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 manner and it had a lot of unusual poses.
I thought ‘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 YogaWantThatIWant 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 the zen space problems free. Yoga can help clear your head and forget about your worries and your stress for an hour or so. It makes you focus on what you’re doing at the moment and channel positive energy throughout your whole body.
2. Sweating is include
Who knew one could sweat while doing yoga? 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, it felt like all the tight knots around my neck, shoulders and knees were loosen.
3. A good stretch
All the stretches really target areas where you’re most tensed. The cobra pose and the twisting sage pose helped with my spine (which I gravelly needed), the lunges to stretch my hips and hamstring and my favourite the happy baby pose which helped my body to wind down before ending the yoga sessions.
4. Just breathe
The breathing exercises really helped me to channel all my energy to focus on my breathing. The trick is to slowly breathe in through your nose and slowly exhaling through your mouth with soft or loud ‘Ha’ sound. The breathing techniques not only calms your body and mind but it’s actually good for your health as it lets oxygen enter your whole body.
5. Take your time
The instructor told the group to do what you can and not force yourself as many of us were beginners. So I learned that it was best to take it slow instead of rushing to get into the next position. It gave me time to fully experience each pose and get the benefit of the workout. During our Yin yoga session under the stars we focused on calming the body to end the day, I found myself sleeping in the midst of it. The instructor told me 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 if you do doze off!
6. Anything is possible
We had Atilia Haron coming in as our instructor for our third and final yoga class during sunrise. She challenged us to do a balancing pose like the crow pose. The basic training exercise works to strengthen and sculpt our arms. I found it difficult to fully lift my body without tumbling forward. I only managed to stay up for a few seconds but I did well consider it was my first time. Other of my media friends who were also beginners were able to do it as well.
Image: Volkswagen Malaysia