Whenever I tell my friends I needed to lose weight, many of them would : ignore me, stare at me with disgust, or look me up and down and ask, “where from?” Because to their eyes, I don’t look like I need to lose that much weight.

But in spite of my seemingly active lifestyle of dance, gym and yoga, I wasn’t feeling healthy. I was feeling sluggish, I had trouble waking up in the morning, and I was falling sick quite easily (mainly due to the yo-yo weather we have been having of late – it would rain almost every day for a few weeks, then it would barely rain for the next few weeks; and the cycle would repeat). And truthfully, I knew it wasn’t about my weight, but my eating lifestyle that needed changing. The problem was, I have never been disciplined when it came to eating right. My saving grace is that I enjoy physical activity, and I don’t eat very much – this is why I have been fortunate enough to still fall within the “average” range instead of being in the “obese” range.

So when I found out about the weight loss and detox workshop at Surya Yoga, I decided to sign up for it. It sounded like it had everything I needed to know – the right way to lose weight, as well as advice on how to detoxify oneself. All for only RM45!

Surya Yoga conducted three sessions of the same workshop: on 19th May, 26th May and 9th June. I went for the second session on 26th May.

Weight Loss In General

Starting at 11am, Josephine Chan (the principal of Surya Yoga) led us through a theoretical explanation of weight loss. With reference to the booklet that each of us received, she explained the concept of body mass index (BMI) and the waist-to-hip ratio, as well as the ranges which were considered obese.

Note: This was not discussed at the workshop, but the BMI is only used as a guide and is not a conclusive measure of one’s health. While this can be typically used for the average adult, it cannot be used for children as well as people of athletic build because muscle weighs more than fat, which means that according to the BMI range, people who are physically active will tend to fall within the “fat” or “obese” range.

Josephine also shared with us the concept of dieting and the kinds of food that we should eat. She focused on the concept of Glycemic Index (GI) and advised us to eat foods with low GI. Our booklet had a list of food and their corresponding GI levels, which was great as a reference for us.

Josephine going through the theoretical aspects of the workshop
Josephine going through the theoretical aspects of the workshop

Detoxifying the Body

Josephine then went to discuss detoxification of the body which could be done two ways: water fast or juice fast. She highly recommended juice fasting because using fruits and vegetable juice would still provide the body with the nutrients it needs, unlike going on a water fast.

Personally, I don’t like vegetables – I’m a meat eater! This was probably why my body was feeling the way it is, and the idea of going on a juice fast to clean my system out sounded like a good idea. In fact, when Josephine went through a list of people who should (as well as shouldn’t) go through juice detoxification, it sounded like I had the symptoms.

The problem is, like I mentioned earlier – I have never been disciplined when it came to eating right, what more forcing myself to go on a fruit and vegetable juice diet. Even Josephine pointed out quite correctly that not many of us can resist the temptation, and that going on a detox retreat* would be great as we would be away from home where we will have no choice but to consume only what we were served!

Josephine provided us with information on how we should prepare ourselves on going on a juice fast, and she also provided us with a list of juice recipes that would provide us with all the nutrients during the juice fast. She also reminded us that we cannot go on a juice fast for prolonged periods, and this should only be done for no more than a few days. The good thing about a juice fast is that we don’t have to do it regularly either – once a year is quite enough.

Interestingly, there are claims that going on a juice fast would energize a person instead of draining the person of energy. It sounded quite foreign to me, but then I have no experience of this and I was game to give it a try, so this was why I signed up for the detox retreat*.

Josephine gave us examples of her students who had benefited from detox retreats in the past. She told us of a lady who suffered from severe acne problem – her face was constantly inflamed. After attending a detox retreat, her face actually cleared up! Unfortunately, when she fell back to her old eating habits, her acne came back. Detoxifying can clean your system out, but we must maintain it and not fall back into our old patterns; our old problems will just recur.

*More about the detox retreat below!

Josephine addressing us at the end of the entire workshop
Josephine addressing us at the end of the entire workshop
Participants of the workshop. I'm not in the photo because I'm the camerawoman :)
Participants of the workshop. I’m not in the photo because I’m the camerawoman 🙂

Yoga Fit

After lunch was the yoga session. Surya Yoga has designed a yoga class called Yoga Fit which combines yoga flow, pilates, as well as aerobics. Unlike the typical yoga class which focuses on poses, breathing, and balance, Yoga Fit is designed to burn fat by using yoga and pilates moves. It is quite a challenging class for a true newbie to yoga, but beginners will generally be able to follow the class even if their yoga experience is very limited.

gettingfitFor this workshop, we were split into two groups: Beginners and Not-so-beginners (as I call it). As I already had yoga experience, I took the Not-so-beginners class which was conducted by Regine.

Following the class was not a problem for me as I had attended Yoga Fit before, but that was not to say it was easy. I sweated so much that it was difficult to find a dry patch on me after class! I personally like the Yoga Fit classes because it was challenging enough to be interesting, and at the same time it was a real workout.

More information about Yoga Fit by Surya Yoga can be read here.

Regine going through the Warrior 2 Pose
Regine going through the Warrior 2 Pose

Yeah, I snuck photos when I was supposed to be doing the poses. Hehehehe.

Detox Retreat

Josephine shared with us about the upcoming detox retreat which Surya Yoga was organising to Janda Baik for only RM650 for a 3D2N stay (it’s RM580 if you book and pay before the end of June). Reading a testimonial about a previous detox retreat made me really want to give this one a try!

Detox retreat to Janda Baik
Detox retreat to Janda Baik

Doesn’t it sound awesome? If you’re interested, I highly recommend you call Josephine soon because I hear that spaces are filling up really quickly!

In Conclusion…

So was the workshop worth it? Yes, I really think it was. Although a lot of the information could be researched easily on our own (especially with a very useful tool called Google), this was made a lot easier because it had been researched and filtered by an experienced practitioner. Josephine herself has done juice detoxification several times in the past and knows what she is talking about. Plus, we get a yoga session too – not just an introduction, but a full workout!

If you’re considering attending health-related workshops, you should definitely consider these kinds especially from Surya Yoga. They have experienced and caring teachers, and their studio is lovely and comfortable.

Thanks for reading!