Singapore theatre artist, Kheng Hua Tan, says yoga is the best activity to grow old with.
She spoke to Yoga Journal Singapore how yoga helps to clear her head and heart, and why she needs it more now than ever before.
I picked up yoga five years ago when I was pushing 50. I wanted to find a more restorative form of physical activity, something that built me up and strengthened me rather than tear me down. More of an outdoor exercise person, for years I rejected yoga—but I knew my body was changing and so were my needs as a person. That’s when a friend of mine bought me a yoga session at COMO Shambala as a milestone birthday present. I was hooked by the third class, and then I found hot yoga at Updog Studio in Katong, and later became a partner there.
Yoga never fails to clear the air—around you, in your head and in your heart. I am in the field of arts. I use my heart all the time and it is a part of my job to feel for, understand, and then reflect humanity in all its beautiful and ugly ways. Sometimes you are forced to open your heart and mind to entertain thoughts and feelings that can overwhelm you. Yoga clears the air in my heart, and as a theater artist, where I have to infuse various characters on stage, yoga clears the kinks and brings me in greater touch with what my body can do in greater detail than say, running.
We have offered free yoga classes at Updog to some theater actors especially during their most heavy rehearsal periods. Many artists have remarked how good yoga makes them feel, and how it helps them focus. An actor friend of mine, who was recently in Pangdemonium’s successful production of the musical ‘Rent’, said his stamina greatly improved because of yoga, and it helped him in the extremely challenging dance sequence
he had to perform night after night. I feel a synergy between an actor and a yoga teacher—they are both sensitive to where they are as individuals, to who they are communicating with, and have the ability to change the air in the room with their hearts, bodies, voice and intention.
I love twists. They make you sensitive to both sides of your body, left and right, top and bottom. When I am in a twist, I find harmony and balance on my two sides, not to mention the opening of my heart.
I am totally enjoying myself as it is my independent production, but it is also stressful as I need to sell as many tickets as possible. I find less time for yoga, and yet, I know I need it now more than ever to sort my monkey mind out. When I do yoga, my heart beats slower, I breathe deeper, my brain gets clearer and I get better sleep. And that recharges my body and mind, and puts me back on my busy feet again.