Ashtanga practice and fatherhood: part 3 with Hamish Hendry

Photo of Hamish Hendry adjusiting a practitioner

Here is the final instalment in our series on Ashtanga Practice and fatherhood. For those who don’t know, Hamish runs the Dharma Shala in London, founded back in 2005. I’ve practiced there a handful of times over the years and can say it’s a special place to practice, as close to Mysore as one can get. I’ve always been struck by Hamish’s warmth.

When we were last in Mysore I managed to pick up a copy of his book Yoga Dharma which I reviewed on the blog. I love the simplicity of Yoga Dharma and this led to me approaching Hamish with my questions on fatherhood.

I’ve found this series of posts great fun to coordinate and also very useful as I prepare myself for fatherhood. Thanks for reading and enjoy part 3:

Hamish Hendry on Ashtanga practice and fatherhood:

How many children do you have?

One, a daughter.

When do you practice and how often?

From 2:00am to 4:30am (before I teach).

How long have you been practising, and how old were you when you had your first child?

30 years; I was 38.

Did becoming a father affect your asana practice in any way? If so, please explain.

Just a bit of tiredness, some aches from carrying a small child on elbow, hips and shoulders, nothing major.

Does your partner practice? If so, how has parenthood affected both of your asana practices?

Yes she does. Anna has had more time off asana practice but still practises 5 days a week, though sometimes not full series. You’d really have to ask her.

Do you think your asana practice has affected your relationship with your child/children? If so, in what ways?

It’s kept me fit enough to run after her, etc. I think the philosophy of yoga has helped in my relationship and the effect on mind via asana has been a huge benefit. Basically it’s easy to find yourself getting stressed with childcare; yoga has helped reduce that stress and made it possible to draw breath at tense moments.

Has your practice prepared you for fatherhood in any way? If so, please explain.

I can’t really see anything that can prepare you for fatherhood. It’s new and amazing.

How have you managed your energy levels whilst practising fatherhood?

You just have to watch more carefully everything you do. Follow the yamas and niyamas and save energy. Pranayama helps big time. Get sleep where you can and don’t be anxious about little sleep.

What’s the best thing about being a father?

Being part of a new life, the love, the trust, the questions, the conquests. Everything.

What have your children taught you in relation to practice?

Step by step, practice will come and the light will shine.

What advice do you have for anyone about to become a father regarding fatherhood and asana practice?

DO NOT WORRY! Fear is the mind killer.

If you could do it again, what would you do differently?

Start having children earlier.

What do you think?

I’d like to thank Hamish for taking the time to share his experiences of practice and fatherhood, and invite you to leave a comment below. How has parenthood affected your practice and family life? If you think this blog post would be useful to others then please share it on your favourite social network. And don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter below the comments section so you won’t miss future articles like this.

9 Responses to Ashtanga practice and fatherhood: part 3 with Hamish Hendry

  1. silvia 2nd August 2015 at 5:19 pm #

    It was great to hear about the experiences of long time practitioners, thank you for sharing this 3 part series!
    Being a new mom myself, I would love to read about the experiences of female practitioners, would you consider doing a series on that?

    • Guy Andefors
      Guy Andefors 2nd August 2015 at 6:22 pm #

      Hey Silvia,
      Thanks for your comment. And congratulations on becoming a Mom! Yes we have been discussing sending out our questions to long-term practitioners who are Moms. I think you’d be interested in the book Yoga Sadhana for Mothers written by Anna Wise who is Hamish’s partner and Sharmila Desai.

      • silvia 3rd August 2015 at 1:00 pm #

        Many thanks for the suggestion, it’s crazy how I missed it, I’ve been searching for something like this since I was pregnant!
        All the best to you and Leia + little sprout!

        • Guy Andefors
          Guy Andefors 3rd August 2015 at 1:25 pm #

          Easily done, yogis aren’t generally great at marketing 😉 Thanks!

  2. peg 3rd August 2015 at 4:33 am #

    I am really enjoying this series you are doing! thank you and thanks to the dads! xo

    • Guy Andefors
      Guy Andefors 3rd August 2015 at 7:15 am #

      Thanks for dropping by Peg and glad you’re enjoying it 😉

  3. Louise 3rd August 2015 at 10:27 am #

    Yes, great series and thanks to the dads too! And very excited for you to Guy. I love Hamish’s emphasis on not worrying or fearing. Currently being a parent is affecting my asana practice as there’s no physical recovery time – if I have some pain somewhere, the day tends to bring it up repeatedly, from lugging the buggy down the steps, picking up my daughter, picking up toys again and again (and again)!… So I’ve found at the moment I need to shorten asana practice. But that’s just a small thing compared to the vast benefits of practice when it comes to parenthood!

  4. Louise 3rd August 2015 at 11:48 am #

    PS. It would be great to hear from any of the dads in the series – or other parents who practise – about going to Mysore with their little ones, especially if they have ever been without their partner.

  5. Guy Andefors
    Guy Andefors 3rd August 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    Hi Louise, thanks for sharing your experience. It strikes me that parenting is more of a marathon than a race! Its good to hear that you’re adapting and moving with it and feeling the love of course. x G

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