People do a double take wherever Hendri Take goes. His boyish good looks, ultra-clear complexion and beautiful, serene smile are a total magnet.
It’s hard to believe he used to be a painfully shy guy – so shy that he couldn’t open his mouth around strangers. Saying hello was such an ordeal, he’d just smile and let others do the talking. He’d freeze in front of a room full of people, hoping the earth would swallow him.
But Hendri knew he had to overcome this self-consciousness to prosper in life. So while most school-leavers would choose to pursue an undergraduate course of their choice, he decided to study public relations at university.
“That’s really how I learnt how to speak to people. I’m still shy, but a lot better,” says the soft-spoken 33-year-old Indonesian yoga practitioner and entrepreneur.
At university, he scheduled his classes in the mornings and evenings, thus had plenty of time in the afternoons. Not being a social butterfly, Hendri grew restless until a friend asked him to accompany him for a yoga class.
“I was curious to find out what yoga was all about so I tagged along. The instructor kept looking at me because of my improper attire – I was wearing jeans!” he recalls.
“I was never a flexible guy though I was fit and played lots of sports such as badminton, karate, baseball and tennis. But my body was extremely hard and I couldn’t even touch my toes! After the first class, I was able to breathe better and slept like a baby.”
He took further classes, fell in love with yoga, and obtained his teaching certification though he had no plans to coach. The thought of standing in front of a class terrified him.
“I was the most improved student due to my good body awareness,” says Hendri, grinning. “But I was still shy and it took me some time to build my confidence to teach. My instructors encouraged me.”
The initial years were challenging, but as he grew more comfortable speaking, students flocked to his classes. Now he’s in demand all over Jakarta for his coaching skills.
Hendri was in Kuching, Sarawak, recently to conduct a yoga retreat in conjunction with the Rainforest Fringe Festival. He was one of two instructors, along with former MTV Asia VJ Denise Keller, who led the three-day event.
The duo took their motley crew of roughly 20 participants through a series of sweaty beginner to intermediate yoga asanas (postures) against the backdrop of Mount Santubong, facing the South China Sea.
He says, “Now, in addition to teaching about 10 hours a week, I practise yoga daily to release the ‘locks’ from my other exercises.”
In 2015, Hendri clinched top prize in the Influence Asia Awards (Singapore) in the health and fitness category. Today, he is one of the brand ambassadors for Adidas Indonesia, among other outfits.
The themes of Hendri’s classes are Catching Fire and Grow The Strength. His sweat-inducing classes are designed to build the fundamental foundational strength and engagement necessary to go upside-down while improving arm balances and inversions.
When Hendri is not teaching, he concentrates on his family business dealing with wholesale clothing.
“I take care of one outlet while my two brothers take care of the rest. I have to admit they don’t support my yoga teaching as they don’t think it’s going to get me far,” he confesses. “No one else does yoga in my family because they are all too busy making money!”
Hendri also runs his own online jamu business called ja’he.
Jamu is Indonesia’s traditional herbal medicine made of plants and spices such as ginger, turmeric, cloves, fennel, celery and tamarind. Proponents consume it to maintain good health and prevent diseases. Jamu is produced in the form of tablets, capsules, sachets or bottled drinks.
Hendri grew up drinking jamu, which explains his smooth complexion.
“As a child, my grandmother always gave me jamu to drink. My mother died when I was very young so my grandmother brought us up. I learnt the recipes from her. She would ask me to buy the ingredients from the market so I’d dash out and get them. Along the way, I also learnt some other recipes, and would prepare breakfast for the family. There are six different types of jamu but I can also customise the concoction for people,” he reveals.
While he enjoys cooking and yoga, Hendri finds that yoga gives him more gratification. And peace.
He says, “Believe it or not, being a yoga practitioner and running a business at the same time is a big challenge. After dabbling in it for a few years, I can now confirm that yoga is more than a form of exercise. It’s a form of healing and stress relief,” reckons Hendri, whose strength lies in arm balances and backbends.
As for his strange surname Take, it has stuck since his secondary school days. Hendri bears an uncanny resemblance to Taiwanese–Japanese actor and singer, Takeshi Kaneshiro. The girls would refer to him as Take and when they found out his first name was Hendri, he became known as Hendri Take instead.
It sounded unique so Hendri continues using it.
But ladies, sorry, though Hendri is still single, he’s taken.