Eat, sleep, yoga, repeat - this has been Mohammad Nizamuddin's - popularly known as Saldin Yogi's - mantra ever since his early days.
Growing up, Saldin's father told him about prioritising his health over anything else. And he did that in the best way possible.
Saldin represented Bangladesh on the world stage in a sport that hardly has any recognition in his own country.
An association had been established only a few months ago. He faced the obstacles on his own and flew the country's flag with pride.
Saldin recently became the first-ever Bangladeshi to compete in the World Yoga Championship and in the process bagged a gold medal for his country last month. Before that, he was also the first Bangladeshi to compete in an international event in 2018, where he won gold in the Second South Asia Yoga Sports Championship in Nepal.
"Receiving my medal from the International Olympic Committee was special. It was really a huge moment for me and my country. It brought happy tears to my eyes," an emotional Saldin relived the moment while speaking to The Business Standard (TBS).
"There were participants from 210 different countries. People usually underestimate Bangladesh in competitive yoga events, but now they have seen a winner. It's a great feeling for me," he added.
Saldin's yoga practice began at a very early age, as mentioned earlier. And studying in Cumilla Cantonment High School only helped.
"We had to exercise regularly in the early mornings. Yoga was a part of that and it stayed with me ever since."
Setting a new trend
It is rare to have a muscular body and do competitive yoga at the same time. Saldin is among that rare breed.
According to him, most of the competitors on the international stage are skinny. Saldin has a more aesthetic physique due to him combining yoga and bodybuilding.
All the focus shifted on him for his body structure when he was on the podium.
"All the eyes were on me, especially for my fitness. People hardly get to see someone with an aesthetic body structure winning yoga competitions. They were in awe," mentioned Saldin.
"Indian athletes usually dominate from South Asia on the world stage, but they are mostly skinny," Saldin said.
Dream of minimising medicine dependency through yoga
Saldin believes mental and physical fitness are important to leading a happy life. But a 'happy life' is tough to afford in modern times due to more and more forms of diseases cropping up. Saldin's dream is to minimise dependency on medicine through yoga.
"You see, people are getting sick a lot these days. Work days are being wasted and almost half of a family's income is spent on medicines too. People depend too much on medicines. They take medicines like they have their routine meals three times a day. I want to minimise that dependence on medicine through yoga," he said.
Saldin mentioned Canada, the USA and a few European countries where yoga has been made mandatory in school. He believes the same can be done in Bangladesh and this will help in the long run.
Apart from doing competitive yoga, Saldin teaches yoga nationally and internationally. He is the only Bangladeshi to be an internationally registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance, USA. He got his certificate in 2016 after appearing in an exam and completing a one-month course on yoga teaching. The champion yoga master has students from all over the world including Canada, the USA, Australia, and Nepal.
There are no other Bangladeshi competitive yoga players competing in the international stage right now. Saldin hopes people will be inspired by his achievements and take yoga more seriously. He wants to break the stereotypes and represent Bangladesh as much as he can on the world stage.
"One must have the desire and willingness (to seriously take up yoga). If you are willing to do something, nothing can stop you. You'll always find excuses if you're not absolutely up for it," he concluded.