[Father’s Day Feature] Why Men should do Yoga? – By Partha Pratim De
11 June 2019, Tuesday
A special write-up by Real Yoga member, Partha Pratim De
“Yoga, it’s just women posing, it’s easy.”
When I was asked to write this article, my immediate answer to the question in the title was “Of course, why should men not do Yoga?”
Then I remembered my own views on Yoga before I became a convert: “It’s just women posing, it’s easy.”
Oh dear, how wrong was I!
I was almost correct, it’s mostly women, few men, but as I’ve since learned it’s far from easy.
“I followed the path of meditation and peace during a very difficult time in my life.”
So how did I go from non-believer to convert?
There are many paths to Yoga taken by different people. For some it’s more physical: exercise, keep fit, lose weight, toning. For others it’s more for the mind, meditation, peace, calmness.
For others, it’s both.
I followed the path of meditation and peace during a very difficult time in my life. My colleague, who was a member at Real Yoga Tampines, suggested that I try out Yoga.
I went along with her and met the wonderful Jeffrey, who sat me down and listened to my story, after which he suggested that I start with the equally wonderful instructor, Gaur’s ‘Breathe, Stretch and Meditation’ class.
I attended Gaur’s classes once a week, and gradually started to attend other classes as well, such as Yoga Core, Yoga Twist, Back-Bend, Hot Slimming and Hot Stretch. I was however, only committed to my practice once or twice a week, partly because of the distance to Tampines, but also because I did not feel confident to try out the full range of Yoga classes.
“Be it emotionally or physically, I became fitter, younger and stronger.”
Later, I switched to Real Yoga Centrepoint as it is closer to home and work, I began to attend classes more often. As with anything, the more you practice, the more you feel the benefit. From one class per week at Tampines, I increased to 3 or 4 classes per week at Centrepoint.
There, I met Master Saumik who gave me his advice on diet, nutrition, and encouragement to lose weight.
Nine months later, I have lost 5 kilograms, dropped 1-2 clothes sizes. Be it emotionally or physically, I became fitter, younger and stronger. Most importantly, I feel much calmer in my mind, and able to cope with difficulties much better now. The difficulties remain, they do not go away, but what has changed is my mindset.
This year, Master Saumik held a 5-session ‘Inversion and Overcoming Limitations’ workshop in March and I was able to attend 2 of it. It was a revelation. I progressed from being unable to do a head or handstand, to doing a headstand unaided, followed by holding a handstand for a second or so, after only 20 minutes of instruction and guidance. More importantly, it showed both myself and the rest of the class that only we limit ourselves.
Now I feel that nothing can stop me, except myself. Since the workshop I try new classes, even Yoga in Mandarin! Why not? Learn Yoga and Mandarin at the same time. I also do more Yoga and less core and slimming classes as my mind is no longer limited. Previously I thought “No, I can’t do that.” Now I think “Just try it.”
“(Yoga) It is a life-changing activity, not something I will ever stop doing.”
Yoga is the only activity I know that actively works on the mind and body, emphasizing the importance of breathing. Traditional exercise only works on the body, with the mind a passive recipient of the benefit. I tried traditional exercise (gym, swimming, treadmill) for many years without anything like the improvement since I started Yoga.
As a chronic bad-sleeper, I also sleep much better now, partly as a result of a Yoga session, but also because my mind is at ease. Even when I wake up in the middle of the night, I usually go back to sleep after a few controlled breaths, something which did not happen before.
I am a good example of what can be achieved through Yoga. It is a life-changing activity, not something I will ever stop doing. Even when I am away for work, I practice Yoga in my hotel room. Now, I engage my children in breathing exercises, and will soon progress to Yoga positions with them.
I have noticed how peaceful, calm and young the instructors at Real Yoga look and now I know the reason why. I hope to attend retreats, workshops and eventually Yoga teacher training course to one day teach Yoga, and share the benefits of this wonderful, ancient activity to the community.
So now that I have joined the women in posing, and found that Yoga is not easy – it can be tough but is very beneficial, I would say to the men out there: “There are many reasons you should do Yoga, find one and just try it!”