Yoga for every body
Alberto Amador, Brand Manager, Charo Ruiz
Born and bred in Ibiza, Alberto Amador is also a cosmopolitan citizen of the world. After leaving home to study at university in Barcelona, he went on to live in wide and varied places across the globe, including London, Mexico, New York and Beijing, working in event management. In 2013, the opportunity to return to his roots presented itself and Alberto accepted a position as Brand Manager for iconic Ibiza fashion designer Charo Ruiz here in Ibiza. He credits his regular Bikram yoga practice with maintaining control in all aspects of his life – from his professional life in the high-pressure fashion world to his personal life, health and wellbeing.
How did you first get into yoga?
I first heard about Bikram Yoga through my sister – she was reading a Vogue magazine and there was an interview with Madonna, where she was talking about her practice. I had also heard that Nacho Cano – a very famous pop singer from the 80s and 90s in Spain who has a house here in Ibiza – was practicing Bikram Yoga, while he was in recovery from depression, drug and alcohol addiction. It was through the media, magazines and newspapers, that I felt an attraction towards it.
When did you go to your first class?
It was in 2010, here at Hot Yoga Ibiza, while I was here during the summer.
Did you feel an instant connection with it?
No. It was more like a disconnection! I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t physically get into some of the postures. The first time Sebastien told me to put my biceps on my ears, I said “WHAT?” I couldn’t do it. I felt like I couldn’t do anything in the beginning. I felt a little frustrated – I thought, if all the other people in the class can do it, why can’t I? But this also motivated me.
So how did your practice progress?
That first summer, I went a few times and then when I went to Beijing, I started to practice a lot more often. When I came back to Ibiza the following summer, I practiced almost every day. I was super focused and very disciplined. Now I practice three to four times a week – always the Hot Yoga classes. I’ve tried the other classes, but… they are not my practice. [Smiles] They’re not hot enough for me.
What kinds of physical benefits have you seen with regular practice?
A lot! I always had problems with my knees, and now they are much better. My back feels stronger. My digestion is better. I actually lost 15 kilos. When you start practicing regularly, everything changes little by little – the way you eat, the way you sleep. You want to be ok for your next practice. For example, if I know I have a class at 6pm, I won’t eat a lot during the day. I’ll keep it light with just fruit and vegetables. Then afterwards, you feel so good and so healthy, you don’t want to go back to the feelings you have when you eat meat, or fatty foods.
Have you noticed any changes in the mind?
Of course. I always say that 2010 was the year that I changed my life. As soon as I started practicing yoga every day I felt more focused and I had more determination. You feel the benefits almost immediately, but in the beginning it is easy to slip back into your old life. When I say this, I mean, before you developed the good habits that come with the practice. Yoga is so good for me when I am under pressure in my job – when we have a fashion show, or a photo shoot there can be very high levels of stress, but now I feel I can always maintain control. Before, when I was working in event management, I sometimes felt like my mind could go a little out of control. Of course I was younger, and less experienced then, but now I know how to bring some of the elements of yoga into my life, like breathing through the nose, to be calm and to concentrate. You can bring tips from yoga into all parts of your life – professional and personal.
How do you feel when you skip a practice?
I feel bad! Because I know I am not doing what I have to do. When I don’t go for a week or two because I am on a work trip, I start eating French fries on the third day, then you start to think about a pizza or a burger… and then afterwards, I feel like it is a hangover day! I know it’s not good for my digestion. I’ve really learned to listen to my body through the practice – in fact, my chiropractor tells me she sees me becoming more and more conscious about it every year.
Are you still learning in class these days?
Always. I have three postures that I can’t do – five years, and I still can’t! I know it shouldn’t matter but I want to be able to do them. I’m still on it.
How much do you know about the yogic philosophies?
Not very much. I think my practice is more something between Sebastien and me – he talks all the time in the yoga classes and tells us about the benefits and the philosophies, but I don’t read books about it or anything. I don’t think I am a ‘yogi’ yogi, but the practice is essential in my life.
How do you describe Sebastien’s teaching style?
Honest. Truthful. Vocational.
And what is your relationship with him like?
It’s very special. I love and respect him, because he’s one of my guides in my life. I really appreciate what he offers and the way he does it. I have practiced yoga in Beijing, New York, Barcelona, Ibiza and Mexico… but he is ‘my’ teacher, you know?
Where do you see your practice going in the future?
Yoga is very important for me. In my future, I see myself practicing Bikram Yoga always. If I had to move away from Ibiza, from Sebastien, I don’t know what I would do! Even when I go on holiday, or on a work trip, I always try to find a hotel near a yoga studio. I want to do it forever.