Why Yoga Studio?
Oddly enough, I have wanted to have my own yoga studio since my early 20s, when I saw images of Gwyneth Paltrow and Christy Turlington in Vogue magazine. Inspired by these tall lithe glamazons, I took a yoga class during my first year at university, and continued through the summer I turned 20.
Later, in Singapore, I became yoga and Pilates captain for the bank where I worked. During this time, my proudest achievement was building the yoga and Pilates programme from scratch. After three years, there were classes running at two locations, and three teachers helping us with the programme. It was tangible and satisfying to see my colleagues leave class glowing and recharged, after coming in stressed and preoccupied.
Before I left for business school, I remember one of my banker colleagues joking, only half-serious, “Don’t go get your MBA then come back and open a yoga studio!”. I admit I was sorely tempted. My dream remained at the back of my mind, waiting to hatch, like one of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon eggs.
A Space to Practice
While I took my first yoga teacher training course in June 2013, I only returned to the yoga teacher fold in 2015. My teacher Gadi Bernstein was leaving Singapore to return to New York. I felt cut adrift, and at a loss to find another teacher to follow in Singapore. I considered studying with one of Gadi’s teachers in New York or Shanghai. However, to spend more time with family on the West Coast, I chose Noah Mazé’s training in Los Angeles instead.
As a student, I found it difficult to trust yoga teachers. I trusted the yoga practice, but I did not trust yoga practitioners to keep me safe in yoga class. I felt vulnerable when assisting (especially after I was kicked in the head by someone coming out of handstand) or unsupported when assisted (the teacher let go, and I came crashing down on my heel). I thought yoga teachers were similar to mad genius choreographers, who came up with fantastic sequences in their heads, which they then expected us “regular people” to do.
However, yoga teacher training taught me to trust again. When my teachers explained different ways to keep students safe in class, with repeated emphasis on not doing any poses that made you uncomfortable, or having the option to take balasana or child’s pose anytime the breath felt too forced, I felt safe again, and in control. And that is something I want to convey in our yoga classes.
At our yoga studio, we are creating a safe place to practice and explore yoga, and ourselves.