Using yoga to help Malaysian mothers find inner peace and renew their energy

  • Family
  • Tuesday, 15 Aug 2023

Some of the participants in her programme. — Photos: CALEEN CASERYN CHUA

Yoga instructor Caleen Caseryn Chua has a thing for calmness and positive energy. She believes that both are necessary reset strategies in a modern life that is chaotic and overwhelming.

After relinquishing her F&B business, Chua, 35, is now a yoga and mindfulness coach who hopes to guide women to focus and pay attention to their inner needs and cultivate tenacity.

Yoga, Chua says, has helped her achieve a physical and mental wellness balance that she lacked before.Yoga, Chua says, has helped her achieve a physical and mental wellness balance that she lacked before.“The traditional view is still that mothers stay home and sacrifice for their children, but who will take care of them when they perform their duties as mothers?” she asks.

Three years ago, she launched Yoga for Mums, a programme for women to help them experience a change through yoga and mindfulness.

“With a stronger, more resilient mind, they are able to find inner peace and ways to manage their negative emotions from life’s pressures,” she says.

She pays special attention to women who are neglected while fulfilling their motherhood duties.

“These women often experience emotional neglect, even depression, while taking care of their children and families. I hope to play a role as a guide for women to achieve emotional satisfaction through mindfulness,” she adds.

Bouncing back

Yoga is not new to Chua as she has been practising it since she was 18. She studied finance, and has worked as a business analyst as well as managed restaurants. Her working life was hectic, with long working days, and she fell into a period of depression.

Four months after giving birth, a physical examination showed an ovarian cyst and Chua was overwhelmed and worried. “Who would look after my young child if I don’t survive?” she would often ask herself.

Chua says after her health scare, she vowed to use her skills and energy to help others.Chua says after her health scare, she vowed to use her skills and energy to help others.It was during that period that she decided that if the operation to remove her cyst was successful, she would focus her efforts on giving something positive to society. And that was how her programme came about.

“I just never imagined that I would come full circle and go back to yoga and mindfulness, but here I am. Yoga has been very helpful to me. It allowed me to connect with myself, gave me space to learn and grow, and made me calmer and more focused.

“I think it’s very important to empower mothers and keep them mentally healthy and strong so they too, feel valued and cared for. Mothers use a lot of their energy to raise their children and take care of their families, and to create a family atmosphere full of positive energy and develop positive attitude towards life.”

Regaining body confidence

Chua says many mothers have body confidence issues postpartum, and she is no exception. She set the goal of regaining her figure and strength by combining high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and yoga three times a week. She regularly shares her progress on social media to encourage other postpartum mothers.

“Even if women feel that they are fatter or weaker after giving birth, they should not give up on themselves. There is hope and possibility to become their best selves again.”

She believes that it is very important for mothers to have a positive attitude.

“If they are not determined or do not have a positive mindset, then any coaching will be in vain. The biggest challenge I face as a yoga and mindfulness coach is negative mentality. If individuals can change their negative mentality, they can achieve so much more,” she says.

Currently, her Mind and Body Transformation Programme has trained more than 120 students, 95% of whom are mothers.

On top of mindfulness, postpartum mothers should also eat well, including having enough protein and other important nutrients, especially during breastfeeding period.

Chua hopes to empower more mothers, especially in South-East Asia, and wants to build a community where women can support each other with annual retreats and mind and body transformation events.

“Despite the global narrative of women empowerment and gender equality, I feel that in South-East Asia, the traditional thinking that a mother gives her all for her children and family still prevails.

“Women should also be in a supportive community to share experiences, encourage one another and discover new ideas. I hope that programmes such as this can open doors for mothers to be their best,” she concludes.

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