“Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees”
– BKS Iyengar
June 21 is celebrated as The International Day of Yoga since 2015, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. This year, All About Jaipur spoke to some yoga practitioners and enthusiasts from the Pink City to understand what yoga means to them, how it has helped them through the various adversities of life and how it has transformed them as a person.
“YOGA HELPS ME CONNECT TO MY INNER SELF“
In 2016, Shefali (30) was going through a rough phase in her life and her quest to find peace and calm motivated her to take up Yoga. However, she eventually went on to do a Teacher Training Course and became a yoga teacher. She also runs a popular instagram page ‘The Yogini Journal’ where she digitally documents her journey. “I picked up yoga to work on my mental health but it has also benefitted my physical wellbeing. Moreover, it has changed my thought process, eating habits, sleeping habits, how I am with people and a lot more. I am more conscious about my choices now.”, says Shefali while talking about her journey of Yoga.
Giving a word of advice to those who want to take up yoga, Shefali says: “Be consistent, listen to your body and do not make the mistake of comparing your day 1 to someone else’s day 30”
“YOGA IS A UNION OF MIND, BODY AND SOUL”
Mita Kakkar (53) was suffering from hypothyroidism but thanks to yoga, she has been able to conquer it without any medication. “I practised pranayams every day and that has helped me bring my thyroid levels in the normal range. In fact, my family also has a history of diabetes but I have also been able to maintain my insulin level with regular practice of certain asanas”, tells Mita, who primarily takes Yoga classes for foreign tourists and students.
Busting a common myth about Yoga, Mita adds that people think in order to do yoga one needs to have a flexible body. However, what one only needs is strong willpower. “I have done countless yoga classes, practices and workshops where I was unable to perform a certain pose. These situations of (self-proclaimed) “failure” have taught me some of the most valuable lessons I could not have learned otherwise — Accept that there will always be someone that “does it better” and remember that yoga practice is not a static thing, it will change. Sometimes it will go up and sometimes it will go down. It is important to flow with these changes.”, shares the yoga practitioner.
“YOGA FOR ME IS A WAY OF LIFE“
Shweta Saharan Singh (42) has been an endurance cyclist, spanning a whopping 600kms at a stretch within 39 hours. However, she still felt that something was lacking and needed to be learned for a higher level of endurance. This led her to take up Ashtanga Yoga.
“There are various styles of yoga practices but to achieve the best physically you must dedicate yourself a 100% mentally. Yoga when practiced on a regular basis can, knowingly or unknowingly, make you overcome a variety of challenges we all face in our day to day lives. Many times, I have found answers to a lot of questions during my practice”, says Shweta while talking about her tryst with yoga.
Sharing an insight for those wanting to take up yoga professionally, Shweta adds: “Practice, Practice and Practice, Yoga is 99% physical practice and 1% theory. It can be easy to take up a course and become a certified yoga teacher in a short span of time. However, I think practically only your self-practice can develop you into a better teacher. This is because the deeper we get into our practices the more we realize the depths of yoga physically and mentally.”
“YOGA TAUGHT ME HOW TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT”
Though Tithi Singh (31) has been practising Yoga since childhood, her journey as a professional yogi began when she was preparing for her UPSC exams. “I could not clear the UPSC exam and I was mentally devastated. This is when I started practicing yoga and slowly I realised how my body and mind changed towards certain things. I started to feel calmer and that’s when I took my first step towards being a professional Yogi”, recounts Tithi.
For someone who wants to include yoga in their daily routine, she suggests: “Surround yourself with people who have a healthy lifestyle and are into fitness. Understand which form of yoga you like more. If you are someone who is fond of rigorous practice, then go for ashtanga yoga or power yoga . However, if into a relaxing form of yoga, then choose hatha yoga or yin yoga”.
“I AM ADDICTED TO YOGA”
After Sarika Kedawat’s children went out for academic and livelihood pursuits, there was a void in her life. Her children pushed her to take a step towards her taking care of herself and get into a fitness regimen. That’s when she got into Yoga. At the age of 48, not only can she easily do 108 surya namaskars at one go but has also participated in district, state and national level competitions where she won several awards and accolades.
“Yoga has become an addiction for me. I can’t miss it even for a day. It is my reason to live and it motivates me to wake up every day”, says the yoga enthusiast who not only found emotional solace in yoga but it also tackled problems like slipped disc and menopause with it.