good news #9
Yoga for Good Men by Samuel Urtado
Samuel is a trained osteopath who has been practicing yoga for over 10 years. Looking to take things to the next level, and ensure that yoga could step beyond its “just for women” perception, Samuel co-created “Yoga for Good Men,” as well as osteo-yoga, in order to show how holistic a practice it is, and how it promotes general well-being and better health. From his confinement, Samuel shares his advice for how we can learn to take full advantage of this period.
Hello Samuel, can you tell us a few words about what you do? And how you created Osteo Yoga?
I am a trained Osteopath and my job is to accompany my patients holistically in their quest to eat better, move better, stress better. I discovered yoga during some therapeutic training I was doing in Asia and I started practicing it. I wanted to transmit this new knowledge from a health-centric perspective, so in 2016 I created a first center where I incorporated both Osteopathy and Yoga. Thanks to its success, I then joined forces with Pascal to open a second and larger center, 2 years later, in 2018. And that is how Somasana was born. Ever since, we have accompanied hundreds of patients, students, and practitioners on their wellness quest.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us during confinement. How are you experiencing this period?
Honestly, I’m extremely lucky to have been able to stay where I had gone for the weekend right when the announcement was made, in the Alps. And I appreciate having the time to be and not just to do, so I’m handling it well. At any rate, why bother trying to control a situation that you have no control over? That would be a source of suffering. I am also continuing, as much as possible, to interact with and keep in touch with my patients, my students, and all of the Somasana community.
How is yoga also a masculine practice… a practice for men?
Yoga is universal. The quest for the self, the maintenance of one’s physical and mental well-being, the control of one’s breathing, is something that concerns all human beings. There is no distinction between men and women. The problem is that in France there are strong beliefs when it comes to practicing yoga and the quality of transmission of yoga is very uniform, often limited to the purely physical side. That is why we created Yoga des Bons Hommes, with my colleague Prosper, in order to change the mindset and limited beliefs of some men with respect to the practice of yoga.
What are the most surprising benefits of yoga for men?
Many men are focused on the physical image they give off. Yoga allows them to re-center themselves to focus on what’s inside and express the sensitivity that so many of them try to hide. The meditative aspect of Yoga is a chance for guys to tame their mental state, therefore to better channel and express their emotions. Yoga is an excellent conduit for the “flow” that allows us to perform at a higher level while remaining mentally and physically calm!
Tell me about your typical day-to-day life. Before and during confinement.
I toggle between my appointments with patients, classes and managing the Somasana centers, with my associate. I take some time to prepare training sessions, retreats, and other events we are planning. I also practice, every day, one of the different activities we offer at the Somasana centers: Osteo Yoga, Air Yoga, Yin cycling, Sophrology, Osteo Pilates. Or I run!
What simple tips can you give us to feel better every day?
Give yourself some small objectives to reach every day that stimulate your motivation, as well as some bigger, mid-term objectives. Set some daily meetings with yourself and take stock of your objectives and how you are feeling. Give meaning to each and every one of your actions. Question your automatic habits (“Why am I doing this?”) I learned early on that knowing how to question yourself allows you to evolve serenely and in a way that is aligned with your values. And, most importantly, it allows you to define your reason for being so that you can live life with passion.
What are the most common words or excuses about yoga that you’ve heard from other men ?
There are so many! “You have to be super supple to do yoga,” “yoga is like going to the gym,” “I’m afraid I’ll get bored,” “It’s too slow,” “Yoga is for people who eat nothing but salad,” “Nothing happens when I meditate,” “Yoga isn’t a physical sport,” “Yoga is for girls…”
Anything you’d like to add to this interview?
For all those who can, take this period of friction as an opportunity to be aligned with the changes that are going on inside of you that you aren’t taking the time to express. Take the time to listen to yourself and be kind about it. Create new habits for yourself and be inventive. Be curious. Create bonds with the people who are dear to you, in new ways. Every day we say how we don’t have time…for once you do have the time, so take advantage of it and feel grateful for how lucky you are to be here, undergoing this extraordinary experience. Have compassion for all of those people who are at the front lines, who allow us to live this confinement period as well as we can, but who don’t necessarily have this chance.
Photography : Samuel Urtado