We’ve been seeing more & more men in TTT and in our yoga classes too, and decided it was time to sit down with one of them to find out more..!
Meet Philip Pang: a corporate citizen by day, and an avid fitness & yoga instructor in the evenings (+weekends). We booked time with him to wander around Kampong Glam snapping some cool photos (laughing a lot in the process) and chatting about yoga.
**If you’re female & reading this, please share it with your bf, partner, teachers, anyone who’s a guy; convincing just 1 guy to do yoga will have made this article worth doing!
Can you share how you got into fitness? How did yoga come into the picture, and why?
Fitness just makes you feel good, especially right after a workout. The body fatigues, but you have a sense of achievement and you know that your body responds to it by getting stronger. As I started doing circuit training or outdoor sports, I was often faced with tight or sore muscles, and a bad back especially for men. Yoga came into the picture some 8 years back, when I started attending Hatha and Yin yoga classes. It definitely helps in stretching those tight muscles and creating a sense of awareness of my body.
Men are very quick to say “oh I’m not flexible! Yoga isn’t for me!” when they’re asked to give yoga a try. What would you tell them? .
You know what, some women say that too! 🙂 It’s also true that men, typically the ones who are into strength training, often use the flexibility word to not try yoga. I would say look at it from a standpoint of a stretch, give it a try. If they end up not liking it, fair enough, at least they’ve tried. Practicing yoga is being able to understand your body better, stretch tight spots and strengthen weak areas, isn’t that great?
You’re a guy, and you have an active fitness routine. How does yoga complement it?
Yes, I do have quite an active routine. Apart from my fulltime job, I do teach an average of 8 to 10 classes a week, mostly evenings and on weekends. Half of these classes involve strength training with weights, the other half are yoga classes of restorative and dynamic yoga. Yoga absolutely helped me in providing a chance to stretch and recover tight spots from strength training. It’s a good way to heal the body naturally.
Is yoga more a physical practice for you, or is it a mental one?
I would say it’s both. Yoga is a good way to clear the mind of busy thoughts allowing your body to experience the present during practice. Some will practice to improve on asanas, whilst others might find a more spiritual or meditative practice useful. Whatever the case, it is up to the individual to find a practice that best suits their purpose.
You talked about a Yoga Therapeutics workshop recently. Tell us more! What’s your interest here?
Yes, I’m currently pursuing my 300 hours teacher training to further my knowledge on various practices. Yoga Therapeutics is one of them which I find very useful. We practice and challenge ourselves, but we can also learn that with proper alignment, how our body can actually heal by itself to a certain EXTENT. Take options in practice and regress whenever needed. ‘Listen to the body’ is what they say.
Do you have yoga recommendations or suggestions for men?
Just give yoga a try, you’ll surprise yourself on how much you can do on strength and flexibility and how it helps with your other training regime.
What should guys wear to class?
Something that is comfortable and light, wicks sweat so we stay dry.
What kinds of props, mat do you use? Would you recommend them to your students?
I’m using props like blocks and strap to assist in my practice. They do come in handy for restorative practice and are really therapeutic (i.e. straps for hamstring stretches or blocks for opening up the chest and shoulders). I love the travel and foldable mats from Manduka and Jade Yoga, great for guys who are on the go and just stuff things in the duffle bag 🙂 I’d definitely recommend these.
How did you find out about Touch The Toes and what do you like about us?
I chanced upon the store after hearing about it from friends, plus Haji Lane is one of my favourite areas to hangout out with friends, such a cool environment and architecture. The TTT store is spacious and a place where you can just wander around with the widest selection of products for yoga. They make great gifts for friends too 🙂
If it was one single yoga pose guys should do, what would it be?? Why!
Well there are so many poses that guys should try to do, that’s the wonder of yoga. There are about 84 basic yoga poses and more than a thousand including more complex ones! I would say an arm balance twist would be the pose, such as twisted side crow or the dragonfly pose.