Deb Fong talks to us about what yoga has to offer

2-minute read
Deb Fong talks to us about what yoga has to offer

I talked to Deb Fong the owner of Cocoon Yoga in Morningside, Auckland about the benefits of yoga and how it can be used as a tool to support stress and sleep. 

Jane: Is Yoga just about being flexible?

Deb: Not at all. I think of yoga almost like a science or philosophy of how to live well. It’s actually not even just about the body but a holistic practice of learning to be in your body, breathe and calm the mind.

What most people think of as yoga is actually hatha yoga - yoga postures to help master the body to be able to be still for meditation.

Jane: Do you have to be bendy to do it?

Deb: Again no. Yoga will help your body be more open and have more range of motion which makes it feel good and more comfortable. So doing yoga is what will make you bendier.

However, it's important to remember we are all different and some people will just be naturally more flexible, and some people will just never have as much range of motion simply because of the way their joints and body structure are.

Yoga practice is not about comparing yourself with others, it is about being your best self.

Jane: How can yoga help our mental health?

Deb: Yoga helps balance the energy in our body. If we are feeling anxious and hyper, practice can help us burn off that anxiety so that we can relax. If we are feeling depressed and sluggish practice can help us build energy so we can feel lighter and more motivated. In yoga practice we learn to feel and be grounded in our bodies, which helps us focus, breathe and get out of our crazy mind chatter.

Jane: Can yoga help with sleep?

Deb: Having a good sleep is often the first thing people will notice when they start practising yoga and is often the main thing that keeps people coming back week after week. At the end of a yoga class, we will have moved into the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and relaxation part. Letting your body unwind and learning not to get too caught up in your thoughts definitely helps with sleep. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to fall asleep at the end of class sometimes.

Jane: What are your top 3 tips for supporting relaxation and mental health?


  1. Learn how to breathe. Breathing too fast makes your heart race and makes you anxious. Holding your breath makes you lightheaded. Breathing is part of your autonomic nervous system which means your body will do it unconsciously however when you are conscious of how you breathe you can calm yourself and live healthier.

  2. Move your body every day. It doesn't have to be yoga; it doesn't have to be high impact or for a long time. Even just a walk around the block is something to get the heart pumping and the energy moving.

  3. And have a sense of humour and laugh a lot…

    Deb has practised yoga for decades but fell in love with the Bikram yoga practice whilst living in London. Since then she has continued to train and practice with many teachers and styles. For her Yoga is not just a physical exercise but a sense of well-being bringing mental peace and resilience.

    If you want to try yoga, Cocoon Yoga studio offers a range of classes suitable for different abilities. They offer heated yoga classes, flow classes which are more vigorous and a Yin class which is super relaxing and ends in a calming guided meditation. You can find details at


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