Everyone would have probably heard of yoga at one point or another, but have you heard of specific yoga practices catered to those suffering from spinal conditions and even women who are conceiving?
I had the pleasure of speaking to Sonal, a yoga teacher at Platinum Yoga Studios, about her journey to falling in love with this calming meditative exercise and the story that led to the start of an intriguing variety of classes at the yoga studio.
The Journey From Finance to Fitness
Saying that Sonal is experienced in the finance industry is an understatement. Having had earned an MBA in finance, she has 6 years of experience in the hedge fund industry.
“I was fitness-conscious at that time, but my main motive was [earning] money. I still did fitness on the side (like yoga and aerobics) but did not develop a passion for them yet. After a few years, I realised money was not my goal. I wasn’t gaining real happiness from my job,” she explained.
She discovered her passion for yoga through a personal encounter, where she lent a helping hand to a friend who was desperately trying to lose weight.
Through sharing some dietary advice and encouraging her friend to do several exercises, her friend was able to lose a decent amount of weight.
It was then that Sonal discovered the joy she felt from being able to help others on their fitness journeys.
The Start Of Sonal’s Teaching Journey
Upon realising that teaching yoga was something she could potentially do, Sonal began holding yoga classes at her condominium.
Her class of 4 students eventually grew to a class of 25, with everyone walking away with a positive experience and having gained numerous health benefits from the class.
The positive response she got from her classes encouraged her to continue down this path and teach in a studio.
She went on to pursue a certification degree at Platinum Yoga and was subsequently hired as a coach.
Apart from the happiness she felt from witnessing the successful weight loss journey of others, Sonal’s passion for helping others also stemmed from the trust her friends placed in her after witnessing her weight loss journey firsthand.
Hence, she doesn’t see a need to pursuade her friends to get into yoga. She has full confidence in its benefits as she had experienced them first-hand and her friends were able to see the effects yoga had on her simply from how happy she became.
Sonal then elaborates on the various yoga practices that Platinum Yoga offers.
Apart from classical and hot yoga, and pilates classes that they offer, what I found interesting was the pilates reformer, prenatal yoga and rope yoga classes.
The Pilates Reformer one-to-one-class was crafted for people suffering from spinal conditions such as scoliosis. These athletes can still tone themselves, gain hamstring flexibility and lose weight under safe conditions.
Similar to this is Runners’ Yoga, which is for athletes who have to loosen up their tight hamstrings due to continuous and intense strain on their muscles when training over long periods.
Prenatal yoga is a practice specifically crafted for mothers who are about 4-9 months pregnant. With the approval from a doctor, expecting mothers can start taking this class.
Sonal shares that prenatal yoga has a special spot in her heart.
She has had suffered a miscarriage before and became too scared to do stretches when she became pregnant again for fear of the same situation recurring. As a result, her pelvic and hip muscles tightened over time and the delivery of her baby ended up being a very painful process.
That was when she realised that yoga for mothers was crucial.
Using props such as ropes, students will be able to get a better stretch and go deeper into the poses.
“When you hold onto the rope, it gives you a better stretch throughout your body, or else it can be rather restrictive,” says Sonal.
The “inversion” is a common pose done in rope yoga where one is supported upside down with ropes. This helps to improve the circulation of fresh blood from the legs to the head, giving rise to fresher mental faculties.
Apart from the anti-ageing effects rope yoga has on its user, it has also been proven to be effective against back pains and improving flexibility.
Sonal has witnessed people who started crying in the middle of the class; their pent-up emotions are finally released when they are in their most pensive state. As a result, they feel much lighter, both physically and emotionally.
In her opinion, this is the best thing yoga can do—to serve as a cathartic medium for the release of repressed, negative emotions and generate true happiness from within.
If Sonal’s heart-warming testimonies have touched you or if you’re interested to take up a yoga class or two at Platinum Yoga (they offer free trial lessons), check out their website for more!