Patricea Chow | The Yoga Agency SingaporeFeb 20, 2020 15:42:19

5 Yoga Poses for Absolute Beginners Pt 2

If you missed our previous post on 5 yoga poses for beginners, read it here at: http://bit.ly/TYA_5Bpt1.


Obviously, there's more than just five pose for beginner yogis! So here's another five beginner yoga poses for you. Happy practicing!

SUKHASANA | EASY POSE

Sukhasana Easy pose | The Yoga Agency Singapore

Most yoga classes will begin with this pose. You will spend a few minutes here connecting with your breath bringing your presence onto the mat, preparing you for the class ahead.


How to do Sukhasana Easy pose

  • Sit on your mat with your legs straight in front of you.
  • Cross your shins and allow your knees to fall down on either side as much as possible, bring your feet under the opposite knee.
  • Allow the outer edges of your feet to rest comfortably on the mat, and the inner arches of your feet should settle just below the opposite shin.
  • Rest your knee on your foot.
  • Adjust yourself until you feel your sit bones connecting with your mat, and allow your body's weight to fall down onto your sit bones.
  • Gently place the back of your hands on your knees. Allow your shoulders to relax. Allow your elbows to relax.
  • Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath.
  • Listen to your yoga teacher's cue on how to sit easy in this pose, as well as how to exit the pose.

VAJRASANA | THUNDERBOLT

Yoga Vajrasana Thunderbolt pose | Photo by Tim Chow on Unsplash

This could be an alternative to Sukhasana Easy pose as a way to begin yoga class. This pose provides a deep stretch to the ankles. You may also feel the stretch in your hips and thighs, and for some, you may feel it in your knees. This is particularly good for toning the pelvic muscles. 


How to do Vajrasana Thunderbolt pose

  • Kneel on your mat with your knees and big toes touching. Press the tops of your feet into the mat.
  • Lower your hips so that your sit bones rest on your heels.
  • Keep your feet inline with your heels and knees—do not let them splay outwards or turn inwards.
  • Sit up straight, allow your body weight to fall into your heels.
  • Draw your shoulder blades back. Widen across your collar bone. Allow your shoulders and elbows to relax. Place your hands lightly on your thighs.
  • Focus on your breath.
  • Exit by first placing your palms on the mat beside your hips. Using your arms as a support, lean your upper body forward to lift your hips off your heels. Cross your shins and ankles below you, then sit yourself back on the mat as you stretch your legs forward.


If you're completely new to this pose, do support yourself by sitting on one or two blocks instead of on your heels. If you have a previous knee injury, support your knees by kneeling on a blanket or towel before you sit back onto you heels.

TADASANA | MOUNTAIN

Tadasana Mountain Pose | The Yoga Agency Singapore

A standing pose that is part of the Surya Namaskar Sun Salutation sequence, this pose helps bring awareness to the grounding of the body through the feet. This is the starting pose for all the other standing poses. Being able to find your balance and grounding in Tadasana allows you to balance with ease in the standing poses.


How to do Tadasana Mountain pose

  • Stand on your mat with your feet slightly apart. Lift your toes, spread them wide apart, and feel the areas of your soles that are pressing into the mat.
  • Release your toes down to the mat and gently press your toes into the mat, together with the rest of the base of your feet.
  • Allow your arms to hang softly by the sides of your body, palms turned inwards.
  • Rock softly back and forth, and from side to side. In this way, find your weight spread equally and balanced among your feet. Then come to stillness.
  • Lift your knee caps, engage your thigh muscles.
  • Feel your tailbone pointing down to the mat.
  • Widen across your collarbone and your shoulders.
  • As you breathe in through your nose, feel your back lengthen from your tailbone, up along your spine, to the top of your head.
  • As your breathe out through your nose, feel your body's weight settle down into your mat via your feet.

UTTANASANA | STANDING FORWARD BEND

Uttanasana Standing Forward Bend

You'll encounter this pose as part of Surya Namaskar Sun Salutations sequence. It is also used as a resting pose between standing balancing poses. It stretches the hamstrings and calves.


