As a spontaneous yoga practitioner, I definitely do not consider myself a yogi. When I exercise, I often opt for more fast-paced routines or weight training workouts in hopes of keeping trim while building muscle. But when a new fitness programme sprouts up locally, I take notice.
Which is why exactly two weeks ago, I paid a visit to Virgin Active’s spruce and luxurious gym within The Heart at Marina One to understand more about its latest yoga programme that’s exclusive to its club members. Named Yoga For Every Body, the health and fitness club has most recently launched this initiative to give patrons access to a tailored yoga experience rooted in yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda.
On the Virgin Active website, Ayurveda is described as an ancient Indian science of health and healing that translates to “the science of life”, and that Yoga For Every Body aims to use a short questionnaire to determine each person’s body type, before providing them with a better understanding of their physical, mental and emotional imbalances in order for practitioners to choose the style of yoga that best suits them.
Meanwhile, a quick search on Google will earn you pages discussing Ayurveda as an alternative medicine system, with keywords such as pseudoscience, products and treatments popping up. And as a skeptical yet inquisitive individual, I was compelled to learn more about this theory and practice.
Prior to my trip to the fitness centre, I completed the questionnaire offered online by the gym which allowed me to understand my current Ayurvedic condition.
There are three types of doshas, including Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
As I filled out the quiz which yielded questions about weight, skin conditions, mobility and emotions, my interest grew. I was curious to discover my body type or dominant dosha and quickly tabulated my score in the sections provided.
With my dosha considered a Pitta, I was offered lifestyle advice and tips such as consuming less spicy foods and practicing calming yoga sessions. This was further emphasised at the yoga session I was invited to participate in, led by VA’s yoga coach Rashita Banu, a 500hr registered Yoga Alliance instructor.
And while the skeptic in me was ready to dismiss the claims, I couldn’t help but be intrigued and agree with most of the comments as what was mentioned did resonate with me. For instance, Banu mentioned that Pitta individuals were energetic and quick to anger due to their fiery nature. As someone who does get snappy from time to time, calming practices could prove to be useful. Besides, there’s no harm in trying a more soothing class to stay centered and balanced.
Pittas are therefore encouraged to enjoy VA’s Yoga Calm while practicing ujjayi breathing, and the cooler, more flexible folks whose dosha is considered Vata might choose a meditative Yoga Align class to remain grounded and alert. Finally, the Kapha dosha individuals should try the invigorating Yoga Flow to inject vitality into their practice.
Choose between Yoga Align, Yoga Calm and Yoga Flow classes at all six Virgin Active clubs.
After being introduced to all three programmes available for the three different doshas, I realised that enduring the Yoga Calm class wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. Though I did prefer Yoga Flow which is a Vinyasa-style lesson (Banu suggests that energetic people gravitate towards energising classes), the recommended Yin yoga-inspired session did lull me into an ample state of rest since simple poses were held in minutes of five on each side.
As it turns out, Ayurveda isn’t the claptrap it is painted out to be. In actuality, the theory and practice is more of a guiding principle meant to refresh and restore balance in yogis with suitable yoga styles. I could see how Yoga For Every Body was worth a try since it is a purposeful and customised experience designed to boost overall health and wellness through the incorporation of Ayurveda too.
Meaningful practices take centrestage at Yoga For Every Body.
It might also give new or budding yoga practitioners a hand in learning which styles will best suit them as there is a large variety of yoga currently available across fitness studios islandwide.
However, those who prefer classes that differ from their recommended style should still feel free to partake in the sessions as they please. After all, the main draw of Virgin Active’s Yoga For Every Body is that you can always flit between the three choices presented to feel at peace with your practice.
Yoga For Every Body is available at all Virgin Active clubs in Singapore. More information available here.