My yoga journey started in 2004. To be honest, I don’t think it was the start of my actual yoga journey, because I didn’t know what yoga really meant! But, it was when I first heard the word “yoga” and started do yoga asanas. I bought a few DVDs and started a daily practice at home. I started to love this type of “exercise,” so I bought a big book about yoga written by Wai Lana, (the “Mother of Yoga” to modern China–my home country). It is a great book and she introduces the history of yoga, yoga asanas, pranayama, meditation, and chanting. Unfortunately, because we don’t believe in god or spirit in China, all the spiritual elements are simplified, and the physical exercises are amplified. So, at that time, my only understanding of “yoga,” was of the postures.
In 2005, I moved to Australia by myself to pursue my studies. It was the first time I left my home, my country, and started living by myself. This big life change was so overwhelming and I continued yoga practice for a while. Eventually, I stopped after a few months, because back then, it was just an “exercise” to me, and I needed to focus my efforts on making a living.
After I finished my studies and started working in the IT world, in 2015, I reconsidered bringing yoga back into my life. I was too stressful and anxious with my work, and my life in general, and living alone. I was always inflicted with headaches, dizziness, tiredness, and blocked throat, and doctors couldn’t find the root cause. They would tell me that I am healthy, and maybe it is just some unknown virus, and I need more rest. At the time, I became so desperate and wanted to do something good for my health. This propelled me to not only do yoga practice at home, but to start practicing yoga with others…and maybe become a yoga teacher! After some consideration and research, I picked a Yoga Teacher Training at a local yoga Studio and started my real yoga journal in early 2016.
In the beginning, I thought a yoga teacher was like a personal trainer who taught yoga stretches. But when I started the course, I was stunned. It was a whole new world! Yoga provides a connection to an inner world that I had no idea existed before…and I had never noticed it before! I have to say, the wisdom covered in the course was so deep and broad, that I was like a child who had just opened my eyes–I was amazed but also confused. I didn’t know where to start, because I didn’t have the fundamental knowledge. I didn’t understand Sanskrit names, I didn’t know how poses aligned, I didn’t know anything about yoga philosophy and how to do meditation and why we need a daily practice.
I didn’t know how to find the starting point and how to connect all the various elements in the practice. Most other trainees in the course had years of yoga teaching and practice experience, so they all picked up the teaching in the course easily, but I just couldn’t follow their system of teaching. I also wanted to find a training partner that could help me practice and learn, but couldn’t find one in the course. So, I withdrew from the course and started searching online again. Because, although I got lost in that course, I did see the fantastic aspects of yoga and I wanted to continue to study and learn to become a yoga teacher.
I continued my search, and part of that search was the occasional browsing of yoga books online. At one point, it just so happened,, “The Basic Art of Adjustments” came out. In that book, I got a link to Alanna’s mini-Teacher-Training course, and also a link to the live introductory webinar. After completing all the introductory information, I thought, “This is the one,” and I signed up for The Kaivalya Yoga Method Online Teacher Training with YogaDownload. I first fell in love with the organization of the course; especially the first module which features anatomy and alignment. I learned a lot of anatomy in the previous course but they did not teach alignment at all–which was a big reason I decided to quit. But, it is the first thing in this online course…Yay!
Next, I love the idea of video lectures. As a person from a non-English speaking country, I missed over half of the information in the in-studio training sessions. With online videos, I can repeat and review as many as times I want…Yay! Then, I previewed Alanna’s teachings about philosophy, and I loved how she explained everything, and also her story-telling style. The philosophy portion of the other in-studio course was simply to recommend a big list of books, give a 2 hours lecture, and then, at the end require a big book report. I just hated philosophy lectures at that time! Alanna’s teaching is much better. It turns out, I love myths, and I love to be able to link them with our lives. I love to be able to hear the Sanskrit sound of the teaching. I love to feel the vibrations in my body. My feeling of philosophy has changed dramatically from boring and useless to being beloved and profound. A big YAY here!
Alanna also started an online resource filled with continuing education courses called The Modern Mystery School. Even though I was already going through her online teacher training, I decided to deepen my studies with a few of her complimentary courses. At first, I enrolled in her Yoga Beyond the Mat course because I was told by my former instructor that as a yoga teacher, you need to have your own daily yoga practice. At my other in-studio training, they had a few sessions about how to organize asanas and I didn’t actually get the meaning of it. So, I thought Alanna’s course may be able to give me more clues about it. But, once I started this course, I have to say it is another whole new world again! I now do a daily yoga practice for spiritual transformation, and I started to see things differently. Before I realized it, my mind has changed a lot. Now, I start to understand the actual state of yoga, and also why, and how to meditate. A year ago, meditation was only the thing that made me lose feeling in my legs, and gave me a sore back. I couldn’t get any of the “magical feelings” that other people described in their experiences. I truly never thought I would want to do it everyday of my life. …But, now I do!
I also enrolled in the Alchemy of the Chakras course, because I had heard about the chakras, and also because I heard that the chakras were a healing tool. After my experiences with the doctor who couldn’t help me with some of my chronic issues, I really want to learn more about the subtle body. Now I am doing chakra meditation everyday. I have started to talk about chakras to my friends and lead Chakra meditation for them, and also consider poses for different chakras in my own practice and in my class outlines. I have printed out a big Chakra Cheat Sheet from the course and hang it on the wall in my living room!
I enrolled in the Connect with Your Spirit Guide, Decoding the Tarot, and Alchemical Astrology courses because when I am too stressed out, I love the idea of seeking out the mystical wisdom that can help me, and guide me. Actually…I found it! I never thought I would be so into the spiritual process, and inner cosmic world even a few months ago! But, everything is connected to each other.
Once you start yoga, start connecting to yourself, to the spirit guide, you will want to continue and want to learn more. All the things that once made no sense to me, and had no connections to me are now starting to make sense and I can feel the connections. I feel like I have found what my soul really wants, and my life’s purpose. I greatly admire Alanna’s work and I want to learn everything about yoga and mysticism (and how to become a Modern Mystic!).
I want to be a yoga teacher and be able to pursue a career path in spirituality and yoga. I want to be able to help other people find the state of yoga in their everyday lives, too. Especially my parents! They still think I am doing something useless, and I want to have the power to change their mind, and help them to find true happiness.
Right now, I feel like I need 48 hours in a day, as I still have a full time IT job, along with my Yoga Teacher Training, and my courses in The Modern Mystery School. But, I love to learn and every little bit of progress make me happy. I can’t wait to pass my knowledge and joy to my friends and colleagues every day. I hope I will be able to finish all courses and start my spirituality and yoga career in the near future!
Article written by: Hong Yan, student in The Kaivalya Yoga Method Online Teacher Training with YogaDownload, and The Modern Mystery School.