Top 10 Yoga Personalities and Their Favourite Poses

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Calling out to all Yogis and those considering taking on the master art of stretching! Whether you are part of the large yoga movement on this island or just a silent spectator, the benefits of the practice are far too many to list. Weight loss aside, the clear balance between mental and physical health and the ability to manage aches in a natural self healing way, make yoga a popular option for everyone.

With as many as 8.4 million yoga poses known to mankind, we do need a little cheat sheet to tell us which ones work best for our bodies! We at Vanilla Luxury, rounded up 10 of the top yoga personalities in Singapore (and internationally!) and got the answers for you!

1. Jasmine Chong

A self proclaimed gym-rat of the past, Jasmine’s interest in Yoga started off after a trial class at a Yoga session. Long working hours and unhealthy habits left Jasmine feeling sick and tired and Yoga was the only activity that made her feel better - it soon became her sanity check!

She finally left her desk-bound banking job in 2014 to pursue training to become a yoga teacher and pursue her passion of the practice.

Fast forward to today, she is the founder of Yoga Lab, a studio in Singapore dedicated to making quality practice accessible. To Jasmine, the lessons yoga offers off-mat is more valuable than the poses on-mat. She is at a much better place now both physically and mentally and deals with everything life throws at her one down-dog at a time!

What's your favourite yoga pose and why?

“The Dancer's Pose. It makes me feel like a woman. Elegant, powerful and in control. Dancer's pose is a standing backbend pose. It requires a combination of strength in your standing leg and core (to hold your body stable in this pose) and flexibility to achieve the backbend. This pose offers a good stretch down the front of your body and strengthens your legs at the same time. “

A whopping 74,000 Instagram followers watch her every day as she moves from one pose to another. This amount of elegance and fluidity - the Dancer’s pose is our new favorite too!

2. Ruth Tan

Ruth was another regular salaried employee looking for alternatives to recover from my cardio workout-related injuries and some lower backache issues when she chanced upon (wait for it!) a Groupon for yoga classes!

She gave it a try and was hooked from the first class! Something clicked inside and it's the only 'sport' she’s kept to consistently for the past 5 years. Talk about a classic tale of serendipity!

What's your favourite yoga pose and why?

“Inversions! Any inversion actually. Pincha Mayurasana (forearm stand) or handstands are my favourite. After spending so much time on my feet, I like to get upside down to them some rest. It's exhilarating to be adept on my hands at this age, something I've always admired gymnasts and acrobats for but never thought I could! Gives new meaning to the fact that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. Being upside down also clears my mind, because of the increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain which allows for clearer thinking and analysis.” Ruth loves taking photos of her poses outdoors, and her strong following on Instagram just lap it up!

3. Marysia Do Weiss

An absolute crowd favorite, Marysia has been practicing yoga for 14 years now. She grew up in New York and back then no one she knew did yoga, but a DVD in the CD store (remember those?) led her to the greatest discovery of her life!

At first, Marysia did not want to teach yoga professionally because she thought it would taint her love for it so instead she went on to study TCM (Chinese acupuncture and herbology.)  After five years of postgraduate education, she moved to Singapore with her husband and found herself going back to Yoga in her free time. Of course, the rest is history as a lot of students wanted to learn from her and the whole plan snowballed to her becoming one of the most approachable teachers to work with in Singapore!

What's your favourite yoga pose and why?

“I love handstand! It took me 5 years to learn the pose and it has been with me every day since.  Handstand is both calming and energising.  It builds strength mentally and physically.  Handstand has now become my favourite transitional posture.  I am always thinking of fun new ways to lift into and out of handstand from other poses.  I also love sharing these ideas with my students and empowering them to do things they may not have thought possible. “

4. Tara Stiles

Yes, we spoke to The Legend, Tara Stiles - just for you! Founder of Strala Yoga, a revolutionary approach to healing through movement, Tara is as big as Yoga and wellbeing celebrities get!

