“Silent. Smile…” then “Silent. Smile…” and one more “Silent. Smile…” I could not hold it anymore. It was damn hard with no surprise as I have been knowing it for these more than 10 years. What is ridiculous is that I almost claim I have built up its sister ritual for a year now when only by today, I heard the universe whispering into my ears, as gently and generously as it can, “Nope, you are just maximum 20% there.” And the universe is right.

For the first time since I took up the practice, I monitored the thoughts wandering in my mind. They are simply hyperactive. When I just told my mind to focus on silence and smile, following some suggestion I collected in a book I recently read, in the previous second, I found them mushrooming the next. I thought of Korean Air and its safety history; well, the sky was stretching wide and blue with one or two planes streaming by in front of my eyes and my mother who rode that airlines here was behind my back, so I have a reason not to put a total blame on my very own conservative self. Then in the next impromptu adventure of all of the neurons, I found me evaluating the healthiness of my breakfast. It sounds like this: there are whole-grain bread, kiwi fruit, and avocado shake, so tick, tick, and tick.

For every time silence and smile were shoveled away by thoughts, I managed to have them back but they harbored in a corner of my mind for only a few seconds before being gone again. Without any advance notice, thoughts just kept crossing my silence and smile border: I was thinking about the email I planned to write to a friend regarding a major project I am working on, even down to the sentences and the words; they kept echoing in my little brain. I was mentally writing it. The moment I found out about their invasion, silence and smile came back. Again, just enough for me to have two full conscious breaths. Then diluted into my third exhale for the unsolicited guests to be back. This time, they brought me the conversation I had with my coachee the night before, about her dream job search progress and her learning along the way. They also tagged the great news of my other coachees as they honored new heights in their career, either it be promotion or a new job. Good thoughts but unwelcomed at this very moment. Still, given all these, this has been the best day I do the practice: I was monitoring my thoughts.

I know too well that Yoga is good for our health. I, however, hardly had the knowledge about what it really is to reap its benefits until skimming through its definition in a book a few days ago. “Yoga is the dance, the union of the goddess of creativity and the god of consciousness”, the book said. Yoga is physical, mental and spiritual practices all in one. I used to think that it is the stretching, endurance and focus that make me strong. I have been so under-informed all while long. Hence, I kept being proud of myself for being able to hold my arms or hang my legs almost every morning with the only exception of the first two days of my period, amid my daughter screaming “mummy, mummy, shi shi” pointing to the little pond under her legs, or shouting “mummy, mummy!” showing her angry face due to not being able to pull out the helmet from under the table. Apart from pausing the video to become the to-the-rescue-mother a few times, I let thoughts fill in all of the balance left from the 30-minute session. While my body well follows the instruction, my eyes, my ears, and all of my senses are not together and not with my breaths. Where was I?

Today, after the first time doing Bikram Yoga nearly a decade ago and taking a meditation class more than a decade ago, I officially announce that I truly know my old friend: I will marry my body with my mind and the spirit of the universe together in every solid posture I create. A Yogi, I will become.

Silent. Smile… Silent. Smile…. Silent. Smile…