Her love for yoga goes beyond the physical practice.
She started practising yoga at the age of 15.
And after more than a decade in showbiz, the discipline “has and will always be” Denise Keller’s “go-to reset button”.
Now 35, she has been a certified yoga teacher for about four years and said it helps her “create healthy boundaries – physically, mentally and spiritually”.
Without yoga, the fitness enthusiast admitted she would probably “go mad”.
“There is no other exercise that prepares you to be still and to sit in the seat of the observer,” said Keller, whose father is German and mother Chinese Singaporean, adding that she especially loves meditation.
“The mind-body connection through breath is the only way to be present and mindful of your surroundings…
“What I do on my mat, I try my very best to apply it off the mat.
“It does not always work because we have a human threshold, but we can always strive to be better human beings as we are constantly evolving.”
Though she dislikes “anything hot”, she swears by all kinds of yoga – “even hot yoga has its merits”.
The travel host and former model and MTV Asia VJ is working on her press handstands, which is “crazy hard” for “tall, leggy people” like herself.
She also enjoys calisthenics, which are body-weight training exercises, which include running, standing, grasping and pushing.
The techniques are said to be beneficial for those who use their bodies for performance, such as sports or dance.
On Saturday, Keller will be conducting a yoga class that teaches participants how to achieve inner peace and align their thoughts and actions with the bigger energies of life at the Armour @ Sofitel City Centre fitness retreat at the newly opened Sofitel Singapore City Centre.
This is part of US sports apparel brand Under Armour’s Assemble Your Armour campaign.
The fitness retreat seeks to celebrate women who are constantly challenging themselves and achieving unbelievable feats.
On her involvement with the campaign, Keller said: “Whenever I hear the word ‘armour’, I think of US author Casandra Brene Brown saying to me, ‘Get in the arena, show up, do your thing and don’t be afraid to get your ass kicked a little bit’.
“To me, personally, that vulnerability is complete strength. To be able to stand your ground and choose your armour and your battles is empowering.”
Over the years, in her journey to pursue yoga, she has been inspired by other strong women to challenge herself, and hopes to pay it forward and empower others in the community to become stronger individuals and better athletes.
Keller also managed to convert her US-born husband of two years Robert Gaxiola, 48, a creative director.
When they started dating, she taught him yoga to help with his cycling and running, and now they do all of it together.
“I highly recommend couples find a fitness and nutrition goal together. Couples who work out together, stay together. It just adds extra support to the foundations of your relationship,” she said.
Keller credits her youthful appearance, effortless poise and good looks to having a “positive attitude and open mind”.
She added: “Laughing hard helps. Water helps even more.”
Keller currently follows a diet that is 30 per cent protein and 70 per cent fruits and vegetables.
Currently, her favourite proteins are beans and quinoa.
A close second is a serving of fish or steak, which she takes in “total moderation”.
She usually has fruits and nuts for breakfast, paired with a matcha hazelnut latte, her daily vitamins and maybe an egg if she feels like treating herself.
For lunch, it is a protein bowl with heaps of leafy greens (kale, kai lan, spinach and rocket) and grain (brown rice, cauliflower rice or soba noodles).
She likes her dinners “light and easy” because she does not like to go to bed with a full stomach, so a hearty soup or clear broth to cleanse her day “fixes everything”.
She also indulges once in a while, and loves “Udders ice cream, ridiculously salty snacks and a great bottle of red wine”.
Keller, who has experienced a couple of health scares previously but declined to go into detail, said they were usually resolved with diet and nutrition, as food is her “chosen medicine”.
Even though she is passionate about and committed to spreading health and wellness through her teaching workshops all over the world, she has no plans to set up her own yoga studio.
For her, the combination of travelling and yoga is “bliss”, adding: “I much prefer the free-spirited vibes I am feeling now.
“I am in a great position to choose my showbiz projects that appeal to me right now.
“I have worked hard enough to look back at all my achievements and allow yoga to be an integral part of that journey, where, in the past, yoga was touch and go.”
A version of this story first appeared in The New Paper on November 13, 2017, with the headline, ‘Denise Keller would ‘go mad’ without yoga’.