Top 10 Inspirational Yoginis in Hijab

Do you need to be flexible to yoga? Do you need to be superfit or super lean to perform headstand and all those difficult-looking poses? The answer to all is NO. We are featuring yoginis in hijab across the globe and their lovely journey in yoga. With a common love in yoga, these 10 inspiring ladies from different ages and backgrounds share why they embark into yoga,  where they get their training from, their routines and their personal views on how yoga has benefited them.

For newbies and those who wanted to try yoga, you can learn from these strong and beautiful ladies. Just follow their instagram and nashatadotcom’s instagram for tips and updates.

YOGA IN HIJAB

Brunei ] [ Indonesia ] [ Malaysia ] [ Singapore ] [ United Arab Emirates ] [ USA ]

  • UAE : Nura Arabi
  • Brunei: YogaWithAmani
  • Indonesia : Lola Shariff
  • Indonesia : ErziYoga
  • Malaysia : Najwa
  • Malaysia : Nadia
  • Malaysia : Rita Rahayu
  • Singapore : Nura
  • Singapore : Farah
  • USA : Yasmin Essa

BRUNEI

Amani A. Muntassir, 30 @yogawithamani

~ Yoga is for everyone for all ages and different body types. You just have to start somewhere

Amani is a full time Biology teacher and part time yoga instructor in Brunei. She started yoga back in 2006 during her university days, where she set up a yoga club. Yoga is her way to release stress and she finds yoga to be different than other sports.  To her yoga eliminates all sense of competitiveness and comparing with others, while she focuses on herself, my own practice.

After completing 200 hour yoga training at Ubud Bali in December 2014, Amani teaches yoga. She is also a prenatal yoga teacher. Despite her busy schedule as a teacher, Amani teaches yoga three times a week at the studio. Other than teaching, she enjoys performing the yin style yoga and sometimes vinyasa or stronger yoga routines. Now, she joins her favourite international teachers online as ways to improve her routine.

AMANI IN FAVOURITE POSE : HEADSTAND

Amani in Favourite Pose : HeadStand

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INDONESIA

Lola Shariff, 39 @lolashariff

~ Yoga makes Lola happy and strong, and most of all to her, it is a never ending journey.

A self taught yogini initially, Lola started yoga when she had lower back pain in 2014. She joined yoga classes a year later and found improvements in her practice since, especially alignments. Lola works as a freelance subtitler, and she balances her time by attending classes twice a week at least, except weekends. She enjoys hatha, iyengar, power yoga, sometimes swing yoga and ashtanga. She practices backbends and handstands frequently at home.

LOLA IN FAVOURITE POSE : HANDSTAND

LolaShariff in Favourite Pose : HeadStand

Erzi, 31 @erziyoga

~ Yoga enfolded via Technology

A mother residing in Jakarta started yoga 3 and a half years ago when her sister took her to join a private yoga class. Since then, Erzi and friends have private yoga classes at sister’s house.

Yoga is a not a high impact activity and is an enjoyable journey. Despite gentle movement on a mat, yoga can make one sweat and build one’s energy, explains Erzi. To Erzi, yoga teaches her to breathe well and stay calm and relaxed in any conditions. Even though she has been learning yoga for more than 3 years, she still attends yoga classes at a studio and private yoga class once a week with her sister.

ERZI LOVES MEDITATION

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She starts her practice with meditation, minus chanting. To her, meditation connects her breathing with mind and that helps her improve her routines. She would then stretch her neck, arms, sides of my body, spine and continue to Sun Salutation A for 8-10 rounds before continuing to my peak pose of the day.

She advises other sisters to learn yoga online like Youtube, if there is no studio closeby. She shares that some of the well-known yoga teachers online has some beginner tips about how to get onto your mat while others have classes for beginners to intermediate level. She also finds instagram as a good channel to learn yoga.

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MALAYSIA

Najwa / Wawa, 31 @najwa.bulat

~ Learn from a qualified and professional instructors 

Najwa started yoga 17 years ago at a tender age of 14. She started yoga to improve asthmatic condition. Now, a Fitness & Yoga Instructor, Najwa finds yoga important to keep her improve body strength, maintain a lean body and to keep healthy & flexible. Most of all, the breathing techniques help cure her asthmatic problem.

Being a qualified Hatha Yoga Tutor from Slimhealth Aerobic & Dance Studio and a fitness instructor, Najwa’s routine is colorful. She urges beginners to learn from a qualified and professional instructor to reap the benefits of yoga so that you can get a lean, curvy and fit body.

