He moves awkwardly from a downward dog to a cat, a cow and rests in a pigeon. But after a few stretches and contorting poses, the foreign ancient ascetic discipline becomes less foreign and more natural to Alban Raymond de Souza.
Not to be mistaken with anything kinky, Alban was merely trying yoga poses for the first time.
Alban was among 40 Allstars from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, who decided to take a short break from work and rejuvenate by participating in the Allstars Yoga Retreat held at the Swiss- BelHotel Segara, Nusa Dua, Bali recently.
Swiss-BelHotel Segara General Manager, Raymond Butler, said this is the first time the hotel is organising a yoga retreat for a corporate company .
“The hotel is a perfect place for a yoga retreat or anyone looking for peace and relaxation as it is away from the hustle and bustle of the city life and a stone’s throw from the ocean.
“It is also enlightening to know that AirAsia cares for its employees by organising retreats like this in its efforts to promote healthy lifestyle and we hope more companies will emulate them,” he said.
Organised by People Engagement and in collaboration with Travel 3Sixty, the retreat aimed at promoting wellness among Allstars by allowing them to break away from their daily routine and recharging and rejuvenating by immersing themselves with yogic exercises.
The Engineer was no doubt apprehensive bit apprehensive in the beginning as he has no experience in anything remotely yoga.
“It was something new to me and it was a bit tough in the beginning doing certain poses but I got the hang of it as the teacher was good.”
“Suffice to say, it was a great short break from work and I felt rejuvenated after the retreat,” he said.
Yoga Instructor from Thailand Lek Kittikunadul explained that people work hard sometimes putting in 12 to 16 hours a day but then they forget to give something for themselves.
“When people sit for hours at the computer, body functions are restricted, the fascia and tendon will shrink and lose flexibility and range of movement. Yoga is an activity that helps undo our bad habits by restoring the body condition back to where it’s supposed to be.
“Yoga is the best exercise for you to keep yourself healthy because yoga is about you and be aware of what you are feeling and knowing and respecting your limitations,” he said.
Lek, who incorporates philosophy, spiritualism and Traditional Chinese Medicine into his teachings, said a lot of people when they think of yoga, they think it’s difficult and as though you are being a contortionist, the fear sets in and they stay clear from it.
“What people fail to realize is that everyone has the potential to do it, regardless if they are a beginner or an expert, what matters is taking the first step.
“I don’t expect people to walk out of the retreat as experts, instead to ignite an interest in taking care of the own body, understanding and respecting it,” he said adding that a lot of the participants, even though some are beginners have the potential and the ability to do it.
Besides the ability to learn or improve yoga, the other important aspect of the retreat was the bond between Allstars.
Many Allstars at the retreat are not even aware of their fellow Allstars’ existence or name despite being in the same office. The 3-day retreat saw many exchanging phone numbers, taking pictures and even signing on their yoga mats.
“Engineering staff always seem to be away from all this great fun due to our work schedule and it is time for a change and that’s why I decided to sign up for this retreat despite the lack of knowledge in yoga,” said Alban.
Alban added that the retreat helped build better communications in future undertakings by understanding each other’s roles and responsibilities.
Chiang Mai Station Head, Onanong Netsawasdi (Poo) said she had a great time at the retreat and meeting new friends from other AOCs.
What is Yoga?
‘Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union – the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day to day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.’ ~ B.K.S Iyengar