Drawing inspiration from respiration, Erasavir and Rahul Roy’s Love Thyself breathed new life into sporting enthusiasts of Kolkata at Karnani Estates’ SkyTurf on January 14. The day-long fitness carnival, titled ‘Breathe’, witnessed a plethora of sporting activities and discerning panel discussions on what it means to be ‘fit’ in a post-pandemic world.
(L-R): Disha Roy Chowdhury, Anupam Dokeniya and Darpan Roy ChowdhuryAmit Pramanik
Ideated and developed during the pandemic by Dino Rotondo, chief of immunology at Strathclyde University, Scotland, Erasavir is a plant-based oral and nasal spray brand founded by Anupam Dokeniya and the brother-sister duo of Darpan and Disha Roy Chowdhury. “Erasavir started because we wanted to develop nature-based preventive care for Covid-19. However, after the pandemic ended, we realised that the product can be put to use for a whole lot of other ailments as well,” stated Darpan. “It’s inspired by mother’s milk. It contains food-grade fatty acids, which the body needs but doesn’t produce,” added Dokeniya. “Our main aim is to make people breathe better. This is why we wanted to conduct an event where fitness enthusiasts, who tend to focus on clean breathing more than the general populace, can come together,” said Disha before diving into the lineup for the day.
From cricket to football to Muay Thai and more
GridIron emerged as overall winners, not least because of their performance in footballAmit Pramanik
The event hosted both competitive and demonstrative sports. An intense cricketing showdown amongst gyms and sporting clubs in the early hours of the winter morning witnessed team Friction emerging champions. After a round of quick warm-ups, a two-hour slot was dedicated to the toddlers of the city, where creative races and hurdles paved the way for children to be introduced to fitness via play. “I really liked the race and watching football. This place is a lot of fun!” chimed in five-year-old Ayaanah Mehra.
Kajal Singh, 18, helmed the girls of the Calcutta Social Project NGO as the captain of their football team. “My girls and I are participating in a five-a-side knockout football tournament. We have won our qualifying matches and are eagerly waiting for the finals. We are thoroughly enjoying the day. Being able to observe so many coaches demonstrating their skills is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said the Muralidhar Girls’ School student. In the grand scheme of things, GridIron emerged as the overall champion of the competitive sports section, with wins in football as well as tug of war.
James Liao and his teamAmit Pramanik
Establishing norms of alternative fitness, James Liao and his team’s energetic Chinese dragon dance drew in onlookers with striking patterns and swift movements. “We’re overjoyed at witnessing Indians appreciating our culture so wholeheartedly. We perform the dance not just as a cultural practice anymore, but also as a form of sport that requires tremendous shoulder and core strength,” said Liao.
A captivating display of the art of eight limbs followed. “What makes Muay Thai (a type of combat sport) different is the use of elbows and knees. Children as young as three can begin practising Muay Thai and continue well into old age. It’s truly heartwarming to see an event such as this being hosted. It allows people exposure to a bevy of sports under one roof and allows them to choose what fits them the best,” stated Lionel Hupping, owner and head coach of Supremacy India.
‘Fitness before the pandemic was about aesthetics, now it's about strength’
The panel discussions at the event delved into the meaning of fitness in today’s timesAmit Pramanik
What set Breathe apart from run-of-the-mill sporting fests were the panel discussions interspersed with physical activities. Plant-based lifestyles, alternative medicine, health in the post-pandemic world and workplace wellness were some of the subjects navigated by industry veterans, including Sujoy Mukherjee, maxillofacial surgeon; Sharukh Rahim, boxer and proprietor of GridIron; Mrinalika Bhanjdeo, yoga enthusiast and director of The Belgadia Palace; Bidya Roy, professor and fitness expert who also conducted a zumba demonstration; and Neha Singh, yoga expert who exhibited breathwork techniques and corrective yoga poses.
Speaking on how the pandemic has changed viewpoints, Shikha Tiwari, CEO of Yogam, stated how people in the Covid era suffered more from fear than any physical ailments. Saurav Arora of Rave Fitness focused on preventive care while other panellists, including Samrat Sen of CoreFit, Aditi De of Dietmantra and Arko Dasgupta of Combat Clan, acknowledged that backwards was the only way forwards: “It’s important to go back to our roots. Fitness before the pandemic was about aesthetics, now it's about strength. Have a balanced diet, avoid intermittent fasting, hydrate yourself and work out. These are the core mantras of life.”
Rugby by Jungle Crow, fencing by Santosh Pandey, karate by Shivaji Ganguly, a bodybuilding showcase by Biswajit Basak, an alpha omega showcase by Prajna Dutta, and Indian calisthenics by Abinash Kumar were also integral elements of the event, which featured electrifying tunes by DJ Basil. 8th Day cafe and bakery, Strong Cong, Red Bull, Ace Blend and Apollo Hospitals completed the event with great food, accessories and an on-site medical team.