Guinness World Records

Hong Kong yogi breaks Guinness World Records for headstand and human chair pose

City’s ‘king of yoga’ Yogaraj C.P. balances a 50kg weight while in a headstand for 40 seconds and, at the fourth attempt, serves as human chair for his mum for 59 seconds

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 September, 2018, 7:04pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 September, 2018, 9:11pm

The function hall at the City University of Hong Kong in Kowloon Tong was filled with suspense when Hong Kong-based yoga teacher Yogaraj C.P. attempted to create two new Guinness World Records – balancing the heaviest weights while doing a headstand, and holding a human chair pose.

“The person must be in a headstand for at least 10 seconds. The number to beat for this record is 50kg,” Guinness World Records adjudicator Louis Jelinek said, explaining the requirements for the first record that had been agreed upon by the organisation and the yogi.

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Yogaraj, 33, attempted the first record by manoeuvring the barbell onto his shoulders unaided and easily surpassed the required time limit – holding the headstand for 40 seconds. Cheers and applause erupted in the hall.

“I was very sure that I’d make it. I’m proud to create something new,” he said, after the adjudicator welcomed him back into the Guinness World Records family.

The last time Yogaraj created a record was in 2015, when he completed a 48-hour yoga marathon that involved 1,500 poses. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally congratulated the instructor, whose name means “king of yoga”. That record has since been broken, however.

The record for holding a human chair pose for more than 50 seconds was longer in the making.

Yogaraj had enlisted his mother, 70-year-old Chidhambaram Sarasu, to perform the human chair pose with him. The duo failed the first two attempts. On the last attempt of the evening, Yogaraj held the pose on two hands with his mother as the sitter for 40 seconds, before his body lowered and his feet touched the ground. There was an audible gasp from the audience.

Guinness World Records agreed to allow another attempt four days later. This time, the duo successfully held the human chair pose for 59 seconds.

“I was feeling a little bit of pressure, but I was confident,” Yogaraj said.

Yogaraj moved from India to Hong Kong in 2003 and lives in the city with his family. He founded and runs the studio Prana Yogam in Tsim Sha Tsui and is the yoga guru-in-residence at City University.

“Yoga is really effective at lowering students’ stress levels,” student resident office director Wilson Lam Kin said. Yogaraj’s yoga workshops have been offered at the residence hall at the university since 2014.

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The guru is also an advocate for yoga in Hong Kong and mainland China. He organises the World Yoga Day celebrations at City University and was invited to participate in a mass tai chi and yoga session in Beijing, as part of Modi’s 2015 visit to China.