For part 2 of our International Yoga Day series, we find out what fuels the practice of the community’s influential figures, Nor Soraya Ghazalie and Jay Jamiliyana.

Whether you’re a frequent yogi or a fan of Insta yogis, there’s no missing out on these two favourites of the local yoga community.

With up to 54,000 follows on Instagram, Nor Soraya Ghazalie attracts an international slew of fans who can’t get enough of her impeccable, often superhuman-like photos.

Read also the International Yoga Day Special: How 3 Yogi Entrepreneurs Found Their Calling

 Jay Jamiliyana, on the other hand, is better known as the upbeat, dedicated and witty yoga instructor who urges you through the most challenging of classes. With her emphasis on proper alignment, posture, and foundational poses, plus a dash of cheeky banter, she never fails to put a smile on the flushed faces in her classes.

 We grill them about their favourite poses, to how one can sneakily add yoga into their daily routine.

Nor Soraya Ghazalie

soraya IMG_2579.jpg

Photo credit:@jewelling

How long have you been practicing yoga, and how did you find it as your calling?
"I started yoga in October 2012 when I stumbled on a month long Instagram yoga challenge. This #YogaADay challenge motivated me each day to achieve a yoga pose and to practice daily. I was overweight and miserable at that time the challenge gave me something to look forward to. I'd never done yoga but it was great having it all documented on Instagram. I felt a sense of achievement; especially when I could somewhat achieve a pose!"

 How does yoga keep you balanced and grounded, in your daily routine of work and other responsibilities?
"Lots of the time you are tuning inwards to yourself. You learn to quiet the mind and focus on what you want to achieve on the mat. When you strike a balance in everything you do – at work, at home, on the mat – you’ll be more grounded and centered."

 What’s your favourite yoga pose?
"When my heart is open to the universe and I am feeling loved - backbends become my favourite yoga poses. When I'm feeling strong and undefeated I love being inverted on my forearms. Right now, anything on my hands, upside down."

soraya IMG_6792.jpg (original size)

Photo credit: @shafiqanaksaleh

What’s your favourite type of yoga, and why? 
"I don't have a favourite, just my own self-practice which is influenced by Ashtanga with a combination or strength and flexibility training."

 What do you love most about yoga?
"One of the key lessons yoga has taught me is that you are very capable, strong and worthy, if you make yourself to be, and if you believe yourself to be. As my practice progressed, started reflecting inward to overcome certain fears, to achieve new milestones. These achievements reflected off the mat as well."

 How can one integrate yoga into their daily lives? 
"It is easy to find a free community class near you, or yoga tutorials on YouTube. You don't need to invest in an expensive yoga mat or expensive classes all the time. Start with maybe 20 minutes a day or you can do what I did - join an Instagram yoga challenge!"

Check out Nor Soraya's breathtaking photos on her Instagram.

 Jay Jamiliyana

J74.jpg (original size)

Photo credit: Anna-Rina

How long have you been practicing yoga, and how did you find it as your calling? 
"I have been practicing yoga since 2000 and an instructor since 2007, and found it as my calling because of its structure and organization – it keeps me sane, and when I know how to correctly do poses, it feels great. From previous experiences, I picked up the kind of ‘teacher’ I aimed to be and identified how to help those in the same position."

 As a full-time, yoga-hopping instructor, how does yoga keep you balanced and grounded when it is also a job?
"As an instructor, one needs to look at it as genuinely sharing a practice rather than a ‘job’. Applying other parts of the yoga practice on how to conduct oneself mentally and emotionally helps. I started this career wanting to share how to practice poses in a safe manner. I enjoy making challenging poses doable, by guiding practitioners through key basic poses." 

J34.jpg (original size)

Photo credit: Anna-Rina

What’s your favourite yoga pose?
"Child’s Pose. A proper-aligned and well-engaged Child’s Pose looks easy, but when done in the precise form it is a treasure chest to many more powerful poses."

 What’s your favourite type of yoga, and why? 
"It’s my own style of practice harnessed over the years – a combination of flow (Vinyasa) and the importance of holding the main focused poses (Hatha)."

 What do you love most about yoga? 
"It teaches me new things about myself, whether physically, mentally or emotionally. Whether it is becoming stronger, reaping physical rewards, or a self-reminder to be more tolerant, patient, and to understand true strength. It’s about taking the time to fully understand."

J55.jpg (original size)

 Photo credit: Anna-Rina

What’s your best memory of yoga? 
"One day just realising that you can make something out of yourself by believing in yourself and the passion of whatever it is you enjoy doing. It has made me a better version of myself, when each time I take a moment to learn what my practice on the mat translates into life off the mat."

 How can one integrate yoga into their daily lives? 
"Be aware of your body, stand with grace and strength. Walk with awareness, keep your core engaged and spine healthy. Oh, and remember to breathe! Deep slow, smooth breaths, in and out. Yoga can be applied to every day life just by being more conscious."

 Do you think yoga is for everyone?
"Definitely. It is a whole lifestyle. From learning to sit properly, move properly and breathe properly as well as guiding people to make better choices in their life. My yoga practice teaches me to keep my emotions in check, be present, and make changes for the better."

Get your fix of Jay's life as a yoga instructor on her Instagram

Cover photo courtesy of @dtufino_photo.

Give your yoga Zen more edge with a getaway at The Chateau Spa and Organic Wellness Resort

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.