‘Yoga grandpa’ offers free classes in China

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Beijing, Feb 20 (IANS) A 72-year-old man in China’s Zhejiang province, offers yoga classes for free in his community, attracting many middle-aged and elderly learners.

Yue Mingchao started to learn yoga at 63 after he retired and took his teaching certifcate last year, Xinhua reported.

Yue used to be overweight with hypertension and a fatty liver before he began to practise yoga. To get well, he decided take up a physical sport and developed an interest in yoga after trying jogging, going to gym and dancing.

Yoga has become very popular in China in recent years. Most Chinese yoga enthusiasts are young women.

“At the very beginning, I felt embarrassed as most yoga learners were women,” Yue recalled. “So I stayed at the back of the class.”

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Of course, it was difficult at first. Even some simple poses, such as sitting cross-legged and bending down, were too hard for him, he said.

It took three months before he was broken in. After two years, his fat belly had disappeared and his health had improved.

After nine years’ hard practice, Yue became a yoga master and began to provide free classes three times a week in March 2015. Now the class has some 60 students compared to 15 when it was set up.

Yue’s students are aged from 50 to 82. Most of them want to tone up their bodies and improve their health, he said.

Since an increasing number of elderly people, both men and women, have become yoga enthusiasts, Yue has decided to open two more classes next week.

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Yue believes that yoga could become one of the most popular pastimes for senior citizens, rivalling shadow boxing and line dancing.

Yoga is physical, mental, and spiritual practice which originated in India. It is believed to harmonise mental and physical energy.

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