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Stretch Beyond Your Limits—
Yogafest World Edition

As part of YogaFest World Edition, Tanjong Pagar Centre’s Urban Park played host to yoga enthusiasts, health buffs and some of the world’s most famous instructors.

From 12-13 January 2019, the tranquil greenery of Tanjong Pagar Centre’s Urban Park was transformed into a bustling hub of good vibes and mindful activity, as it played host to the Yogafest World Edition.

The weekend festival saw hundreds of fans and enthusiasts honing and deepening their practice under the guidance of both locally-established and international instructors, jetting in from all across the globe.

The constellation of world-famous instructors included Sean Phelps from the United States, Nidhi Mohan from India, Hung from Vietnam and our home-girl Yang Jiamin from Singapore, alongside dozens of other masterful teachers.

Mind, Body and Spirit

Over two days of intense mind-body action, participants were exposed to myriad different techniques and variants of yoga, ranging from traditional forms like Ashtanga to modern variants like Power Flow and Aerial Yoga.

Besides yoga sessions, participants also got to experience a variety of different conditioning classes like handstand sessions, strength, mobility & balance exercises and core & arm drills to help them get closer to achieving their physical milestones.

Holistic health is about input as well as output, and visitors to the events who were feeling peckish got to indulge in a smorgasbord of healthy and delicious eats, from acai bowls and fresh cold pressed juices to granola and protein bars.

Rounding off the event was a range of DIY workshops for ardent nature lovers, focusing on sustainable crafts, recycling and upcycling.

Wellness, Wisdom and Words of Encouragement

Have you always been curious about yoga but always felt too intimidated to dive in?

We’d tell you not to sweat it, but perhaps you’d be more encouraged if you heard it straight from a world-class yoga teacher.

We sat down with yoga instructor Sean Phelps to talk about his first steps into yoga, the benefits of this age-old tradition, and how it helps him to attain physical, emotional and mental balance.

Hi Sean! Could you tell us how you began your journey in yoga?

When I was 15 or 16 years old, I started going to yoga classes but I wasn't quite ready at that point: I was drinking and partying like crazy, chasing [physical pleasure]. I had a lot of demons inside me that I needed to work through.

I realised that my life wasn't getting better—I kept going through the same issues in romantic and family relationships.

So, when I was 30 I stopped drinking alcohol, and just started going to yoga every single day. And my life transformed.


What's the one biggest benefit of practicing yoga?

For me, the biggest benefit of practicing yoga is dignity. Yoga is definitely a way out from the incessant thinking of the mind.

Y’know, my dad left [my family] when I was a kid, and my memories of him were always about bad stuff. Breaking statues and things. I probably blamed myself for him leaving, or for not being good enough.

And that happens with a lot of people. We have all these childhood traumas that will haunt us if we don't deal with them.

I'm really good at running away—from relationships, from jobs… I'm a professional at running away. But when you get on the mat, you can't run away. Or at least, it's a safe place to not run away.

I'd recommend yoga to anybody, whether you're sixteen or sixty. It gives you a sense of consciousness, and wanting to change to be the best person you can be.

What would you say to encourage a beginner who's feeling apprehensive?

Don't be! We all start at the same place. Tiger Woods couldn't hit the golf ball straight when he started—Chefs couldn't dice, swimmers couldn't swim.

But if you show up for yoga on a daily basis, not only will it transform your body physically, it'll transform your mind as well. You just need to put aside some time for yourself.


Is there anything you wish you knew before you started yoga?

Yeah! Don't listen to what teachers say like it’s the end-all be-all.

I looked up to some teachers so much that I didn't listen to my own body. I let myself be pushed into postures I shouldn't have been pushed into, or to do a handstand before I was ready. And I hurt myself.

Listen to your body, always start from the bottom, and always remember that less is more. It's better to do a good pose minimally than a bad pose maximally.

Just take it day by day. Every day is different, depending on what you ate, how much you slept, how you feel, who you’ve kissed... -Laughs- All these things affect us.

Just because you did something one day doesn't mean you'll be able to do it the next day. And maybe today? You’ll be able to achieve something you couldn’t yesterday.


Sean Phelps’ list of recommended books on yoga and mindfulness


B.K.S Iyengar - Light on Yoga
Max Strom - A Life Worth Breathing
Michael Singer - The Untethered Soul
Osho - The Book of Wisdom

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