Singapore #Fitspo of the Week: Gayle Nerva

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Life goes beyond the digits on the scale and your body is capable of so much more! Yahoo’s #Fitspo of the Week series by is dedicated to inspirational men and women in Singapore leading healthy and active lifestyles. Have someone to recommend? Hit Cheryl up on Instagram or Facebook!

Name: Gayle Nerva (@gaylenerva)
Age: 29
Height: 1.58m
Weight: 55kg
Occupation: Singer, actor, yoga teacher
Status: Married
Diet: Vegetarian, so mostly a lot of starch, veggies and carbs like bread, rice, noodles, pasta and potatoes. Eats whatever, almost whenever; just no meat or seafood.
Exercise: Mainly yoga, two to three classes a week plus personal practice.

Q: Did you enjoy sports from a young age?

A: I used to swim when I was really little, like between four to nine years old. In primary school, I really enjoyed gymnastics till I was about 11. Then I hit puberty quite early – at about 10 years old – and for some reason, from 12 to 17 years old, I hated exercise. I hated PE classes. I did not like running or basketball or netball or anything. I was just so lazy and would often make up fake notes so that I could get out of PE class in secondary school. I was super not into fitness or health during my teenage years. I just went on crazy crash diets.

When did you start to take an interest in any physical activities?

I think I only started enjoying physical activities during my time in art school. I had a cross-disciplinary class that I was required to take. I chose to do a Jazz dance class and it was a two-hour weekly class. The first hour of class had so much body and core strengthening that I could feel my body changing really quickly. It was just so fun to move to music and beats – it did not feel like exercise.

From there I started looking for other creative ways to move. That’s when I started aerial arts. I started doing things like aerial silks, lyra and trapeze. The creative performance element of the practice was so much fun and enjoyable. It was a great and interesting way to keep myself active.

Then in 2013 I was introduced to CrossFit, which I spent about a year and a half doing. I was doing things like Olympic weightlifting and very high impact circuit training styles. It was also nice that CrossFit has some gymnastics exercises involved, so it was something I could relate with.

Gayle Nerva first tried yoga in 2012, but only took it up seriously since 2017. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

So how did you arrive at yoga?

First time I did yoga was about six years ago when Yoga Movement opened. My friends were teaching there and I went to their classes to support them. However I didn’t really connect with it much back then. I preferred my aerial stuff and I went to CrossFit more.

I really dived into yoga only last year, when I decided to attend a 200-hour yoga teacher training (YTT). I had injured myself during my aerial climbs and also with the competitiveness in CrossFit. Basically I did too much too quickly and hurt my lower back, as well as my hand. It came to a point where I couldn’t close or open my hand and fist, and my gripping action was compromised.

Thus I was looking around for something I could do while I went for rehab for my hand and lower back. Yoga seemed like the way to go. Diving straight into an intensive teacher training was so wonderful. I learnt so much about the practice, how to love my body, and to be patient with my progress; that the mind and the spirit is more important than the physical practice. If the mind is strong, the physical practice will come. I love that yoga is accessible to everyone, it’s just such a beautiful practice.

What made you decide to become a yoga instructor?

I enjoyed teaching during my YTT, where we were required to teach some community classes. I really like helping others find their practice and encouraging them to love themselves and take care of themselves and one another. It’s a really fulfilling feeling.

What are your fitness goals now?

I just want to remain healthy and feel healthy; to try not to worry about “looking” a certain way, but more of “feeling” a certain way.

Gayle Nerva had to endure snide remarks from TV industry personnel over her physique. (PHOTO: Cheryl Tay)

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