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Married off at 14, this Kerala woman is now a Karate & Yoga champ

Married off at an age of 14 when she was doing her best in school, this 42-year old Muslim woman in Kerala didn’t give up her aspirations and is now living her life to the fullest passionately pursuing things which she missed in her adulthood.

From Karate to Yoga and farming, Seenath Kokkur of Changarakullam in Malappuram has mastered them all despite stiff resistance from various corners.

She is scripting a new chapter in women empowerment after re-igniting her free-wheeling spirit which she has kept locked for all these years when marriage and motherhood pulled her into a vortex of family responsibilities.

What more, Seenath has now won a reputation for herself as a master Yoga trainer after she recently came fifth in senior national yoga sports championship which was held in Pali, Rajasthan from March 25 to March 28.  

“I always wanted to learn new things in my life. During my childhood, I used to watch youngsters learning Karate and other sports. Though I had to keep all my dreams locked up following my marriage, I wasn’t ready to give up. I waited for all these years to unlock my dreams because I had to take care of my children and other family members,” Seenath told Open Digest.

It was at the age of 40 that Seenath started to learn Karate. Though she was hesitant, her Karate master instilled confidence in her. Within a few days of her physical training, she could do some body stretches which were not that easy for a beginner in her age.

“When I posted a few pics of my Karate training on Facebook, Yoga teacher Suresh near my home called me and said that I could become a good Yoga trainer and I could do certain Yoga postures which were hard for a person my age. I was so excited and joined for Yoga training under him. Though a few objected to me learning Yoga saying that it was an activity of Hindu religion, my husband Muhammed Ashraf and my children supported me. Even a few open-minded religious leaders came to my support saying that Yoga has nothing to do with any religion,” Seenath said.

Seenath soon found solace in Yoga that helped her calm her mind and escape the turmoil of her everyday life. Her skills caught the attention of her teacher who nurtured and encouraged her to take part in district and state-level competitions. “Kerala Sports Council gave me full support for participating in the national championship,” she said. While Seenath’s husband Muhammed Ashraf is a farmer and a small businessman, her son Mohammed Junaid is in the UK studying sports management and daughter Ayisha Nasreen is an engineering student.

Seenath says that more women should break free from the constraints of their traditional roles and explore their passions. “I have proved that it’s possible to embrace one’s religious identity and still pursue dreams,” she added.

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