“I’m nothing if not flexible” – The Travelling Chef

It wasn’t as if I had an aversion towards Yoga; it was just something that you don’t see many people in the Food Industry doing. So I was curious when a friend suggested that I come for a trial class at Total Yoga and see how it goes. Being one to always try something new, I went with an open mind…

…And I was hooked!

 

Benefits of Yoga in a Professional Kitchen

A professional kitchen can be a wonderful place to work in, especially if you take care of yourself. It is demanding and stressful, but it is an extremely enjoyable profession to be in, and the people working should have a passion to match.

Having been a chef for around 5 years, I have to be extremely energetic, focused, and flexible in the kitchen. Going in day after day, spending hours prepping vegetables and meat, dishing out plate after plate can be murder on your neck, back, and especially your feet. Not to mention, the immense amount of stress that comes with the kitchen environment.

 

Yoga helped. Period.

The asanas taught at Total Yoga give me the energy to last the hard hours in the kitchen, while the pranayama exercises help keep my focus on the dish at hand. Additionally, it has alleviated the aches and pains I used to have at the end of a long day.

With regular practice, I have achieved a certain amount of flexibility to keep up with the demanding environment and confined spaces I work in, while also building up strength and muscle.

 

Yoga Vs. Working Out

I have always been one for fitness, and used to work out with weights earlier. Training with weights help bulking up and building muscle, but it is a long process, as you have to exercise each muscle individually. Also, the muscles you build make you stiff and unable to perform to optimum efficiency while cooking.

Yoga asanas help work out various muscles at the same time, without stiffness and increase the amount of litheness and active constitution needed as a professional prerequisite.

Just one hour a day of simple asanas and exercises can in a few months help achieve a high level of fitness.

 

A little bit can go a long way

Apart from doing one hour of asanas, something that really keeps me on my toes is the short yoga breaks I take during work. Simply put, I do a few stretches, a couple of breathing exercises i.e. five minutes of quick Yoga, and I’m ready to get back to work. You can even do this while you’re on the prep table, or the finishing table, but just be a little careful if you’re on or anywhere near the grill while trying this out.

I’ve been doing yoga for over nine months now, and like I said earlier, I’m hooked. Everyday, before I enter the kitchen, I spend at least half an hour practising Yoga, and also go for class three to four times a week. And that has made all the difference.

 

Shyam Nair

Executive Chef & CEO – The Travelling Chef

 

Also read another Total Yogi Hemal Panchamia’s story on how Yoga is different from the gym – Mind-over-Body workout!, the benefits of cycling and yoga combined: Yogi on Wheels by Rita Mishra; as well as this by Arpita Ganesh on #New Year Resolutions!