NAJWA KEEPS A COLORFUL ROUTINE

Najwa

Here’s Najwa’s colorful routines that combines yoga with other types of workout:

1) Hatha Yoga
2) Body Weight Training
3) High Intensity Workout
4) Weight Training
5) Cardio Workout (Boxing+Aerobic+ Dance)

Nadiah Mohaizi, 36 @nadie_omgoing

~ You will be fascinated by what your body can do, and it comes a reminder to care for her body – a gift from Allah 

An engineer by profession, and certified yoga instructor, Nadiah started yoga to loose pregnancy weight. Yoga fits the need as she wanted something she could practice at home. She also finds yoga as a good weight training exercise as you’d need to do planks, lunges, inversion, and arm balances which are important for women to increase stamina and metabolism. To Nadia, yoga is not about the asanas (poses), but the journey into achieving them and to remain calm through proper breathing in maintaining poses. Keeping calm is important in her hectic daily life. Till today, she is fascinated by what her body can do and it serves as a reminder for her to care for her body – a gift from Allah.

NADIAH IN FAVOURITE POSE : forearm stand

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Like Erzi and Amani, Nadiah also uses technology to learn yoga at beginning stage. After which, she attended  Atilia freeyogafit class at KLCC. She took teacher training at MAYI to be a certified yoga instructor and now she practices Ashtanga at Mysoreroom KL in Binjai 8. She trains every other day for 10 minutes and suggests newbies to practice safe and find a good teacher to help with alignment and postures.

Rita Rahayu Omar, 41 @ritarahayuomar

~ Yoga is not a destination…it is a journey that enriches you every step of the way.

RITA feels happy when she is upside down

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A mother of 4, a lactation consultant and an serial entrepreneur, Rita started yoga in 2011 when she was living abroad as an expat wife. At that time she had just lost her baby, and despite having support from husband and children she felt rather lost and depressed. She read a lot about yoga and was intrigued by it further after hearing friends talk about it. Soon, she hired a personal yoga instructor who came 5 days a week.

Rita emphasizes the importance of breathing techniques; the techniques that help achieve relaxation, mental clarity and eliminates stress , fatigues, depression and anxiety. She felt better and healthier after a few sessions and after 3 months into yoga, she was pregnant again and she continued to do yoga throughout her pregnancy. Her 4th baby is a peaceful, happy, yoga baby. He’s always wanting to practice yoga with Rita whenever he sees the mat!

Despite her busy schedule running her businesses Bebe Sachi and The KembaRA, Rita yoga at least once a day either in the morning or everning. She likes inversion poses because of its many health benefits. Among others it helps supply blood to brain, build your core strength and balance to our body.

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SINGAPORE

Nura Ahmad, 25 @yogawithnura

~ a fitness goal that became a self-growth and self-discovery journey

Nura started learning yoga at a young age of 17. She wanted to improve athletic performance and saw progressive results in stamina running long distance despite having asthma. She survived colon cancer and irritable bowel syndrome in 2012.

NURA ACTIVE IN YOGA @ 6 MONTHS of PREGNANcy

Currently 6 months pregnant with her first baby, Nura finds pranayama (breathing techniques) and a quiet 15 minutes mindfulness shapes her to be better version of herself, discovering  weakness and grounding herself from pride.  She dedicates 3-4 times weekly of prenatal, hatha and restorative yoga while committing herself to do house chores. A committed fitness entrepreneur at @fitness4muslimah and a certified yoga trainer (Ashtanga & Hatha), Kids Yoga teacher and Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga teacher, she advises other sisters to just show up on the mat, no matter how you feel that day.

Nura loves all yoga poses and always balance her flows with standing poses for concentration and balance, twists poses for internal detoxification and help keep irritable bowel syndrome at bay, hip openers, backbends aka heart openers which helps her a lot in strengthening interpersonal relationship with students and loved ones. She loves arm balances such as crow, eight angle and headstands for core and grow her upper body strength after spending almost half of her years building endurance in lower torso for athletic performance in school.

Farah Lyna, 31 @farah.yuj

~ Yoga is non-competitive, so there is no need to feel pressured or exert yourself in a pose.

From running to yoga, Farah, now a yoga teacher, started attending yoga classes 9 years ago and only looked into yoga seriously in 2013. Yoga became a regular practice when her scoliosis started to cause numbness on left leg.She received training from Tirisula Yoga in Singapore.

Farah starts her morning training with some pranayama (yoga breathing exercises), followed by a few rounds Sun Salutations and simple stretches like forward folds, backbends, twists and a headstand. She tries to do  Ashtanga practice at least once a week.

