Yoga For Beginners
In modern society, whenever Yoga is mentioned, it is often referring only to the movements of the physical body, which is called Yoga Asana, one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Yoga means union, the union of both sides of duality – ie; Yin & Yang, Masculine & Feminine, Black & White, Day & Night, Sun & Moon. It is an approach to a way of life that is not separated, not categorized, unlimited, expansive, all-encompassing, full, complete, unified, inclusive. To achieve that ultimately is to embrace all 8 Limbs of Yoga into our daily life. Each interconnected and intertwines with the others, none precedes the other, none complete without the other.
WORK IN, NOT WORKOUT
Regardless whether you’re a Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced or Aspiring yogi, yoga has no prerequisites and does not require any prior experience. It is accessible to all regardless of age, make, shape, size, or religious beliefs. For most people, the common response towards Yoga is that they are not flexible enough, and so they give up even before trying. This is a great misconception attributed to all the glamourizing and publicity it has received via social media. In truth, Yoga has no prejudice, it does not discriminate nor choose. It is for everyone. It is a work in, not a workout. Yoga brings immediate benefits such as physical vitality and mental clarity. It is known to regulate the breath and slow heart rate, reduces cortisol (stress hormone), increases serotonin (value, self-worth) and dopamine (enthusiasm, passion), and brings about many other positive health benefits such as a healthy immune system which reduces the risk of diseases and illnesses. Long term practice is known to instill calmness, heightened awareness, peace, and joy.
LEARN YOGA ASANA, PRANAYAMA & MEDITATION
- ASANA (POSE) – ACCESSING AWARENESS THROUGH THE 5 SENSES
Yoga Asana is one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga. It is the most direct way to connect to and bring awareness to our inner being through the 5 senses. Asana practices in the mornings, ideally more in the form of “Ha” yoga is recommended, to wake the body and activate the senses, as to how we warm our cars up for a smooth and safe journey. Yin or “Tha” yoga is ideal for the evenings as it is much more passive and therapeutic, bringing us back into our bodies as we unwind and move away from the hustle and bustle of the day.
- PRANAYAMA – MANAGING LIFE FORCE USING THE BREATH
Prana is life force, vitality, and power. It flows in everything, surrounds everything that exists, visible and non-visible, living and non-living, permeating the entire universe. It is the essence of all life. Prana regulates the functions of all our vital body including physical, mental, biological, emotional, and spiritual. Pranayama is not breathwork. It is more than just the breath. It is in essence using the breath to regulate our prana/energy/chi/qi/lifeforce.
- MEDITATION – LOOSELY TRANSLATED AS MINDFULNESS
Meditation is a state, not a practice. It is not contemplation, thinking nor concentration. The mind is silent but completely alert and awake. It is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. Some say prayer is when you speak to God, Creator, Universe, meditation is when you listen.
There are many many benefits to adopting yoga into our lives. Yoga is an ancient science that existed long before it was documented some 5000 years ago by Sage Patanjali, who also documented the science of Ayurveda. Here are just some apparent benefits that we can see, feel and experience –
- For those who are new, have always been curious and wanted to try but thought that they couldn’t, you will see that you can yoga!
- You will step out of every class feeling good and pat yourself on your shoulder just for showing up!
- You will notice an increase in flexibility. Of course, the degree will vary from person to person and some may notice it immediately while others probably after a few times of sustained and regular practice.
- A by-product of yoga practice is the relaxation of the body and mind because even though there seems to only be physical movements, but the mind is very much required to be in sync throughout.
- Over time, you will gain new muscle memory and increased motion of movement. Strength and flexibility protect and supports the bones and joints, preventing unnecessary injuries.
- Yoga asana inculcates awareness through our 5 senses. We become more aware of our own strengths and limitations, gain deeper understanding of our body and mind, and teach us to be kind and gentle on ourselves, eliminating self-judgment and achieving greater self-acceptance.
- Overall you will begin to improve and heal your own body, mind, and soul. You may have a change in perspective, learn to trust more, and let go of control over things you have no control over. In short, you will feel lighter and reduce stress.
I am Amy, a Yoga Alliance 200-Hour Certified Yoga Instructor who graduated from Vikasa Yoga Academy in Koh Samui, Thailand. I am also an Iyengar Yoga student who has undergone the Iyengar YTT 120-Hour Foundation Course in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Suit Turned Yogini
I am a suit turned yogi where prior to this, I worked in the corporate world as Head of Strategic Marketing, Planning, and Sales for several reputable public listed property development companies in Malaysia.
In the year 2012 while researching on the subject of Wellness as a concept for a new masterplan development, a seed was unknowingly planted, one that would be the catalyst for my career and personal transformation. In 2017, after a fulfilling 2 decades in the corporate world, I left to pursue something inwardly more fulfilling.
My passion for Wellness and the Wellbeing of individuals and society continued to grow and evolve alongside my own personal growth and development. My healing journey has brought me to many teachers and modalities, and with each phase or experience, the gifts and healing received have been transformative and permanent.
I am intrigued by the evolution of civilizations and believe in the human race and our potentials. I am an advocate of Self Worth, a term I prefer over self-love although one is inevitably interrelated with the other.
My experience from being a part of the workforce for so long equips me with invaluable insights on practical approaches to real challenges faced by many and gives me a vantage point in understanding what is needed to bring balance back to the Mind, Body, and Soul.
I hope to add value to people's lives, motivate and inspire them to live to the fullest the best they can, eradicate fear, and embrace vulnerability & authenticity.
If you’re inflexible, then the more you should be doing yoga! Over time, consistent practice with proper techniques will help your body to achieve new range of motion and expand your mind to believe in new possibilities on the mat and in life.
Yes, definitely! It is common for a class to consist of students from different levels ie; from beginners to intermediates, and intermediates to advanced. No 2 people are the same but wherever you are, that is where you start from. When you encounter a pose that you find hard to follow, you may adopt the variation for beginners or skip the pose altogether, although I would encourage you to give it your best shot but without straining or forcing your body to do so.
Different teachers have different style of teaching, different sequence of poses, different pace, different emphasis and focus, different energy, different voice and cues, and so on. It might be you just haven’t found the right teacher yet. Even if you have, you might one day outgrow them and seek another.
All forms of yoga stems from Hatha. In Sanskrit Ha represents the active elements such as fire and the sun while Tha represents water and the moon. The word Yoga means Union in Sanskrit. In essence, Ha+Tha Yoga is the union of yin and yang, feminine and masculine, black and while, day and night. All other forms of yoga that came thereafter evolved according to their respective founder’s vision, requirements and time.
I teach Hatha flow infused with Iyengar principles and approach as much as I can. To me, flow is important to train in fluidity and flexibility of the body and mind, while posture and alignment are equally important for effectiveness of practice and avoidance of injury.
In my class we will start with a short ‘sitting’ session, usually utilizing pranayama to calm our mind and senses and prepare our body for asana /pose practice. We will start the asanas with Ha poses, flowing through and ending with Tha poses and finally ending with everybody’s favourite savasana / corpse pose. Total class time will be 1.5 hours.
Provided it is not a new and acute problem, you can still practice yoga. In an ideal situation, props such as blankets, bolsters, blocks, belts and so on should be used to aid and support challenging poses. In the absence of these, variations which are less strenuous may be used and still achieve the intended results.
Please check in advance if the venue provides mats. If you have your own mat, you may bring it along. Bring a bottle of water so that you can consume after practice. Bring a small towel if you sweat easily. Wear clothes that are fitting and stretchable, not too loose and not too tight.