Mark Das is an international yoga teacher who specialises in handstands.
What’s your story?
I’m an international yoga teacher who specializes in handstands. Bali is my home base and for the past 5 years, I’ve been passionately teaching handstands to yoga practitioners from all over the world. Besides offering an online handstand program, I share my practice at yoga teacher trainings, international workshops, festivals, and weeklong retreats. I feel blessed I’ve been able to turn my three biggest passions into an actual job — handstands, traveling, and teaching.
What excites you most about your industry?
In the yoga industry, you’ll find people of all shapes and sizes. What excites me most is when my students engage with the practice for reasons that go beyond the physical body. Even though handstands are a physical skill, they can also serve as a tool to overcome self-limiting beliefs like “I’m not strong enough” or “I’ll hurt myself because I’m clumsy.” The boost in confidence that results from overcoming these self-limiting beliefs inevitably causes a ripple effect in the practitioner’s life. No one forgets their first handstand — it’s an exhilarating feeling.
What’s your connection to Asia?
In my early 20s, I traveled to China where I lived in a Shaolin monastery for 10 months. This is where my love for Asia was born. I’ve spent many years in Asia since that day and Bali has been my home base for the past 5 years. The island has a big yoga community and it only takes a couple of hours by flight to most major Southeast Asian cities.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore, where I often teach at a boutique yoga studio called Nithya Priyan School of Yoga. The first time I visited the studio was during the opening event, where I met Priyan, the owner. Priyan places a big emphasis on community building and I always feel incredibly welcomed!
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Always fail forwards!
Who inspires you?
My hand balancing teacher Yuval Ayalon, who after decades of practice remains curious to explore the edge of his practice.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
One of my biggest lessons has been to embrace every setback as an opportunity. At the beginning of 2019, I invested all my savings into developing my online handstand immersion. I broke my hand midway through recording the video content. Doing handstands with a broken hand isn’t possible, so I was forced to stop! I took a deep breath and looked over the course design and found some major flaws. Essentially, my broken hand provided me 6 extra weeks to create something way superior to what I would’ve initially created.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. All that I’ve experienced has made me who I am today — a passionate entrepreneur who loves what he does!
How do you unwind?
Playing board games with friends, getting lost in a good book, and spending time upside down in a handstand.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali, where I’ve been living for the past 5 years. I know the island like the back of my hand and I love exploring its nature — jungle, ocean, mountains, cliffs, and waterfalls.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Courage to be Disliked by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi.
Shameless plug for your business:
I love working with yoga practitioners who perceive handstands as impossible and helping them achieve it!
I’m not on Twitter — you can find me on Instagram and Facebook.
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.