From Crunching Data to Building Muscles

When Lu Jingshi graduated from Nanyang Technological University’s communication faculty last July, she decided to take the road less travelled. The research major, who also had a six-month internship at research firm AC Nielsen, put aside her numerical skills and embraced her physical strength.

She became a yoga instructor.

“Working in public relations or marketing would probably be enjoyable, but I don’t think it’d be as satisfying and fulfilling as when I teach yoga,” she says, adding that she thinks data processing is boring.

“I’m not sure why people would find it interesting to know what the most popular milk powder brand is,” she says with a laugh. “I don’t care. It doesn’t appeal to me at all.”

The affable 24-year-old admits to finding “perverse pleasure” in seeing her students working up a sweat.

“When you see your students sweating and looking super jia lat, you feel happy,” she says, chuckling. “Even when they complain, you know they’re enjoying themselves. People like torture, surprisingly.”

Her style of yoga, she explains, is one of a continuous flow, with many holding positions that require muscle strength rather than flexibility. A type of Hatha Yoga, it was developed by Master Srinivas Suresh Kamal, an Indian yoga master who currently teaches at True Yoga.

“If you’re warm enough, your flexibility will increase – that’s what hot yoga is about – but we’re not doing it in the ‘external heat’ kind of way; we’re generating heat from within oneself,” she says.

Jingshi started yoga when she was 18, and has studied under Yvette Tee, a fellow teacher who specialises in Kryoga. Jingshi now teaches at Amore Fitness and Spaboutique. She also gives private classes to individuals at their houses or her own home.

The money, she says, hasn’t really been rolling in yet though. Currently, she gives about eight corporate classes in a month, and charges $70 to $80 an hour. These, along with her one-to-one lessons for which she charges about $90 an hour, means she makes slightly less than typical fresh graduates holding full-time positions.

“I don’t earn a lot yet,” she admits. “I feel that doing yoga is a right for everyone; I see myself as spreading my love for yoga to others, so I don’t want to charge such high fees.”

That is why she’s trying to get morning lessons to fill up her days and add to her income. “When you teach yoga, you’ve to find classes to fill your whole day in order to earn enough to sustain yourself, but it’s usually difficult to get day classes; it’s easier to get evening classes because people are free after work,” she explains.

Financial constraint isn’t stopping her, though. And in fact, neither did the objections her father had when she first started out.

“My dad thinks I shouldn’t be doing this. He was like, ‘You studied so much; then you become a yoga teacher and don’t use your brains’,” she says with a smile, adding that her mother was more supportive. “And he thinks it’s good if I worked in an organisation and get a feel of what it’s like to work in a team or abide by dress codes and stuff like that.”

Still, for someone who deadpans that she’d “rather do 1,000 push-ups than to walk in heels”, Jingshi doesn’t see herself working in an office in the long run. For now, she intends to continue teaching – and learning, “because in yoga, you don’t reach a certain limit where you can’t learn even more” and possibly opening her own studio in the future.

“My teacher (Yvette) and I are thinking of having our own school one day,” she says enthusiastically. “We would turn it into a wellness school, a holistic place where people get spot massages and ayurveda.”


For more information on Jingshi’s classes and fees, please contact her at 9478 0855.

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