“Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare.” ~ Japanese proverb
Right after Victor Chng’s Yin Yoga Intensives, my doctor friend Kit posted this on our yin yoga group:
How has the recent visit of Victor Chng, his workshops and teachings impacted your yoga practice?
I did not readily respond because I wanted to think through what my real takeaway from Victor’s weekend with us was.
Truth to tell, there were so many!!! But for me, the most profound words that hit me were simple but deep. TWO. SIMPLE. WORDS.
Just those 2 words. While there was a lot of meridian information I picked up, deeper discussions on the yin-yang symbol, and other insightful stuff Victor shared with us, it was his “What for?” or “What’s the point?” that got me thinking.
I began reflecting on how I started doing yoga, learning the poses and oftentimes trying to memorize their Sanskrit names. But as I looked at the different styles, including vinyasa which I practised, I’d ask myself why certain sequences were the way they were. I knew surya namaskars were done first as a way of warming up the body and preparing for subsequent asanas. But why that pose before this? Why in that particular sequence? Is it just a matter of preference by the teacher to sequence the poses in a certain way? What if I sequenced it differently in my home practice – how would it change the health benefits to me? Surely there must be a connecting reason from start to finish of a practice. A rhyme and reason…
The answers were never that clear to me till I began to practice yin yoga and listen to the theory parts of each workshop I went to under Dona and Victor as well as Kit’s TCM workshop and the classes.
Learning about the meridians and how each organ had its own meridian channel passing through different parts of the body is giving my practice PURPOSE and REASON. Since 2011, when I started learning about yin yoga from Dona (and my eventual exposure to Victor), I began to realize that I am not in this for the physical transformation that I now think motivated part of me in my earlier yoga days. I am in it because the more I learn about its healing potential, the more it becomes my lifeline as well as a practice I could share with those in my age group (and older!).
Why am I particularly drawn to age-old Chinese traditions on healing? Because with all my 4 kids, I followed Chinese practices during and after childbirth. It was a Chinese doctor’s medicine that once cured a nasty cough which 2 bottles of a popular cough syrup could not. And I believe that I am much healthier now for having followed them.
So when Victor asks “What for?” I hear him asking me if I am MINDFUL of the reason/s why. What’s the point of doing something if you don’t know what it’s for or it doesn’t get you to your ultimate goal?
I remember Kit posting something very useful for our home practice on a group page. Dona added a comment on that thread (a reminder of sorts) — start your practice with INTENTION. Beautiful…
My appreciation for yin yoga grows with each class/workshop that I attend because each asana is connected to an INTENTION to activate and declog a particular meridian channel. And when combined in a particular sequence, there is a known wellness goal at the end of the practice. Victor, in his talks, even goes beyond just the practice. He talks about food choices, sleeping habits and lifestyle changes. All these are interwoven in his own life and he is sharing those with us. Again and again, he makes us think of how we live and he asks, WHAT FOR.
Beyond this practice, WHAT FOR is a great reminder that life is to be lived with mindfulness and intention. When we become aware of this, every action, thought, decision carries a much larger, universal meaning.
Thank you, Victor, for the weekend of yin yoga intensives and for giving me something to work on till your next visit.