There is this couple at the studio who always go to yoga classes together. As yoga becomes a women dominating industry (yoga is a practice originally practised only by men though!!), although we are seeing more men practicing yoga there are still not that many of them. It’s even more precious to see a couple sharing the love of yoga and practise together.
Today is Father’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate as a family. I am thrilled to have an opportunity to interview this beautiful couple, Océane and Winston on this special day. Did I also mention they just had a new baby in the family? Océane was practising yoga all the way through her pregnancy and resumed her practice 4 weeks after birth.
Cora: Hey Winston and Océane, first of all congratulations on the new baby. You know I still can’t get my husband to come to a yoga class with me. And every time I see you both coming to yoga class together I just found it really sweet. So… just curious.. Who actually started yoga first? Winston or Océane? Do you guys always practise together?
Winston: Océane started first 3 months before I did in the beginning of 2014. At first I was completely disinterested despite her constantly asking me to try it out and join her for a trial week. After seeing her wake up everyday at 6 o’ clock and going to 7am classes, I got curious as to why this form of exercise/practice was so addictive and elicited such passion and dedication. So I finally decided to have a look for myself and since then we haven’t looked back. We try to practise together as much as we can, however with the little one, O is usually the one to sacrifice her practice or find classes that doesn’t conflict with looking after the baby.
Cora: Océane, I found it amazing that you were practising yoga all the way through your pregnancy, and you came back to practice pretty quickly. Can you share with other mom-to-be some tips on yoga practice during pregnancy?
Océane: For me, yoga brought a general sense of well-being, lightening me and my husband’s moods, and making us forget about the stress of being pregnant and the impending labor. Although I’m not a physician or yoga instructor, I felt that through yoga I learnt how to properly breathe, place my focus or intent, and deal with “appropriate discomfort”. For me, I believe that yoga built up my endurance, pain threshold, and flexibility; all of which I found very helpful during labor. In terms of tips, try to keep a regular practice (even though some days you may feel tired or not in the mood, there are classes that are more meditative and relaxing, whilst others more challenging that will help with building stamina. Find one that suits your mood that particular day or moment, in the end I promise it will help and be worth it). Last but probably the most important part, is to find a knowledgeable and experienced teacher that you like and are comfortable with. He or she will guide you through and share with you the dos and don’ts of yoga during pregnancy. Oh and a lot of malasanas for hip opening definitely helped!
Cora: Winston, what do you like about yoga? And how long have you been practising. A lot of men think yoga is a “girly” thing. Can you share some of your views on guys doing yoga?
Winston: I’ve been practicing yoga for a little bit over a year now. What attracted me to yoga was that it’s not just a physical practice but a mental and spiritual one. I admired how through a regular practice everyone’s health, sense of well-being, and mood can be changed for the better. Not to mention the amazing display of strength, flexibility, and balance some of the more advanced postures required. After my first class with one of our favorite teachers, I thought to myself: “I don’t know what happened in there, but this is definitely not a “girly” sport. I just got my butt handed to me in there, but I want more of it!” I think that every guy should keep an open mind and try at least a few classes before deciding whether or not yoga is for him. In the end, it’s not all about flexibility or all about strength, it’s learning how to bring them together in balance and harmony that makes it interesting and challenging for me personally.
Cora: Well said. By the way, do you guys talk about yoga a lot as a couple? And if you are not going to yoga classes together do you practise together at home? Partner stretches?
Winston/Océane: What a great question Cora! Funny you ask, but actually we talk a lot about yoga! What classes we plan on taking, how the class/practice went, what area we want to and can improve on, etc., At home, we try to break down some of the poses we found more challenging in class and try to help each other get into them again easier with slight adjustments and a healthy dose of encouragement!
Cora: I think you guys may want to try Acroyoga sometime. So, now you have a little one in the house. How has life changed for you guys?
Océane: Having a little one in the house has definitely changed a lot of things for us. We feel so blessed and grateful to have this little soul in our care and the joy he brings to us each and everyday is boundless. However, as most new parents know, sleep becomes a very precious commodity. Luckily for us, having made a habit and priority of going to early morning yoga classes during pregnancy, Winston & I didn’t mind waking up every few hours and/or early in the morning for feedings or taking turns tending to the baby.
Cora: With both of you as yoga practitioners, do you give your baby some “yoga” time too? Maybe some daddy-mommy-baby stretches?
Winston/Océane :We are excited and hopeful that one day we will be able to introduce our little one to yoga and the benefits of its practice. We’re confident that watching mommy and daddy march off in funny outfits to yoga class everyday will most likely stir up some curiosity. Also, we’re looking online as to what we can do together as family or incorporating our little one into our home practice.
Cora: You know, I think it’s beautiful to bond with our little ones through yoga and stretches. Babies and young children are so flexible that they can do anything!! Here is a link for “mommies and babies” stretches… I don’t know why they always leave out the dads.. Here were go.. I renamed it!
Cora: Last question. How are you going to celebrate your first Father’s Day?
Winston/Océane: With yoga class in the morning, brunch with godparents at Chino in Kennedy Town and wind down with an intimate family dinner. Highlighted with lots of hugs and cuddles throughout the day with the little one!!
Cora: That sounds like a beautiful day. Thanks for both of your time and enjoy your first Father’s Day!
Yoga is often seen as a personal journey, but that does not necessarily mean that you have to travel that journey of self-discovery alone. Practicing yoga with a partner can be very beneficial in relationships in a variety of ways.
First of all it is an opportunity for you to have fun and bond with your romantic partner by sharing a learning experience together. Yoga can also be good to practice in couples when the woman is pregnant as it will bring you both closer together as her body changes and develops during her pregnancy. and also to bring a new and shared experience to their own solo practice. On top of that practicing yoga with a partner is also a valuable way to make sure that you are being pushed to your maximum potential because your partner will be able to assist you to perfect your yoga poses in those moments when you are not aware of your back slouching, or when you don’t realize that you can stretch your limbs out even further. A partner can help you to make use of all the space around you.
It was a lovely experience to have Oceané and Winston sharing their story with us on this special day. Now I hope after my husband read this I can finally drag him into a yoga class with me.
Happy Father’s Day!