Nick Daez Shares How Yoga Transforms Lives And Perspectives

Nick Daez imparted his experiences and learnings on the transformative effects of yoga and how it helps build a global community.

Nick Daez is a lot of things: an entrepreneur, creative director, copywriter, and a brand consultant. However, he is also a life coach, sound healer, and a yoga and meditation practitioner. In an exclusive interview with Lifestyle Asia, he revealed he has been practicing for 15 years. 

Growing up, he was encouraged to partake in active hobbies and participate in sports or varsity teams. “Yoga wasn’t introduced to me within my friends or family,” he said. “I started being more interested in things that are a bit more spiritual when I was in college.”

Through his journey, we will learn how yoga serves as more than just a physical exercise. Rather, it is a transformative tool that touches the depths of one’s being regardless of cultural background. Teachings on it extend beyond the mat and instill values of compassion, mindfulness, interconnectedness, and personal growth.

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Nick Daez has been practicing yoga for more than 15 years
Nick Daez has been practicing yoga for more than 15 years/Photo via Instagram @nickdaez

Answering the call of yoga

“I’ve been practicing yoga for more than 15 years, since [I was in] college,” he chronicled. “I’ve tried different styles, like I started off with Ashtanga, and then from there, I also dabbled between Bikram [and] Vinyasa.” Afterwards, he ended up doing his teacher training for Kundalini yoga.

When he was just starting, Nick stated that he came across a teacher in the Philippines who offered Ashtanga. This is where his curiosity began. “It wasn’t like I wanted to be a teacher,” he explained. “It was more like, it’s something new, different, as compared to working out in the gym.” He thought that it was worth trying and admitted that the practice didn’t stick right away. 

“I had to try different kinds [of yoga] and it was a very slow progression,” he continued. “It felt good. I liked how it felt physically and mentally. But it was when I was doing Kundalini yoga that I really gravitated towards the practice. It made me want to dive deep into it, but not as a teacher.”

During a session, he talked to one of his classmates and found out she was teaching yoga. He asked why she wanted to be a teacher, to which she responded that she wanted to deepen her practice. 

“I think I’d want to do that, have an immersive experience–one month of just doing yoga, how to do it, and grasp the teachings. But after everything, I felt like I had so much knowledge that I couldn’t not teach. I wanted to share what I learned. At first, it was curiosity, but it became a calling.”

Nick is also a sound healer apart from being a yoga practitioner
Nick is also a sound healer apart from being a yoga practitioner/Photo from Nick Daez

Yoga helped him manage his emotions, tap into his creativity, and expand his vitality.

Benefits of yoga

John Hopkins Medicine highlighted numerous transformative effects of yoga, emphasizing its physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages. It is an essential component of treatment as well, for those recovering from surgery or someone who lives with a chronic condition. 

It is effective for back pain relief, a fact that the American College of Physicians backs. Yoga can alleviate arthritis symptoms and reduce stress and inflammation to the heart. Relaxation, better sleep, and mood improvement are also among the numerous advantages of the practice. It also encourages better self care. 

An inspiring and nourishing community

Nick elaborated that the global pandemic played a huge role in the surge of yoga’s prominence, despite its worldwide presence being around for years. “With the impact of COVID-19, the rise of online classes via digital platforms have really emerged.”

Yoga has also become less esoteric and has been more grounded and mainstream. It has encompassed aspects that focus on mindfulness, mental health, and the scientific benefits that come from learning the practice.

“It’s becoming more widespread due to the people’s growing interest in it due to its benefits,” he commented. Social media and influencers, according to him, have also further popularized the activity through making it a part of their routines, broadening its appeal and accessibility.

Doing yoga is a form of exercise, relaxation, and self-care
Doing yoga is a form of exercise, relaxation, and self-care/Photo from Dylan Gyllis via Unsplash

Yoga has a widespread impact on a global scale because it’s not just a mere physical exercise. Its holistic benefits include working on the mind and spirit, which fosters positive traits like compassion and empathy. Its enduring relevance also led to inclusive and understanding communities, which changed global values for the better.

Nick shared his personal experiences from being part of tight-knit yoga communities in Manila and other locations abroad. These groups are supportive and prompt nourishing interactions. “The people are from different walks of life who are all inspiring,” he said. “No one’s gossiping. These people aren’t engaging in low frequency conversations. Those kinds of spaces are rare.”

Barriers and cultural misconceptions

Still, yoga, among other things, has barriers and misinterpretations, too. “Some of these include cultural misconceptions and even its commercialization,” he narrated. 

There are misconceptions surrounding it, such as: needing to be flexible, yoga being expensive, and it not being suitable for everyone. These false beliefs make the practice appear less inclusive than it actually is, similar to gym memberships, which also intimidate some. 

Nick added that there is also a stigma around men practicing yoga, but more of them are getting into it nowadays. “I think the fact that a lot of professional athletes incorporate yoga into their health and fitness routines created a ripple effect with others,” he said. “It makes them more interested to try it out. At the same time, I think the progression of culture made yoga a part of people’s lifestyles.”

“For me, yoga is one of the more inclusive, welcoming communities,” he uttered. There is an ongoing effort to educate people and make it more accessible to others, but actively combatting the misconceptions would make a significant difference.

Advice for first timers interested in yoga

As a parting message, Nick provided well-needed advice for individuals who are about to take their first steps to their yoga journey. 

“You need to be truthful about your comfort level,” he expressed. “If you’re alright with being around a lot of people. You can join a class, a yoga studio, or a weekend retreat, for one to really immerse in the practice. However, if you want to go even slower and you’re uncomfortable with other people, try some introductory classes on YouTube. See how it works or feels, because there are various platforms and opportunities to practice now, even online.”

He also stated that it will feel scary and intimidating at first, but it is normal because this is a new, unexplored journey. “Trying something new takes courage, but the experience will be enriching for sure.”

Banner photo via Instagram @nickdaez.

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