A yogi who believes yoga can change the way you see life
Saldin Yogi is the first Bangladeshi to be an enlisted yogi by Yoga Alliance, winning himself the benefit to practice and educate globally. His accomplishments didn’t come as easily as it seems, yet after much diligent work and devotion through hours of yoga from Yoga Alliance in America, he is currently a certified yoga teacher and one who has made a significant name for himself. Saldin was born in Brahmanbaria and graduated in Arts and Television from Jahangirnagar University. His dad is a businessman in Brahmanbaria, who regularly had clients visiting from India. Saldin was only a kid when he initially got to know about yoga from one such visitor, and felt the urge to know more about it. Avenue T got the chance to talk to him about his journey.
How did you start your yoga career in Bangladesh as the first male instructor?
I am the first Bangladeshi to be a certified and registered yoga teacher with Yoga Allince USA. I started my yoga career internationally in 2016 with foreigners in Bangladesh.
Describe your teaching life in five words.
Healthy, happy, enjoyable, peaceful, and disciplined.
What type of yoga do you teach?
It depends on the student’s requirements, age, gender, physical condition, diseases, etc. I try to do classical Hatha yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow, and multiple other styles.
How would you say yoga has changed your life?
Yoga has made me healthy and happy. I can lead my life free of diseases, and it helps me to stay fit. I think it’s a great achievement to be able to live a life free from diseases and medicine in Dhaka city. On the other hand, yoga has completely changed my perspective of the world, my feelings towards others, and myself. Yoga is the process to connect body, mind, and soul. I find inner peace and happiness by practicing yoga. For me, yoga is the way to reshape your life.
What is the philosophy you try to teach your students?
I believe that every human being in the world can be the best version of him/herself if they connect with their minds. I try to aid them in realizing the power of the mind; yoga is not limited to just a mat -- it’s a balanced process of lifestyle, gaining deep attention and satisfaction with everyday work. Yoga is the best thing to help you pay attention to every activity, and every action is felt with all six senses, increasing positive energy on the path to be a good human. I think it’s very important for one to understand where they stand as a human being.
What has been the most profound moment in your yoga teaching career?
Last year, I won the honour and medal by participating in the International Yoga competition in Nepal, which is the first time for a Bangladeshi. That was a proud moment for me.
What is the difference between yoga and other exercises?
The difference between yoga and other exercises is huge. Other exercises focus on physical effects, whereas yoga focuses on physical, mental and spiritual benefits. You know, the mind is the main driving force of human beings. Yoga is the process that can control one's mind and thoughts.
Do you believe it is an alternative form of healing and medicines?
Of course! The biggest example is that I have never been ill since I began practicing yoga. Yoga is a form of Naturopathy. Anyone can cure any disease by practicing yoga regularly. We have a system to run, but if we don’t know how, then there is no point. Yoga is a system where we get the chance to keep our body and mind fit and healthy. All we need to do is to know it and practice it more closely. Yoga can help us to cure our diseases by improving our health system.
Does one person need to be personally fit or within an age limit to start yoga?
There is no age limit for starting yoga. There are, however, different types of yoga for different ages.
In this busy world, how often should one practice yoga to stay fit?
If anyone can invest 20 to 30 minutes per day to practice yoga, they can stay fit. Just do five minutes of pranayama or breathing exercises, five minutes of meditation and 10 to 20 minutes of yoga poses.
Some people call yoga a religion. How do you see that?
My answer is no. I look to the roots of yoga. Traditionally, yoga is the science of the self. Yoga seeks to help us understand our inner world through various techniques that include meditation, asanas, breathing, and focused awareness and also contains rules of behaviour and conduct. Yoga is a balanced lifestyle. If by religion, we mean the religious experience of transcendence, the loss of fear of death and the emergence of platonic qualities such as truth, beauty, goodness, harmony, and evolution, then yes -- yoga can give us a religious experience. It is not a religion in the form of ideology, dogma, belief systems or compliance. It’s a spiritual experience that gives us access to a universal domain of reality.
Apart from health benefits, how does yoga help to keep one mentally sound?
Through yoga, you get to know yourself and cultivate a more nonjudgemental relationship with yourself. You are building confidence; you exercise more and eat healthier. Your mind asks from this “me time” and effort from you to survive in the long run. At the end of the day, everything comes down to yourself. When you get more confidence and become more rooted in your sense of self-care, you develop a healthy, balanced ego, where you have nothing to prove and nothing to hide. You become courageous, with higher will power. And your mind and body will obey the roots of healthy living at the end of the day.
Do you consider yoga a way of life or just another form of exercise?
Yoga is not just another form of exercise, it’s definitely a way of life. Yoga is a holistic and integral science of life dealing with the physical, mental and spiritual health of the individual and society. It provides inner peace. Yogic lifestyle, yogic diet, yogic attitudes, and various yogic practices help us strengthen ourselves and develop positive health. Yoga is a continuous process, as it is a journey and the goal is the journey itself.
What makes a good yoga teacher?
I think patience, dedication, and practicing more love are integral. Being kind makes you a good yoga teacher.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as a yoga teacher?
Well, you know, in Bangladesh most people are not aware of how to maintain good health; they depend on medicines. It’s a big challenge, but I am very hopeful. On the other hand, a lot of people think yoga originated from Hinduism, but that’s not true.
What do you wish people knew more about yoga?
Nowadays, yoga is the best way to be healthy and happy. We have to break the habit of wasting our income and time on medicines. I want to change this situation.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about yoga?
There is a misconception that yoga just consists of asana or poses. But this is just a part of yoga. Likewise, meditation is a part of yoga. Some other big misconceptions are: yoga is for women, yoga is too slow, yoga is a religion, and older people cannot do yoga, etc. These common misconceptions about yoga need to be changed.
After a lot of hard work and refusing to compromise with his fitness and health, his motivation and love for yoga brought Saldin Yogi where he is today. One thing he wants everyone to believe is that a healthy lifestyle should be our number one priority.