Man ‘sets record’ as Dubai marks world yoga day

Man ‘sets record’ as Dubai marks world yoga day

The 61 minute-long unassisted shirshasana (headstand posture) performed by Ivan Stanley is likely to be announced as a new Guinness World Record after the Guinness committee officially verify his attempt.



By Sajila Saseendran/senior Reporter

Published: Tue 23 Jun 2015, 12:32 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:47 PM

About 16,000 people doing yoga at the International Yoga Day at Al Wasl Football Club, Dubai on Sunday. -Photo by Rahul Gajjar

Dubai - An Indian man in Dubai set a new world record in — what he claims is —  the longest headstand, marking the International Yoga Day celebrations on Sunday.

The 61 minute-long unassisted shirshasana (headstand posture) performed by Ivan Stanley is likely to be announced as a new Guinness World Record after the Guinness committee officially verify his attempt.

Ivan Stanley attempts a 61-minute shirshasana or the headstand yoga posture to set a Guinness World Record at Jumeirah Lake Towers,  Dubai, on Sunday.— Photo by Dhes Handumon

“I feel much better,” the man with long hair told Khaleej Times after achieving the feat, which saw his feet in the air and body balanced on the crown of the head and forearms folded around it.

“I always wanted to do something special as a tribute to my yoga teachers from various schools. The Rulers of this country have chosen 2015 as the year of innovation and it also happened that we are celebrating the first International Yoga Day. All these factors culminated in me deciding to do this,” he said.

On choosing this inverted posture, Stanley said the headstand is considered the king of all yoga postures.

“It has innumerable health benefits. It helps with the heart…It allows more blood to flow to the brain, which in turn allows better circulation to all parts of the body…It has also got a lot of mental and emotional benefits as well.”

A copy writer with the advertising sector, the 41-year-old bachelor started doing yoga 15 years back.

“I’ve been blessed to be the disciple of many great yoga teachers from various yoga schools.”

Stanley had been doing headstand since the first year of practice. Until the beginning of this year, he used to do it only for 10 minutes every day.

“This year, I started doing half an hour. It was only about two months ago I started practising for an hour…But I never touched one hour… The maximum I reached was 58 minutes. Since it is an auspicious day today, I pushed myself to finishing the one-hour mark and stopped at 61 minutes.”

A Christian, Stanley said he chanted the Om mantra (chanting considered sacred by Hindus) to stay focused and divert his attention from the people around, including his friends and media persons.

About 16,000 people doing yoga at the International Yoga Day at Al Wasl Football Club, Dubai on Sunday. -Photo by Rahul Gajjar

“I don’t connect yoga with religion. Considering yoga as an offshoot of Hinduism because it was practised in Vedic times in India, is like linking gravity to Christianity because Isaac Newton discovered it. None of the yoga scriptures that I have read had any reference to any religion. All my teachers have said yoga is beyond gender, age, nationality and religion.”

According to the information he received from the Guinness officials, there is no official record set for headstand.

The only record found online is the one set by a woman in Nepal who did it for 34 minutes and 55 seconds in 2013.

The video footage of Stanley’s performance and other documents will be provided to the Guinness officials to get the feat validated.

“For me, yoga stands for Your Own Greatness Achieved. I’m happy that I could find the maximum potentials in me.  I’m just hoping that what I did today will inspire those practising yoga to beat this feat and those who are not practising it to start attempting it for a minute at least.”

A yoga instructor of youngsters and prisoners in India, Canada and Thailand, Stanley is attracted to experimenting with modern yoga practices like Paddle Board Yoga — a variation of stand up paddle surfing (SUP), Acro Yoga — a practice that combines yoga and acrobatics, and Yoga in the Air — the practice of yoga while paragliding.

He said he will continue to be a ‘student’ of yoga throughout his life and will use these innovative practices to attract more youngsters to yoga.

Maryam Ovissi, founder and developer of Beloved Yoga, who was in town to attend the International Yoga Day event hosted by the Indian Consulate in Dubai, congratulated Stanley for his feat.

“We have heard about sadhus (religious, holy persons) who were known to headstand for days. But the path of the sadhus is very different and we cannot compare the sadhus with modern yoga experts.  We don’t do asanas for competition. But one hour of headstand is a quite long time,” she said. -sajila@khaleejtimes.com



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