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  • Writer's pictureG Lee

From Musician To Yogi

I am Vanessa Keng (Instagram: @yogaeverydayla). I am the co-founder of The Golden Concepts and a freelance musician.

How I Started Yoga

I started practising yoga about 5 years ago, accompanying my parents for a class with Grace at Siglap South CC. Somehow I have always known that I want to practice yoga, even though I had never actually tried it before. When the opportunity to join a class came up, I was eager to try it. Grace is a wonderful teacher, especially for a first-timer like me. She explained poses clearly and gave me a good foundation to yoga. After the first class, I was quite sure it was going to be a part of my life for a long time.

About a year later, I went on to join Pure Yoga as they had a variety of classes and the newbie in me was keen to explore whatever I could. I spent the next 2 years practising Ashtanga yoga, a practice for which I am thankful for instilling a great deal of discipline and focus. When the Covid pandemic hit, I had already stopped my Pure membership and was practising Ashtanga on my own at home. Grace shared that Dr Venky was starting his new YTT course soon and encouraged me to consider it. I decided to sign up for it, feeling like I was ready to commit the time and energy into gaining a deeper understanding of yoga.

What Yoga Means To Me

Yoga to me is a daily practice of finding balance and harmony in my life, for both body and mind. When I first started yoga, I was largely intent on using it as a form of exercise, to maintain my flexibility and to keep fit. In recent years, I found myself drawn towards Pranayama and the meditative aspects of yoga, as I began to experience the benefits in my psychological state as well.

My YTT Experience

I signed up for YTT because I wanted to learn more about yoga. After a few years of practice, I could feel the benefits of yoga, but I wanted to know the science behind it, and to learn how to practice the right way. Grace had always spoken highly about Dr Venky’s course, so I was very sure that when the time was right, I would sign up for his course.

Pincha Mayurasana with Dr Venky

Needless to say, the YTT was more than I had imagined. I signed up for the weekend batch as I work full-time. From day one, I loved the way Dr Venky explained the science behind yoga. Learning about the human body, our physiological systems, the power of breath, I was just amazed about the effects of yoga on our body. Best of all, I felt like I could finally understand and put in words the benefits I have always felt after my practice.

My YTT schedule was a bit of a hybrid due to the Covid restrictions on class sizes, so my practical classes were held on weekdays with the intensive batch. Daily practice was enjoyable, as by then I had stopped my daily Ashtanga practice and it was a more relaxing practice for me. This suited my energy level as well, as I was feeling the effects of changes in my life since the pandemic started, as a result of working from home and limited social interaction.

Handstand Practice at YTT

My Plan Going Forward

I started YTT without the intention of being a teacher immediately after. My plan was more to learn about yoga and maybe teach a couple of years down the road. But once I graduated from the course, I realised that it was important to start teaching to apply what I had learnt, and to learn how to teach and interact with a class.

I hosted my first class on Zoom for friends and I did not really know how many people to expect. The screen was small so I couldn’t quite see how many people were in the class - I only knew after I finished the class. I was so thankful to see that quite a lot of my friends had turned up. It was also really encouraging to see Grace and my fellow YTT mate Debbie.

Teaching online is definitely a weird experience as I cannot hear anyone’s voice but my own, and due to the small screen and distance from the camera, not much can be seen either. It was very different from what we had tried in YTT, where we could lead the class in person. Besides teaching, you have to make sure that your technical hardware is working well, plus attempt to interact with people you can barely see and hear. Zoom classes are definitely something that I will continue to work on as I foresee it will be an important skill to build in order to allow participants to fully benefit from my yoga class virtually.

My short-term goal is to put into practice my learning from YTT, to learn how to share this knowledge in a relevant way to my family and friends. Teaching yoga is something that I hope to continue to do for the rest of my life, be it part-time or full-time. I enjoy sharing my love for yoga with people around me, because it has definitely changed my life.

Tolasana at Banff National Park, Canada


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