Strike A Pose: Your Primer To Yoga In Singapore
Yoga has been around for ages – more than 5,000 years to be precise! The fact that it has persisted till today speaks volumes of its health benefits and what’s more, it’s an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels.
On the surface, all that body-bending action on social media where yogis get into what may appear as painfully contorted poses only seeks to cement the perception that yoga is only for the “very flexible folks”, and may seem like a, ahem, stretch for others. Now, that couldn’t be further from the truth – people of any flexibility level can reap the benefits of practicing yoga.
This International Yoga Day, open your mind (and your chest) as we explore ways you can embrace yoga as a beginner in the Lion City.
Overcome your feeling of intimidation
We get it – yoga can seem very intimidating. To gauge your interest in yoga, you can start off with a trial class (studios typically offer this for a lower price in singles or in packs of 3). Check with a studio of your choice the best class to take as a beginner, and be sure to mention to the instructor any injuries you might have before the class. That way, the instructor will take note of what poses might be challenging for you, and suggest variations that suit you.
You can also sign up with a buddy if the idea of slogging it out in unfamiliar territory is terrifying to you. Exchanging feedback after the class also helps with your decision-making process on whether you’d want to sign up for a longer term.
If splurging on something you’re uncertain about is not up your alley, you can also try beginner online yoga classes offered by apps such as Down Dog or Yoga Studio by Gaiam. You typically only need to pay to unlock higher levels, so the beginner classes would be low-cost, low-commitment and perfect for your circumstance.
All these different types of yoga – which one do I pick?
There are so many branches of yoga that it would be impossible to list them all down here. However, for beginners, these are the classes that you might want to start with:
Also known as “flow” yoga, this type of yoga is all about putting together a harmonious sequence of poses that sync with one another effortlessly.
More slow-paced than other types and with meditation as its core, the poses target the deep tissues instead of muscles.
Yin Yang Yoga
If yin yoga is too relaxing for you, this hybrid style incorporates both the tranquil pace of yin yoga and dynamic poses of yang yoga in a single session.
Get Comfortable with these beginner yoga poses
While these are yoga poses that even non-yoga practitioners can attempt, by no means are they going to be obsolete once you deepen your practice. These are some of the most basic, yet fundamental poses that exist in every yoga session. Try some of these poses in the comfort of your room (with an appropriate mat, of course!) and you’ll realise that yoga is indeed for everyone:
Known as the default rest pose in between active poses, it provides a good and therapeutic stretch to your lower back, hips and thighs. In this pose, your spine, shoulders and neck are in a relaxed position. Practitioners are often asked to slow down their breathing here and practice deliberate, rhythmic breaths.
Downward Dog Pose
Perhaps one of the most iconic poses in yoga (particularly present in vinyasa or flow classes), this pose is especially powerful in relieving back pain and stretching out the calves and hamstrings. For those with tight hamstrings, this is probably the worst pose to be in (take it from someone who has insanely tight hams!) so don’t attempt to be perfect on your first, second or even fiftieth try. Yoga is all about progress and the most crucial thing is to practise regularly – trust me, you’ll gradually be able to straighten your legs and plant your feet firmly on the ground. Also ngl, this pose gives you toned arms – just look at your yoga instructor for proof.
Get into gear
Yoga is probably the less restrictive sport when it comes to the attire department. Just choose any athleisure or workout clothing that is comfortable. One thing to note is that while tank tops are breathable and good for hot classes, you may want to have a tight sports bra or second top underneath that will stay in place for attempting headstands or handstands. Oh, and no footwear is needed.
As a beginner, it’s understandable if you don’t want to dive headfirst and invest in an expensive mat. Most yoga studios do offer complimentary mats – just bring along an anti-bacterial spray if you’re icky about sharing mats with other people. As you progress, you might want to get your own yoga block and straps which would enable you to practise at home as well.
Where to learn in Singapore
Multiple locations including Punggol, Our Tampines Hub & East Coast Park
While there are many yoga studios clustered around the CBD, Yoga Inc. is one of those brands with studios located in the heartlands. They are also very beginner friendly as they offer two classes (Basics & Hot 26) catering specifically for those who are new to the craft. The 3-class intro pass only costs $50 which is pretty value-for-money if you ask me.
Multiple locations including Telok Ayer & East Coast
Offering beginner friendly yoga classes such as Yoga Stretch and Warm Yoga Basics for $40 per 2-class trial pack, Yoga Lab is one of the more affordable yoga studios in Singapore. What sets them apart is that they also offer barre and pilates, so you could always mix up your workout without going elsewhere.