Dubai, 2010. The air hung heavy with the whir of printing presses and the scent of fresh ink. In this industrial symphony, the booming voice of the mustached company head sliced through the noise: “You will join the Yoga session today,” he declared.

“Sure,” I mumbled, my mind a chorus of dissent. My attire, a hand-me-down blouse and slacks from my aunt, screamed office worker, not yogi.

Most of my colleagues, clad in practical workmen’s clothes, seemed unfazed. They began humming, a low, practiced drone that sent shivers down my spine. This wasn’t their first rodeo. Every morning, they flowed effortlessly through yoga poses, their bodies instruments perfectly tuned to the leader’s commands.

Me? I slunk behind my desk, desperately trying to mimic their movements, feeling as graceful as a baby giraffe on roller skates.

That job only lasted a week.

I clung to my passport, refusing to surrender it for a residence stamp. A new position at Eli Lilly opened up, and with it, I found a welcome change. The team there had healthy habits and active lifestyles, but their philosophy was a gentle nudge, not a forceful shove. Freedom of choice, a novel concept.

As for yoga, I figured that was a chapter permanently closed. Little did I know, my introduction to the practice had already been planted as a seed years earlier. Back then, shrouded in the fog of my pre-25 naiveté, I’d dismissed yoga entirely due to religious misconceptions. I convinced myself full yoga immersion required converting to Hinduism.

Fast forward to 2013. Cebu City, Philippines, became my new home, a world away from the bustling chaos of Manila. Here, I met Jewel, an officemate destined to become a lifelong friend. One day, she extended an invitation to a yoga session at Love Yoga World. The memory of that first class is vivid – the discounted monthly pass I snagged after, a small victory in a world of new beginnings.

The years that followed were a fitness exploration. I dabbled in CrossFit, lured by the promise of quick weight loss, but the pressure to excel left me demotivated. HIIT on a treadmill felt bearable but lacked the fun factor.

Muay Thai offered a thrilling alternative, rekindling my college memories of twice-a-week Taekwondo practice. However, finding a comfortable punching partner proved to be a hurdle. I liked the sport, so I kept coming back. I didn’t like needing a partner I was comfortable punching or kicking. It wasn’t the best way to be introduced to a stranger, so I only went to practice with someone I knew.

Fate intervened when I thought I’d drifted away from yoga for good.

My interest in Yoga returned when I worked at Insight Timer. I joined one online session with a teacher there. It’s free, and if you’re proficient in the practice, you can get the full benefit of it. But it was still a challenge as the teachers couldn’t point out if my form was right.

Long story short, I quit the job because of my health. The pandemic hit, and I also hit the lowest point in my health. I was my heaviest during the years I worked at the company. It felt opposite to what the company stood for, and I don’t blame them. I just didn’t know how to balance motherhood and working full-time.

The turning point came two months ago. My neighbor, a yoga teacher named Aileen, reignited my passion. Her classes were a revelation – a focus on gentle exploration, self-acceptance, and celebrating even the smallest victories.

Under Aileen’s guidance, poses like shoulder stand and crow became accessible. Now, I feel a newfound strength and confidence blossoming alongside my flexibility. Yoga wasn’t just about physical benefits; it was a path to self-discovery.

Today, yoga is my non-negotiable self-care ritual. The post-practice sweat, the deep sleep, and the sense of accomplishment keep me coming back for more. The focus on honoring my body and embracing life’s challenges with an open heart resonates with me.

This yoga journey is far from over, and with Aileen’s support, I’m excited to see where it leads me next.

By Issa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.