Tara teams up with large corporates like W Hotels, Reebok Yoga and has also authored several best-selling books including Yoga Cures, Make Your Own Rules Cookbook, and Strala Yoga, all translated and published in several languages.

She was introduced to Yoga at a conservatory for dance by her teacher, Rory Foster of American Ballet Theater. “He brought in a yoga teacher to help us dancers relax and de-stress. I was hooked immediately on how I felt during and after the class, and was in awe of the teacher, who was incredibly calm and happy and full of energy.”says Tara.  From there, she knew she wanted to continue yoga for her life personally, and somehow encourage friends to practice as well, so no one misses out on the massive benefits!

A believer in giving back, Tara also supports The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, President Clinton’s initiative to combat childhood obesity, bringing Strala classes to 30,000+ participating schools.

What's your favourite yoga pose and why?

“Well for me, yoga is more about the feeling of the movement then the poses in particular, but I love dancer pose, the nice physical and emotional opening I feel when I practice it.” We are not even going to start listing her social media stats, as they are endless. Do however, have a look at her Instagram to marvel at what the human body can do and as a reminder to not forget that Dancer’s Pose when you bring out the mat!

5. Roxanne Gan

Roxanne Gan, has been practicing yoga for 6 years and started when she was in her early 20’s. Her passion for Yoga has led to teaching full time and sharing with others what she has learnt from her teachers. Now a full -time teacher at Pure Yoga, this yogini was first introduced to yoga by her Mum! Turning up on the mat is now a ritual; she loves how it takes away her worries, even if just for an hour. Roxanne feels strong and empowered with every class she runs and that has helped make her a stronger person over the years.

What’s your favourite yoga pose and why?

“Downward facing dog. I have been struggling with back and hamstring issues for a really long time and I believe that it is yoga that has helped me cope with this pain. Downward facing dog helps me stretch the entire back of my body and legs, releasing all the tension. At the same time, the pose strengthens the core and also brings blood into the brain, increasing blood circulation and energizing the body."

6. Rachel Loo

Rachel is a mum of two girls with a newfound appreciation of desserts after motherhood (you would never know!) . The owner of Revolve Fitness, an online store that specializes in yoga props and accessories, Rachel has always been passionate about being active. After her second pregnancy, she read more about yoga but didn't manage to start due to a hectic work-family schedule. After eventually quitting corporate life, she embarked on her yoga journey and took classes for a year regularly. She loves her practice as it’s mostly home based and that means she can be near her girls too!

What's your favorite yoga pose and why?

“Pigeon Pose. It's a pose I will do daily and recommend all to include in their practice. This pose helps to open our hip joints, lengthen and stretch the hip flexors/quads. It also helps to relieve sciatic and lower back pain. I've been plagued with back issues before and after giving birth. I used to take a really long time to get up from bed because my back would hurt like crazy first thing in the mornings. I find that my condition has improved after regular stretching of my hips. Yoga is not just a workout, it is a work in. I love that yoga is a quick way for me to become grounded and focused again; very important for a multitasking mother to stay on top of her game."

7. Daphne Chua

Daphne first stepped into a yoga class in 2000. Heeding an inner voice and following a series of serendipitous events in 2008, she decided to turn in her corporate costume and embark on a journey propelled by wanderlust. Volunteer work in Cambodia, a journey to India and a yoga teacher’s course later, she realised her true potential of becoming a yoga trainer. She passionately believes in the art of living through honesty, compassion and kindness. Mostly based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and with regular travel within Southeast Asia, Daphne is a known to teach many a students at workshops, retreats and teacher trainings.

What's your favorite yoga pose and why?

“I don't really have a favorite pose as I'd like to honour all the different forms that our bodies can enable us to do. Even if it's just Savasana (Corpse pose) or Tadasana (Mountain pose), each pose creates an energetic imprint and offers what we need in terms of both physical and mental benefits.

