Yoga 101: fitness influencer Bianca Cheah on how to channel your inner yogi

Home / Yoga 101: fitness influencer Bianca Cheah on how to channel your inner yogi


21st Jun 2019

There’s something about yoga addicts that gives off the attitude they’ve been doing it their whole lives. It can sometimes be intimidating to turn up to a yoga studio and see everyone else with their well-worn yoga mats as they settle into a perfect pose of the child. In reality, we all start somewhere, and if your dream is to become a yogi, then the old adage of ‘practice makes perfect’ reigns true. To celebrate International Day of Yoga, we tracked down fitness influencer and founder of lifestyle brand Sporteluxe, Bianca Cheah, to talk yoga for beginners and the power of the pose.

The only way to get started, is to get started
“I actually started late, when I was 34,” admits Cheah of her yoga practice. “I was going through a really rough patch in my life, my best friend was a yoga teacher, so she coaxed me into coming to one of her classes. After that class the rest was history.” Much has been written about the positive feelings you get as you finish a yoga class, and Cheah agrees she was “walking on clouds” after that first class. But Cheah says the only way to forge your path towards regular yoga practice is by braving your very first class. “I’ll never forget the way it made me feel, it was like I was addicted immediately,” she says. “I’ve never looked back.”

Seek out a class that’s labelled for beginners
“For me, I launched myself straight into the hardest levels of yoga as I wanted a challenge and to learn quickly. But I don’t suggest what I did,” laughs Cheah. “I’m always suggesting to newcomers that heading to a beginners class is the best way they are going to see results. Having the teacher there correcting your alignment and guiding your breath is crucial when you are learning.”

There’s more than one style of yoga, so keep going until you find the one you love
You should also choose your style based on what you want to achieve, Cheah warns. “You’ll need to work out which one is for you. If you’re wanting a sweaty workout (like what I love) where you’ll want to tone up and strengthen your core, then Vinyasa and Power Yoga are for you.”

It’s not just about exercise
If you’ve already braved your first class, you’ll know yoga isn’t all that easy. But Cheah stresses there are more benefits than just burning calories. “I don’t know what I’d do without it! Yoga just isn’t about the poses for me, it’s a lifestyle — a way of life. Even the breathwork I practice every day still every morning on my walks. It’s like I look forward to it because afterward, I’m on a natural high. It’s like how runners get their runner’s high.”

It can replace your weekly exercise class though
If you commit to practice like Cheah, yoga can be both a self-care activity as well as your go-to exercise class. Cheah personally commits to between three and four classes a week. “Flow Athletic in Sydney is my go-to [studio],” she says. “I practice Vinyasa yoga. So it’s all about flowing from one pose to the next, constantly moving in tune with inhaling and exhaling. I like Vinyasa as my heart rate is always elevated, I’m forever sweating and I feel I’m also getting a great workout and a moving meditation at the same time.” Cheah says her secret weapon to increasing her yoga cred is an Apple Watch. “It’s great to finally see how yoga is actually a great workout. Most people laugh at me saying how yoga is just all about stretching and no one will ever get fit doing it. Now that I track my yoga workouts using Apple Watch, it shows how I can beat their workout calories burned in my yoga work out!”

Yoga is all about listening to your body
Unlike other exercise, yoga is all about listening to your body, which includes knowing when to scale back your practice. “I never force myself to do anything if I’m tired or run down,” Cheah explains. “I let my body tell me what it needs. Yoga is so much more than the practice. It’s a way of life–a lifestyle. Yoga has made me look at life from a different perspective. It’s taught me so many things, like to be grateful, to be content, to listen, to not be competitive, to nourish and to look after me and my body.”

To celebrate International Day of Yoga on Friday June 21, Apple has created a special Yoga Day Challenge available to all Apple Watch customers with iOS 12.1.3 and OS 5.1.3 or later.

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