On 5th June, I began taking Hatha Yoga (Elementary) classes at Nee Soon East CC. As I was a complete beginner to Yoga, I was wary of spending too much for my first attempt at it, since yoga studios classes are typically quite expensive. Hence, I went for the more economical option – joining a community class! Eight classes from June to July would be held every Tuesday evening, and I soon found myself looking forward to my weekly mind-clearing, de-stress sessions. All I needed was a yoga mat and some comfy clothes, and I was good to go. The class was held in a neat little studio at the top floor of the community center, and our trainer was Ms Jodie who was petite, kind, and caring. She guided us in Mandarin as most of the class were aunties from the neighbourhood, and occasionally in English too.
The Elementary classes felt well paced for a fresh beginner like me, and like a breath of fresh air. We were encourage to focus on our breathing, our posture, our poses, and most importantly, to leave away all other thoughts and focus on ourselves.
In the first few classes, we learnt simpler poses such as the Lotus pose, the Cat, the Cow, the Child, and the Downward Dog (which was really difficult for me!). The focus was always on breathing, and our teacher would tell us “吸气。。呼气。。” through the various poses – mostly to remind beginners like myself that we should not hold our breath while struggling through the more difficult poses, haha! She also guided us on how to breathe during the transition between poses, which was very helpful, as smooth transitions between poses meant a good flow of energy throughout your body.
One of the most significant flow of poses we learnt was the Sun Salutation, which we practiced in every session and also made me sweat the most! It involved moving from a standing pose to crouching, then moving into a High Lunge, a Plank, a Downward Dog, a Cobra, back to Downward Dog, a High Lunge, Forward Bend, and rising back up to a standing pose. The very first time I did it was a big shock for me, as we had to transition between each pose quickly and the Downward Dog pose felt like a truck had hit my body, haha! Every muscle in my arms, legs, and torso was stretched to the maximum and it really ached. Nevertheless, I found myself getting used to the Sun Salutation as the classes went by, and it slowly became easier for my body to flow through the poses. While I certainly could not position my poses to a 100%, I could feel my muscles becoming more supple and flexible, class by class. In the last class, I was finally able to produce an ideal Downward Dog, fully stretching myself to get the correct pose. It was a great moment!
The first few classes ended with cool-down stretches, while the last few classes added in some breathing exercises. This was a particularly relaxing and de-stressing segment of each class and was the part that allowed me to really let go of any mental stress that had built up in my mind, such as worries about work, as well as release and rub out some knots in my muscles. This was especially helpful as it was getting really busy in the office and my stress tends to stack up in my shoulders since I work on my laptop at a desk most of the time.
Through these eight weeks, I have found a liking for a new type of fitness and I am eager to find a new class, perhaps another beginner’s class as I feel that I can still learn more at this pace and hopefully soon, an intermediate class. I would definitely like to try out the various styles too – perhaps it’s even time to try out a yoga studio (as they seem to offer more varied types of yoga)!
No. of hours: 8 classes x 1.5 hours = 12 hours