Monday, 30th October 2017

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Model Sneha Ghosh on how yoga kindled self-love in her

'It’s okay being vulnerable sometimes. It is important to show that vulnerability'

  • Published 22.04.20, 7:35 PM
  • Updated 23.04.20, 7:08 PM
  • 5 mins read
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"When you are physically practising, you become a child, like I become. There are mystical layers that normal people cannot see," says Sneha Ghosh. Siddhika Jatia

All those who know Sneha Ghosh will tell you she is a perfect combination of the “empowered” and empathetic. The gorgeous Gurusaday Dutta Road girl admits to a vulnerable side as well. “It’s okay being vulnerable sometimes. It is important to show that vulnerability. This yoga has taught me,” she told us. The Telegraph chats with Sneha on her journey of transformation.

Do you think you are handling the mind-numbing lockdown and these unprecedented times better because of yoga?

It’s not that I just practise yoga. I do a lot of other things to keep myself engaged and yoga is one of the things in my fitness regimen that helps me cope with the negativity around. It’s like literally having faith in myself to be able to do something and that translates into the world becoming a better place. When you are physically practising, you become a child, like I become. There are mystical layers that normal people cannot see. These are the invisible layers of the heart and the mind which translate into the physical body and is not for the world to see but for you to see. That’s when you are completely in sync with your mind, body and soul. It is a recipe you keep making and you get better with time.

You are self-trained...

I started as a newbie. For me, right now, it is about being able to help other people as well. I think I have the power to do that because of my followers and that gives me motivation in return. You cannot wake up one morning and say: ‘Oh! I am going to exercise more today!’ It doesn’t happen like that. It is way deeper. It is an introspection we need to do.

Why am I such a perfectionist? People who talk about self-love, like me, haven’t actually practised it from the beginning. It comes from a space when you didn’t love yourself... your body... people. You felt they were always putting you down and making fun of you. I try to make people understand that. Nowadays, in my yoga videos, I talk. It is not just about having a banana and exercising, you see.

I feel so good because I feel like nobody is perfect... not physically... I am not a perfect person. Everybody has their flaws. I feel like I have become a kinder version of myself. I don’t judge people. I channelise everything towards a positive path.

There are days when you feel really shitty about yourself... maybe you’ve had a fight with your boyfriend or a tiff with your parents, maybe you are not making enough money... maybe your exercises are not reflecting on your body. But you are still sitting on your mat. Those are the times when you want to escape and may not feel like working out, but those are the critical moments when you need to get yourself on the mat. You end up feeling like a completely different person at the end of the session.

My body weight exercises are to look good and my yoga is to feel good. I pick up suitcases, water bottles and work out. I have resistance bands.

"The modelling industry wanted a 36-24-36. My mother asked me to try yoga because I was breaking down mentally. I also found out that I had arthritis. I took yoga up as a challenge. When I started doing yoga, I realised it is way tougher than lifting 30kg in a gym. It will take you one-and-half years or more to lift your own body weight," says Sneha. Siddhika Jatia

When did you start practising yoga?

It’s just been nine months. I have always been into fitness... working out, boxing, lifting weights.... Our fashion industry is a dictatorial industry when it comes to modelling... the Indian modelling circuit is trying to change, but even if they are trying to change, I feel their words should translate into actions. Some people like Sabyasachi are doing it, but there are some people who talk about body positivity, but why doesn’t it reflect in your fashion shows? Half the women in our country suffer from insecurity because you don’t let them be themselves.

Yoga happened when I saw my body go through an evolution. I come from a middle-class family and I cannot be having quinoa and avocado every day. I have my rice and fish which keeps me strong. The modelling industry always wanted to see me skinny. A Beyonce cannot look like a Keira Knightley and a Keira Knightley cannot look like a Beyonce. I was doing my weight training, but that was not welcome in Bombay. I started becoming very underconfident with my body. I was always very underconfident with my body because I was bullied in school. I never played a sport in my life.

The modelling industry wanted a 36-24-36. My mother asked me to try yoga because I was breaking down mentally. I also found out that I had arthritis. I took yoga up as a challenge. When I started doing yoga, I realised it is way tougher than lifting 30kg in a gym. It will take you one-and-half years or more to lift your own body weight.

I feel all these years I have missed out, I am making up for it now.

That’s why I tell people that no matter how fat or thin you are, it is never too late to begin. It’s only been nine months and I have done miracles for myself because I gave my heart and soul to it.

I have become way stronger and leaner. It’s like Bruce Lee! Remember how skinny he was, but he was so strong.

I am still that girl I was. I see her standing... I am a better and stronger version of her. I have never followed anyone. Your experiences in your life teach you self-love. They come from work and relationships. My self-love trickled down from my modelling. That dealt with my physical attributes. There were times when I was berated. There were times in my relationships when I loved somebody and it didn’t work out. Good friendships fall apart. Self-love comes when you do away with self-doubt. I hold myself responsible for my transformation and I take complete pride in that.

There have been people who supported me... my parents... my mom... she is my best friend... somebody who can tell you that there is a thin line between looking sensual and vulgar. My upbringing... the way I speak... the way I am... the woman that I am... the kind of society that we live in... how Indian men and women are... women pulling down women and men being patriarchal... I think to be able to fight all of that and come out as somebody really bold, confident... has everything to do with upbringing.

Isn’t hurting yourself a concern?

It is important to feel scared. You are not going to perform otherwise. This is a very individual perspective that I am giving you. It is like a boy not giving you patta and you are running after him! (Laughs) I am not asking you to push yourself. It is important that you listen to your body and your body listens to you and you become your inspiration and your inspiration becomes you. This is not a competition.

Do you have a favourite posture?

I just could never sit babu hoye on the floor for most of my life because it discomfited me and hurt my ankles. I would sit awkwardly... my (shoe) buckles would hurt me. So, the Lotus posture. Now that I can, I cannot explain the sheer joy.

You have started to improvise with your yoga videos...

I have started to talk because these are the thoughts in my mind when I practise. I have spoken about self-love and motivation. I put in those thoughts so that people can connect to me.