• Congratulations, Celina!

    Grace  Yoga (GY): What inspired you to become a yoga instructor and how has your practice changed since becoming a yoga instructor?

    Celina Ngiam (CN): I started yoga in 2004 as a physical practice and to destress. As I started doing more yoga, I was amazed by the benefits. Yoga has increased the awareness of my body, my breath and mind. Over the years, my practice has evolved more to a mindful, spiritual practice than a physical practice. I had the honor of learning from many senior teachers who inspired me to share my experience and perspectives with others. 

    My practice has changed significantly since becoming a yoga instructor. My practice has become more intentional, mindful and I tailor my practice to what my body needs at the moment. I have become more interested in learning about alignment, experimenting with props and exploring ways to bring awareness to different parts of the body in a pose.

    GY: This month we are focusing on Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 2.46: The posture should be steady and comfortable. How do you see this yoga sutra manifesting in your practice and in your life?

    CN: This is my favorite sutra!! Sukha Sthira Asanam. It’s a balance of steadiness and ease. This is something I strive for in my personal practice but it’s not always easy. We tend to put too much effort into the pose and forget to release the areas in our body create the ease. I frequently have to remind myself while in the pose, where am I putting effort to maintain the steadiness, what muscles can I relax, how do use my breath to connect the body and mind. I love this quote from BKS Iyengar, “When an asana is done correctly, the body movements are smooth, there is lightness in the body, and freedom in the mind.”

    How do I see this yoga sutra manifesting in my life? Great question!! I am a strong believer of taking what I practice on the mat off the mat in my life. Learning to be grounded and being present allows me to bring steadiness into my life and gives me the courage to face the challenges in everyday life while staying true to myself. Learning to relax and be at ease allows me to go with the flow, have an open mind and remain calm in uncomfortable moments. I must admit, it is particularly difficult for me to relax. Last year, I had the opportunity to do a restorative yoga training with Judith Lasater and discovered how restorative yoga can help me relax. Since then, I have been doing a restorative pose for 20 min every day. It’s magical!!


    GY: What is your personal philosophy about maintaining a yoga practice with a busy lifestyle?

    CN: My philosophy is do the best you can. There is always something we can prioritize over a yoga practice. But it is important to prioritize ourselves first. Sometimes, it maybe hard to get to a yoga studio after a busy day. A yoga practice can be a 5-10 minute home practice--5-10 minutes of yoga a day is better than no yoga. Also, listen to what your body needs. My personal practice ranges from strong vinyasa practice to gentle flow, pranayama or just a restorative pose. Restorative poses are especially great on very busy days as it helps turn my attention inwards and reconnect with my body, breath and mind.

    GY: Please tell us a little about yourself: career, family, background and anything else interesting you would like us to know.

    CN: I love being outdoors and traveling!! Being in nature is one of my favorite things to do. It could be hiking, cycling, running, skiing or practicing yoga outdoors. One of my most memorable, epic travel adventures is the trip to Everest Base Camp. It was two whole weeks in the mountains, living simply and connecting with nature. I practiced yoga every morning and saw the snow-capped mountains slowly appearing before me as the sun rose. It was such a wonderful experience and gave me a new perspective of life.