Ninie Ahmad: Off her yoga mat.

Her affirmations of staying optimistic especially when she's (upside) down.

Archive for the ‘I teach’ Category

‘Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.’ ~BKS Iyengar

with 5 comments

I had an interesting long talk with a member of BE Yoga during a quiet class earlier this week. Her name is Sue Ng, her cheeks glow with pink happiness, her words are honest, her presence and speech are as eloquent as a beauty queen and we can’t stop chatting on our business similarities and hardships as she just opened her restaurant about the same time BE Yoga opened.

We were exchanging stories about yoga retreats in India  from what I read in Eat, Love, Pray spiced with secondhand experience from my fellow yoga teachers and her firsthand experience of having been to India earlier this year following this ‘dream’ she had one night.

She was sharing her share of ‘wanting to change‘ and ‘seeing the light‘ upon being there, as I shared my fear of, ‘what happens IF I don’t want to drive a car, wear fancy adidas yogawear and get married anymore?‘ upon returning back from India if I can collect enough guts to actually go to India (Mysore hopefully) in the nearest future.

We had a good laugh yet painful reality check as we traded and agreed on this irony,

  • Sue opened her restaurant and shortly after, developed gastric problem she never had before AND
  • I, opened a yoga centre and immediately after, my stress level shot so high that my body (immune system) is attacking almost everything I eat!

Given a choice now, I will be happier to stick to simply teaching yoga as when money is involved, it gets ugly.

Having announced that though, I would NOT trade this experience of having sold my car to keep BE Yoga alive, having sacrificed my dignity and sanity to ensure my team loves and looks yoga, having met wonderful people and angels in human form as I crawl my way up and struggle for another breath when I’m on the brink of drowning – for anything else in the world and I am very excited to face what else is lined up for me, BRING IT ON!

This tunnel I am still driving through still seems endless and so far, I am not sure if I have enough fuel to reach its end but I am sure I will still have my spine and my breaths to keep me alive.

This bumpy road (and expensive highway tunnel) will definitely make me a stronger yogi, a more humble yoga teacher and a better person when I do see the light and rainbow (in form of WETHER investment returned, being a personal yoga instructor to British rockstars ;D, getting to volunteer at a remote orphanage as long as I could OR even settling down as a mother with two beautiful daughters, I don’t know and get ever so curious) at the end, I’m sure.

I breathe this wisdom by one of the greatest yoga teacher in this lifetime (I hope I will be lucky enough to meet), Guruji Iyengar – everytime I feel so drained, tired and low

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”

and I move by the love and kindness around me anytime I feel I have nothing else to smile for.

Love, hope and optimism (for RM400,000 to fall from my sky this weekend).

Written by Ninie Ahmad

November 19, 2009 at 1:10 AM

I’d do whatever it takes, give (up) all I have to – to BE cancer-free.

with 5 comments

Last Sunday, I conducted my usual Karma Yoga (free class for public) class to raise awareness on breast cancer as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

BE breast-cancer free with YOGA

I was grateful and blessed as the turnout was amazing (and almost everybody showed up in pink!). A number of our local celebrities did show up to support the cause as well including the usual Atilia and the familia Henry Golding, Yasmin Hani, Xandria Ooi, Aishah Sinclair and Stephanie Chai that is gracing the cover of Harper’s Bazaar this month with spicy Breast Cancer feature and fashion spread inside.

Henry Golding & Stephanie Chai

(L-R) Yasmin Hani, Atilia, Aishah Sinclair

Henry Golding getting 'plow'ed

As Karma Yoga classes held every Sunday at BE Yoga are themed, before asking the participants to set their intentions and dedicate their practice that day, I asked these questions with everyone’s eyes closed

  • Has any of us experienced breast cancer first hand?
  • Does any of us have immediate family member that have / had breast cancer?

to tailor-make my class whether the class should consist of deep twists to eliminate (physical / chemical / emotional) toxins that might trigger cancer cells OR ‘loving’ and heart-opening poses to expand our hearts’ capacity with love and support for our loved ones in times of trial.

Intention & dedication

(L-R) Yasmin Hani, Atilia, Aishah Sinclair

To my (not-s0-pleasant) surprise, out of almost 20 participants that day – a quarter raised their hands for the first question and more than half raised their hands for the second, BREAST CANCER IS NO JOKE!

No amount of yoga / exercise / fancy pink ribbons / expensive lingerie can help us if we call upon cancer by smoking!

