3 Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned From Yoga Teacher Training

Listen to your body

When I’m working out in the gym, I’m constantly trying to keep up with myself. I listen to loud, fast-paced music to tune out from the world and get my head in the zone. My heart is racing and I’m not thinking about anything else other than counting down the repetitions. (Unless of course, when I’m on the treadmill there’s no stopping the endless train of thoughts that run in my head. No pun intended. “What shall I have for lunch? How did my favorite sock get lost in the dryer? Is that thing alive? Goddamn it, I hate running. RUNNNN!”

On the yoga mat, working out is a completely different experience.

Like many people, I was introduced to yoga as a way to stay in shape and improve my flexibility. Along the way, I realized that yoga is not just a form of exercise. Yoga works on so many levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The first and perhaps most vital thing that yoga teaches is body awareness.

As I became more mindful of my feelings and reactions in my yoga practice during the teacher training, I began to notice that where I was in my practice was a reflection of where I was with myself at the moment.

What Is Yoga Nat Fay

On good days when I felt mostly positive, finding focus and balance came as easily as bringing my palms together in namaste. I would pull off any yoga asana (posture) with ease. I’d feel powerful and strong while especially in a Warrior 2 pose. These are the days when I’d walk out of class feeling like I could conquer the world.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, any negative thoughts, doubts or judgment would create resistance and tension in my body. When something weighs me down mentally, I felt the weight physically too. Yoga takes me to those places deep inside myself where my true emotions are hidden.

For me, the process of accepting my body was the perfect lesson in learning to deal with my ego in my practice. Finding my strengths and embracing my weaknesses is at the core of my ahimsa (non-violence) practice towards myself.
When I first learned how to do a headstand, I practiced a lot at home in front of the wall. Eventually, I challenged myself to move away from the safety of my ‘crutch’. For a brief moment I had no idea how to stop myself from falling — so I did. I let myself fall and landed on my back, but good thing I remembered a simple safety trick: tuck the chin in to chest to make sure the neck and spine are always protected.

 

Fay Hokulani Headstand

As soon as I picked myself up, I was ready to do it all over again. I didn’t think I’d overcome my fear of falling that quickly because I was dependent on the wall for months! I was excited about reaching my goal to finally pull off a perfect headstand with confidence, but I was also aware and respectful of my body’s physical limitations.

I took the pressure off by setting a rule to treat my body gently. I learned not to let my ego dictate how deep I would go into a pose or how far I’d push my body.  I’m not counting weights or repetitions; I’m not competing; I’m listening to my body.

Open your heart

I do enjoy taking the time to practice by myself at home as it allows me to move at my own pace and understand my body better. Sometimes I think I can get a little too comfortable in my alone-time that I forget how enjoyable it is to practice yoga with friends!

 My TT classmates having a little fun 'connecting' with each other!
My TT classmates having a little fun ‘connecting’ with each other!

On the first day of teacher training, we were asked to make a short introduction about ourselves and how our hearts found their way to yoga. I sensed that a few of us were quite shy and reserved; I felt the same way about myself in front a big group of strangers. I guess I was a little nervous about meeting so many new people. Little did I know over the next few months how much I would come to appreciate them and how quickly I would learn to let go of my own self-judgment and fears.

A few weeks into the training, our class of 30 students was split into smaller groups so we could take turns to teach and learn directly from each other. Sharing enormous passion for yoga created very strong bonds in my yoga circle.

The sense of community created strong friendships that have been rare in my life; I shall always treasure that time spent bonding with my classmates.

We are all teachers and students of life. As we grow, we help others to grow as well.
We are all teachers and students of life. As we grow, we help others to grow as well.

Love unconditionally

I think the point where we really got to be ourselves and got to know each other more personally happened outside the classroom. Arun and Prakash organized a day out for the class to practice Karma Yoga. No yoga mats required, all we needed was team effort!

 

It's the small things that can make a huge difference in our environment.
It’s the small things that can make a huge difference in our environment.

Karma Yoga is the path of selfless service which involves supporting and giving back to others without expecting anything in return. The way I understand it, Karma Yoga it is about giving love and loving unconditionally. Caring for the environment is one way we can give love to our planet.

It brings absolute joy and warmth to my heart to see these beautiful smiles. My lovely classmates and our teachers Arun (left), Prakash (right) and guest lecturer, Dr. Satyam Tripati after a lesson on Ayurveda.
It brings absolute joy and warmth to my heart to see these beautiful smiles. My lovely classmates and our teachers Arun (left), Prakash (right) and guest lecturer, Dr. Satyam Tripati after a lesson on Ayurveda.

I wish to express my gratitude for the practice of yoga that I have been taught by my extraordinary teachers, Arun and Prakash at Pure Yoga Singapore.