How to do Uttanasana Standing Forward Bend pose

  • From Tadasana Mountain pose, extend your arms up towards the sky/ceiling. 
  • As you exhale, fold forward from your hips (not waist!) to bring your upper body down. If your hamstrings feel tight, bend your knees and think of bringing your belly to touch your thighs. 
  • Allow your head & neck to hang, allow your arms and shoulders to hang. You can lightly place your fingers or palms on the mat, if they touch the mat. Otherwise, just allow your arms to hang wherever they are or hold on to opposite elbows and allow your upper body to hang forward.
  • Feel like a rag doll. Keep your knees apart and facing forward.
  • As you breathe in through your nose, feel your spine lengthen from your tailbone, up along your spine, through to the top of your head. Allow your sit bones and tail bone to point up to the ceiling.
  • As you breathe out through your nose, allow your torso to fold deeper into the bend and feel your feet press firmly into the mat. Find your balance here.
  • Exit by lifting from the hip as you inhale and feel your entire upper body lengthen. As you exhale, allow your body weight to sink into your mat through your feet as you keep your legs straight.

ARDHA BHUJANGASANA | BABY / BENT ARM COBRA

Baby Bent Arm Cobra Ardha Bhujangasana | The Yoga Agency Singapore

This is a safe variation for new and beginner yogis to practice, before progressing into the full straight arm cobra pose. It is the beginning of backbends.


How to do Ardha Bhujangasana Baby Bent Arm Cobra pose

  • Lay belly down on your mat with your legs spread mat's width apart, and toes untucked.
  • Place your palms on the mat directly below your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide apart, and press into the mat with the pads of your palms as well as your finger tips.
  • Press the tops of your feet and thighs firmly into the mat. Weight your pelvis down by pressing it firmly into the mat.
  • As you inhale, use your palms to support you by pressing firmly into the mat, as you lift your chest off the floor.
  • Keep your elbows bent. Keep pressing the tops of your feet, thighs and pelvis into the mat. Draw your elbows in so that they point towards the back of your mat. Draw your shoulders down and back (try squeezing your shoulder blades together if you can). Broaden across your collarbone.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds.
  • Exit by exhaling and slowly lowering your upper body onto the mat.

NEW TO YOGA & WOULD LIKE TO PRACTICE SAFELY, WITH FOCUSED GUIDANCE?


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The Yoga AgencyFeb 16, 2020 17:16:18

5 Ways to Develop a Yoga Practice (Even at Home)

Woman with yoga mat | The Yoga Agency

One of my favourite things about yoga is that it is a personal practice—as long as there is space to lay out a yoga mat and comfortable clothes to move in, you'll be able to #stopdropyoga.


In fact, the global yoga movement that began in India is about enabling people to eventually practice yoga in the comfort of their home.


However, most people find it difficult to actually develop a practice outside of the yoga studio. Some reasons that students I've encountered at the studio that I teach include lack of motivation, family commitments, and even lack of space at home.


For someone who has had to deal with (then) young kids crawling under me while I did yoga, on top of a tight schedule, here are 5 tips that helped me maintain a regular home yoga practice.



1. Set Time to Yoga


This is my TOP TIP for yoga, and for getting ANYTHING done. You set time for meals, waking up for work, for picking your children up from school, for dates. So set time for your yoga practice.


2. Set Aside a Space for Practice


Designating a space for your practice works in 2 ways: One, you keep that space solely for yoga. Two, your brain knows that it is your safe space.


If you need to, set it up so that it is conducive to your practice. Diffuse essential oils. Put up some motivational quotes. Place your props nearby. Have a place where you can set up your phone for yoga music.


It's your space, so set it up in a way that motivates you to want to come to this spot, every day.


3. Lay Out Your Mat


One of the 'cheats' I have is to keep my mat open. There's no excuse then! I also like to place my yoga outfit on the mat. So I can easily change and hit the mat within 5-minutes.


4. Get Pretty Yoga Outfits


Let's be honest—pretty yoga outfits are a good motivation. They may not add much value to our yoga practice. But it does motivate us to get on the mat if we are wearing pretty outfits.


5. Keep Track of Your Practice - Take Photos & Videos


I find that taking videos of myself practicing is a good method for gauging my own progress. Even a simple pose such as Downward Facing Dog (read how to do this pose here) can be change through the months.


Do you have your own tips for developing a yoga practice? Share it with us!


