Elaine Ng has been practising yoga for nearly 30 years and runs Elaine Yoga in Tanjung Bungah. With her experience of being a mother of three and her passion for yoga, she now helps support women through pregnancy and beyond as well as teaching children’s classes.
How did you first get interested in yoga?
I started yoga seriously in my early twenties when it wasn’t so popular. I just happened to go into an Iyengar class while waiting for my aerobics class to start and was amazed at how the elderly teacher was in control of her body. I have continued practising throughout having my children who are now 20, 16 and 7 and hope to keep it up for the rest of my life.
How did you get into teaching?
I started teaching quite by accident when I moved to Penang 14 years ago. I met a lady suffering with MS and had started guiding her through some pranayama and asana to help ease her discomfort. She then brought a friend and then another and soon a class was formed almost without me realising. I took my training with the British School of Yoga then Yoga Alliance including kids and prenatal. In 2008 I completed my Kundalini training with SKY U.K.
I mostly teach in the Iyengar style as I love the alignment and the use of props that make yoga accessible to everyone which is something I’m very passionate about. Although I am not Iyengar trained, I have practised this style for 27 years and believe it to be the best method to gain good alignment no matter what your physical flexibility is.
Do you specialise in any particular areas?
In 2008 after giving birth to my last son, I became interested on the changing form of the physical and emotional body of a woman during pregnancy and birth. I felt, although the health care is fantastic in this country, the emotional connection and support for the newly pregnant woman was very much lacking. I took training with Childbirth Education USA to educate myself on the changes of the body at this time and used my own experience as a mother of three and my yoga training bring to help woman connect with their own body and the new life inside .
I also teach children’s yoga, bringing to life asana and breathing in a fun way to help cope with the ever stressful situations that challenge children.
What do you love most about teaching yoga?
I’m always amazed at what yoga can do for the the well-being of a person whether its gaining flexibility, learning how to control situations with breath, being balanced or simply finding that freedom in your own body to let you live your life to the fullest. I am always seeing students who thought that they are too overweight or to unhealthy or too inflexible to practice yoga shine through after a short time practising and starting to love the beautiful people that they are.
What, in your opinion, are the primary benefits of practising yoga?
You only have to look at the people who practice yoga to realize that a light inside has been lit and they are able shrug off any negative body images and negative thoughts and see things the world in a clear positive way.
What advice would you give for people who have never tried yoga?
Find the teacher and style that is right for you. All styles of yoga lead to the same place, it’s just finding the one that is suitable for where you are right now. Roll out your mat and enjoy exploring.
What is your favourite asana?
Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose). I love the strength and grounding of the legs, yet the freedom of opening the heart centre to the sky.
Where are you located?
My studio is located in Tanjung Bungah.
You can find out more about Elaine’s classes on her Elaine Yoga Facebook page.