The training ground for life

Virgin Active invites all to embrace yoga which can touch people in ways beyond just health and well-being

Some people may shy away from yoga because of backbreaking postures or because it seems pretty boring and slow.

Virgin Active's Mark Seeto encourages people to try the ancient practice, which connects all touchpoints through posture training and breathing exercises, creating clarity and inner peace as well as increasing awareness of the body, mind and spirit.

"I think yoga is such a beautiful practice to help people come together with themselves, it is a union of self and an understanding of self," said Seeto, the company's global head of yoga and reformer Pilates.

Virgin Active operates eight health clubs in Thailand, where the Align, Calm and Flow yoga classes have been designed under the concept "Find Your Inner Strength", with each class a journey to self-discovery.

"Once people start their journey, they quickly come to the realisation that it is not a stretch class," Seeto said. "It is not about how flexible you can be or making perfect physical shapes. Yoga is a life practice and it can touch so many different parts of not just health and well-being, but the way we relate to different people, the way we see the wider world and especially the way that we see ourselves. For most people, it is probably the greatest discovery with yoga and that this practice can help them get a better sense of themselves."

For beginners and advanced levels, Yoga Align involves standing and sitting positions that pull the focus onto the centre. Asanas and breathing exercises create concentration as well as focus on body heat to balance fire and water elements.

Focusing on mobility and flexibility of joints, muscles and other tissues, Yoga Calm will help you feel refreshed physically, mentally and spiritually. Stretching the body and connecting it to the earth element within will help promote stillness and tranquillity.

Yoga Flow class differs with continuous and fast-paced movements, accompanied by rhythmic music. It helps stimulate breathing and the development of muscles by integrating the element of wind into the body to increase the mobility of the joints and other parts of the body. This, in turn, will help facilitate the flow of energy throughout every part of the body from head to toe, while simultaneously clearing the mind as well.

Seeto's aspiration is to spread the benefits of yoga and Pilates across the globe. As a yoga instructor, he's an expert at getting people out of their comfort zone, to do things they don't necessarily want to do.

Mark Seeto, Virgin Active's global head of yoga and reformer Pilates. Photos © Virgin Active Thailand

"We often say that the yoga mat is the microcosm of your macro world. The way that you do anything on the yoga mat is likely the way you do things in your life," he said. "If your pose gets really difficult and you just give up, then I would be looking at life and think if things get difficult at work, do I just give up? Am I the type of person that just gives up? So, yoga is just the training ground for life. You can practice resilience, practice doing hard things on the yoga mat, and practice surrender and letting go."

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