NEED MOTIVATION & AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER FOR YOGA?


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Patricea Chow | The Yoga Agency SingaporeFeb 10, 2020 18:10:29

5 Yoga Poses for Absolute Beginners Pt 1

You've never done yoga before but you're ready to take the plunge. But as a complete yoga newbie, you're also not sure what to expect from a yoga class.


For absolute yoga beginners, familiarise yourself with these basic yoga poses before you hit the mat at the studio.


BALASANA | CHILD'S POSE

Yoga Child's Pose Balasana | The Yoga Agency Singapore

This is a seated yoga pose. It is used as a resting pose in between other poses. You will encounter it often in a Beginner Yoga class.


How to do Balasana Child's Pose

  • Begin by kneeling on your mat.
  • Bring your knees and big toes to touch.
  • Sit back on to your heels. Allow your body weight to sink into your sit bones, down into your heels, thus pressing the tops of your feet firmly into the mat.
  • Fold forward from your hips. Allow your hands to fall outstretched on the mat, or bring them alongside your legs.
  • Keep your sit bones pressing into your heels. If your hips rise off your heels, bring them back down and support your head with a block.
  • Exit by lifting your head and returning to sitting upright.

ADHO MUKHA SHVANASANA | DOWNWARD FACING DOG

Yoga Adho Mukha Shvanasana Downward Facing Dog Pose | The Yoga Agency Singapore

A pose that looks like an inverted V, this pose is an inversion as it brings the head lower than the heart. It is usually included as part of a sequence of poses, especially in Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations.


How to do Adho Mukha Shvanasana Downward Facing Dog

There are many ways to get into this pose. Here is the simplest way for newbie yoga practitioners.

  • Stand at the front of your yoga mat. Have your toes and knees facing front.
  • Place your hands on the mat, on the outsides of your feet, by bending your knees.
  • Spread your fingers wide apart then grip the mat with the pads of your hands and fingertips.
  • Press your palms into the mat and feels table before stepping first one foot backwards, followed by the other. Come onto your toes with a microbend in your knees.
  • Lift your hips high and think of reaching your tail bone to the ceiling.
  • Activate your inner thighs (imagine that you have a resistance band around your thighs and you need to keep it taut) so that your toes and knees point to the front of the mat, and your heels point to the back.
  • Begin to push the mat towards the front with your palms and the mat towards the back with your feet.
  • Exit by walking your feet towards your palms, plant your feet firmly into the mat, then rise your torso up slowly with your head coming up last.

VIRABHADRASANA 1 | WARRIOR I

Yoga Virabhadrasana I Warrior Pose | The Yoga Agency Singapore


Named after the warrior Virabhadra, this pose stretches & strengthens the entire core, especially the hip flexors and psoas.


How to do Virabhadrasana Warrior I Pose

There are many ways to get into this pose. Here is one suggested method for newbie yoga practitioners.

  • Stand at the front of your yoga mat. Have your toes and knees facing front.
  • Place your hands on your hips for balance, and fix your gaze on a spot opposite you.
  • Ground down through the base of your feet and balance your body weight on your right leg.
  • As you breath out, take a big step back with your left foot. Angle your left foot so that your toes point out 45-degrees to the left. Place your heel down so that it is aligned with your right heel.
  • Bend your right knee so that it is stacked directly above your right ankle.
  • Press down through both your feet, including the outer edge of both feet.
  • Tuck your pelvis in so that your tail bone points down to the mat. Keep your torso facing forward.
  • As you breathe in, stretch your arms up so that your fingers reach up to the ceiling/sky.
  • To exit, bring your hands back to your hips, step your left foot forward next to your right foot, and return to standing at the top of your mat.
  • Repeat on the other side.

VIRABHADRASANA 2 | WARRIOR II


This is probably one of the most recognised yoga poses. It is also the one post that will invariably be included in most of the yoga classes, especially Vinyasa flow, Hatha flow, and Hatha yoga.


How to do Virabhadrasana Warrior II Pose

There are many ways to get into this pose. Here is one suggested method for newbie yoga practitioners.

