(Sharing from Kayla Faith Umali as part of the 30hr Yoga Discovery Programme)

Sometimes, it is in letting go of desires and moments of vulnerability that humble and allow us to be more in touch with ourselves.

I particularly recall a time I walked into a yoga studio for a lunch time class feeling frazzled, hoping to find mental and emotional stability and to feel in control (which is my desire in most of my practices). I entered the room with a head filled with flitting thoughts of doubt, uncertainty and anxiety, sat on the mat and found myself silently weeping in a child’s pose 15minutes before class started.

I usually don’t do a child’s pose to warm-up or rest momentarily before class but for some unconscious reason, I ended up in that particular pose. Looking back, I realised that it was an act of surrender- to my mat, my practice, and the universe and all that it had in store for me in the now.

When the practice started, all I kept chanting to myself was: “I will be in a state of peace” while doing the asanas. But in doing this, I forgot about my breath and I found myself feeling frustrated as I fell out of my poses, even those as simple as a warrior 1 or 2. My desire of being in a state of peace arrested my ability to enjoy and explore the practice as it is in the present moment.

I briefly went into a downward dog to reset my breathing. This time, I committed to letting go of my desire, surrendered to my breath to take me through the practice and to trust in the process of the practice rather than be frustrated in attaining the outcome. Halfway through, I found ease in doing my asanas, allowing myself to fully immerse in the whole experience of that moment.

This moment, though short, is one I would always back to in the long run as it is a reminder for me to constantly practice aparigraha, “the act of being free of desire” or the idea of non-attachment.

It is through this practice that I am able to humble myself and surrender my desires regardless of what state I am in, in all things that I do – whether it’s a yoga practice or living my everyday life. For it is in this surrender and trust in the process that allows me to not only to fully experience the present moment but to also embrace myself fully, as well as appreciate the journey of growth better than the destination.