How did you get started with yoga?
I traveled to Bali for my first teacher training in 2003. I actually started my yoga training in Ashtanga Yoga as a really stereotypical young, “go go go,” type-A yogi who really only wanted yoga for the exercise.
Slowly, as with all things, my practice and I began to evolve; I began to see yoga in a whole new light and started to favor Yin, Kundalini, and Prana Flow.
What drew you into teaching prenatal yoga?
After my teacher training in Ashtanga – Ashtanga being a very masculine, yang, regimented, practice – I recognized that that wasn’t for me. I felt the need to respect the fact that I am a woman, and I needed a practice, which I felt recognized and honored that divine feminine. I see prenatal yoga as an opportunity to teach women during one of the most feminine times in their lives. And I find it rewarding to share this glorious part of their life with them ☺
Tell us about The Breathing Room. It’s a lovely name that evokes such tranquility! How did you pick the name?
The Breathing Room was from something I read when I was 18, in a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk & peace activist. He talks about how every house should have a “breathing room,” basically a space where you can just take a couple breaths and get grounded. A space where it’s safe, where you’re not judged, where you can stay as long as you want. One of my original intentions for the studio was to have open time for people to come and go as they like, a space that people could use for their own benefit and enjoy their breath.
What are some of the key benefits of prenatal yoga?
There are countless physical benefits of prenatal yoga: it can reduce swelling/inflammation, aid digestion, and increase overall strength, flexibility, & well-being.
However, I think one of the biggest benefits I hope to offer my students is a sense of connection . I want them to feel comforted by the fact that the person next to them understands what they’re going through. This creates a sense of unity and community that I just love, because as a pregnant woman, you want to make sure you don’t feel like you’re alone.
I also encourage my students to really connect to the pregnancy itself while on the mat, to really become aware of their baby and their changing bodies. Though they may intellectually understand that they are pregnant, to really feel & connect to their bodies is a whole different story.
So the practice becomes a way to really connect to the other women, become more aware of their bodies, and as a result feel more empowered as they embark on their journey to motherhood.
Can all pregnant women practice yoga?
Every woman and every pregnancy is unique. I would advise those with high-risk pregnancies such as a history of miscarriages or those needing extended bed rest not to practice yoga asana; yet basic breath awareness can still be very beneficial. When a woman first approaches me to join my prenatal class, I will ask them a few questions just to get an idea of their pregnancy and how to cater to their specific needs. As with all forms of yoga (not just prenatal), the key is to listen to your own body & always practice with awareness. Lastly, if she is new to yoga I recommend that she ask for her doctor’s approval first.
We read somewhere that it can actually reposition babies in the womb! Is this true?
Hmm… Yes and no! One technique midwives & doulas actually use is an inverted pose (though not necessarily a “yoga pose”) if the baby is breech. So if you want to naturally turn the baby, inverting yourself, say in a supported bridge pose, the intention is to give the baby the freedom to move out from the pelvis and turn so that its head turns downwards.
Any pose that may be used, would have to be used repeatedly and frequently. That being said, each woman is different, and it doesn’t work for everyone! I encourage each woman to be aware of position of baby towards end of pregnancy and tailor her practice accordingly.
Does your husband do yoga with you? Does he enjoy it?
Yes, my husband (Ben) practices with me! ☺ And though he didn’t like it very much at first, he is beginning to enjoy it more and I am super proud that he just did his first headstand last week!
Do you think baby #2 is happy / happier when you’re doing your yoga?
I can only believe Wiggle (baby) enjoys our time on the yoga mat. Knowing that what’s good for mommy is good for baby.
You recently sent out an email on Yoga Aid, could you tell us more?
Yes, I am teaching a portion of the 2-hour yoga practice here in Singapore. This challenge is a sort of 24-hour “yoga relay” that will begin in Sydney at sunrise on September 9th, and travel around the globe through 20+ countries at 200+ events, and end at sundown in Los Angeles. The goal to raise $1 Million for charities around the world. I chose the charity Africa Yoga Project and have raised almost $1800!!!
We notice, too, that you have Seva Yoga in your class schedule; what is this? You’ve also mentioned Off The Mat Into The World- how do you think the Singapore yoga community has embraced this?
Seva Yoga is taught as a “service to your community.” It’s basically a donation-based class I taught for the community. This year the proceeds went to Off the Mat into the World, an organization that uses the power of yoga to inspire conscious, sustainable activism and to ignite grass roots social change. Each year, those who raise the most money travel to a country in need and support humanitarian efforts and projects there. As for the response in Singapore, to be honest, I think there is still a lot more room to grow. [I hope to see Seva Yoga more and more in years to come!]
We love the Young Living therapeutic- grade essential oils & we were super excited to find that you use these too! We use them in yoga practice, could you share some of your favorite ways to use them both in and out of class?
I use Thieves a lot around the house and on Connor as he’s just starting school, Peace & Calming, Lavender, or Frankincense during Savasana, Cedarwood for jetlag, Lemon and/or Peppermint in water…
(we love that too!)
I also love blends like Joy, Abundance, Believe, and Valor.
Lastly, how do you like our Hanuman pants?
Love love love them! They are super soft, very light weight, and uber comfy. ☺