A yoga instructor, direct from India, who plans to be in Bermuda for the next three years hopes that when he leaves Bermuda, he leaves a team of men eager to carry on studying yoga, despite the misconceptions that many men have about the practice.

Rajendra Pandey, who hails from Rishikesh, India, is in Bermuda to teach yoga at the Health Co-op in Warwick. He will also be holding classes in Hamilton at the In Motion studio, in the morning and again at lunchtime. During this his second visit to Bermuda, Pandey says that a common misconception that he sees in men is that they think that yoga is too soft or too feminine for them.

ãIn India, many men do the yoga practice, but here, I find that there are very few men that come to me. I donât know what they have in their mind, like they want to do a more physical workout. They find yoga is more gentle, more relaxing, but the benefits that women get from yoga, men can get the exact same benefits. I donât know why the men are not coming, but if they want a challenging workout, we can give them a challenging workout also. If they feel that they want a physical exercise, more interesting, more sweating, than they can go for a type of yoga that will do that.

ãThere is no doubt that it is equally beneficial for men, it improves their flexibility, their strength and mobility, their immunity öö it increases everything. It reduces heart risk, blood pressure, stress levels.ä

Pandey added that yoga is also beneficial to athletes, and produced a list which states that there are 11 benefits that yoga can bring to those involved in sports: It improves flexibility, improves balance, increases mental focus, increases strength, improves mind/body connection, reduces stress, improves posture, increases kinesthetic awareness, improves agility, improves sportsmanship and enhances emotional stability.

To increase the availability of yoga to a wider audience, Pandey and the Health Co-op have brought yoga to Hamilton. They will hold sunrise yoga classes from 7 to 8am at the In Motion studio on Reid Street on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and will also have lunchtime classes from 12:30 ö 1:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the same location. Classes with Pandey are also available at the Health Co-op seven days a week. For more information call 236-0336, email info@healthcoop.bm or visit www.healthcoop.bm.