Don’t hate, just meditate. The ancient Hindu physical, mental and physiological discipline of yoga has many benefits in these tough times.
SINGAPORE (June 19): Yoga, the ancient Hindu discipline, can trace its origins back to pre-vedic (Bronze Age) times. For millennia, it has been highly regarded as a philosophical and physical practice with a multitude of benefits for the mind, body and spirit.
Today, the practice of yoga seems to be one of many trends — everywhere on social media, yoga influencers post pictures and videos of their daily practices. Search the #yoga hashtag on Instagram and you’ll find well over 80 million posts about it.
However, while it may be tempting to dismiss yoga as a fad, or think that it would never be possible for you to contort your body in strange and uncomfortable-looking poses, the truth is that yoga encompasses much more than the poses and contortions. From a fitness standpoint, yoga is a great complement to other workouts. There are many styles of yoga, but in general, they will give you a good stretch, teach you proper breathing techniques, increase your flexibility, as well as strengthen your core. As for those of you who are constantly hunched over in an office for most of the day, yoga can also help correct your posture and relieve your work stress.
From the more rigorous, traditional hatha-style of yoga, to the modern practice of anusara yoga, the benefits of yoga cannot be overstated.
Yoga at home
With the world slowly recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, many yoga enthusiasts have taken to virtual yoga classes in a big way while the yoga studios remain shut. Here are some of our top picks:
Boasting over 500,000 members, Gaia.com offers free trial access to over 8,000 yoga classes of varying levels. From total beginners to expert yogis, there is something for everyone here. It also offers meditation tips, health resources and much more for anyone to get serious about their health and wellness. A subscription starts at US$11.99 ($16.60) a month.
My Yoga Works
A site that’s simple and easy to use for total beginners, MyYogaWorks.com has over 1,000 classes neatly categorised into difficulty levels and purposes. If it’s cardio you want, there are hundreds of easy to expert-level classes. Feel like meditating? Stream the classes for stress relief and spiritual healing. Instead of subscriptions, My Yoga Works offers packages of three, six and 12 months for US$45, US$80 and US$150 respectively.
Instagram is truly the medium of choice for many yoga studios in Singapore, which have taken to the social media network to share free classes and tips. Platinum Yoga is no exception — it is offering two live classes each day on their Instagram page at 9am and 5pm. Class styles include ashtanga, align, runner’s yoga, vinyasa, and hatha. The studio also uploads a video every Tuesday and Friday on its YouTube channel.
Yoga studio Pure Yoga offers a variety of live classes on their Instagram page from 7.30am to 7pm. Check its Instagram page or website for the schedule. If you’ve missed the classes, don’t fret — the studio upload videos on YouTube too.
On your mats, get set, go!
Although many forms of yoga practice are pretty safe, some can be strenuous and may not be appropriate for everyone. Before signing up, you should always check with the yoga studio what classes are provided and which ones will suit your needs.
Options had the chance to try out a flow yoga or vinyasa class at Hom Yoga in Orchard Central. In flow yoga, several poses are strung together so that you transition seamlessly (or at least try to) from one to another. There is a certain amount of cardio involved, as you would have to move through the poses at a rather quick pace, compared to hatha yoga where you hold poses for a certain amount of time and go back to a neutral position between poses.
The flow yoga class started off with the instructor, Merdin Yeoh, greeting us in a soothing voice and telling us to leave all our worries behind and concentrate on ourselves during the class. That was the easy part. The first few poses were rather doable — but that was just the warm-up.
Slowly, Yeoh started introducing more poses into our flow. It started to get a little challenging, but the instructor was there, calmly instructing us on what to do at every step — which helped a lot. So, I just followed her voice faithfully, occasionally looking up to check that I was doing the right poses.
The class then ended with a short meditation and Yeoh reciting comforting words of encouragement.
I found this class a little tough, as I was not accustomed to moving from one pose to another at such a quick pace. But it made for a good workout and I quickly found myself sweating as I stretched and moved about. Overall, it was a great supplement to my already active lifestyle as it helped me stretch out my sore muscles and tight joints.
With three studios at River Valley, Orchard and Raffles Place, Hom Yoga has over 20 types of yoga classes, be it a relaxing anusara class to find your inner zen or a hot yoga class for a good sweat — you’re sure to find something that will cater to your fitness needs. Although the studios are closed temporarily due to Covid-19, Hom Yoga has started its own YouTube channel which offers free online yoga classes to everyone.
Here are some other places to check out:
27 Boon Tat Street, Level 2
Yoga Lab is founded on the belief that yoga should be accessible to all. This yoga studio aspires to empower all to stretch themselves and challenge possibilities. Classes here are kept small to ensure enough attention and space for everyone. Yoga Lab is also Baptiste Power Yoga Aliate, which includes the Baptiste methodology as part of its repertoire of offerings that includes 14 different classes, with over 150 sessions to choose from weekly.
1A Lorong Telok
Since opening its doors in 2012, Yoga Movement has now six studios in Singapore, seven class types and even its own yoga teacher training course under its academy arm, Yoga Movement Academy. Yoga Movement is very welcoming to beginners and it holds free 30-minute introductory sessions for newbies on Wednesdays at 7.15pm and Saturdays at 11.00am, at Circular Road.