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Urban Ashtangi : Ailin Mao

We do have seasonal students at The Mysore Haus returning to the mat every year during their stay in Singapore. We are always happy to work with them on the practice despite a short window period. On Ailin’s second visit from her travels, she gladly shares her story about her journey with the practice, though her current life arrangement is in a state of fluidity.

1. What are you currently busy with?

I recently returned to school for my Master’s, and I am now hoping to continue my journey in academia. I am answering these questions from a cottage in the Drakensberg, enjoying the peace and quiet of the mountains as I work on my PhD research proposal.

2. How did your first yoga class happen and what was it like?

I tried out a beginner’s led class a long time ago. I was very new to yoga at the time and found it to be incredibly challenging. Nevertheless, my curiosity was piqued and I continued to dabble, eventually committing to thrice-weekly Mysore sessions when I joined Pure Yoga.

3. Why did you build your practice with the Ashtanga mysore method?

I was struggling with stress and anxiety due to work and relationships, and it was beginning to manifest physiologically with the development of allergies and sensitivities. 

My lifestyle also left much to be desired as I had adopted unhealthy coping mechanisms. I was actively looking for more balance in my life, and the discipline of the early mornings and the importance of committing to regular practice appealed to me. 

Integrating morning Mysore practice into my schedule was an important first step to helping me understand which daily routines worked for me mentally, physically, and energetically.

4. How has your practice evolved over a period?

There have been lots of ups and downs, and I have not always been able to practice consistently as I eventually took the decision to quit my job in Singapore, embarking on a journey that led me to live in a remote part of southern Africa. 

While I had been practicing regularly with different teachers before making the move, I quickly discovered that a lot of discipline was required to sustain my own practice, and that I missed having access to a community and the energy of a shala! 

While I am no longer based in southern Africa, I continue to split my time between cities and more remote areas, and I ensure to practice in a shala when I am back in the former and I always thoroughly enjoy it. 

I am still struggling to muster the discipline required for a steady self-practice, but I am glad to share that the good habits cultivated through the practice remain, such as early mornings, starting the day with a little movement to get the blood flowing, and ensuring that I get sufficient quality sleep.

5. What does this practice mean to you at this stage of your life?

It is something I always find joy returning to, but I also realized that it is challenging for me to practice when I am on the road and do not have a fixed community to be part of. Nevertheless, I have come to embrace the ebbs and flows of my practice and accept that it means progress will be slow. 

At some point in the near-future, I do see myself finding my feet and settling somewhere in a more permanent fashion, and having access to a shala will be a consideration!

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