That said, I do like to teach backbends, also called Heart Opening poses. They invigorate the spirit and challenge our comfort zone of having to "bend backwards". A pose such as Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose, aka Wheel pose) requires one to really explore the solid groundwork needed to come into this pose safely and intelligently to reap its full benefits. This pose is great for strengthening muscles that stabilize the shoulder blades, gluteus muscles of hips/hamstrings, therapeutic for asthma and opening accessory muscles for breathing. Traditionally this pose was also practised to stimulate the thyroid and pituitary glands, counteract depression and aid in infertility.”

8. Jiamin

A 24 year old yoga enthusiast, Jiamin lives and breathes yoga. She started practicing Ashtanga Primary Series (also know as Yoga Cikitsa/ Yoga Therapy) diligently after being diagnosed with Spondylolisthesis in June 2014. “It was causing me so much pain- especially when I sneezed or coughed, there would be a sharp pain jolting through my spine. Day after day, I could see progress in my practice and eventually the pain went away.” says Jiamin.

She undertook Ashtanga/ Hatha Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapy trainings and currently teaches private 1-1 sessions to people with Scoliosis/ back issues to help them alleviate pain and maintain a healthy spine. She also extends this passion to teach to corporates and at local studios as well.

What's your favorite yoga pose and why?

“The Hollowback pincha. It is an inversion, arm balance and heart opener, a combination of strength and flexibility. This pose guides me to find balance in my daily life amidst chaos and no matter how I'm feeling, I emerge radiating and vulnerable to my emotions."

9. Zoe Raymond

An avid blogger, Zoe used to only blog about fashion, beauty and food. But because she wanted to eat so much good food, she needed to stay fit! That led to signing up for her first ever Yoga class and since then there has been no looking back. A self confessed fitness junkie, she loves nothing more than a good sweaty time in the yoga studio! She has also documented her yoga journey across her social media platforms to showcase her determination and perseverance for a sport that she enjoys doing. Zoe works with a diverse range of brands ranging from GUESS, Reebonz, Marie France and is great at giving out tips on fitness and yoga through her blog.

What's your favorite yoga pose and why?

“Every yoga pose has a great benefit but my favorite is the Natarajasana, Dancer's Pose. It is one pose that requires strength, concentration and flexibility. Dancer's Pose always pushes me to keep my mind calm & clear- because only then will I be able to keep my balance.”  Another fan of the Dancer’s Pose, this beginning to sound more and more predictable, yet achievable!

10. Marvin Cooper

We had to include at least one Man! And Marvin Cooper is someone who has truly made his Yoga journey fascinating. Marvin is from Germany and was introduced to yoga while living in India (New Delhi and Pune) for three years while studying. He slowly experienced certain positive changes within himself and started becoming a better version of who he was. “I perceive Yoga as a science that can gradually introduce and connect people to their inner essence and higher self”. Says Marvin. This is how he followed the calling to share this experience and passion by passing on the knowledge that has been bestowed upon him.

Now a teacher at Pure Yoga, Marvin’s classes are centred around breathing and how it is utilised in performing static and flowing asanas. Leaving students to explore themselves consciously with every breath in the present moment.

What's your favorite yoga pose and why?

“One of my favourite postures is Urdhva Kukkutasana. It is a mixture of the Padmasa (lotus posture) and Kukkutasana (cock pose/ rooster posture) and it literally translates into "upward cock pose". In the classical, traditional and historical sense padmasana is THE posture that sage Patanjali, the composer of the yoga sutras, ascribes the dual qualities of firmness and lightness to (Yoga Sutra II.46). In Urdhva Kukkutasana strength and focus is added to the posture. In my understanding  these qualities should not only be acquired for the physical practice of yoga, but rather be internalized and molded into mental traits and applied in everyday life off the mat too.”

Natasha Tulsi

26 Sep 2016, 06:00 PM

Marketer by day, Natasha is passionate about all things travel and food! This mum of one has worked with leading brands across the globe and now helps businesses build strategy and content. Natasha also heads up Communications at Expatgiving and helps connect individuals with their dream non-profit role! Reach her at email