Pretty Powerful Part 1: Lina Ooi

With fitness as a tool for empowerment, a fitness expert tells us how she goes the distance in creating change.

Driven by wanderlust and guided by her gut instinct, Lina Ooi took a trip to India a few years ago. Little did she know that her travels would unlock a deeper spiritual connection to yoga, and subsequently change her career entirely. Also known by her spiritual name Tara (after the Goddess of compassion) the former forensic scientist’s metamorphosis began the moment she arrived in Rishikesh. According to ancient Indian beliefs, Tara is also a deity who guides believers along their journey of self-transformation, to rediscover inner wisdom and peace.

“In India, yoga isn’t just a form of exercise to develop strength and flexibility. It focuses on the body, mind and spirit, and is practiced to achieve inner peace,” Lina said. It was this nature of the practice that struck a chord with her, and became a core foundation of the classes she now teaches at Yogatara.

“I hope to break this paradigm of yoga being just an exercise. I always emphasise translating what we learn on the mat into our daily lives. For one, flexibility isn’t the only positive side effect of yoga,” she continued. Closing the door to her forensic science career also opened up space for personal growth, and this propels her as she plans her classes and passion projects.

Her other initiative “Homeless But Not Omless”, aims to integrate the homeless and disadvantaged into society through community yoga practice. She focuses on using
yoga as the gel to unite us and be the reminder that we are all connected, and equal. “We are undifferentiated by our skin colour, tax brackets, postcodes or beliefs when we sync
our breaths. And I think homeless people appreciate that sense of belonging much more than material possessions.”

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