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.