Award winning TV series Find Me A Singaporean goes to the Arctic! Zoe Ho was found in Inuvik, Northwest Territories of Canada covering stories of the locals, their culture and their land as a magazine editor. Leaving life of a city girl in 2005, she has formed a deep connection with nature and its people. This series showcases Singaporeans living and working in faraway places all over the world. Each heart-warming experience connects Singaporeans, and inspires us to have the courage and determination to pursue one’s dreams. (With English subtitles)
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So delighted to be featured in Mingpao Daily, Canada’s largest Chinese Newspaper! Read full article with English translation here. 🙂
Published Thursday, Oct 15, 2015
Zoe Ho is bringing her “Republic of Yoga” technique to the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex. (Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo)
Flexibility not a class requirement
Gentle yoga instructor leading classes at recreation complex
Shawn Giilck, Northern News Services
[INUVIK] Have you heard the joke about a yoga teacher who isn’t flexible? You’re not alone if you haven’t. Still, that’s what Zoe Ho, who’s teaching gentle yoga once a week at the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex on an interim basis, claims.
“I’m really, really stiff and I’m not very sporty,” Ho said Feb. 26 as she prepared for a restorative yoga class. “I hate exercise. When I was training to be a teacher, it took me a long time to master some of it compared to the others, but my body has changed a lot.
“I needed a very long training, because my body was not ready for it,” she added. “I felt really inferior.”
You wouldn’t know it now. Two days earlier, Ho helped put a reporter through a portion of her gentle yoga class with decidedly mixed results.
At one point, she and a few of the people in the class were literally bent in a backward bow, rocking on their torsos while grabbing their feet.
That looked too painful to even contemplate, so this reporter skipped it entirely. Ho began teaching the class in the last few months while Sasha Webb, the regular instructor, is off on maternity leave.
“I’m trying to make the most of it while I’m here.”
It appears she’s attracted a following, too, as the Monday gentle class was full.
“I’d like to keep doing this,” Ho declared. “I wish I was doing this every day.”
She added that she feels like she was meant to teach the craft.
She coined the name for her class the “Republic of Yoga” while living in Singapore, she said. Ho said that she found it difficult to have a “voice” there, but realized yoga was the great leveller.
“I realized when you’re in a republic, everybody has a voice, and yoga is kind of like that. Everybody can come and do their thing and contribute and say how they want their world and their yoga to be.”
She took up yoga in earnest after arriving in Inuvik several years ago after seeing a yoga podcast and trying to follow the workout. “That was so hard,” she exclaimed.
Ho, who works fulltime as the editor/writer/creative director of the publication Tusaayaksat, said she renewed her interest in yoga sometime after working out to the podcast as a way to find a bit of a refuge from her very public job.
“Later, when I decided to take a bit of a break, I decided I was just going to be a yoga instructor.”
She was looking for something that she “wouldn’t take home” with her.
“It’s been really amazing,” Ho said. “It’s like finding a path to yourself. I think it was really life changing.”
She’ll be teaching until April, when Webb is slated to return.
Ho encouraged more aboriginal people to come out and try the class, since that’s the demographic she’s missing at the moment.
“I think that’s because this is really unfamiliar (to them),” she said.
Ho said she’s giving some thought to finding a way to fuse yoga with the Northern and Dene games tradition to make it more appealing, since she’s deeply impressed with the athleticism those traditional games require.
Published Thursday, March 6, 2014
A Serene Oasis in Bishan-Thomson
“Before I began yoga, I was stiff as a robot,” laughed Zoe Ho, a yoga teacher and studio owner of Republic of Yoga in the Bishan-Toa Payoh community. Zoe previously worked as a photo-journalist in Canada’s Western Arctic. As a city girl from Singapore, adjusting to life in isolated communities with few amenities and harsh -40 degree climates was a monumental challenge and an eye opener.
“Carrying 5 kg cameras around my neck, hiking over snow covered cliffs to cover Inuit community news, and haunching over the computer till wee hours to meet deadlines created lots of back and shoulder pain. I first tried yoga by following online videos, and was completely confounded by the postures – “downward what”? But the bliss I felt after as my body pains subsided and stress melted away got me hooked!”
Having experienced the physical health improvement, ehanced mental clarity and mood lifting benefits of yoga, Zoe returned to Singapore and became a Yoga Alliance Certified Advanced Yoga Teacher, teaching at Singapore Polytechnic, corporations, yoga studios and health clubs throughout Singapore. She specializes in taking students through compelling practices with joy, serenity, attention to alignment and injury prevention. Her specialties are hatha yoga (Iyengar orientation), and yin yoga.
Zoe has recently set up her boutique yoga studio in the Thomson area. “I wanted to bring yoga to my family and to my community!” she said. “It has been an absolute pleasure to become closer to my neighbours, to laugh and practice together, to feel this strong and warm sense of community.”
Giving back is a priority for Zoe, and one of her studio’s first projects is to fundraise for the Melrose Home Children’s Aid Society so that during Lunar New Year, all children at the Home could receive Ang Paos. She also volunteers, teaching stress management techniques to youth through yoga. She is grateful for the community’s response to the fundraising initiative and to volunteers who help with the running of the studio.
“I understand how yoga can be intimidating for beginners, and try to make every class joyful, inspiring and fun, focusing on celebrating and working with where the body is at. That’s why my studio is called ‘Republic of Yoga’ – we welcome all shapes, sizes, and ages! Everybody gets to explore and develop their yoga practice freely,” said Zoe.
From Thomsoners, a publication of the Thomson Citizen’s Consultative Committee.