Yoga Heals

Yoga is a way of life that seeks the union of mind and body, it is hence no wonder that it heals both the mind and body, an all encompassing that allows one to improve their physical body and mental health.

Yoga for the physical body. It’s no stranger that asanas helps one to train and strengthen their body. There are many ways that it does so.

Firstly, flexibility. Poses like the Padangusthasana lengthen and stretches out the hamstrings to enable a forward fold, the Kapotasana helps to stretch out your spine and open your chest, almost all asanas helps you stretch out one way or another. This helps you to keep your muscles strong, healthy so as to maintain your range of motion.

Next, strength, there are many ways asanas train your strength. Holding a downward dog for five breaths helps you improve your endurance, doing Chaturanga helps you to train your arm muscles, holding a Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana helps you train your stabilising muscles, there are endless ways yoga helps you to build up both your external and internal muscles.

In fact, not just the asanas are good for your physical health, other limbs of Yogi such as the Pranayamas help you to clean out your physical body as well. Breathing exercises such as Kapalabhati clear out your mucus and helps you feel refresh and ready to start the day, whereas Nadhi Shodhana helps to heat or cool your body down. Generally, benefits such as improved respiratory and cardiovascular systems are known to happen.

Yoga for the mental state. In addition to the physical changes that yoga brings about, there are also mental benefits that come with the Yogi.

In addition to helping to clear the body of toxins, Pranayamas also help to alert one’s mind, reduce stress and also focus better. By looking at the eight limbs of Yogi, it would allow one to undergo a mental revelation and helps to overhaul one’s state of mind. Even if disregarding the spiritual aspects of yoga, the Kriyas and Yoga Nidras help to refresh one’s mind!

There is no doubt that starting yoga would help you with both your physical and mental state, so what are you waiting for? Go join a class now!

How Yoga fits into my Lifestyle

I was never into yoga. Not for a long while. Then I found veganism, and going zerowaste, and it just seemed like the next natural step. Let me explain.

I turned to veganism because I love animals and the Earth. When I was 14, I got into vegetarianism when my sister uncovered the atrocities of the meat industry and influenced us siblings into the likes of going meat- free. Despite occasional slip ups (including a year long omnivorous break oops), I decided to turn vegan two years back as I was repeatedly being exposed to the horrifics of the meat industry and how it affects the environment as well. My state of mind had changed and I was looking to find peace in this largely messy world. These practises helped me gain wellness in my life.

As when I was turning vegan, I found the zerowaste movement as well, people passionate for the Earth and against the unsustainable ways we live our lives, seeking to be better humans and conscious consumers. Through the practises of reducing the wastage and consumption in my life, including the usage of disposables and plastic, I learnt to use mindfulness in everything I do, always thinking about how my actions impact and the consequences they have.

Now came yoga. After trying yoga in light of all these changes in my life, I realised that yoga was the key to tying everything together. The mindfulness and wellness aspects of of yoga helps me to become a better person and because of my newfound passions in life, made me truly appreciate the benefits of yoga. In fact, I’m not the only one who thinks so. Two close friends of mine have exactly the same interests as me in veganism, going zerowaste and yoga. Interestingly, we had found each of these components individually and at different stages of our lives. But we can all agree on how these three aspects allow us to be better people! So if you’re interested, you can try going vegan or zerowaste to complement your yogi lifestyle too!

Barre vs. Yoga

Being a barre instructor, I had hoped TTC would be easier, but as I came to realise, there was so much more to it! So here are some of the differences between teaching Barre and Yoga, enjoy!

  1. Be zen, not tense

The energy levels for barre classes and yoga classes are vastly different. Barre puts you through a high and intense class to help you zoom past the pain, an hour-long class usually passes by fast as there are many things going on. Conversely, yoga sessions are usually much slower-paced, you are encouraged to take your time and savor the pain as much as you can, and to flow with your movements. This allows for more time to ensure your posture is correct, and to really get into and feel the muscle you are working on.

2. When it comes to talking, less is more

In barre classes, there is a constant string of instructions to help you get the most out of your exercises, even with effective cueing, there is rarely a quiet moment in class and often instructing consists of catching your breathing while guiding everyone into the right poses. On the other hand, yoga practises a lot less cueing and a lot more personal space for students to enjoy their own practise in quietness. The teacher leads with the breathing and provides minimal cues. This is a challenge as I’m used to giving various cues to help students work better, but sometimes, you have to let go and let them enjoy themselves!

3. That music can’t help you now

Having pumping pop music to help you move to the beat allows the class to move in sync and for the instructor to catch the beat back at any point in time, the music helps to lead the class in accompany to the instructor. However, yoga flow follows the teacher’s counting, especially with the inclusion of breathing, hence the teacher’s breathing and counts lead the class and it’s important for the teacher to keep track of the breathing and ensure consistency. This is difficult initially as the breathing pattern follows a strict structure.

All in all, there are many more differences between teaching these two styles of classes, as much as the classes in themselves are different. While challenging, it is also interesting for me to learn to adapt my skillset and step up! What about you, do you find similarities and differences in some of the classes that you have taken before now that you are training to be an instructor?

A look at my Yoga Journey so far

I took my first yoga class less than a year ago. Fit, consistently active, and coupled with a dance and ballet background, I was expecting myself to breeze through it. Ten minutes and three Surya Namaskars in, I posed there in my Downward Dog, beads dribbling down my forehead and onto the mat below, thinking – WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO?

Since then, every class is still challenging and makes me feel like death, but I still find myself going back every time. Now, one year in, my improvement has been immense, and I ask myself – WHAT NEXT?

Of course, there is always space for improvement in the Yogi world, and I have a long way to go. But I was looking to deepen my practise beyond taking cues from a teacher and the complex sanskrit terms that I can never catch, and so I did, I signed up for the Yoga Teacher Training Course.

And now, looking back at the past four weeks, it has been one of the most physically and mentally challenging month, inclusive of my external commitments and busy schedule. It is still challenging, but I pride myself in stepping out my comfort zone and in my quest for constant improvement, while loving it.

At the end of it all, I am still asking myself the same old question – WHAT’S NEXT? But I am sure whatever my answer is, I would be going on another adventure again, and loving it.