I recently had the opportunity to go for a 2 Days 1 Night driving and yoga experience with Volkswagen Malaysia for their Calm Under Pressure media trip.
Initially, I was quite nervous to alternatively test drive five Volkswagen models: Beetle, Jetta, Passat, Vento, and Tiguan, along the winding road from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan, Pahang.
I’ve never driven a Volkswagen car before and I’m a bit iffy when it comes to driving cars that are not my own because I feel as if I have no sense of control. But the cars proved to be superb in terms of endurance, speed, and comfort! I was able to trust the car to function with ease which ensured that I had a safe and smooth drive without worrying if the car was gone crash when I drove at 200 km/h.
Upon arriving at our beautiful destination at Mangala Resort & Spa in Kuantan, Pahang, I was in for a yoga treat – a first for me. Before coming here, I generally thought that yoga was an exercise for people who have a lot of flexibility and patience since the yoga movements that I see on TV would be done in a very slow pace.
I thought to myself ‘I could never reach a yogi’s level of patience and flexibility like that. Ever!’. But my short stint (3 classes) doing yoga with VW who brought in instructors from YogaOneThatIWant proved to be otherwise.
If you’re unsure about doing yoga yourself or are curious to know how yoga works, keep on reading. Below are some of the tips I’ve learned during my first yoga experience.
1. Clear your mind
When performing yoga, expect to enter a zen mood. Yoga can help clear your head and forget about your worries and stress for an hour or so. It makes you focus on what you’re doing at the moment and channeling positive energy throughout your whole body.
2. Sweating is included
Who knew one could sweat while doing yoga? I didn’t! The first session we had was a core yoga workout which trains your strength from your arms to your legs. I was drenched in sweat by the end of the session even though we were in a closed air-conditioned space. It felt really great though, all the tight knots around my neck, shoulders and knees felt looser.
3. A good stretch
Many of the yoga poses are done in a way where it really stretches your limbs especially areas that are most commonly tensed. The ‘Cobra’ pose and the ‘Twisting Sage’ pose, for example, helped with my spine (which I gravely needed); the lunges to stretch my hips and hamstrings; and my favourite, the ‘Happy Baby’ pose which eased up any sore muscles from the workout.
4. Just breathe
The breathing exercises really helped to channel all my energy to focus on one thing. The trick is to slowly inhale through the nose and slowly exhale through the mouth letting out a soft or loud ‘Ha’ sound. This breathing technique not only calms your body and mind but it’s actually good for your health as well as it allows for a complete oxygen flow inside the body. You can definitely practice this at home whenever you’re feeling stressed or tired.
5. Take your time
With yoga, I learned that it was best to take things one step at a time instead of rushing to get into the next position. This gave me time to fully experience the benefit of the poses. During our Yin yoga session under the stars, we focused on relaxing the body before ending the day. This was the most relaxing exercise I’ve ever done, I even found myself sleeping in the midst of it (although slightly embarrassing)! I was told that it was a good thing as it meant that I was fully immersed in the experience and that my body was at peace. So don’t worry about dozing off!
6. Anything is possible
On the last day, we had the yoga guru herself, Atilia Haron as our instructor. Starting the day at sunrise, we went with basic training exercises good for strengthening and toning our arms and legs. We were then challenged to do some balancing poses like the ‘Crow’ pose and the headstand. I managed to stay in position for a few seconds before tumbling forward but I thought I did well considering it was my first time.
All in all, this whole experience was a blast! I could see why yoga was chosen as the activity for this trip. Just like the ‘Calm Under Pressure’ Volkswagen cars, yoga can train you to stay calm even if you’re undergoing stress. A fitting combo I must say *wink*.
Image: Volkswagen Malaysia