoga, which I first got drawn to the physical practice. Feeling the benefits on the mind-body, I went deeper, opening up to a dance with life.
May I continue to follow my intentions and what resonates with me
May I see beyond differences and dogmas
May I be a humble student of life