The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ is fundamental to yoga. Seasoned instructors like Hansen Lee owe their enviable flexibility to hours of yoga routine at home, outside hours from the studios. While he’s a huge fan of communal classes, the TV host and emcee can’t live without self-practice, which he invites you to try for extraordinary inner peace this International Yoga Day.

When showbiz personality Hansen Lee isn’t charming an audience or pumping weights at the gym, yoga sessions balance his inner state of being. Regular self-practice has made him more agile and youthful, too, with a dose of self-reflection that’s tangible if you’ve ever experienced one of his energising yoga classes.

 Although yoga isn’t competitive in nature and preaches kindness to self, the practice is a beneficial discipline to one’s body, mind and soul. Hansen is living proof that the more you self-practice, the more you’ll mature in your yoga journey. Whether you’re a novice or a regular wishing to start a personal routine, there’s no better time than International Yoga Day on June 21, to adopt a safe and secure routine from home, plucked from Hansen’s personal experience.

See also: Yoga Classes For Men Who Want To Give Yoga A Go


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Above Half lotus toe balance. Photo: Courtesy of @imagine.capture / Instagram

Self-practice teaches you to trust your gut instinct and intuition

“I love the communal aspect of practicing yoga for its collective, calming and introspective energy, that also helps people center themselves. But a self-practice, in my opinion, is paramount to further your yoga journey. As there isn’t someone giving you cues or making adjustments to your alignment, it forces you to trust your own gut instinct and intuition while you are practicing.

There’s also the practical aspect of having the consistency and access to the practice that ensures that you get the most out of it.” 

Building your own home yoga practice

“In the beginning, if you have no experience learning some of the basic sequences at studio classes, I’d recommend getting some direction from an experienced yoga teacher online. You can find them on YouTube, YogaGlo or Cody App. Once you have familiarized with what you need to do on the mat, I highly recommend trying it out on your own.

 It is totally ok to not know exactly how each pose or movement should be done, a lot of the benefits really come from figuring it out

As long you are practicing with a sense of mindfulness, attention and kindness towards yourself, your practice will grow and it will be uniquely yours.”

See also: International Yoga Day Special: The Yoga Gurus Who Inspire Us

Understand, on a fundamental level, why you are stepping onto the mat each time

“I personally don’t think the practice itself is the obstacle. The root of the problem lies in the reasons we are doing it, or the lack of it. A strong 'why' will easily help you stay on course: If you know why it’s important to do so, it is highly unlikely you will make excuses as to why you can’t get to your practice.

Yoga, to me is not an exercise but a way of living and being, so even if you can’t get onto your mat, you still can practice other aspects of yoga in your everyday life.”

Tune into your body and try to understand what it needs

“I’m a huge advocate of the Sun Salutation series. I recommend it clients and incorporate it into my classes. If you can practice that well, you will gain tremendous benefit from that alone.

Listen to what your body craves, to minimise resistance and reduce aches and pains: It could be hip opening, stretching the front body or more core engagement and conditioning. Everyone has slightly different needs and it really is up to the individual to find the appropriate poses and movements to build their practice.”

See also: 7 Malaysian Fitness Influencers For When You Need To Lose The Festive Kilos

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Above Triangle pose. Photo: Courtesy of Hansen Lee

How yoga gave him a sense of depth in his physical practice state of being

“In my years of competitive sports, bodybuilding and fitness, although they kept me in shape and my heart healthy, they rarely brought peace to my inner world. So, in a world of stress and anxiety, demanding technology and unhealthy competition, wouldn’t it make sense to counter-balance it all?

Perhaps a practice that allows you to press pause, slow down and really look within and see who you truly are at any given point in your life. Oh, and the stretching also helps keep you limber and mobile into your old age.”

Be mindful and keep your ego in check to avoid injuries

“If you feel you have something to prove and push your body while ignoring all the signs your body is feeding you, injury will always be just around the corner – I’ve learned the hard way. This is not the same as buying into your fears and lack of confidence in your practice, but being honest and truthful about where you are in it at this point of time."

Learn to listen to your body, trust your gut instinct and approach the practice with curiosity and a playful manner

See also: Finger On The Pulse: 4 Ways Successful People Use Mindfulness

Resources and aids for a solid home practice

“I would invest in some online classes through platforms like YogaGlow and Cody App. There are many teachers teaching different aspects of yoga and I am sure you will find one that resonates with you and matches the level you are currently at."

Get a grippy mat, a couple of blocks and a strap to aid you into challenging poses

Morning or evening yoga: Finding the best time that works for you

“If you are practicing yoga in the morning, you would want to do a more energising sequence to stimulate the yang energy that will serve you in the day getting things accomplished.

Once that energy is depleted, a restorative and gentler form of practice in the evening will help revitalize and set you up for a deeper rest during sleep.”

See also: 7 Best Fitness Apps To Keep You Moving In 2018

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