Strong is the new sexy and fitness is the new party. With society leaning towards health and fitness, Yahoo's #Fitspo of the Week series is dedicated to all inspirational women in Singapore leading active lifestyles. Know of any who deserve to be featured? Hit me up on CherylTay.sg and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (cheryltay11).
Name: Roxanne Gan
Occupation: Group Fitness and Yoga Instructor
Diet: Eats whatever she wants; needs chocolate every day
Training: Spinning (indoor cycling) twice a week, yoga twice a week and the rest of the time dedicated to teaching yoga
Sports background: Track and field, field hockey, touch rugby, yoga
Q: When did you discover yoga?
A: I discovered yoga after my first year in University. It was during the three-month break and I needed to find something to keep myself occupied. At that time, I was dating a guy and he told me I was fat and needed to lose weight. Being young then, I was very affected by what he said so I started to look for somewhere I could exercise and I ended up bugging my mum to bring me to the yoga studio she was a member of.
How did that lead to teaching yoga?
I was teaching in the gym first, at only the age of 20! I was teaching group fitness classes and it was tough because I got bullied by members of the gym for being young. I just focused on teaching well and the more I taught, the more confident I became. That’s when I felt it was the right job for me. In my last year of university, I spent more time teaching classes than going to school and eventually I became very sure that I really wanted to become a yoga instructor. Immediately after I graduated, I went to India to get certified in yoga.
What do you hope to achieve out of your yoga ultimately?
I started yoga with the intention of losing weight but my purpose behind yoga has changed over the years. I am no longer obsessed about how my body looks – yoga has helped me to feel good about myself and thus, I want the rest of my life to be on the mat.
What are some of the misconceptions of yoga?
Yoga is religious. Yoga is all about meditation. Yoga is boring. Yoga is easy. Well, it is none of the above. If it is boring, do your research and choose a class type that is more suitable for you in terms of pace.
Also, many people like to say 'I can't do yoga. I am not flexible.' The truth is, you do not need to be flexible to do yoga. You need to do yoga to be flexible. Flexibility comes over time.
How does yoga complement other types of sport, like weightlifting for example?
Weightlifting develops full-body strength, but a strong but tight body puts one at risk for overuse and acute injuries. Yoga helps to release muscular tension and counteract the shortening of the muscles that results from weightlifting, An athlete who takes care of him or herself will know the importance of having supple flexibility to complement their training.
What’s your inspiration?
I'm always inspired people who have a positive attitude. I look up to them because they show me that the physical aspect is not of utmost importance; instead, it's one's positivity and attitude in life. I do hope I can be an inspiration to others though.
I have students inspired by the things I teach in class and also through my story – I became a happier person by making tough decisions in life, following my heart to get to where I am today. I received a lot of support and private messages, encouraging me and saying how much I have inspired them. That makes me really happy. I want to inspire people not with looks, but with my positive mindset and attitude towards life!