Men who like it hot ... Bikram Yoga
If you thought yoga was a practice only for women, you were wrong. Increasingly, men are recognising the importance of a yoga practice as an integral part of their health and wellness programme.
A visit to any yoga studio in Jamaica will reveal a few men practising yoga. However, with the opening of Bikram Yoga Jamaica just a year ago this month, there has been an increase in the number of Jamaican men who have added this form of yoga practice to their exercise routine. Unlike traditional yoga, Bikram Yoga is practised in a room heated to 40 8C.
Meet some of our Jamaican men who like their yoga hot!
o Burning Spear:
Joseph Encinia can count among his students at his New York studio, Jamaica's own Grammy Award-winning reggae legend, Burning Spear. At 64 years old, he has testified about the benefits of his hot yoga practice. He states on his Facebook page, "Hot Yoga works. Thoughts are like threads weaving the fabric of your life. We create our own reality. I man life full of love from our amazing yoga family. Yoga is not a religion; yoga is a way of life connecting one with self."
o Chris Stokes, business executive and member of Jamaica's legendary Bobsleigh Team to the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Stokes has made Bikram Yoga a part of his daily life, having come into the practice on the referral of his wife. He now practises at least five times per week. "I use the practice to centre, focus and calm my thoughts and emotions so I start the day in command of my thoughts and not in a hectic headless rush," Stokes told Flair.
In addition to the mental clarity he enjoys, he recognises the other health benefits he has gained from his regular practice. "The practice also improves my circulation and boosts my metabolism so that my energy is increased and sustained through the day, effectively eliminating the need for caffeine and sugar-based stimulants."
Although already athletic, the physical benefits have also been profound. He notes that it has improved his strength, primarily in minor supporting muscles; flexibility, particularly in the neck and spine, and his balance.
Stokes recommends this practice to both sexes. "If you have a mind and a body, if your daily activities stress you and cause you anxiety, if your weight is out of control and you can't turn your neck to look behind you, if diets have failed you and you end each day wondering what you have achieved, then you want to at least give the practice and discipline a try."
o Gregory Mair, member of Parliament
Mair was looking for something different from the usual physical fitness options and decided to give Bikram Yoga a try. It is now a part of his workout routine and he practises three times a week. "I have more energy, I feel more relaxed, lighter and tighter throughout my body, and I am now drinking a lot of water, which was always a challenge," said Mair.
His message to other men who may feel that Bikram yoga is not for them? "Without a doubt I would recommend they try it out as it will bring many positive changes in their lives - physical, mental, spiritual - that mainstream sports or workouts cannot provide," encourages Mair.
You can practise Bikram Yoga at Bikram Yoga Jamaica, 17 Latham Avenue, Kingston 10. Classes are seven days a week. Mondays to Fridays at 6 a.m., 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Visit www.bikramyogajamaica.com for more details.