Yoga is for girls. Almost every other guy you meet can express the same sentiment but we beg to differ. We spoke with one consistent practitioner who always finds a way to step on his mat to complement his on-the-go and active lifestyle.
Meet Hideo Muraoka and learn about his own path to yoga and eventually becoming a certified yoga teacher.
When did you start practicing yoga?
Hideo: The first time I tried it, I was 18 and I didn’t really like it. But in 2012, when I was playing football for a UFL team, we would practice every day and I would have major back pain. I knew it was because of my lack of flexibility in my calves and hamstrings, so when I was looking to try yoga again I took an FNR (Flexibility-Not-Required) class at Urban Ashram Yoga and stuck to it because I loved how they break things down.
What did you see were the advantages to having a yoga practice that made you continue?
Hideo: I’ve always been active but it’s also important for the mind to be healthy. Yoga gave me awareness because you usually go on autopilot at the gym. I was creating strength but not becoming mobile. From practicing I saw how flexibility was important to do other things or else you’ll start to compensate. I learned to be more aware of my body and what my limitations were.
How do you think yoga has affected your life as a man, partner and father?
Hideo: As a man, I’m still figuring it out, but right now I feel more free and liberated, especially in the body. I feel more connected and balanced with my emotions… more open. There’s improvement in my physiology. I’m more flexible, light, and I eat less.
As a partner, I’m more sensitive about everything because I’m more in touch with myself. I’ve always been into going hard at things and with yoga I’ve become more balanced and softer. Women are difficult to understand but because I’ve become more sensitive it’s become easier to understand them.
As a father, because I’m much more in touch with myself, I’m more aware and in the present. So, I make better choices. Not reacting but creating because kids are fully engaged in the moment and I have to be there with her. Now that she’s more inquisitive we have to be more present and really think of our answers. And because I’m her father I have to make better choices in the present moment.
From taking yoga classes only, what made you want to take a teacher training?
Hideo: The Universe. It wasn’t my intention but when Maricar (one of the founders of Urban Ashram Yoga) talked to me and I thought about it, I thought it would be a good opportunity. The past few years, I’ve been relying on my intuition on things and it led me to it.
I want to be able to serve myself and eventually serve other people. I’m disappointed a little bit that I haven’t been teaching but so many things have happened lately because I was really busy.
What did you like the most about taking the YogaWorks 200-Hour Teacher Training?
Hideo: The practice. I’m a “body person”, and I like practicing. I learn through it so I can eventually be more comfortable to teach. I loved how the training was very fundamental.
We worked a lot of simple movements that were unbelievably good because a simple pose for me is a struggle to do but since YogaWorks breaks down really simple movements and things that you can align, you get to explore a simple pose a lot deeper.
There are so many ways to teach the poses and it’s nice to explore all that.
How was your teacher trainer, Sarah Bell?
Hideo: Sarah was really good at explaining. She was really experienced and good at breaking down the fundamentals. She was also really good in helping others and connecting.
What was your biggest take away from the YogaWorks 200-Hour Training?
Hideo: Awareness of my own body. I see that we all have a need to address because we become very tight emotionally; the tighter your body then the tighter your mind will be too. But, if you improve your physical activity, you improve your mind. Some people broke down during the training and you see the effects of the practice. I was touched.
What advice would you give to someone who was considering taking a Teacher Training program?
Hideo: It was really intuitive for me. I wanted to invest on myself. I got more balance, and more grateful, more aware. Some people sacrificed so many things. So, I became way more grateful because you really have to immerse yourself for a month of practicing and learning. If you think it’s good just go for it because you’ll always look for excuses, barriers, and challenges. If you don’t do it now, then when?
If you want to discover more about yourself through the practice of yoga or see how you can help transform lives by being a yoga teacher, click here for more information.
Andi Bañez is a traveling yoga teacher having taught in beautiful islands like Balesin and Siargao here in the Philippines. While she’s in Manila she’s teaching in her home studio, Urban Ashram Yoga. She’s an avid reader and enjoys meeting and learning about people. Lately, she’s developed a liking to reading tarot cards. Follow her: @andibanez | https://journeysaretwowaystreets.wordpress.com