Monday, September 22, 2008

Beach yoga: Getting closer to nature by Qistina Rangga (Brunei Times)

As MANY AS 29 barefoot men, women and children sat cross legged on yoga mats, eyes closed, hands resting on their knees, palms facing upward and ears focused on listening to cues from the instructor.

Jac Fang,31, spoke calmly to instruct her students, but she had to project her voice even through a microphone, over the sounds of the waves breaking at the shoreline, about 10 feet from the yoga class. Nearby, a dozen people were having a picnic by the shores and others splashing around in the water.

But the 29 yoga students seemed oblivious as they moved into a "downward facing dog", while their teacher circulated among them to adjust their positions. Why the beach? It's to bring the students closer to nature, she said. The weather was beautiful and the atmosphere peaceful.

Moreover, the sequences they were doing were called sun salutation." That is why the yoga session this morning was called Surya Yoga. Surya means Sun in Sanskrit."she said.

It was also a great opportunity for students to get to know the others better. Her number of students have been steadily increasing.

Yoga has so many benefits as it's great for stress release and relaxation, and contributes to overall well being, she said.

Fang, a registered yoga instructor, has been teaching yoga lessons since March this year. Before becoming a full time yoga instructor and manager of Seraphina Studio in Kiulap, she was an intensive cardiac nurse at Gleneagles JPMC."My passion was more to yoga, so I opened my own studio to teach others,"she said.

The class started off with five members, and the word of mouth spread to the members' friends, she said. Today, the class has 100 members.

The Surya by the Sea is the second class conducted outside her studio in Kiulap, with the first one held at the Tasek Lama Recreational Park.

The classes are open to all levels and with a fee of $10 per class. Each day, she conducts 4 to 5 classes.

Many students drop a donation into a donation box. The money riased so far was initially supposed to be donated to the Blind Association but the president was not able to attend the session yesterday morning.

According to the philosophy of yoga, the eighth limb of yoga is about moral and ethics, and hence the charity work, she said.

Fang also shared some of the benefits of practising yoga session, where the basic poses such as warrior is designed to help strengthen and stretch the legs, she said.

When the arm is lifted all the way up into the air and then the shoulder blades are squeezed to the back, it opens up the chest.

"This movement encourages people to have confidence in themselves and good for people with mild asthma,"said the instructor, adding that it helps them with their breathing techniques.

People with lower-back injuries and those playing sports also gain benefits from yoga.

"Yoga is a low impact workout which strengthens the body muscles and it detoxifies the body,"she said.

Intermediate yoga students at the Seraphina Studio, Rozana Yunos,29,is delighted to share the many benefits she has discovered from practicing yoga.

Physically, yoga increases flexibility and circulation and helps improve balance, she said. Emotionally, it helps to release tension that we hold inside our bodies. "And you can find peace and focus,"said Rozana, a BAG Networks'employee.

She encourages those who have the idea that they cannot get a full body workout from yoga or one has to be flexible, to try the yoga at least once.

The Brunei Times