I learned so much from the 200-hour Hatha Yoga teacher training: a deeper understanding of yoga, body and mind awareness and kindness to all living things. I feel inspired to share this knowledge and insight and will make it my mission to pass the benefits of Yoga on to others.

 

 

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

I have some very exciting news that I’m going to be able to announce in the coming months. In that time I’ll be working with some incredible experts around fitness, nutrition and health and putting together what will hopefully be an awesome offering for you all. So watch this space!

In the meantime it would be great to get your input on the kinds of questions you most want answered about fitness, nutrition and health. What are the problems and frustrations you face in these areas? How can we help you on your journey? Just click on this link and please take 1-2 minutes to help me help you :)

If 20 people complete the survey, I’ll share a healthy dessert recipe.

If 50 people complete the survey, I’ll do 50 squats.

If 100 people complete the survey, oh heck I’ll do 100 burpees!

Start the survey!

FayOutdoor-102

Stay Positive, Smile Bright

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I’ve always believed good dental health is just as important as taking care of your skin. I’d rather invest on quality skin care so my skin looks good naturally instead of relying on make-up to conceal the imperfections. Another way to enhance natural beauty simply starts with a big smile and taking proper care of the only set of pearly whites you’ll ever have.

One of the first things I’d notice about someone is their smile. A bright smile with eye contact radiates positive energy by communicating confidence and friendliness.

The world could be a brighter place if we could all smile a little more with each other. Never underestimate how much a smile can brighten someone’s a day. Even your own!

So let’s work on our smile. My current favourite beauty essential is the Colgate Optic White Plus Shine:

Future Bright Smile
This is not your Grandmother’s toothpaste, it’s next level.

The new toothpaste features an upgraded formula with ‘Micro-Crystal Particles’ and comes in a new premium diamond-sparkling packaging. The Colgate Optic White Plus Shine features an upgraded formula that helps to whiten teeth within a week*!

Morning Beauty Kit

FUN FACT: Did you know that strawberries help to whiten teeth naturally?

I haven’t tried whitening my teeth with strawberries but I do love it for breakfast. It goes well with my peanut butter oats too (recipe here).

In addition to providing whitening results, Colgate Optic-White Plus Shine (the name’s a mouthfull, budumbum!) toothpaste also brings all of the benefits of standard fluoride toothpaste, fights cavities, freshens breath and helps reduce plaque with regular brushing.

Colgate Optic White Plus Shine

There’s no need to cover the entire toothbrush with paste. All you need is a pea-sized amount for it to do its job effectively. Using too much toothpaste could make the mouth a little foamy (and you probably don’t want that rabies look, even privately) so make sure to rinse with water thoroughly.

Pea size amount toothpaste

Gentle ‘Micro-Crystal Particles’ contains Whitening Accelerators micro-crystals to safely exfoliate stains and polish teeth surface. It is formulated to be used daily and is enamel-safe and gluten-free.

Colgate Toothpaste
Colgate Optic-White Plus Shine is safe for daily use and for all types of dental work, including braces.

I’m getting into the habit of remembering to let my inner beauty shine somehow everyday. I can at least do this first thing in the morning with brushing my teeth.

Whenever I try to adapt a new habit, it helps when I connect that habit with something I normally do at the same time everyday.

Colgate Toothpaste Advertorial

As I brush my teeth, I repeat affirmations in my head that make me feel positive and give me good vibes. I tell myself, ‘True beauty shines from within. Today, I’ll shine bright like the morning sun. ’ This little self pep-talk goes a long way to ensuring I keep an optimistic attitude about life everyday. A brighter smile reminds me to stay positive, confident, and shine throughout the day.

Embrace your inner beauty and radiate positivity all around with a smile now :)

Fay Hokulani Colgate Optic-White Plus Shine

 

 

*Individual results may vary

My first handstand, finally!

It feels pretty cool to stand on your hands. Almost like flying! I want to be able to do this anytime, anywhere.

I’ve been practicing handstands for over a year and never managed to keep both feet together up in the air. I couldn’t find my balance without the help of the wall. Today I found the courage to move away from my comfort zone and found that sweet spot. Body straight as an arrow, from the fingertips right up to the toes.

Stoked to finally know what it feels like after endless hours of practice!

My First Handstand

Dedicate ‘Me-Time’

Iyengar Quote Nature

Practicing yoga gives me the much-needed quality me-time to stay centred and renewed. Share an Instagram photo of yourself enjoying some me-time and you could win one of 20 spots together with me on 12 February (next Thursday) at a Pure Yoga Universal class led by Copper Crow at 7:30PM, at Pure Yoga Ngee Ann City.

I look forward to trying this specialised style of yoga, which is a balance between strength and flexibility, while offering special techniques for focus, awareness and coordination. The 20 winners will also receive a complimentary 7-day pass at Pure Yoga after the session. Make sure you tag #puremetime @pureyogaofficial @fayhokulani when you submit your posts to qualify.

 I look forward to your Instagram posts!