Being a gym junkie for the past four years, the last thing I would have considered was yoga. I always thought: “Yoga’s nothing, just a few poses and stretching.” With the drive to transform myself into a hulking behemoth, I was convinced that stationary stretching had no place in a weight lifting lifestyle.
In the time spent working at INTHELOOP, my curiosity for yoga piqued as asanas, yoga mats, and yoga pants were common topics for casual office chatter—an inevitable catalyst that eventually pushed me to ask: “Could stationary stretching really work up a sweat?” I found the answer out the hard way, through my very first yoga lesson.
It was a Wednesday, and I attended the opening Yoga Loft’s new space. I found myself among others who were avid yogis and eager for the basic Hatha yoga class to begin. So it turns out that of everyone present, I was the only one who had something in common with the studio: we were both first timers to the yoga scene in Singapore.
I was familiar with the Sun Salutation and Warrior poses, and even the practice of meditation before I stepped into the class. However, it soon became obvious that my gym workouts did nothing in placing me on the same level with the others in the class—my elbows could not touch, and I could not reach certain parts of my back. Regardless of my personal achievements of the poses, I knew I was pure entertainment for the yogis behind me.
The yoga lesson began with the meditation pose. I closed my eyes in an attempt at preparing my mind for the lesson. Although I had arrived from work, my mind was far from being at ease. In the end, I found that surreptitiously staring at the other people meditating was a lot more fun.
After a minute (it felt like five to me) of silence, we began warming up with simple stretches. The instruction of ‘Bend forward and touch your toes, with your forehead touching your thighs’ sounded simple. Until I tried doing it. Considering that attempting to touch my toes turned out to be a disaster, I wondered how I was going to do for the rest of the lesson. Probably hang awkwardly in mid pose while everyone nailed the asana. I was going to find out.
We next moved into Downward Facing Dog, Warrior and a few other poses before arriving at the Sun Salutation. Surprisingly, the series of poses were relaxing. Perhaps it is because the transition between poses was relatively slow, which gave me ample time to adjust my form. After going through Warrior 2, Tree, Side Plank, Triangle and a whole range of new poses, I started getting the hang of things. Before I knew it, I realised that I was completely relaxed for the first time in a long while.
As we approached the tail end of the class, the pace picked up. Certain poses gave my weak knees trouble but they were still achievable. By no means could a yoga virgin master the asanas on the first lesson, but I am sure that more practice would give me an edge for future classes. The most surprising thing for me was that my skin was coated with perspiration; I never expected stretching to actually do that!
The class ended with a few warm down stretches and more meditation, which I still could not fully get into. As the lesson ended in silence and my classmates started getting off their mats, I finally realise why people take yoga seriously: It truly requires immense focus on the self, to master your thoughts so as to improve on each pose. My mind chatter eventually petered out to silence, and my body felt well stretched—it was an amazing feeling that I will never forget.
The Yoga Loft is a space for all things yoga created especially for the yoga community in mind. A variety of classes and merchandise curated by the brand’s partners will house communal spaces every three months . This project is a result of a collaboration between Shop-Yog and 2 Yoga Teachers, who have long dreamt of offering a sharing space to facilitate and broaden the experiences of existing yogis, as well as also welcome “freshies” who would like to set out and begin their journey with Yoga Loft.