Many of us will experience stress at some point; after all, it seems to be a natural part of city life in the twenty-first century. However, as many of us will already know, yoga can be a great way to manage this.
Alumna, Yan Ong, is the founder and principal teacher at Mysore Room, as well as a global yoga educator and speaker. After graduating from GIS in 1995, she completed a BSc in Biotechnology at UCL, later on completing a certificate in Functional Nutrition.
We talked to Yan Ong about finding inner peace through yoga…
Please tell us more about Mysore Room…
Mysore Room is a space that teaches Ashtanga Yoga, one of the last remaining traditional practices of yoga that is handed down from teacher to student through a lineage. The style of teaching and practice is based upon original yoga documentation from several thousand years ago, so it is a true form of traditional yoga.
In order to be an authorised Ashtanga teacher, it requires years of practising in Mysore, India at the Ashtanga Institute. You cannot decide to become an Ashtanga teacher; it requires the lineage holder and Director of the Ashtanga institute, Paramaguru Sharath Jois, to watch and educate you for several years and choose you to maintain the lineage of the teachings. There are a limited number of authorised Ashtanga Yoga teachers in the world, due to the dedication and experience required to become one. Mysore Room is founded by two Level 2 Authorised Ashtanga Yoga teachers, including myself.
Why do you think that yoga is important in our daily lives?
The first purpose of yoga is to gain the skills to control our ever fluctuating minds, but in order to do this we must be fit, healthy, mobile and know how to breathe. Learning these skills in a yoga class room is invaluable, as everything you learn to do on the yoga mat, is a skill to be applied off the yoga mat. For example, a big part of the Ashtanga practice is learning to breathe and keep the eyes steady whilst in challenging positions and or while moving; if we learn to breathe while in discomfort or difficulty, similarly we learn to breathe when we are not comfortable or during difficult events of our day. Over months and years of daily Ashtanga practice, you find yourself more calm, understanding, patient and stronger to make better decisions for yourself. As a side effect, you will be more physically capable than you ever imagined.
What do people take away from Mysore Room?
Mysore Room teaches yoga in a manner different from any other yoga class. The classes are silent, because after all, yoga is a practice to focus on yourself. Each student is taught individually, with personalised instruction. We are an all inclusive space, so no matter where you are at in your practice, we use our decades of experience to bring a traditional yoga experience catered to you. Each student is physically assessed on the first day and a structured long term yoga journey with progressions is tailored to fit each student.
When you walk out of Mysore Room, you will have learned to move, breathe and coordinate your movement with your breath for deeper detoxification. You learn to accept your body and its limits, while discovering its full potential and capabilities. Most of all, you learn life management skills, that allow you to deal with people and all that life has to throw at you. You take away the benefits of the true teachings of yoga, which is a journey towards creating a better life and becoming a happier person.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
A part of me wishes I had started my yoga journey properly earlier. I experimented with yoga without commitment for years in my early 20s. It was fun, but I didn’t really even scratch the surface of what yoga had to offer, let alone understand it, until I took it up more dedicatedly, choosing one method to learn from one teacher. Only when I became a daily practitioner did I feel my yoga journey had really begun.
Having said that, I don’t regret all the crazy (mostly non-yogic) things I did when I was younger. The best advice I would give to myself is enjoy all your life experiences while they are happening and remember there is always a deeper meaning and purpose to our existence. We just need to make the effort to find it, because there is a place where permanent joy exists, if we stay still long enough to discover it.
What advice and health tips can you offer to the GIS community?
Make sure you allocate time during the day on a daily basis to look after yourself. It can be anything from a daily 10min silent sitting practice to a 2hour meditative movement practice like yoga. Keep it simple and don’t make a big deal out of it; the less fuss, the more likely it is to be a sustainable lifelong practice. Doing a little everyday has more impact and benefit in your life than doing something big and fancy sporadically for a phase.
** Mysore Room is currently offering an Online Weekend Beginner Yoga Course until 14th February 2021, for anyone that would like to start yoga at home during this MCO period. Please email email@example.com for more information. Insta pages – @yanyoga & @mysoreroom_kl
A huge ‘Thank You’ to Alumna Yan Ong for all the insights about Yoga and its benefits. It has been great to reconnect with you and we wish you all the best in your endeavours.
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