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Yoga for good karma

People often fail to stop and smell the roses, they are so caught up with every-day drama that they fail to see what life has presented them. Yoga allows one to connect their mind and soul, and find the perfect balance in their life. So whoever says that yoga is boring ought to think twice after reading this....

She will turn 24 soon and has been practicing yoga for a decade. She was the runner-up for Miss Singapore Universe 2008. She is young, beautiful, intelligent and ambitious. Meet Malvina Kang, the brains behind contemporary boutique hot yoga studio, Yoga.

Currently residing in Sydney, where she has established a second yoga studio, Malvina has taken a fresh and modern approach to hot yoga with Yoga’s latest initiative, Karma Yoga. Joining hands with UNIFEM to empower women and to make yoga more accessible to people from various communities in Singapore, Karma Yoga is held in support of the recent International Migrant Day, which took on Dec 18 last year.


Executive director of UNIFEM Singapore, Pia Bruce, says, “We are very excited about our collaboration with Yoga. This is not only a great opportunity for employers and their domestic helpers to get to know each other better, but also a contribution towards helping disadvantaged women and children around the region.”

No more stifling and intimidating gyms with yoga instructors who do not even remember your name or recognise your face. Say goodbye to furtive glances from people with disdainful looks on their faces as you are doing your poses.


THE STUDIOS ARE BRIGHTLY LIT AND SPACIOUS, PROVIDES AMPLE BREATHING SPACE Yoga’s members are a close knit bunch who are passionate about finding balance and peace of mind and body. The intimate setting and small classes allow the teachers to know all the students’ names by heart. Students can bond better with other students too.

The boutique yoga studio also encourages greener living—according to Malvina, yoga studios typically provide members with five towels per yoga session. At, only two towels are provided, which will save gallons of water. Also, environmental awareness messages are put up in the changing room as a way of encouraging people to think twice about taking long showers, using excessive towels or buying bottled water.



“People have this notion that yoga is only accessible for those with money. By having this [Karma Yoga], we are reaching out to people with high income as well as people in various communities, especially the minorities. These people [foreign domestic workers] don’t have the financial capability to practice yoga or even exercise and have a hobby. So this allows them to channel their emotions in a positive manner [and] to [give them] a place to go to. They don’t have to fork out a huge sum of money. [We want them to] just go there, experience yoga for themselves and feel good! And eventually empowerment will happen naturally,” explains Malvina regarding the concept behind Karma Yoga.

San Lai, our teacher for the day, was attentive and encouraging, making sure that none of the students were left out with every rigorous movement and pose. “Most foreign domestic workers get screamed or yelled at, so doing yoga actually releases tensions in their body. Being in the warm studio and even doing the most insignificant yoga pose helps them,” explains San.

Susilowati, 28, a foreign domestic worker who came to learn yoga, said: “It is encouraging, fun  [and] something different for me to do, and I enjoyed it.”

Malvina believes in living life to the fullest, as cliché as it sounds. She wants people to stop and smell the roses, to focus their attention on others, and to build caring and loving relationships with people.



“Find a career and do something that you love and [are] passionate about, then you don’t have to work a single day of your life,”

she says. She also wishes to educate people on the importance of keeping and preserving the environment and believes in contributing back to society. Malvina may have been a runner-up for Miss Singapore Universe 2008, but she’s certainly a champion for life.

It was my first experience doing hot yoga. I have heard many complaints about people who have difficulty breathing, feeling uncomfortable and bla la bla... The studio which was kept heated at approximately 38 degrees was surprisingly pleasant. Unlike what I have heard about hot yoga, it was fun and I most definitely can breathe comfortably. There is a sense of fulfilment doing one hour of yoga compared to two hours of cardio on a machine. Being in a pre-heated yoga studio is no doubt better than being in a chilled room. It was evident from the participants’ bright smiley faces after the class that they had a good time, and no amount of words can sum up that kind of happiness and satisfaction.


So drop whatever you are doing this coming Sunday and bring your ‘Mbak’ or ‘Aunty’ to Yoga for spiritual healing of the mind and body—all for a very good cause.

Karma Yoga classes will be held at Yoga for four Sundays in Jan 9 to Jan 30 from 1pm to 2pm. Class fees are waived for foreign domestic workers and the general public will be asked to pay $5 per class.

All proceeds will go towards UNIFEM to fund their continuing works toward women's empowerment and gender equality in developing countries; supporting programs that provide women and children to a life free of discrimination, violence and abuse. Yoga is located at 3 Canton Street #02-01.