In 2008, I was young and curious to start my first Yoga in True Yoga and boy was it expensive monthly from my allowance and inconvenient to shamely ask my aunt to be my guardian in signing up my membership because I was under 21, 17 years old to be exact. Although it was a difficult start, I persevere through because I was looking for another alternative method to improve my athlete performance and was I wrong all along… Practicing Yoga daily before I go school, 7/8am daily or evening classes after I end my lectures, has changed me completely (inside out) even though there are days I question my intentions and the uncomfortableness whenever my masters start the practice with mantras and chanting. But weird things start to happen, I found fulfilment whenever I see myself improving in my stamina especially when I had a hereditary asthma and I grew closer to Allah. I found a solution to the uncomfortableness of the mantras and chantings by focusing on counting my blessings, celebrate closeness of of Him near my jugular veins (50:16) and communicate silently to Allah and purifying my intentions and it has helped me till today.
I had thought Yoga was the key to keep myself healthy and strong however in 2011, I was fighting for my life after being diagnosed first stage colon cancer while I was pacing through my FYP in polytechnic. I was at the lowest point in my life, ever. My studies and my relationship with people were affected as I got depressed while struggling with day to day basis of eating out with friends/families and going to the loo every 10 minutes coping with constipation, belatedness and vomitting out my breakfast, lunch and if I am lucky, I can have dinner. After a few months of struggle, I thought enough is enough, I got to make some positive changes with my life, my health and my mental state! I was taking a leap year upon graduating and focused on my health by keeping track of my diet and eliminate foods that makes my stomach upset (Yes till today I still had to trial and error and be brave when eating out. I share my daily breakfast quick fixes on Instagram to keep my colon healthy and strong in the early morning). And I made my positive change by signing up for my Stott Pilates Instructor Course. It was indeed a positive change, I was making progress with my health and it reflected in my endoscope surgery and heliprobe test. I had overcome and survived my colon cancer, finally the helicobacter pylori was out of my system even though it has destroyed my colon and my intestines wall!
Now you must be wondering, how ? All by His will. Our bodies, the most complex of machines are given to us by Allah as a trust. They should not be abused or neglected but maintained in good order and remember Allah’s promise in the Qur’an “So remember Me; I will remember you.” (2:152)
I stayed strong in my healing through Yoga detox sequences and there were times it was hard to return back to the studio after what I went through especially when I made my hijrah 4 years ago. Uncomfortableness greeted me again when I no longer feel okay to be in the same room as men doing my downward dog or wheel pose without having my stomach exposed despite wearing long shirts (yup back then there was no such thing as sportswear and this experience inspired me to bring in modest muslimah peplum sportswear for my Fitness for Muslimah(F4M) sisters, all the way from Malaysia). I even blogged how I overcome my 200hr Yoga Teacher training during Ramadan.
I know how you felt when modesty and intentions get compromised when you’re a Muslim and wears the hijab. I know how frustrating you must have felt whenever you don’t get the right kind of guidance in your yoga class as if the yoga teacher is being picky and choosy to adjust your alignment and push you further from your boundaries. All these which you might have gone through, I experienced it as early as 17 years old when my masters are from India and I feel neglected (always).
It hasn’t been a smooth sailing being a Muslimah Yoga and Stott Pilates certified instructor because of the misconception of yoga and Islam but boy was I grateful I had my first 10 female students! We started practicing outdoor and 3 years down the road, all my classes are held in private studios, having taught 100 sisters, conducted 4 yoga workshops for Haslinda Ali FitFab , Nawal Haddad Fitness and my own company (Fitness for Muslimah) and even practiced with my online yoga guru, Tara Stiles and stoked to get my strala yoga fixed in Singapore now!
I am more than pleased to have met and see more women in Singapore are more acceptive of Yoga as a physical means to stay healthy and heal just like I did! More than pleased, I am grateful my old and current students since 2013 are still practicing with me and kept me in their prayers too.
I would say because of my illness, I found my calling and I found my purpose to pursue my passion.When people ask me what’s my passion and if they guessed its Yoga and Stott Pilates, I would say no. My passion is in guiding and helping more sisters, mothers and grandmothers in holistic healing through therapeutic yoga as another best alternative to stay healthy and happy through Yoga, Stott Pilates and what I can do in the digital marketing world ;)!
It’s when we are broken that light enters and I am thankful to have had colon cancer and been diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as the result of my damaged colon. In 2013-2015, I graduated from BSc Bachelor Degree in Business Management, certified in Stott Pilates Instructor, Kids Yoga Teacher and 200hr Ashtanga/Hatha Yoga Instructor, built Fitness for Muslimah all at the same time while I guided and helped my families, girlfriends and my first 10 female yogilates students in their first therapeutic yoga practice back in 2013.
And I even threw a garden yoga party on 23 December 2013 with my families, students, girlfriends and my then boyfriend who is my husband now, to celebrate my recovery and my milestones in pursuing my passion! Click here to view my album.
I believe a smooth sea never make a skilful sailor and I touch my heart as I share to you my visions for 2016 and the years ahead as I rejected my digital marketing executive position in SPH whilst going through interesting trainings and meetings at Google and pursued this passion full-time. Every day I try to stay discipline and hustle hard and trust me when I say that I will continue breaking barriers for all-women hijab friendly yoga classes in Singapore’s fitness industry as a former colon cancer survivor and as a Muslimah Yoga and Stott Pilates certified instructor.
Coming January 2016, I am taking new sign ups for my most sought all women, hijab friendly yoga classes in 3 different locations, Jurong East, Admiralty and Eunos (conducted once a week for 60 mins, over 10 weeks cycle that will keep your heart, blood vessels and mind, light In Sha Allah!
If you have been wanting to try yoga, this is your invitation. My door will always be open for you to have a safer, supportive and hijab friendly, all women environment. I will not just be your yoga instructor but I will be your friend and your mentor who will push you out of your comfort zone and allow you to reconnect with yourself again so that you can walk out of my classes feeling EMPOWERED, FULFILLED AND HAPPIER that you grow stronger mentally, physically and spiritually with me and the rest of other empowered sisters.
Experience the natural intelligence of your body with me every week starting January and sign up here and view the 10 week cycle yoga sessions online!
“I’ve just signed up again for the 2nd cycle! It’s amazing how much we can push our bodies to do things if we just try. When I started to exercise regularly, it was because I wanted to look good but through the process of exercising regularly (especially when Nura asks us to think about our intention to start our yoga practice during class), my intentions shifted from wanting to look good to wanting to FEEL good and respect my body because I’ve been blessed with a well-functioning body!”
– Aneesa, 23, Communications and Engagement