As the world grows more connected with the help of technology and internet, we grow further apart from each other and from ourselves, isolated by social media and smartphone screens. It's so easy to be caught up in the buzz of the internet that, more often than not, we forget to live in the now. We forget to appreciate the present moments that we exist in, moments that we cannot rewind once past.
In recent years, more and more people are taking up yoga, and for good reason. Not only is it beneficial physically, but research has shown that yoga has a positive impact on mental and emotional wellbeing, too.
Of course I gave it a try.
My first yoga class was hard. The promise of peace eluded me - all I felt were my muscles complaining, my mind protesting. This is too hard. I can't do this. I made an internal note to never put myself through that again, but I went for my second class anyway. And then a third, a fourth, a fifth, and it never stopped.
It took me a while to realise that yoga is about embracing discomfort, instead of avoiding it. Take balancing poses, for example. As much as I dread doing one, I don't deny that in focusing on the effort itself, I am clearing my mind and freeing myself from unnecessary distractions. In learning to concentrate on my breathing, I learn to be present.
In an increasingly fast-paced world where constant stimulation cannot be avoided, yoga provides a space where relaxation is not only allowed, but encouraged. It helps the mind to slow down and settle. When applied off the mats and into daily life, calmness and peace of mind follows naturally.
So here's my new year resolution: to turn up - again, again and again.
By Sunny Leong