02 Dec 2019
Malvina Kang, founder of Hom Yoga, and her younger son, Navy.
Malvina Kang first discovered yoga when she was only 12 years old. Since then, yoga has remained a constant throughout her life. “It was very natural for me to practice yoga. It felt like something I had always known, like it was my best friend,” she said.
For Malvina, yoga is not just an activity she participates in for an hour each day. Beyond the movement and poses, yoga has taught her mindfulness – something that she strives to apply in her everyday life.
“My personal yoga practice is to use my breath to practice presence with my sons, with my colleagues, with myself,” said Malvina. “This is the yoga practice that I want my two children to live by as well.”
Teaching yoga to her elder son at home gave her the inspiration to share mindfulness practices with children everywhere. This led her to start Mini Glow Yoga Club for children in January 2018.
Having recently opened her latest studio at Valley Point, we met with Malvina to find out more about what inspired her to open Hom Yoga for both children and adults.
Hom Yoga’s outdoor lounge area where patrons can relax and chat.
When I was 12 years old, I was experiencing some anxiety in school, especially considering how rigorous my academic studies were in Singapore. My father signed me up for my first yoga class to help me cope with the stress. My first impression of the yoga studio was that it was a beautiful space. The instructor led the class with Savasana – where we had to lie on our backs with our arms and legs spread, for an hour. My entire body began to relax and that was when I knew that yoga was going to become an intimate part of my life.
Yoga was definitely a big part of my life and I practiced it consistently, but it wasn’t something that I saw myself pursuing as a career. My first job was in a PR agency. I was meeting with clients at all times of the day and my body did not respond well to that. It made me start to question if this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. When my godmother whom I was very close to passed away suddenly, I found myself wanting to find my purpose in life, so I decided to quit my job and went travelling for nine months.
The idea of opening a yoga studio came to me when I was in New York. I felt like I had to do something for myself, so I went online and looked up real estate in Singapore, which was how I found a space for our first studio at Raffles Place.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. I was only 21 years old at the time and did not have much savings or any experience in running a business, but it was something that I believed passionately in. It’s been 10 years since and we have three outlets in total, including this one at Valley Point.
Malvina and her sons, Munro and Navy.
Becoming a mother definitely motivated me to start teaching yoga classes for kids. My older son’s schedule was filled with activity after activity, from piano lessons, to Mandarin classes, to gymnastics, to art classes, and I realised how stressful that must be. Not only does yoga give him the chance to take a break from all of that, it also encourages him to be more aware of his body and himself. I think it is important for us to create an environment for children to practice mindfulness, supporting their growth as they mature from babies to toddlers to children.
We have different classes that cater to each age group, as they all learn a little differently. Four to six-year-olds, for example, learn by play. We tap into their imagination and the natural sense of wonderment and curiosity that children that age possess. We bring in a lot of natural imagery and visualisation for them to experience yoga. We don’t just tell them to do the downward dog. Instead, we guide them into this other world beyond their own immediate physical reality.
Yoga allows children to relax while having fun at the same time.
Some children may have trouble staying focused during the class, or take longer than others to understand the instructions, but this is very normal. The most important thing is for them to enjoy themselves and just be in the moment. We’ve also had the wonderful opportunity to teach special needs children in our yoga sessions. While they require a bit more attention than the rest, I’m sure they have the same amount of fun.
The Mini Glow Yoga Club offers yoga classes for children aged four to six years old, and seven to eleven years old. These are drop-off classes where parents do not join in on the kids’ yoga classes. We are confident that four-year-olds are capable of being independent, and we want to create a safe space for the kids during their sessions. Having their parents watch them during the class might make them feel pressured or self-conscious, making it harder for them to relax.
Besides that, we also have the Mums & Bubs class, which is meant for mothers—or fathers—and babies ranging from as young as one week old to about eighteen months old. These classes require a parent to be present. From January 2020 onwards, we will also be starting yoga classes for toddlers aged eighteen months to three years old.
The kids are even able to pull off challenging poses such as the King Cobra Pose.
Do not have any expectations of your children. Allow them to come in to explore and discover themselves; give them the space to do something that is simply enjoyable, where they don’t have to learn something. Children are much more open to learning new things when it’s not forced onto them.
In this day and age, children are constantly being exposed to external stimuli from tablets and mobile devices. Just as yoga is a great way for adults to escape the stresses of work and daily life, yoga is also a great way for children to learn how to shut out the constant distractions and focus on themselves.
Hom Yoga is located at Valley Point (#01-18/19/19K).