Aside from being an officer in the government, Ariff is also a certified yoga instructor and has practised yoga for 10 years.
Being that he is my daughter-in-law Akma's elder brother, I can truthfully claim that we now have a yogi in our midst.
I had always been fascinated by yoga, ever since a yogi from India demonstrated some incredible contortionist movements at school all those decades ago.
It was only when yoga became fashionable and got incorporated into fitness regimes and were made available on VCD's did I try doing some of the postures.
Well... let's just say, for me in the beginning some were difficult and the rest were hard. But they got easier the more I tried.
When I joined my gym, I attended a few of the beginner yoga classes and always came out from them feeling very light and refreshed. But if you're always the only older and rounder and stiffer one there, you tend to feel intimidated by the Madonnas all around you and not want to attend any more.
So I cajoled Ariff into conducting an introductory class for about a dozen of the clan on Chinese New Year morning, many many months ago.
Apparently there are many systems of yoga, from religious/meditative to purely physical. We are interested in the physical only, and Ariff geared it towards anti-ageing yoga, going by the average age of the group.
The introductory session had three segments interspersed with a time-out module where we lay on our backs with eyes closed and Ariff took us through some relaxing visualisations and awareness of our serene surroundings and the sounds of a flowing stream, a light breeze and birds a-chirping, in the distance the faint rumbling of a lawn-mower.
Basically the first segment was an exercise in getting to know our various joints from the toes, knees, pelvis, to shoulders and neck.
Joints can be "opened", helping the circulation of fluids that lubricate them hence making them more flexible and less prone to seizing up and fail.
Here is an example of how you can practise self-massage for this purpose:
Yoga: Self-Massage -- powered by www.ehow.co.uk
In the second segment we were introduced to stretches. Stretching the muscles associated with those joints helps loosen any tightness hence relaxing them.
Yogi Ariff taught us proper breathing techniques which is essential in yoga and enhances the relaxation effect during stretching and helps calm the mind.
He patiently guided us through these stretches or "poses" or "asanas"as they say in yoga, while reminding us not to over-extend but to listen to our own bodies on how far to execute the poses. A good session should leave us feeling lighter and more relaxed, not the opposite.
And true enough that was what it did, to me at least. After a breakfast of Nasi Lemak 222, I fell into a deep stupor as soon as I got home.
Pictures are from a second session we had some weeks later
The naga asana or cobra pose, said to increase the flexibility of the spine
and expands the lungs which is therapeutic for asthma
Watching a double boat pose being demo'd
in what is known as partner yoga
This group, including Yogi, have been pretty busy with other events and activities last few months, I think now we can find some time to do this again.