Profile Fitness Centre instructor on this ancient exercise practice
When Adora Esavan, the new yoga instructor and manager at Adliya’s Profile Fitness Centre, first started learning yoga it was by force. ‘I didn’t like it,’ she laughs, ‘but people said I needed it because I’m hot-headed and my manager said it would be good to know for our clients.’ This was when she was working at a beauty and health centre in Doha, Qatar as a full-fledged fitness coach, and self-admitted workaholic.
Luckily for us, Adora soon fell in love with the ancient philosophies surrounding yoga and so took herself off to a certified Rishikesh yoga teacher training facility to learn all aspects of the various yoga types. Rishikesh is a city in northern India, located in the foothills of the Himalayas, which is often nicknamed ‘the world capital of yoga’.
It’s now just a few years later and, watching the way Adora moves and teaches, it seems she could have been doing this from birth. She’s a natural instructor and clearly in great shape to be a good role model for her students. At least this is what I see one Saturday morning when I try her class out for myself.
It had been a while since I attended a group yoga class – I tend to hide away in my house with my mat and YouTube videos – so I was a little apprehensive about my general inflexibility. In a way, I was right to be as I turn out to be far less capable of pulling off basic yoga poses than I realised. Yet, I needn’t have been nervous because Adora puts me straight at ease.
‘My clients sometimes say I’m an elementary teacher,’ Adora explains before the class begins. ‘If I could teach you how to feed from a spoon I would!’ It’s her philosophy that all students should learn the basics, and understand how their own body works, before they move on to harder asanas practised in Ashtanga or Iyengar. If someone is more advanced in their abilities, however, then she can cater the class to them too.
‘I want my students to know how to do everything properly so they can practice on their own,’ Adora says. ‘I’m not a selfish teacher who keeps all the information to myself so you come to me. I want to share it.’
Our main focus throughout this particular class is on boosting the circulation and ridding our joints of toxins through gentle stretches and movements. It ends with some relaxing meditation and I feel as if I’m floating when it’s time to leave.
Throughout the class, Adora keeps an eye on me to see how she can help or how she might need to customise the movements. It turns out my hamstrings are so tight I can barely straighten my leg without it violently shaking – something I can credit to office work, and barely moving or stretching all day.
Yet after Adora helps me coax my legs, and by the end of the class, I’m feeling much more limber than I was 90 minutes earlier.
It’s Adora’s confident instruction and genuine enthusiasm which really makes the class memorable, however. As she takes me through a few extra poses I should be doing at my desk through the week, Adora tells me how she used to have an office job. But since joining the fitness world she has realised how important health is and how much she loves it.
‘Health really is wealth,’ she says. ‘We’re always working so hard for more and more money for the future, but what kind of future will it be if you don’t have your health?’
Overall, Adora advises that everyone should do yoga and exercise at least two to three hours a week to make sure their joints don’t seize up. In this way you can avoid ailments such as arthritis and nerve paralysis.
But yoga can also help with so much more – it’s not just an exercise but also a great way to connect your breathing with your body’s movements, as well as your mind-body through meditation.
After all, Adora points out, ‘Your body is a temple and each pose is like a prayer’. So we should treat it with the respect it deserves. My lesson has been learned and my hamstrings are thanking me.
Downward dog, leg up
Adora Esavan teaches Rishikesh yoga at various times throughout the week. It costs BD70 for one month of ten 90-minute group classes or BD20 per class for private training. Profile Fitness Centre, Um Al Hassam (near Adliya petrol station), www.profilebahrain.com (1772 7766).