Shirlyn Tan

All my loves are intertwined.

For as long as I can remember, I have ALWAYS wanted to sing. It started out with school performances, school musicals and eventually led me to singing with bands and now running my own show in my own band. For the longest time I have identified as a performer.

In 2008, I stepped into my first Bikram Yoga class, a little over a year later I decided to embark on my journey to becoming a yoga teacher. I attended the Spring training in 2009 in Palm Desert. I asked my brother for a loan, to pay the training fee. It was expensive! It took me over three years of many, many classes to pay him back every single dollar. My friend, Belinda, suggested an idea to help me raise money for my daily expenses while at training. I had to play a show, and hold an auction during the show. I thought it was a crazy idea, who would even show up and give me money? My band, The UnXpected, so generously volunteered their time to perform with me. Belinda hosted the auction, we auctioned off plenty of things, my home studio donated yoga passes, my friends donated their time. I was surrounded by so much love. It was really an amazing experience. One of the generous donors is now my boss, I now teach in her beautiful studio Bikram Yoga Harbourfront. With the faith

and support of so many friends, I did not want to let anybody down. In 2011, I was sent to India for three months to teach Bikram Yoga. Being by myself, away from family and friends, really made me look at life carefully. I realized that every action affects the course of life in such minute ways that one can be oblivious sometimes. I came back to Singapore and spent more time with my band, I had put them aside while I was busy trying to be a better yoga teacher. I realized that I had to strike a balance between my love for music and yoga.

At the end of 2013, I was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis, an autoimmune disease. It affects my joints and I had no control over when my joints would swell up. This made practising yoga very, very painful. There were poses that I simply could not handle. It made me a little glum. In March of 2014, I decided to try CrossFit at CrossFit Fire City, I wanted to see if another type of exercise would help me deal with the arthritis better. My wrists felt like they were going to snap off after countless push-ups! After working with the coaches to scale down the movements for me due to my cranky joints, I was able to finish most workouts. Then I found out CrossFit was helping me get back into yoga, I decided I could not do one without the other. My head coach, Samuel Lim, had enough faith in me to offer me an hour every Saturday afternoon to teach yoga to the CrossFit community. I liked the idea of giving back to the community, as I have met so many people that have encouraged me through my CrossFit journey.

I guess you could say my sense of compassion deepened tremendously after my arthritis started. I could feel how difficult it can be for students with injuries, or any other physical issues. I used to want to teach strong classes, I wanted to make yoga ‘rock stars’ out of my students. Now I want to teach an empowering class, sometimes, even the simplest movement can be a big deal to some, and I think it should be celebrated.

Being a singer, using my voice is very important in class, to keep the students in the moment, to help them dig deep to find their best for the day. When my students give 110%, it makes my heart sing. I am grateful for every day that I can move freely, so that I may help others continue to create empowerment, to be a better person, inside out, bones to skin, finger tips to toes.

All my loves are intertwined. Music, Yoga, and CrossFit bring out the best of me.
Shirlyn Tan