In line with International Yoga Day today, we spoke to Nicole, our retail manager for fitness at Decathlon Joo Koon and a certified yoga instructor about her yoga journey.
How did you get started doing yoga?
Nicole: I started yoga by trying to follow videos on Youtube because I was not coping well with school. It started with videos at 1am when i couldn’t sleep, then i tried my first class when i saw an offer on groupon!
How has yoga benefited you ever since you started?
Nicole: It has helped with my stress levels, and i am definitely more toned. But other than just physically, yoga has changed the way i view things in my life.
What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced as a yoga instructor?
Nicole: Finding time to teach especially while holding a full time job, and also trying to hold mix level classes where i have students who are complete beginners while some are pretty advanced.
What’s your advice to those who want to learn yoga?
Nicole: Just give it a try and never ever compare yourself with others in the class, as everyone’s journey is different.
Below, Nicole shows us 3 poses that beginners can try out on their own:
Cat Cow Pose
- Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.
- Point your fingertips to the top of your mat.
- Place your shins and knees hip-width apart.
- Center your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward.
- Begin by moving into Cow Pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat.
- Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
- Broaden across your shoulder blades and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
- Next, move into Cat Pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back.
- Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
- Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
- Repeat 5-20 times, and then rest by sitting back on your heels with your torso upright.
- Begin seated with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hands resting beside your hips.
- Keeping your spine straight, lean back slightly and lift your feet, bringing your shins parallel to the floor.
- Draw in your low back, lift your chest, and lengthen the front of your torso.
- Balance on your sit bones, keeping your spine straight. Take care not to let your lower back sag or chest collapse.
- Lengthen the front of your torso from your pubic bone to the top of your sternum. The lower belly should be firm and somewhat flat, but not hard or thick.
- Keep your breath easy, steady, and smooth.Gaze at your toes.
- Spread your shoulder blades wide and reach out through your fingers, actively engaging your hands.
- Stay in the pose for five breaths, gradually working up to one minute. To release the pose, exhale as you lower your legs and hands to the floor.
- Begin on your hands and knees.
- Spread your knees wide apart while keeping your big toes touching. Rest your buttocks on your heels. Those with very tight hips can keep their knees and thighs together.
- Sit up straight and lengthen your spine up.
- On an exhalation, bow forward, draping your torso between your thighs. Your heart and chest should rest between or on top of your thighs. Allow your forehead to come to the floor.
- Keep your arms at a comfortable position. For deeper relaxation, bring your arms back to rest alongside your thighs with your palms facing up. Completely relax your elbows.
- Let your upper back broaden. Soften and relax your lower back.
- Hold for up to a minute or longer, breathing softly.
Nicole will be holding free yoga classes for customers on 23rd and 24th June at our Bedok and and Joo Koon stores respectively. More details on the eligibility and timings of the classes can be found on our Facebook page.