Lifestyle, Workshop Review

A Beginner’s Yoga Experience – Yoga with Serene Martin

Yoga is one thing I never thought I’ll be keen in practising if you’ve spoken to me about it more than 3 years ago.

I used to find yoga too slow and possibly even boring and would gravitate toward more “exciting” classes at my company gym like Zumba, dance, kickboxing, etc.

My very first experience with yoga was a free session at Mantra Samui Resort when we were there for our mini-moon 3 years ago. It was more enjoyable than I had imagined but I still found it a little too slow paced for me. The next time I got in touch with yoga again was a year later during my pregnancy.

I felt nauseous most of the time during my first trimester (but was spared from puking, thankfully) and by the time I hit 2nd trimester, I felt really lethargic and listless. I went to the pool occasionally and went for a few walks but I still felt I couldn’t get my energy level up. During one of my prenatal classes, we were learning about how the right breathing technique can help with delivery and the idea of giving yoga another try just struck me then.

I found it a little too cumbersome to go for yoga classes so I searched YouTube specifically for Pregnancy Yoga videos and found a series of pregnancy yoga by Kate Appleton. I went through the videos almost every morning, practising the moves and breathing techniques and found that it really helped me to feel fresher and less lethargic at the end of the sessions. If you’ve read (or heard) about Laurent’s birth story, I’m thankful to say that I was blessed with a real smooth and fast delivery which took us less than 4 hours in the delivery suite. Looking back I believe all the stretching and practising the right breathing techniques actually helped.

So after my pregnancy, I’ve been wanting to try some yoga classes and was even thinking of doing mom & child yoga with Laurent, but the plans just didn’t materialise. I would still practise some yoga flows while watching YouTube videos but I know it’s still different from learning in a studio with a teacher guiding you. A few months back, my girlfriends started talking about their yoga classes which piqued my interest and during that same period, Serene asked me about joining her 10-session yoga classes. The location was near to my workplace and my 2 girlfriends were keen to join as well so I went ahead and joined Serene for my first series of REAL yoga lessons!

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Yoga with Serene Martin

The yoga practice offered by Serene is a combination of Hatha and Yin yoga. You can find out more about Hatha-Yin yoga on Serene’s page, but for each session, we basically go through the more dynamic flows and balancing poses of Hatha yoga at the beginning and move on to the more soothing and relaxing part of Yin yoga at the later part of the session. The combination makes the yoga sessions really balanced as I get to work up a sweat and try interesting poses at the start and end off the practice with a more relaxed body and mind. The night after my first yoga session with Serene, I had such a great night sleep.

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Serene is a really patient and encouraging teacher. She will always tell us to go through the moves at our own pace and at the degree that we are comfortable with and focus on our own progress and body instead of trying to compare with others. While she doesn’t push us to do moves and poses that we are uncomfortable with, she will encourage us to try new things and help us overcome fears of certain poses and moves. She will be there guiding us patiently as we try and gives us useful tips which can really make a difference.

My girlfriend, XM, perfecting her crow pose after some insightful tips from Serene

My girlfriend, XM, perfecting her crow pose after some insightful tips from Serene

I didn’t think I would even WANT to attempt a headstand but with her encouragement and guidance, I gave it a shot at our 3rd lesson and after with the confidence that she instilled in me, I found that I could do it at home too! With a wall as support, for now 🙂

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On our last session, which came way too quickly, I had to bring Laurent along because Wayne had to return to the office on a short notice. Serene was super cool about it and I could imagine how fun it would be having a mum-and-bub yoga lesson with her!

Happy baby in Happy Baby pose!

Happy baby in Happy Baby pose!

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Yoga with Serene 4

Mama doesn’t get a minute of peace, but the little one’s having fun!

Although it was only 10 sessions across the span of 5 weeks, and I’m literally a beginner, I could already start to experience the benefits that yoga has on my body and state of mind. I could see that I had been building my flexibility, strength, and endurance over the sessions. During the sessions, I was able to just focus on the moves and breathing, which helps me to clear my busy mind from all the cluttered thoughts that had accumulated through the day. Plus, I had a ton of fun attending it with some of the mama bloggers and my gfs!

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When everyone poses pretty but your camera decides to focus on the lights on top

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Yoga with Serene 8

Serene is now teaching her signature Hatha-Yin yoga lessons every Wednesday, 5-6pm at Trehaus (Claymore Connect, 442 Orchard Road, #03-01 Singapore 238879). She is also available for private lessons. For more details, check out her website!

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  1. Serene Martin

    August 21, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Reading this was a sheer joy Dawn! When I was doing my yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India (the place where yoga originated in the world), one of the things I learned that really stuck with me was how the teachers shared with us that yoga was an art, a science and a way of life…it’s about the beautiful energy that arises where we all try to better ourselves regardless of our start point. It’s about the power that comes from centering ourselves and calming our sometimes monkey minds through the simplicity of our breath and surrendering to the process one step at a time. There was this whole philosophical aspect and ‘heart’ of yoga that I really wanted to bring to my classes if I ever taught and having the opportunity to teach students like you allowed me to. I’m so glad you enjoyed our sessions and thank you for all the lovely pictures! With love, Serene 🙂


      September 20, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you so much once again for those wonderful sessions, Serene! I find myself missing those times especially on Friday evenings!

      1. Serene Martin

        September 23, 2016 at 12:09 am

        Awwwwww! I hope that you keep up with doing everything that makes your heart sing and wish you every happiness till we meet next Dawn! Much love, Serene 🙂

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