Our lungs and breasts are so near to each other – the thousands of chemical and poisons (you know I am not making these up) in evil cigarette that are trapped in our lungs might trigger cancer cells that require just one stimulant for the cancer cells to be activated.

Socializing with smoke-stained breaths, growing old with blackened teeth and dying painfully slow with all sorts of cancer are NOT glamorous.

I love my lungs and my breasts. I know you do (love your breasts, I mean ;D) too.

I have successfully quit smoking and so will you.

Peace, pink love and healthy breasts this October.

I praise Highest above for Malaysia(n) ground that grounds me down.

with 5 comments

PETALING JAYA, August 2009 – When you don’t drink, not in the mood to party and when you are never into conventional fireworks and hazardous noise, how else can you celebrate Merdeka (Independence) Eve? Ever thought of a free yoga class conducted by Malaysia’s yoga celebrity?

The founder of beyoga and also the Official Yoga Ambassador for adidas Malaysia, Ninie Ahmad said, she has been counting the days to 2009’s Merdeka Day to commence her free yoga class for public on Merdeka eve.

“For years, I have never enjoyed partying and be stuck in traffic jam everytime Merdeka and New Year’s eve arrive. I respect my body by not consuming harmful substance just to validate a commercialized celebration and I believe, many more KL-lites are in the same boat with me.”

Since beyoga opens to public in May 2009, Ninie has been conducting free yoga classes she calls ‘Karma Yoga’ every Sunday 10.15am at beyoga Damansara Perdana with help of her key teachers at beyoga.

“We call it Karma Yoga as it is our way to give back to the public of what we have gained from them. The teachers do not get paid for teaching Karma Yoga class as it is of voluntarily basis. However, participants are highly encouraged to donate any amount of cash as they join this class and all donations from our Karma Yoga classes are to be forwarded to a chosen charity body or non-profit organization we have pre-chosen for the month. For example, collection for the month of May and June had been proceeded to Rumah Hope, PJ and we have selected MERCY Malaysia to receive our collection for the month of July and August.”

Merdeka Eve Yoga
Ninie who also is one of Malaysia’s top female bloggers and has ‘pretzel-ed’ local celebrities namely Ida Nerina, Atilia, Ning Baizura, Jehan Miskin, Norazlina Redzuan, Wan Zaleha Radzi, Kavita Kaur and many more adds, “The best part about Karma Yoga class at beyoga is, although it is a free class, it is also the only class where we teach themed yoga.”

“Since all Mother’s Day and Father’s Day fall on Sundays, we did encourage public to bring their mothers and fathers those two Sundays. Instead of normal light stretches to warm-up, that Karma Yoga classes started with the teacher choosing a couple of participants to share what their mothers or fathers have sacrificed for them to raise them up.”

“Since 70% of the beyoga ‘s Karma Yoga participants are women, you could expect tears and overwhelming emotions filled the room!”

Merdeka Eve Yoga

“We first conducted the Karma Yoga class during Earth Hour 2009 where participants practiced yoga poses surrounded by tealight candles and be asked to take care of Mother Earth as much as we take care of our body and family.”

Ninie also shares, “For the past two months, I have been conducting my Karma Yoga slots with yoga therapy and poses that can help boost immunity system to fight airborne virus and common cold especially with the current H1N1 pandemic scare.”

“While we are all bound to suffer from occasional flu, yoga practitioners are less likely to come down with sniffles and when we do, we tend to have much faster recovery rate due to yoga’s known abilities to regulate the immune system, keeping it strong to withstand infection.”

Merdeka Eve Yoga

“Yoga’s stress-reducing ability is a primary reason to why yoga helps prevent if not cure common cold. Stress is a major contributing factor to catching a cold or flu as stress hormones cause the thymus to shrink in size causing it to poorly-function as a producer of immune cells.”

“For the Merdeka Eve Karma Yoga however, I plan to teach the class with yoga poses and flow that will help ‘free’ chemical, physical, emotional toxins that have been colonized and trapped in our system throughout our lives – in true spirit of ‘Merdeka’ (Independence), and maybe wear Jalur Gemilang coloured yoga attire that night!”

'Jalur Gemilang' Shoulderstand

The Merdeka Eve Karma Yoga commenced 10.15pm until 11.30pm August 30th, 2009 (Merdeka Eve) and beyoga conducts Karma Yoga (free class for public) every Sunday 10.15am. For more information on beyoga’s other Karma Yoga classes, visit beyoga’s website http://beyoga.my or contact beyoga at 03-7728 6182 / 03-7729 6182.

