Yoga helped Holder through father’s death
Robin Holder took up yoga looking to make his body a little more flexible.
When tragedy struck, he realised the exercise had another benefit — inner peace.
“In October 2014, my father, Reg Holder, was diagnosed with lung cancer,” the 49-year-old said. “It was a progression where he was having difficulty breathing, started losing a lot of weight and then he couldn’t walk.”
Three months later, he was gone. While other family members cried, Mr Holder couldn’t.
“I felt like it wasn’t the time to show weakness because I had to be strong for my mother,” he said. “For a long time I was in shock.”
His yoga classes helped relieve some of the tension.
“Yoga can be very cathartic,” he said. “Without yoga, I don’t think I could have gotten through my father’s death. The classes helped me become more reflective.
“Going through what I did with my father launched me on a spiritual journey. I began to look inward and explore my inner emotions a bit more. It has helped me deal with a lot of different things in my life apart from that — it showed me there was another path to self-realisation.”
It inspired him to become a teacher. He’s now in the middle of training with Lucky Elephant Wellness and expects to be done next month.
In the meantime he has started teaching at Inspired Fitness, a new studio on Church Street. One of his classes is specifically aimed at men. “As you get older, your body is going to change,” said Mr Holder, who also runs, does CrossFit and lifts weights.
“I can’t say I am young any more, but yoga helps to turn back the clock. You have to do balancing poses, and one of the things that happen when you get older is you lose your mobility. As long as I have a passion for what I am doing in life, my age is immaterial.
“I’ve done yoga classes at different places in Bermuda and I’ve also been to yoga studios in London and Toronto. There are usually only one or two men in the class.”
He thinks the problem is that men get intimidated when there’s a room full of women who seem to have more flexibility than they do.
At his first class ten years ago he started sweating profusely a few minutes into the start.
“My body had never been in those poses before,” he said. “I was in so much pain. I thought, ‘What the heck have I gotten myself into?’”
He dropped out after three classes. In 2013, he tried again and fell in love. The instructor made the difference.
“She understood that I was new to yoga and a bit stiff,” said Mr Holder, who came to understand it was all about self-development.
“She made it great for me, and expressed the philosophical underpinnings of yoga. That got my attention.
“I know I have benefited from doing yoga. It has helped complete me as an athlete.
“It has helped me with injury prevention, and helped me with flexibility and mobility. It helps me find balance. It helps deal with stress. I think more men could benefit from it. A lot of men work in offices where they sit all day without doing any kind of stretching.”
His class includes poses that play to men’s strengths.
“Men tend to be stronger in the shoulders,” he said. “I will gradually get guys to be more comfortable with their bodies and comfortable with being mindful. Yoga is not about who is the most flexible person, it is about learning about your own body and how far you can go with your mind and body together.”
• Join Robin Holder’s Monday yoga classes for men at Inspired Fitness at 6.30pm. Telephone 236-2025 or visit www.inspired.bm<i?
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