Our first teacher to be on the blog! Jian Yuan (aka JY) started practising yoga in 2014, and became fascinated by how a physical practice can be the basis for self-actualisation and personal development. Ever curious about his personal practice or daily mantra? Read more to find out!
Hello JY! Share with us your memory of your first yoga class.
My first yoga class was a hot yoga class in a shophouse yoga studio not far from South Bridge Road. I recall being bewildered by the various poses and movements (which I later learnt to be asanas and vinyasas), as well as the heat of the class. My mat towel was completely drenched in perspiration after the class. But I felt so good. I felt I had a balanced workout, I felt fresh and rejuvenated, and I felt totally more comfortable in my own body. That marked the start of a regular yoga practice for me.
What is your personal practice like?
My personal practice of choice is a certain flow I've created that incorporates hip-opening and backbending poses, as well as side stretches and hamstring stretches. I love poses that open up the hips and hamstrings, as well as shoulders - I think it's important especially for office workers to do some of these poses. I tend to shy away from arm balances and inversions, though I am not averse to practising them if a teacher cues those poses in class.
Many of our students (and teachers) have given praise about how relaxing and enjoyable your Stretch classes are. What is your favourite kind of class to teach and why?
I love teaching Stretch classes. I love how the slower pace of the class allows students to simply relax, be calmer, drop into and listen to their bodies, and be more mindful and aware of sensations and thoughts arising. Students come out of the class not getting a work out, but getting a work-in... feeling completely in tune with their body, breath and mind, and being more mindful of and sensitive to their surroundings and to others.
I also love getting creative when teaching Stretch. I have incorporated Tibetan singing bowls, music with binaural beats, eyeshades as blindfolds for students to block out excess light and visual stimulation (allowing them to tune inwards on a deeper level), and diffusing essential oils such as lemon eucalyptus and lavender, to completely deepen the experience for students. Tennis balls also feature very regularly in my Stretch classes as a prop for myofascial release, and here I enjoy sharing some knowledge of TCM meridian points I have picked up from other teachers. :)
Do you have a daily mantra or intention that you set every day?
My daily mantra is always to be inspired, passionate, motivated, grateful and receptive to others. :)
Lastly, share with us what students can take away from your classes at Nithya Priyan School of Yoga.
I create intelligent sequences with preparatory poses and various options to enable students to advance their physical practice, within the context of the school's structured curriculum. I aspire to always teach from a nurturing and empathetic space with lots of support and encouragement, to foster that safe space for students to accept themselves and not judge themselves. My wish is for every student to develop mindfulness and awareness of Patanjali's 8 limbs of yoga, and eventually find their own unique, personal journey in yoga, while being supported by a community of supportive fellow practitioners and teachers.
Thank you JY!