My relationship with yoga started 11 years ago when my heart was aching from a breakup. I started my practice to exercise, to be fit and to lose weight. But my experience wasn’t just physical after my first savasana. I was able to sleep better, my acne prone skin was clearing up, and most importantly I started to care and love myself for the first time in my life. My yoga mat became my sanctuary.
In 2009, I decided to embark on a journey to become a yoga teacher. I had no intention to teach. I wanted to deepen my practice and understand what yoga is. During the month's intensive training, all I did was cry. I cried to heal my deep wounds. I came from a divorced family in rural Japan. I hid my family issues from friends. I never spoke about it to anyone because I felt embarrassment where I came from. I never felt comfortable with my body. Many of my friends and family told me I was chubby. Yoga shed a light on me that it’s okay to be me and feel those painful memories as a child. I felt my bitter emotions for the first time and my path to heal started in that moment.
Soon after the training, I decided to share what I know of yoga, to people who crossed my path. I witnessed in my eyes that yoga was changing people’s life and heart. I have never looked back since and I have kept going. Yoga took me to many places in the world. I travel to teach my global retreats and I am trained by renowned teachers.
I believe our body is the gateway to opening our heart and consciousness. Yoga allows us to connect with our body, breath and mind instantly through movements and postures. When our mind is relaxed and focus, we are more receptive to dig deep into old wounds. As we touch our soul, we recognize the pain is just a story we have created; we can give permission to ourselves to let go, and we can rise above from it. It’s like someone is holding a light and saying, “Here is the way to a happy and joyful life with acceptance".
Being a teacher for 8 years now, I have seen the progression in yoga in the world. It was a hippie thing to do back in the days but now everyone does yoga. I strongly believe that if we practice together wholeheartedly, our world can become a better place. I’m determined more than ever to bring yoga philosophy and mysticism into my teachings. I incorporate a message or theme into each practice I guide so that we can take care of ourselves through asana, pranayama and meditation; and be a service to others or be the example for others while we are off the mat. Don’t get me wrong, my instructions aren’t soft (except Yin and meditation) and the sequence is challenging. Yoga is more than just fitness, it’s a practice to embrace and embody ourselves to heal and grow.
I’m excited to return to Singapore in October to teach for 2 weeks at Hom Yoga. I’m looking forward to connecting with old friends whom I met 5 years ago and to meet new beautiful souls!
Join Asami for a weekend immersion on Oct 14-15.
By Asami Martens