To Farah, everyone has a unique body type and it’s important to work within own physical limits. Farah echos other yoginis reminders that with regular practice & patience, our body will get used to the routines. Yoga is a journey of self-discovery.

SELF DISCOVERY THROUGH YOGA

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Nura Arabi @_iChallenger

~ You won’t understand the gain that is waiting for you until you try it and judge from experience.

Nura Arabi, like other sisters in fitness found love in yoga. Nura is a physical education and health teacher and she teaches swimming and Zumba and she writes about  fitness. She started yoga in 2015 and practices twice a week since. She started learning yoga at a Yoga center, after which she learn via youtube videos at time of convenience.

To Nura, yoga is a good way to get deep into herself as it teaches patience, body awareness and improves muscular and mental strength.

Nura Arabi in Favourite Pose : Tripod Headstand

Nura Arabi in Favourite Pose : Tripod Headstand

USA

Yasmin Essa HC, AADP, 27 @ wellnesswithyasmin.com & @yasminessa

~ Yoga is an artistic form of expression
Yasmin started yoga when she was a senior in high school and has been into fitness since. She was the first female student trainer at Montclair State University, but it was after college her love for yoga grew. Yoga helps reduce pain she has on her back due to  idiopathic scoliosis.

After going to classes at studios over the years, Yasmin is now a self-taught yogini and a board certified Holistic Health Coach. She keeps her routine interesting combining different types of workout activities. She does a lot of strength training, some HIIT for cardio, and yoga for flexibility and lengthening all of which she shares on instagram

YASMIN GRADUATED FROM THE Institute for Integrative Nutrition

yasmin essa

Yasmin enjoys flowing from downward dog to plank to upward dog to child’s pose as it warms her body up for a more rigorous workout, or to stretch out.

She reminds newbies not to compare yourself with others and to focus on being most present in your own body, mind, and soul.

Chelsea, Wellness Blogger @ MuslimahHealthy.com

~ You can never  get bored with yoga

Chelsea started yoga in May, 2015 when she was traveling a lot and didn’t have access to a gym. She fell in love with it so much that decided to start a full-time practice. Chelsea finds there is always something to work towards whether it is more advanced poses, building strength/flexibility, or working on form and technique. A self taught and self-motivated person, Chelsea constantly progress and keeps pushing herself to get better and better in yoga.

She practices the Ashtanga yoga method, memorizes a sequence of poses and practices every day. Once she feels she has mastered a certain set of poses, she would move on add more into her routine until she eventually memorizes the entire Ashtanga sequence – around 40 poses. Like many of the other yoginis, Chelsea really love inversions and arm-balances because of the core and shoulder work she gets. Her favorites would have to be the forearm stand, handstand  and backbend.

She reminds other sisters not to be afraid about not being flexible enough or skinny enough and they are not important. Yoga is for absolutely everyone and it is a progression. Chelsea does many other types of workouts and finds yoga great workout. She actually needs to keep a sweat rag next to her mat during practice!

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What are you waiting for girls? Just get onto the mat and go through the beautiful journey of yoga. You can get a lot of help from these inspiring yogonis!

Sea Canoe and ATV Ride in Phuket, Thailand

I had to be in Thailand for a business trip, so I decided to take the opportunity to schedule my flight a little bit early before the meetings and conference started by spending a few days in Phuket. Phuket requires no introduction, it is a well-known international tourist destination. Escaping the crowded beaches, we opted to explore sea caves near Phang Nga Bay by canoeing.

Phang Nga bay is about 45 minutes via boat from mainland Phuket. As we rode on, the geological features of the beaches begin to change. There were many cliffs instead of long, sandy beaches, and plenty of mangrove forests. We spotted many smaller islands that were probably privately owned as it did not look uninhabited. After all, who does not want to own a small piece of paradise on earth?

We arrived at a cliff with a very small opening at it’s base. The small opening leads into a cave that will take us deeper. I’m no geology expert, however I am amazed by the rock formations and the raw beauty of the caves. Naturally carved for thousands of years through forces of Mother Nature such as erosion, landslides, and earthquakes, only God’s powers can create these unique formations and will continue to evolve through time.

IMG_3389Going into the belly of the cave underneath the cliff

IMG_3404Emerging from the cave, we spotted a lone mangrove tree. This small, muddy island underneath the tree is home to many small crabs

IMG_3466The warm, clear sea water is home to many animals, such as this jellyfish. Don’t be deceived by these harmless-looking creatures, they sting!

