Located in the dense vegetation of Damansara Heights, David Byck nestles in a beautiful home that spells his love affair with his family. As he takes us down level after level to the yoga section of his home, it felt as if we had to peel layers off ourselves to unravel the truth within. Finally we get to the bottom of the layers and we were revealed the magnificence of nature’s abundance. It is no wonder that this level had been selected as the yoga place.

A waterfall statue of Buddha greeted us as we made our way to the table where we were offered green tea. This is the place where David and his wife Alina, practice their daily yoga. Against the backdrop of the vast blue sky and endless foliage, this place radiated with peace. A prominent feel of the Asian and Western home décor gave the impression that like every thing else here, the blend was a harmonious one.

Born on the 6th of March 1960, in Ohio, America, David is a staunch Ashtanga yoga practitioner. Atypical American with a frivolous sense of humour, David is more than what meets the eye. A man who would spur you around and inspire you to take on the challenges of life, he is a character that will keep you engaged in thought.

Having come to Malaysia in 1984, David states that, “I was born a poor boy from Ohio; I wanted to make money because my focus was on what money could buy. My greatest fear then was what if I lose it all one day. But today, I am content and if I lost everything else in the world, I would still have my yoga practice.” Satisfied with his yoga practice he summarizes by saying that, “I think I can do the primary series for the rest of my life and still find it interesting and still learn something about myself and my practice.”

A ‘macho’ man who never thought yoga was his style, David had always supposed that yoga was only for women. “For a guy like me it wasn’t the thing to do. This yoga thing was a last resort,” says David.

Having married Alina, a litigator in Malaysia, who was already seeking the path of yoga then, David was urged into the practice. Convincing David into the path of yoga, he became the path. “In the beginning, we sought instruction. We went to many places in search of yoga practice,” declares David.

After spending six months in sick bed due to his high stress levels, David sought medical attention where he was diagnosed with medication and sent back home to recuoerate. But even after all medication, he did not see any signs of recovery. It was then that he decided to give yoga a try. Starting out in a small studio in Kenny Hills, he was introduced to Ashtanga yoga. But at that time, there were not many yoga schools available in the country where he could deepen his practice. He recalls that at that time there were no yoga mats available for sale anywhere in the country. They then pursued their journey and travelled to many places in the world to learn yoga. After learning and practicing yoga in many ‘shalas’, David was convinced that there was nothing else on the planet that made more sense. He then began his passage on writing about his life’s experiences – some sort of a self therapy which he needed to keep the checks and balance of his overall wellbeing.

What started off as a journal which he took three years to write has today become a novella. Taking only three months to complete, it is aptly titled as ‘It’s a Long Way to the Floor.’ The book speaks of his love affair with yoga and the many experiences and people whom he had met during his inquiry on the path of yoga. His main reason for writing the book was to encourage people to not give up their practice. He says, “I saw people starting yoga for a lot of reasons: exercise, stress, but after 2 or 3 months they would give it up. I looked at the instructors and most of them didn’t have the time to tell the students why this was good or what this was going to do and if they did, the students were skeptical, because in their minds they thought that the guy was being paid and maybe he wanted to encourage them just for monetary reasons. I thought the book would give encouragement to people that maybe didn’t know of what was happening. Hopeful they would see that I’m just a normal guy and this path has changed yoga life and therefore could change theirs too.”

Having written the book four years ago at exactly where he practices his daily yoga, it is today available for sale in Amazon and at his website. He states that his book carries a message: “I feel that most people hopefully don’t have the baggage that I may have mentally or physically. Alot of the things that I had done when I was young border lined on self-abuse – motorcycle accidents and martial arts where I broke so many bones in my body. The message that I wanted to get across with my book was that even after all of these and at 40 years old, I was still able to get a lot out of yoga. I think the best thing I can say is that yoga is an insurance for old age.”

DAVID-11Practicing with so many world renowned names like John Scott and Danny Paradise to name a few, whom he relates to on a first name basis, David believes that if he selected one person out of the many who had made such a big difference in his life as his guru, he would be letting the others down. So to be just to all the people, teachers and gurus, whom he had met over the process of time, he says, “My guru is the person who is in front of me that day.” In recollection, he retracted his previous statement and proudly declared with a huge laughter, “Actually, my wife is my guru. She keeps prodding me to practice yoga every day and had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have known anything about yoga.”

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