Meypayatu™ is a ‘new’ mind-body practice based on the principal movements of Kalaripayattu, a 3000-year-old martial art form from Kerala, India, and the root of all martial arts. The meypayatu brand is derived from the Malayalam word Meippayattu meaning “body form” and is the physical and mental conditioning element of Kalaripayattu.
The historic origin of meypayatu™ was to prepare a warrior before battle, by stilling his mind and achieving ‘Ekagrata’ or one-point focus and complete doubtlessness. This combination of exercise and meditation is a key principal of meypayatu. meypayatu’s martial heritage destigmatizes an assumed femininity around it as a mind-body practice, a key factor, which also appeals to the male market.
According to Gerry Elias, creator and founder of meypayatu™ “We are seeing a significant aspirant demand, particularly amongst yoga practitioners, for a more rigorous mind-body practice. meypayatu™ is unique and distinct from yoga in that it is ‘off the mat’ for example one can move laterally 6 to 7 meters, it is more dynamic and often physically more demanding.”
Elias believes that the practice addresses unmet demands including a more rigorous mind-body exercise – in particular for the male market – with benefits including greater strength, flexibility, cardio fitness, stress management, mind focus and greater inner and outer awareness.
Mind-body disciplines such as yoga, are increasingly being used by male athletes to enhance sports performance through increased strength, flexibility and reduced rate of injury. The New York Giants are incorporating mind-body practices into their training regimens, as are New Zealand’s All Blacks, England’s Lions and sports personalities such as David Beckham and Andy Murray credit yoga for enhancing their performance.
Meypayatu™ Instructors are typically already yoga and Pilates teachers, and fitness professionals from other disciplines with existing and conducive knowledge, competence and skills. This is to ensure quality and safe instruction but also greatly reduces the time and cost to be becoming accredited.
Meypayatu™ Instructor Training incorporates a ‘Flipped Classroom’ method of learning, which turns the traditional classroom/teaching on its head and allows much of the pre-accreditation work to be done anytime/anywhere. Trainee Instructors have already put in significant hours of face-to-face training to qualify as a yoga teacher etc. If they are interested in teaching meypayatu™, the last thing they want is another protracted process to become accredited. meypayatu™ allows them to leverage their existing knowledge through an innovative home study training app – with multiple-camera angles, super-slow motion, narration, etc – in order to acquire a level of competency before more detailed face-to-face teaching takes place with a Head Trainer over an intensive one weekend workshop.”
Meypayatu™ is structured as a progressive/aspirational practice ranging from beginners to advanced. Beginners start with the ‘Ashta Vadivu’ or eight basic animal postures – unique to the practice and unlike any yoga postures, and ‘Chuvadu’ or transitional steps, which gives meypayatu™ its movement through space, progressing to the advanced level introducing more difficult ‘set forms’.
Given the intensity of the practice, students spend at least 10 minutes warming up with the basic ‘Ashta Vadivu’ animal postures. This is followed by a 30 minutes high-intensity practice. Finally the class ends with a period of integration to allow students to appreciate and apprehend the state of ‘Ekagrata’.
According to Howard Napper, one of the UK’s best known yoga teachers and broadcasters, “meypayatu is for people who are looking for high cardio, high strength exercise, with a yoga-like spin on it. It is especially for those who are bored of yet another spinning classes and running kilometres on end. meypayatu™ is not just another exercise programme but a lifestyle, something people can become emotionally attached to.”