IMG_3491 IMG_3447Eagles trailing our boat.

IMG_3468Each canoe comes with a guide who will paddle for you, so all you need to do it just sit back and take in the view. However, I took turns paddling with my guide, just for fun.

Besides the sun, sand, and sea, Phuket is also known as a place for adventure seekers. For some adrenaline rush, we discovered an ATV site and went for a one hour drive. Our guide took us through the forest, village, and beach. There is nothing more thrilling than the rush of wind on your face and manoeuvring through some rough terrain, leaving us feeling that we wished we had booked for a longer drive. One hour simply wasn’t enough!

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Phuket has a lot to offer, I wish I had more time to enjoy everything it has to offer and explore even more. But for now, it’s time to get serious and head to work!

 

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When travelling, always prioritize for comfort in my Heather Hoodie! Then change into work-appropriate attire later.

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

No website available for tour companies for the above activities, however upon arrival at the airport there are plenty of booths and tours to choose from. Prices may vary depending on your ability to bargain.

Tips on What to Wear for Vacation

The world is the best classroom, says an avid traveler friend. Indeed it is. There is so much to see and learn when you travel. So do plan for a mix of different types of travel throughout the year for a colorful journey of life; city trips, art and culture, sea & sun, backpacking, nature & adventure, snow & ski, cruises and trips on train.

Whether you travel solo or with family and friends, make sure you pack for an awesome comfy experience.  We have put together some fashion suggestions for travelers who want to pack light, stylish and smart.

1. Double Purpose Outfit

If space is a concern, you would want to bring double purpose outfits that you could use for both wet and dry. If you planning for a sea & sun vacation or a even a cruise, you could choose outfits made of fabrics that are uv-protective and fast-drying. There are hijabs, tops and pants that are made of such material and designed for dual purposes. Get the ones you could get wet and dry in so that you could reduce time to change outfits in between.

If your destination is cool and cold, pack some tops than can be used independently or as jacket. The ones with a front zip like a jacket are always flattering work independently or for outer use.

Double Purpose Outfit

Double Purpose Outfit. Suggestion for Sea & Sun, Cruises & Water Adventure

Double Purpose Outfit

Outfit Suggestion for Nature & Adventure, Backpacking

2. Fabric Matters

Know the weather of your destination and bring outfits made of the suitable fabric. For hot and humid weather, light color outfits made of moisture-wicking, lightweight UV protective and fast-drying are recommended. For cool and cloudy weather you could choose fabrics made of slightly thicker and as for ski and snow travel, you would have to bring outfits made of waterproof yet breathable fabrics to keep you warm and comfy for outdoor activities. Check the weather forecast of your destination and bring raincoats and lightweight waterproof outfits if needed.

Snow & Ski

Outfit Suggestion for Snow & Ski, City Trips

 

3. Suitable Footgear

Based on the weather and type of activities, pack for suitable footgears. If you plan to get wet, bring slipper or flip flops. For sea and sun travel, it is good to bring aqua shoes to protect your feet in the water. Some footgear like training shoes and sandals can be used for city tours and backpacking. A good rule of thumb is to wear dual-purpose footgear and pack one purposeful footgear in your luggage.

City Tours, Trips on Train, Backpacking

Outfit Suggestion for City Tours, Trips on Train, Backpacking

 

4. Pockets and Pouches

A traveler can’t run away from having to carry travel documents, IDs, wallets, hotel key, tickets and passes with you. This is when you need to wear outfits with ample pockets. Travel pouches and purposeful handbags can be handy too, but make sure they are not too big, easy to clean and lightweight. They can be smart pockets like the wrist pocket below for you to keep IDs and room keys with you.

Wrist Pocket on Zip Up Azeeza

Wrist Pocket on Zip Up Azeeza

5. Practical Headgear, Roll and Wear

Reduce accessories, bring practicality. Instant shawl, sports hijab, multi-purpose inner and headgears that are easy to wear and lightweight are ideal for travel. They are good for cold weather as well, so do bring the ones made of suitable fabric. Also, make sure you pack colors that are fun and easy to match with your outfits.

razzglove

Multi-Style Raazglove

 

Bring outfits you can just roll and wear, but don’t forget to bring at least one nice evening dress just in case you have to go to a fancy restaurant for dinner!

Lastly, I would pack for outfits that are ablution-friendly. You may not find mosques, praying and ablution areas while travelling so wearing outfits with designs that are loose or stretchable around wrist, arms and ankles. They are definitely useful.

 

Happy & safe travel!