A youtube video sparked the journey of Malaysia’s first certified AcroYoga instructor, Foo Jong Hau. We speak with Foo find out what’s happening in the yoga community in Kuala Lumpur.
Knowing that you have started yoga since 2000 (14 years ago), how do you think yoga has changed your life?
I started yoga 14 years ago, not knowing that this will eventually be my full time commitment. Initially, I practiced yoga just to get more flexible but as time passed, I realised that I actually enjoyed it. Later I took up the teacher training course to learn more about it and before I knew it, I started teaching my colleagues. It was fun. That made me start to think; Do I want to teach yoga as a living? At that time I was not too fond of my job. It’s a drag to go to work. So without much planning, I decided to quit my job and try teaching yoga. I guess I was lucky because at that time, gyms started sprouting and getting classes in the gyms are not too difficult. I really enjoy what I do now and I think I am much more flexible and stronger than when I was in my teens or twenties.
How do you see yourself as an instructor and what do you expect of your students?
As a instructor, I kept going for teacher training courses and workshops. It equips me with more knowledge and teaching tools. As I share my knowledge and experience with the students, I hope that they will appreciate my effort and also keep improving themselves. My satisfaction is to see my students grow. Its interesting to see that a lot of “aunties” are really motivated, and although they might not be able to do several poses, they are willing to try.
How did you stumble upon AcroYoga and what about AcroYoga made you love it so much?
I stumbled upon AcroYoga through youtube. When I saw the video, it got me excited and I wanted to try out some of the moves immediately. Then the following day, after class, I asked my students to try it out with me. I am surprised that it’s not as easy as it looks! However it was fun and I wanted to learn more. I checked out most of the acroyoga videos and attempted to learn more. Then I started to teach some basic moves to a couple of my students, and a few of them got interested too. I like AcroYoga so much partly because whatever you do can easily on your own or on the floor, becomes a challenge when do it with a partner. It needs trust and open communication to make it work. It also brings people to work together as a team in AcroYoga. So instead of being an individual, you start a community. Even if you can do fantastic poses on your own, you cannot do well in AcroYoga without building a relationship with the other person. I think because of that, it’s more bring people together.
Being Malaysia’s first certified Acro Yoga instructor, what are your thoughts about the Acro Yoga community in Malaysia?
How has it changed over the recent years?AcroYoga is still very new in Malaysia. There are still many people who does not know about AcroYoga. In addition, not many people like to do partner work. The main reason is they cannot trust the other person. So unless they come with a partner, most are not too willing to try. Others just like to practice yoga on their own. So it’s an uphill task to promote AcroYoga. However, newbies in yoga are more excited about AcroYoga. One of the reason is they are still trying out different styles of yoga and have not developed a strong alliance to any particular styles. Therefore they are willing to try out any forms of yoga. So it’s something that I am feeling optimistic about. Perhaps these new yogis will join and grow the community.
Having offered international workshops in South East Asia and Japan, do you plan to do them in other parts of the world too?
We are planning to start some workshops in Taiwan and China. We are still in the midst of discussion. At the moment, most Taiwanese have not heard of AcroYoga so that is a great opportunity for us to plant some seeds there. As for China, it’s more challenging. There are some AcroYogis there and from what I heard, Chinese people do not look up on AcroYoga. One of the reason is that in their mind, acrobatics are for poor people who send their kids to acrobatic schools to learn a skill for future living. Yoga on the other hand, is the in thing at the moment. Anyway, we’ll just give it a shot and who knows, something good might happen.
If you’re keen to try Acroyoga in Malaysia, you can practice with Foo and with his wife Junko Kominami at his studio Inspired Yoga Studio, in Kuala Lumpur.