  • Stand at the front of your yoga mat. Have your toes and knees facing front.
  • Place your hands on your hips for balance, and fix your gaze on a spot opposite you.
  • Ground down through the base of your feet and balance your body weight on your right leg.
  • As you breath out, take a big step back with your left foot. Angle your left foot so that your the outer edge of your foot is parallel to the back of the mat. Place your heel down so that it is aligned with your right heel.
  • Bend your right knee so that it is stacked directly above your right ankle.
  • Press down through both your feet, including the outer edge of both feet.
  • Tuck your pelvis in so that your tail bone points down to the mat. Keep your torso facing 45-degrees to the left.
  • As you breath in, raise your left arm back and to shoulder level while raising your right arm to the front at shoulder level. Stretch your arms in opposite directions—right fingertips forward, left fingertips back.
  • As you breath out, feel the base of your feet press firmly into your mat.
  • To exit, bring your hands back to your hips, step your left foot forward next to your right foot, and return to standing at the top of your mat.
  • Repeat on the other side.


VRIKSASANA | TREE POSE

Named after (you got it) trees, this pose requires concentration to stay balanced on your standing leg. It strengthens the legs as well as stretches the hip flexors.


How to do Vrikshasana Tree Pose

  • Stand at the front of your yoga mat. Have your toes and knees facing front. Keep your spine straight and the sides of your body extended.
  • Place your hands on your hips for balance, and fix your gaze on a spot opposite you.
  • Shift your body weight to your right leg.
  • Bend your left knee and draw it up towards your chest.
  • Open your knee to point to the left.
  • Gently place the sole of your left foot on your right inner thigh, near the root of the thigh aka slightly past the knee cap.
  • Keep your right leg straight, and find your balance.
  • You can stay with your arms on your hips for balance. If you feel ready, slowly bring your palms to meet and place your thumbs in the middle of your chest (see photo).
  • To exit, slowly turn your left knee to face the front as you release your left foot from the right thigh. As you breath in, lower your left foot onto the mat and return to standing tall.
  • Repeat on the other side.

NEW TO YOGA & WOULD LIKE TO PRACTICE SAFELY, WITH FOCUSED GUIDANCE?


Contact us now http://www.theyogaagency.com/contact.htm to experience a Private Yoga Class at your home or work place.

The Yoga AgencyFeb 10, 2020 12:51:18

Limited Offer - Free Yoga Class

To encourage everyone to stay healthy & fit during this period, we have a special Limited Time Offer on our Trial Yoga Class!


Take a 60-min Trial Class, and get it FREE when you purchase a 4-class package within 48-hours after taking the class.⁣

T&Cs

  • Only for 1st time customers in Singapore.
  • Class must be taken by 29 Februrary, 2020.
  • Class package must be purchased within 48-hours after Trial Class.
  • Class will be held at a venue & time agreed on between teacher & client.


Book your class now! Write to info@theyogaagency.com or WhatsApp 82835509.



Patricea Chow | The Yoga Agency SingaporeFeb 6, 2020 16:05:54

5 Male Yogis in Singapore
(Who Are Also Yoga Instructors)

Yoga is for females!

Yoga is for gay men!


Mention yoga and these thoughts spring to mind.


Interestingly, modern yoga has its beginning as songs, mantras, and rituals for the Vedic priests in India, more than 5,000 years ago. It's spread beyond India began notably in 1893, when Swami Vivekananda delivered lectures on yoga, among other topics, at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago.


Forward to the 1920s and 1930s, Hatha Yoga was strongly promoted in India by T. Krishnamacharya, Swami Sivananda and other yogis.


Essentially, it was the men who populated the practice of Hatha Yoga. It is only in recent decades that yoga has caught on among females, thanks to ingenious business people.


So with this, get to know 5 men here in Singapore who do yoga, and they're not gay!


5 Males in Singapore who Do Yoga (and they're not gay)


Nithya Priyan, owner of Nitha Priyan School of Yoga

@eternalpriyan

Nithya Priyan
Haaziq

Haafiz Sazali aka Fizzy, freelance yoga instructor

@fizzyyoga

FizzYoga

Shao Hao, yoga instructor at Freedom Yoga
@shaohao.w

Shao Hao @shaohao.w

Benny Ong, yoga instructor at Yoga Lab
@xisley

Benny Ong, Yoga Lab

MOTIVATED TO BEGIN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE?

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