(All photos courtesy of Erica Wong)

Written by Ninie Ahmad

August 31, 2009 at 4:46 PM

I celebrate being here in this country. Being here in this body.

with 2 comments

How do we lead a family, company or rule our country if we don’t have total control of our own health, breath and body?

A gentle (and national) reminder that BE Yoga is having a Karma Yoga (FOC) class tonight (Merdeka Eve) from 10.15pm to 11.30pm.

This *Merdeka Eve Yoga is a healthy alternative for yogis who choose NOT to validate Independence Day in form of meaningless noise, harmful substance and conventional celebration.

I will be conducting this Merdeka Eve yoga class and will be sharing adidas & Rainbeau Mars’ ra’Yoka Level Orange: Detoxification that consists plenty of deep twists & hips openers that will help ‘free’ chemical, physical, emotional toxins that have ­­­­been colonized and trapped in our system throughout our lives – in true spirit of ‘Merdeka’ (Independence).

If more people embrace yoga & its values (non-harm & non-violence to self and others, truthfulness), I believe this country and this world will be a happier place for us all to live in – anyway.

Merdeka Eve Karma Yoga

(*Merdeka = Independent)

Since it is an FOC class, entrance is strictly by reservation to prevent overcrowding as space is limited to 30 yoga mats (online waiting list is enabled). RSVP your independence by booking your own space at http://beyoga.my or by calling us at 03 7728 6182 / 03 7729 6182 before 5pm today (Sunday, August 30) to check availability of space.

Merdekakan diri dari hasad dengki, busuk hati dan tekanan persekitaran yang memakan diri (free ourselves from toxic feelings, hatred and peer pressure that do not contribute in making anyone better).

Celebrate being a Malaysian by choosing to have a healthy body, heart and mentality.

Yoga In The City

Happy National Day, Malaysians. I will always believe in the kindness in us.

Peace, love and light.

Written by Ninie Ahmad

August 30, 2009 at 12:03 AM

I go forward by going back. Get by giving out.

leave a comment »

I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) for the third time with great interest this morning after teaching my 7am Begin yoga class and was moved all over again –

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

.. of how NOTHING lasts forever (especially youth, beauty and health) and even what we thought great love only lasts a lifetime.

That is why I love yoga and what it constantly reminds me of:

We go forward by going back,
go up by going down, go out by going in
and get by giving out.

Love and light.

Written by Ninie Ahmad

August 27, 2009 at 12:55 PM

I let go of who I have become to be who I really am.

with one comment

I prepared myself for the recent adidas FA Beijing with a lot of backbend exercises thinking I was in for ra’Yoka Level Green: Opening, errr.. by not exactly preparing as I know backbends have always been my favourites.

Levels of Content

Body Location

Elements & Themes

Physical Focus

Level GREEN

(Gratitude)

Chest

AIR

[ Opening ]

Heart, chest, shoulder openers

& backbends

Level Yellow

(Core Power)

Solar Plexus

FIRE

[ Power ]

Core lifting, arm balances,

core twists

Level ORANGE

(Creativity)

Pelvic Floor

WATER

[ Detoxification ]

Uddiyana Bandhas,

deep twists, hip openers

Little did I know, instead of traveling up the chakra chart, it shot down to Level Orange: Detoxification that I know will require deep twists and out-of-the-world painful hip openers, something like Yin Yoga Teacher Training Certification (TTC).

Our hips are the biggest joints in the body.

Toxins are mostly stuck at any joints of our body so our hips are biggest garbage pails in the body especially if we don’t detox, fast, cry / laugh (these are forms of emotional toxins’ releases as well) often.

For a yoga instructor, I am not proud to share that my hips openings are not as impressive as I would like them to be. That was why I got stuck for years at Ashtanga Primary Series for I was not able to do Turtle Pose (Kurmasana) without assistance until recently.

