3 of our fav yogis hit up beautiful Bali and had a fun, hilarious (did anyone see their InstaStories??? ) yoga filled trip. So we caught up with them to get the skinny on their yoga life.
1. How did you get into yoga?
ALIYA: I first had a taste of yoga probably sometime back in 2001-2002 when I joined a Body Balance class at the gym. It was a combination of yoga and pilates. Then I started going for weekly yoga classes until I got pregnant with my no. 2 in 2003. I stopped working out altogether (BAD BAD DECISION!) and I ballooned quite a lot. It wasn't until 2013 that I picked up my love for yoga again. It started when I came across a simple yoga challenge by the now-defunct @growsoulbeautiful account that required me to post daily poses on my Instagram. That got me motivated and frankly, I learned a lot of new poses and made new friends from participating in the challenges than I ever did in my yoga classes! The rest, as they say, is history.
HANA: In my early years of motherhood, exclusive breastfeeding was a full-time job I relished, partly because I could wolf down anything I wanted and still fit into my size 2s. It was a ‘passive’ workout in itself - I loved it! Alas, upon weaning off my second (and last) baby, coupled with hitting my 30s, a sedentary desk job, and a general disinclination to physical activities, my metabolism took a nosedive and I started noticing batwings and belly bumps that were not there previously. So I did the only desperate thing I could think of – buy a membership at a women’s gym! Being the first time in my life stepping foot into such foreign environment, I skirted round the treadmills in fear; flailed my limbs awkwardly in kickboxing; cursed my way through pilates… till one day, I stumbled into the gym's yoga class. By the first Savasana, I was SOLD. Needless to say, I never did kickboxing anymore.
LINA: I went for my 1st yoga class because it was free. Not knowing what yoga was about and half way through the class I was very sure it was going to be my 1st and also the last yoga class. Few years later, my cousin dragged me with her to a yoga class and since the studio was just a stone's throw away from my apartment, I went with her. Somehow I got hooked on it after that. And I believe it was because the teacher at that time was the right one for me who was able to engage me to want to learn more about yoga.
2. What are you working on now? Any fun transitions, specific asanas?
A: Gosh.. I still consider myself a beginner, since there are still a lot of transitions that I should be working on. There are some good and bad days. I'm currently working on transitioning from headstand to Pincha (without falling over of course LOL). I still have a long way to go when it comes to arm balances and inversions. Oh yes, of course.. the quest for the press *groansss*
H: I guess I’ve come some ways since my first few yoga classes, where the idea of lifting my entire length of body while bending my back in what’s called a ‘wheel pose’ was an utterly preposterous proposition (“what the f…?!”). Well, 7 years on, and I’m still working on that ‘wheel pose'. (Albeit, the challenge now is coming up from it into a handstand! 😆)
L: I'm always working on my alignment, be it holding the pose or flowing through a vinyasa practice. I find that alignment is so important for a safe practice besides making a pose looking really good.
3. Fav personal yoga moment to date?
A: My favourite personal yoga moment would be those that I share with my loved ones; my hubby when we're practicing our acroyoga asanas (it's been a while now since he's so busy) and also with my 8-yo daughter whenever she joins me for yoga at the studio or at home. The longest she's ever stuck around was when we were in a 2-hour Yin Yoga workshop with Anna Sugarman. She followed and held on to every pose until the end.
H: I'd been practising ashtanga for almost a year (back in 2014), and my teacher had been working with me every week on my backbends, specifically dropbacks and coming back up. I've not had much progress with the latter until one day, while video-ing a dropback with my friend, Juleen, I suddenly stood back up from wheel pose. I was so shocked, I squealed and she turned to me "OMG you did it?!" So glad to have captured that moment of unadulterated joy on video!
L: Handstanding by the edge of the pool for the first time and holding the handstand for dear life.
4. Most embarrassing yoga moment?
A: Oh gosh.. I remember dropping by Triyoga in London and the only class available at the time was a Mysore class. Me being such a noob had no idea how this class works then (I do now LOL). So there I was sitting on my mat not knowing what to do while the others are already flowing on their own. So I did some sun salutations. I didn't even know who the teacher was in that class until she approached me and asked me if I know what I was doing. Errr nope.. is it that obvious? *dies of embarrassment* so she asked me to follow the flow of one of the students that came almost the same time I did. I stuck around for an hour before I embarrassed myself any further. LOL.
H: There was one time at Dylan Werner's workshop, he called on me to the front and made me take off my tank top, to explain some scapular thingy something-or-other, and I was absolutely mortified! I never reveal my mummy tummy in class, in fact I consider it a crime against humanity, but he insisted and how do you say no to Dylan Werner? I mean, that man... So there I was, in my sports bra, squirming away uncomfortably, then he sent me back anyway, because he couldn't find enough muscle definition on my shoulders to illustrate his points (I think). Lol!
L: The most recent one was walking in late to a workshop as I was rushing from the airport, which never happened before. It was embarrassing to have all eyes directed toward me as I walked in. I told myself to take an earlier flight next time and don't risk it again.
5. Where do you practice?
A: I go to Yogaonethatiwant Studio is Bangsar, where they have this really nice shala by the pool for my weekly class. Other than that, I mostly practice on my own at home.
H: I currently divide my days in the week between The Yoga Shala for Ashtanga, and Pure Yoga for everything else (Hatha, Vinyasa, whatever fits around my schedule). It's insane, I know...
L: I practice at home regularly with YogaGlo instructors and once in awhile at workshops that interest me.
6. So everyone knows that during Savasana or meditation, the mind tends to wonder… What do you wonder about?? Anything funny??
A: Since I always go to the evening class, which means it's close to dinner time. Naturally it would be, what's for dinner? Do I cook or do I buy something on my way home? Did I defrost the chicken this morning? Or should I just make pasta? So it's nearly impossible to completely clear my mind during Savasana. Clearly, this is the asana that I should be working on.
H: I generally try to not let my mind wander during Savasana, but you know how these monkey minds are... usually random things do pop into my head, like for example, if I'd recently read news of the death of a celebrity, suddenly I'd think "gawd, I hope Bono lives forever..." (because, clearly I can't deal with mourning my lifelong rock idol). I should try to be more normal and think about what to have for lunch instead.
L: Yup can't keep my mind stay put in Savasana unless I m super sleepy, then I might fall asleep. Otherwise it keeps wonder away about all sorts.
7. Advice for anyone wanting to start yoga?
A: When you come to your first yoga class, always be honest and let the teacher know that you're a beginner. Don't ever feel intimidated with other students in your class. Just focus on what the teacher is instructing. Do not be shy to use props (straps, blocks, blankets, etc.) or take various options to get into a pose. Always remember not to compare your beginning to someone else's middle. Just enjoy the process. You'll be pleasantly surprised with what your body is capable of.
H: If you’re thinking of taking up yoga:
a) JUST DO IT. Find a yoga studio or a gym that offers lessons near your home or workplace, so there’s no excuse for you to not go.
b) If you’re new, go to a beginner’s or basic class, and learn the foundational poses and simple flows. This way, you won’t feel intimidated (especially in an advanced class with all those pesky handstanders…) or end up panting/dying halfway through (well, you might anyway, but it'll be fine…).
c) Remember: Yoga is not all about fancy asanas and handstands! So never compare yourself with somebody doing crazy bendy, flexible things next to your mat in class, or those silly handstanding yogis you see on Instagram! 😜
L: It's crucial to engage with a yoga instructor who can connect with you and vice versa at all levels of your practice.
~ SHOP THE LOOK ~
All photos were taken by the ladies themselves.