Yoga for the soul

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By TT Bureau
  • Published 15.03.11
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Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune

Yoga is not just about pranayama or surya namaskar — that was the lesson for the 150-odd participants who flocked to the KKN Group of Companies presents The Telegraph Calcutta Yoga Festival 2011, in association with Amity Calcutta, at Pala in ITC Sonar, Calcutta, on Sunday. Dressed in white and armed with coloured yoga mats — plus loads of passion — the enthusiasts learnt the nitty-gritty of chitta, niyam, asanas and a lot more from the Yogasutras, followed by the four participating schools of yoga.

Birjoo Mehta and his team of four — Manoj Naik, Rajvi Mehta, Raya UD and Gulnaz Dashti — from Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune, stressed the importance of trying out challenging yogic postures to push both the mind and body to a state of alertness. A discussion on Ashtanga yoga — with the team demonstrating over 50 postures to achieve stability, flexibility and improve concentration — got the audience fully involved. The team showed asanas that can help treat fatigue, asthma, cervical spondylosis and migraine, with the help of props like ropes, flexible bands and sandbags.

“Every part of the body is a fully integrated part of yoga. To help the mind get into a razor-sharp state, we try to take you through some challenging asanas of Ashtanga yoga, so that your weight goes through the axial parts of your bones,” said Mehta even as his team demonstrated the postures.

From the session, I’ve gathered that the Iyengar School uses fluid movements and is very dynamic and pacy. I am quite inspired.

Smeeta Dutta Moitra, yoga practitioner

I feel that this type of yoga is quite modern and up-to-date. Hope this festival goes on for many more years.

---- Om Prakash Lalwani, businessman and consultant,the Yoga Institute, Mumbai

 

The Yoga Institute, Mumbai

Peppering their session with interactive games, breathing routines and postures, Vijaya Magar and her team of instructors from The Yoga Institute, Mumbai (one of the oldest yoga schools), shed light on the principles of dharma, jnana, vairagya and aishwarya in the pursuit of wellness.

Srimati Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra, the director of The Yoga Institute, Mumbai, spoke of yoga as a science of awareness. “Yoga tells you how to be healthy and happy. It is important that you start loving yourself and develop a desire to help yourself first. Close your eyes, smile and focus on your breathing. When your mind stops oscillating, there is clarity of thought and you also feel better,” said Hansaji.

Excellent session! They have answered a lot of my questions, even explaining Sanskrit theories that have confused me in the past.

----Rashi Nahata, yoga instructor, Calorie Burn Centre,Bihar school of yoga, munger

I have been practising yoga for the last six months to concentrate on my studies. This session has been simple and I’ve understood some of the philosophies behind my practice.

Devika Dani, class VIII student of BRIDGE International School

 

Bihar school of yoga, Munger

He has three decades of experience in the field of yoga. Little wonder then that the audience listened with rapt attention to Rishi Putra, a senior instructor at the Bihar School of Yoga. The participants performed various asanas and meditative postures under his guidance.

The Sunday crowd at Pala performs the bhramari pranayama. With their eyes closed and the index finger pressing down on the ears, they had to inhale and exhale through the nose while humming a deep, throaty sound.

“This yogic kriya relieves the mind of depression and emotional stress. It also benefits those with asthma and other respiratory problems.... Yoga is an experiential science that improves the body, mind and spirit. Even if you devote 10 minutes of your time every day to some simple asanas, it will benefit you greatly. Even if it only means chanting ‘Om’ in the morning after waking up, do it and you will feel much better,” advised Rishi Putra.

Of the four schools that were here, I found the Bihar School of Yoga the most comprehensive in their choice of asana demonstrations. Before the session started I was feeling very fatigued, but now my energy seems to have been restored!

Sanjukta Banerjee, painter and avid gym-goer

I was looking forward to the Bihar School of Yoga session. it was even better than I had imagined! Now I can go back home with a relaxed body and a peaceful mind

----Maheshmar Kejriwal, businessman Yoga research and rehabilitation centre, Calcutta

 

Yoga research and rehabilitation centre, Calcutta

Guess what the four students (in picture above) are trying to say through their postures? Y--G-A.... The display by the Yoga Research and Rehabilitation Centre, Calcutta, showed how yoga helps one stay supple and agile. The team members impressed the crowd with their flexibility. They performed complex postures and movements that required strong, supple muscles. “These postures have been perfected over years of discipline and practice. Don’t try them on your own. Just watch and enjoy,” said Prem Sundar Das, founder of the institute.

The entire body up in the air with the weight resting on the arms, the legs arched over and the feet touching the head. Looks difficult? You bet! But this young expert performed it in one smooth motion. Next to him, a teenaged girl showed off perfect body balance; the audience gaped and then broke out into applause. “The rhythm of the body, the melancholy of the mind and the harmony of the soul is what yoga is made of,” said Das.

Some of the asanas the young students performed were really impressive. Being a yoga teacher, I am yet to master such flexibility but I hope to get there soon.

Sudarshan Murti, instructor at Yoga Plus

I really liked watching the kids perform all those challenging body postures. It is an inspiration to someone like me who is learning yoga and wants to be good at it.

Regina Khole, a foreign visitor to the yoga festival

The entire body up in the air with the weight resting on the arms, the legs arched over and the feet touching the head. Looks difficult? You bet! But this young expert performed it in one smooth motion. Next to him, a teenaged girl showed off perfect body balance; the audience gaped and then broke out into applause. “The rhythm of the body, the melancholy of the mind and the harmony of the soul is what yoga is made of,” said Das.

After meditation, fit food and food for thought

“Nourishing the soul builds up quite an appetite,” quipped yoga instructor Birjoo Mehta, as the first session ended for a quick breakfast. Participants made a beeline for the lavish buffet of cereals, sandwich, idli, dosa and multi-grain uttapam with juice, milkshake and lightly-brewed tea. The light lunch of roti, dal, sabzi, paneer bhurji and palak steered clear of excess oil. Tempting treats like chocolate doughnuts, cupcakes, fresh fruit gâteau and mihidana rabri were all served sugar-free.


During the breaks between the sessions, participants browsed and bought books from the four yoga schools. Pictures by Bishwarup Dutta