True enough, I was suffering in most of the poses especially Seated One Legged Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Kapotasana) and Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana) that are deemed pain-free even by some beginners to yoga ‘_’

After 16-hours of repeating ra’Yoka Level Orange that consists a lot of Uddiyana Bandhas

Uddiyana Bandha

whose benefits include

  • Massages abdominal viscera, the solar plexus, the heart and lungs
  • Increases gastric fire; improves digestion, assimilation and elimination; and purifies the digestive tract of toxins
  • Stimulates blood circulation in the abdomen and blood flow to the brain

(Source: YogaJournal.com)

and all possible Warrior (Virabhadrasana) variations and twists,

Virabhadrasana I

which work magic to

  • Strengthen and stretch the legs, knees and ankles
  • Stretches the groins, spine, shoulders, chest and lungs
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Increases stamina
  • Improves digestion and aids elimination
  • Improves balance

(Source: YogaJournal.com)

PLUS after undergoing fruit + veggie (with no sugar, no caffeine) diet for seven days, we started to feel lethargic and if it’s not too demotivating – shitty.

Prior to the ra’Yoka TTC, we have been warned that this Level Orange: Detoxification (or pretty much ANY detox) will only work if we get one of these post-detox effects (PDE):

  • Fever (the only way organ and body cells get to regenerate and be reproduced)
  • Breakouts (to discharge chemical toxins that our digestive system is not able to release)
  • Depression (some people hardly get angry or scream at others so this effect might be expected)

God knows how we all prayed hard to not get the first two PDEs as:

  1. We’ll definitely get quarantined at our home airport and we can’t really say, “Don’t worry, Officer. We just got back from a Detox TTC!” can we?
  2. Some of the girls are the faces of adidas billboards throughout Asia so they can’t afford breakouts either.

Jessica & Ninie with Jessica poster

Although, it takes as simple as one processed food / any chemical agent to break our hardworked detox.

As expected, I felt even more lethargic as I touched down KL.

I locked myself in my room for two days, refused to see or talk to anyone and just fed myself with clear water & fruits throughout.

Low

But I was not used to feeling that low and I did not feel good, of course.

For that 48 hours I hid under my blanket, I kept hearing “Get rid of my possession that made me unhappy and has been burdening me a lot” – MY HAIR.

So, a week before Beijing, I had hair (well, ‘almost’) this long

Supertall & Superlong

and shortly after Beijing, I chose to let it go.

Shorter

All the perming / straightening / colouring / highlighting / chemical treatments my hair went through, are being put a stop to. And I have never felt better.

When I was ready to start teaching at BE Yoga again, a couple of fellow yoga instructors shared that they felt exactly the same (depressed, sad, suicidal) after their Yin Yoga TTC.

We might not break out in acne (as most yogis choose meat / caffeine / sugar-FREE & organic diet), we might not get sick as often (an hour of yoga class everyday produces enough heat to regenerate body cells which is to 1- why drinking water in yoga class is not encouraged 2- after every yoga class, you’ll feel instantly rejuvenated, almost post-fever feeling with no fever, of course) but you’d be surprised of the amount of emotional toxins the yoga instructors held trapped inside the hips joints.

The unpleasant experience post-detox is a surprisingly sore reminder that we are all humans afterall.

For those of you interested to experience an hour of Detox Yoga, BE Yoga and I are holding another Karma Yoga class (F.O.C Class For Public) on Merdeka eve, 10.15pm to 11.30pm at BE Yoga, Damansara Perdana.

Detox Yoga

This Detox Yoga held on the eve of Merdeka Day is an alternative for yogis who choose NOT to validate Independence Day in form of meaningless noise, unhealthy substance and conventional celebration. Detox / Merdeka Eve Karma Yoga class will consist of poses / flow that will help ‘free’ chemical, physical, emotional toxins that have ­­­­been colonized and trapped in our system throughout our lives – in true spirit of ‘Merdeka’ (Independence).

P.S. If you are worried you’ll breakout, fall sick with fever or get depressed, fret not as an hour of yoga a year IS NOT ENOUGH to release all the physical / chemical / emotional toxins completely especially if you’ve never done it before / eat steak everyday / been indulging preservatives and sweeteners for the past 20 or 30 years of living in this body.

So I say, do whatever it is you need to do to let go of things that make you unhappy be it – badly treated hair, toxic friends, unhealthy relationship or even negative-vibed blog as keeping them in our system will only turn them cancerous one day.

Let’s all have a Meatless Monday and an organic week ahead!

Love and light.

