Lightness in Body, Stillness in Mind
By Hiranmayii Awli Mohanan
With many celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Gisele Bundchen swearing by Yoga, there must be something to this 5,000-year-old ancient practice. Enter Yogshakti, a beautiful Yoga oasis and community, set in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. It embraces the quietude and foliage of its surroundings, presenting a serene setting for the true experience of Yoga. Besides offering a slew of unique Yoga classes such as Integrative Yoga, Yin Yoga, Hatha Vinyasa Yoga and many more, they extend beyond just teaching technique – focusing on improving strength, flexibility, mental clarity and reduce stress.
Derived from the passion and philosophy of helping individuals harness their inherent and dormant potential, Yogshakti practises Integrative Yoga among many, developed by founder, Shilpa Ghatalia – to cultivate awareness of the mundane. Integrative Yoga is a synthesis of the teachings of the Himalayan tradition of Swami Rama, the Intuitive Yoga of spinal freedom inspired by Vanda Scaraveli, Yin Yoga, the Zen Mindfulness teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and the philosophy of non-dualism of Taoism and Advaita Vedanta. It also draws from the timeless eastern practices of Taichi and Qigong inspired by the system of Calligraphy Health of Master Yang Mian and the fluid spinal practices of the Yoga Synergy method.
Integrative Yoga incorporates spiritual healing – the practice of ‘yielding’ or ‘letting go’ in movement to make room for the vast, ever present intelligence within. As soon as you grasp this, relaxation comes naturally. Practising this promotes balance and self- care. One experiences balance between doing and being, effort and effortlessness. Integrative Yoga incorporates philosophy into movement to enable one to find the infinite within and live in a continuous state of awareness. The practice involves, movement originating from the vital centre/ dan tien or hara, effortless movement with little or no change in heart rate, slowing of breath, silencing of mind and cultivating presence. As writers with a stressful lifestyle and noisy mind, we crave peace and respite. Thus, our Integrative Yoga adventure begins.
In spacious room with parquet floor, ample morning light streaming in and light Indian melodies set the mood. The class starts with us sitting comfortably, our hands in a Chin Mudra position and breathing – consciously paying attention to every breath as we inhale and exhale. Then, we move on to embrace the fluid and slow motions of Taichi and Qigong, where the body takes over and becomes our guide. The circular motions release the tension that binds the body and in turn, relaxes it.
Our bodies a tad limber, we proceed with light stretches, followed by repetitions of the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations). Before we begin, we start by building a foundation – feet arched yet firm on the ground and hands together, at our hearts. We start with Pranamasana (prayer pose), followed by Hastauttanasana – arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers. As we exhale, we bend forward into Hastapadasana, keeping the spine erect. As we exhale completely, we place our hands on the floor, along our feet. We proceeded to go through the motions of the 12 poses with four repetitions. All the while, our guru reminds us to never force a pose, rather, allow it to flow naturally. Finally, we lie down with our eyes closed, resting our stretched limbs and basking in the energy. It is a beautiful way to start the day.
Address: 18, Jalan Gallagher, Taman Duta, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 012-2511857 (Marlene)