Our current generation has become increasingly health conscious. Many are joining gyms, running in parks, taking up aerobics and more recently, yoga. Ulfath Kuddus is one such member of our youth populace who embraced yoga not only as a form of physical exercise, but for its spiritual aspect as well.
Ulfath studied at Sunbeams School and then at Webster University in Thailand, where she studied International Relations, and Management, after pursuing several career options she now works for Pixieland School. She took up yoga around the age of sixteen, “I was struggling with my weight and developing body image issues,” she says. “At that time my mom used to do a lot of yoga and aerobics, and she is the one who suggested yoga as nothing else was working for me. From day one I was hooked.”
Initially, Ulfath learned yoga from a book, called The Yoga Book, published in the 80's. “Last year, I needed a break from everything and I decided it was time I went and got certified, so I went to an ashram in Nepal called the Ananda Ashram, right outside Katmandu, and I studied Hatha Yoga. The ashram was a very quiet nice place and part of practice was contemplation. We would sit for hours thinking about life, I learned to breathe there. When I came back, I was overheard at a dinner party talking about my experience. The next day I was offered a space at the International Club (IC) in Gulshan 2, to take a class.”
Ulfath started at the IC, three days a week (Sundays through Tuesdays, TK 300 per class) and is also starting classes at a creative space called Inspire, which is in DOHS Baridhara. “I am very excited about this class and hope to include an older crowd, because I believe it's a population that really needs to be tapped into,” she tells us. “People in their 50's pushing 60, are starting to develop arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and other age related conditions. These are things that can be controlled through exercise and yoga etc .Our generation might be into looking after ourselves but our mothers aren't, so it would be great if we could create a platform for them, where exercises as simple as bending their fingers and bending their toes, etc can help them,” she continues.
In her class, she teaches a type of yoga called Hatha Yoga which concentrates on individual asanas, as opposed to the flow, the vinyasa. “Ha means sun, it's the active energy, the heat and Tha is the moon, the receptive energy, the whole point of this type of yoga is to balance the two,” says Ulfath.
Ulfath informs us that from a medical point of view, yoga helps control blood pressure, anxiety and depression. It helps with weight loss and it makes the skin better. “It also helps with stomach problems because it works on your internal muscles, and organs,” she says.
“My class is not typical, we all talk and laugh and listen to music, I want people to have fun so they get hooked on to it,” Ulfath explains. “I've been doing yoga as a form of exercise for many years and now, finally it has become more than that-it has become a way of life for me. So that's what the ultimate goal of my class is.”