I came, I saw, I coloured.

with one comment

I have been invited to participate in adidas Fitness Academy (adidas FA) since last year. When it first started, the academy provided training for three fitness majors – Yoga, Dance and Combat for selected instructors from Asia-Pacific. I always count my blessing on getting chosen for adidas only chooses ONE instructor per Asia-Pacific country (although five instructors from bigger Asian countries like China, Taiwan and Korea). It is held twice a year and I am lucky enough to have been handpicked for three adidas FA so far – Shanghai (Spring/Summer ’08), KL (Spring/Summer ’09) and Beijing (Fall/Winter ’09). For the latter, adidas FA introduced another two fitness majors – Fitness and Personal Training.

adidas FA Beijing '09

For adidas FA: YOGA, these 30 selected yoga instructors (most of them are their country’s own adidas Yoga Ambassadors) will be trained and certified to teach a new breed of yoga developed by Rainbeau Mars.

Rainbeau Mars (yes, that’s her real name) is best known as the ultimate yoga celebrity as she trains Hollywood celebrities (Jeremy Piven, Owen Wilson, John Cusack, Ben Stiller, Ashley Olsen, etc) and world’s best sportsmen (Laila Ali, Jonah Lomu, Steffi Graf, etc). She has elevated her career to a successful collaboration with adidas, becoming the Global Ambassador for their yoga collection and recently launched her own adidas Rainbeau Mars Signature collection with eco-conscious yoga fashion wear.

adidas Fitness Academy Beijing '09

The hybrid yoga developed by Rainbeau Mars with adidas taught during adidas FA is called ra’Yoka™, which is an innovative and integrative practice combining fundamental principles of yoga, enhanced with a breath-centered flow, dynamic, explosive martial arts movements and core connection with total body balance integration. ra’Yoka manifested itself through Rainbeau’s personal journey of self-discovery and desire to find a practice that promoted courage and integartion of the body and mind while maintaining the beneficial openness of yoga. ra’Yoka maintains its authentic intention of a mind/body connection with the Ashtanga yoga laws of ahimsa (non-harm) and satya (truth) as well as Niyamas (personal ethics) and Yamas (social ethics).

ra’Yoka™ integates ‘Seven Leveled System’ according to the colours of rainbow / body chakra:

Levels of Content

Body Location

Elements & Themes

Physical Focus

Level VIOLET

(Conciousness)

Crown

UNION

[ Meditation ]

Mediation, affirmationand openness

Level INDIGO

(Insight)

Upper Brow

VISUALISATION

[ Balance ]

Mental focus, balance, breath, inversions

Level BLUE

(Clarity)

Throat

SOUND

[ Communication ]

Vocal and body harmony using sounds & affirmations

Level GREEN

(Gratitude)

Chest

AIR

[ Opening ]

Heart, chest, shoulder openers & backbends

Level Yellow

(Core Power)

Solar Plexus

FIRE

[ Power ]

Core lifting, arm balances, core twists

Level ORANGE

(Creativity)

Pelvic Floor

WATER

[ Detoxification ]

Uddiyana Bandhas, deep twists, hip openers

Level RED

(Material)

Legs

EARTH

[ Foundation ]

Standing poses, alignment, ankles and feet openers

adidas FA Shanghai '08

During the adidas FA Shanghai ’08, the participants were introduced to the Overview of ra’Yoka. I did share in my previous blog of how I came to Shanghai with excruciating kidney stone pain and how I came back to KL with none (stone left).

From rainbeaumars.com

Isn’t it amazing, how by simply repeating a simple Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) helped me escape a kidney surgery?

Then came adidas FA KL ’09 last February where we explored in detail Level Yellow: Core Power.

adidas FA KL '09

In KL, the whole concept made perfect sense to me when Rainbeau generalizes that people who are physically flexible are often very open, very giving and very vulnerable in nature while those who appear very strong and muscular are emotionally very reserved, unfriendly and penny-pinching for many.

If you can imagine this: someone who can do Lord of Dancer Pose (Natarajasana) will almost never gets six-pack abs and same applies to those who have six-packs abs will not be able to enjoy dropbacks to Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana).

One of the many best perks in yoga is: it helps you be both flexible and strong. ONE DAY.

For someone who is quite open in the spine area, I couldn’t agree more for the natural traits and I know I could use a little bit if not a lot of core strengthening (to be a little bit ‘stingy’) for I was just about to open BE Yoga back then – so the yoga classes wouldn’t be all FOC :P.

She highly emphasized on how most female yoga instructors could use a lot of strengthening especially from the core so that we don’t overstretch (since almost nothing hurts) and be all over the place in alignment.

For some, even this doesn't hurt!

I can’t wait to share in my next pose what I learned from my recent trip to Beijing, China for adidas FA Level Orange.

Have a blessed and productive Monday for now!

Love and light.