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Sheela CSheela’s background is originally in academia and the social sciences. After her studies in Singapore, she left for graduate school in the United States. It was at college in California that she met her yoga teacher who would change her path forever. After practising with her teacher for two years, she returned to Asia, got certified and started teaching yoga in 2012.

Her favourite styles of teaching are Iyengar and Restorative.

What is your favourite type of class to teach? My first experience with yoga was when I was in California for grad school. My teacher studied directly with BKS Iyengar and so my “home’ style is Iyengar yoga.

Although I’ve since returned to Singapore, my teaching philosophy continues to be inspired by her. Despite the modern group class format, I teach yoga to the individual. An Iyengar approach means that each student is there to discover their own experience and learn for themselves what kind of practice serves them best. 

What is your favourite pose? Anything that lets me get creative with props to achieve whatever it is my body needs at the moment. I’m pretty obsessed with yoga props and love what they have brought to my practice and teaching. 

What is your least favourite pose and why? I’m going to answer this question in another way. My least favourite *practice* is the kind that emphasises aesthetics over function. We are not dancers, gymnasts or contortionists. I don’t care how bendy you are, how amazing you look in your pose or how many “likes” it gets on Instagram. 

What keeps bringing you back to your yoga mat? I have an insatiable appetite for new knowledge / information / understanding on the body and human condition. I get this from my own reading and interacting with a wider international yogi community online. Also, I’m a solitary soul so getting together with my teacher and friends for practice is a way for me to be around people in a way that instead of draining me, replenishes my energy. 

What is the strangest place you have done a yoga practice/pose? At Ikea choosing a folding chair for my practice and testing each one by getting into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel pose). I did that at least 10 times.

What always makes you laugh? Google “Anderson Cooper giggling”. See also French & Saunders.

What is one of your personal quirks/habits/idiosyncrasies? I can’t do small talk. 

What is one thing about you that most people don’t know (until now)? Most of my yogi friends and current students already know this. I have several injuries in my body that have made a “normal” yoga practice near impossible.  I often tell my students: “I got injured, so that you didn’t have to.” My goal is to teach in a way that keeps everyone in my class healthy, safe and strong.