To a lot of people, yoga is some far-fetched concept that young, pretty and skinny women always seem to be doing on TV, and it somehow makes all of them as flexible as Mrs. Incredible. They pose on perfectly green grass with their torsos bent at extreme angles. Moreover, yoga seems to be something that is available only in the West, or at some exotic temple in some isolated part of India or Nepal where you have to hike up a mountain just to get there. I’m not sure how much of this conception of yoga is actually prevalent, but I for one did think this way for a long time, before I actually decided to try it myself.
If you’re someone like I was – someone who has never played a sport in their entire life, who finds the idea of exercising absolutely preposterous, who has always found anything that claims to “connect your body and soul” simply laughable – yoga probably sounds like the last thing you would think of trying. I used to think that yoga was just working out but cut up and presented in “fun-size packaging” as part of some fitness propaganda. But by some glitch in the universe, two years ago, I went out and bought a DVD on beginner’s yoga and I committed myself to doing it every single night before bed. It wasn’t easy – there were times I’d pause the video and ask myself if I really needed to do this – and I’m not the best at committing to a routine, so I almost gave up more times than I’m proud of. However, deciding to try yoga is probably one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. I got the hang of it after a few weeks, and every muscle in my body felt much more relaxed, I felt much better about myself (particularly because I had persevered thus far), but the best part? I swear, since I started doing yoga, I hadn’t slept that good since I came out of the womb.
While working out in general has many benefits of its own, yoga is quite different. It connects your mind to your body and, with time, can defeat lethargy and stress. Other benefits of yoga include improved metabolism, weight reduction, increased flexibility and muscle strength, and much more. Personally, yoga made me feel better about myself not only because of the reasons listed above, but also because every other night I did yoga I didn’t give up on my commitment.
So how can you get started on doing yoga in Dhaka?
Get a buddy
Everything is easier with a buddy. This way, if either of you feel like quitting, you can keep each other on track and keep at it together.
Plus, it’s always nice to have someone to whine to when you’re having trouble with anything, and having someone who can relate to the same things makes anything ten times easier.
Set aside a designated time for yoga every day
Yoga isn’t like classes or work that you have a time set aside for it already. You have to make time for it, in the midst of classes and work and assignments and hanging out with friends and the busy whirlwind of events that is your daily life.
Unless you enroll at a yoga course somewhere, in which case you will already have a set time for yoga in your day-to-day life, try to assign 20-30 minutes of your day to doing yoga. It can be the first thing you do before your morning coffee, so you can get a boost of energy for the rest of your day, or it can be the last thing you do before bed, so you stretch your muscles out from the day’s work and go to bed de-stressed. Whatever hour it is, make sure it properly fits your personal schedule.
Find places where you can learn yoga, choose a suitable course
I guarantee that nearly every gym in your area offers yoga classes, so start looking into them and sign yourself up. Yoga is not at all exclusive to any one body type or group of people, so make sure you invest in modifying it for your own body, and you can progress to advanced courses as you gain proficiency. If you live near Banani or Gulshan, we’ve got two amazing recommendations for you.
The first is Anika Rabbani, who has been teaching yoga for several years now. She teaches yin yoga, beginner yoga, and advanced yoga classes in Banani, and her classes are exclusive to women. While her yin classes are great for reducing stress and connecting people with their bodies, her beginner classes focus on techniques and flow. Her advanced beginner classes are in the form of a vinyasa flow with emphasis on strength and flexibility. Anika can be reached at www.yoganikabd.com/weekly-yoga-classes if you want to learn more and join her.
The second is Eza Chowdhury, who has been practicing yoga for 15 years now and, after 11 years in the financial industry, she quit her job at HSBC Canada last year to go on her first yoga training in Thailand. She travelled five cities, only to finally settle down at House 8, Road 50, Gulshan 2 at Amra Active Gym. She teaches Vinyasa Power Yoga, which is high intensity training combined with breathing exercises and meditation.
It connects your mind to your body and, with time, can defeat lethargy and stress. Other benefits of yoga include improved metabolism, weight reduction, increased flexibility and muscle strength, and much more.
Don’t hesitate to call them up and talk freely about what intensity of yoga you think you’re best suited for, and I’m sure they’ll have plenty of helpful insight to kickstart your journey.
Don’t give up
Not if you miss one day of class. Not if you miss an entire week of class. This is not a Snapchat streak, that if you miss one day you rewind back to zero. Don’t be so hard on yourself, because everyone has cheat days, intentional or otherwise. That is not to say that you should skip a week’s worth of yoga just because you can.In one form or another, self-care is persistent in all of our wish lists, whether it be through working on your New Year’s resolutions every year, or just simply going for a walk on the days that you’re down. Yoga is just another form of self-care. Between obligations and routines and gluing your eyes to your phone in whatever free time you get, take some time out to breathe a little, relax your muscles and mind a little. And what better way to do that than yoga?