Friday, June 23, 2017
facebook

google plus


Bending with times

From designer mats and meditation retreats to aerial yoga, the ancient tradition is getting repackaged with modern twists. The new-age practice has become a popular wellness science today. As we near the International Yoga Day, let’s find out what’s trending17 Jun 2017 | 11:25 AM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an interesting observation on the International Yoga Day last year, "We did not have health insurance in olden times. But yoga is a practice which gives health ‘assurance’ with zero spending."

[ + read story ]

Deepa Karmalkar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an interesting observation on the International Yoga Day last year, "We did not have health insurance in olden times. But yoga is a practice which gives health ‘assurance’ with zero spending." 

Since the inception of the International Yoga Day (June 21) in 2015, perceptions about this ancient science are changing fast. No longer considered a pursuit for pensioners, yoga today is widely accepted as a wellness science by and for everyone. 

"More and more young people are turning to it for peace. As they lead stressful lives, they are seeking relief and balance through yogic relaxation techniques," says Shubhangi Vyas, who runs her own yoga school in Mumbai. The volume of yoga enthusiasts is certainly on the rise. Its increasing demand has led to several innovations — hot yoga, snowga (started by a ski instructor in Canada), doga (yoga with your dog), goat yoga and even voga (incorporating in-vogue dance moves in asanas). However, in India, where it originated, the ancient science still maintains much of its classical purity, though some new trends are emerging. 

 

Beating a retreat

Enthusiasts flock to yoga classes on a regular basis but these tend to get monotonous after a while. "They want to break away from the routine while continuing with their practice. So we have incorporated two-days' get-away to beaches or eco-friendly resorts. Practising asanas, pranayam, meditation and yoga nidra in open air, make such outings truly invigorating," claims Shabri Dhekne, a yoga consultant from Mumbai.

Three years ago, New Delhi- based Mohit Agarwal had a life-changing encounter with his guru. With his 23 years of experience in tourism, he decided to launch spiritual tours, "I wanted to reach out to more people and share the benefits of traditional yoga practices and techniques. So we launched Evolution Programs across Uttarakhand that include Shiva Walks — to Kedarnath and Tunganath, Yoga and Meditation Retreat in Jageshwar and Hatha Yoga Retreat in Pangot,” informs Agarwal. When he started the venture, he only had the elderly evincing interest in the yoga retreats. But over the past year people in their 30s are turning to yoga, he says. To meet the rising demand, he has extended his yoga retreats to Bandhavgarh, Gir, Port Blair and the Himalayas. "People are looking for that experiential knowledge, something that cannot be articulated. This can be achieved only in natural and secluded surrounding," he adds.

For those seeking deeper experience away from the bustle of the cities, there are mini yoga get-aways extending to couple of days only. "Even in two days, a lot can be achieved. Our goal is to give them an experience of all elements, including kriyas (purification of body and mind) and higher meditation techniques," says Nitin Patki, CEO, New Age Yoga Institute and QCI certified Yoga school, Mumbai. 

"I love yoga holidays, these are rejuvenating and relaxing," says Rajshree, an IT professional who overcame her occupational backache with regular yoga practice.

 

Anytime, anywhere asanas

The growing popularity of yoga is also evident from various pop-up events across the country. Mumbai has yoga by the bay, Delhi has yoga streets and Chennai offers suryanamaskar challenges. "You can practise yoga anywhere, that is the message of these pop-ups," explains Shammi Gupta, a yogacharya and wellness consultant in Mumbai. Young Arya (16) relates how chance participation in suryanamaskar day celebrations boosted her confidence, "My friends and I did more than 50 namaskars that day! I have become hooked to it since then." 

Traditional yoga teachers, however, are not too pleased with such pop-ups which, they feel, trivialise the basic concept, "Yoga is a lifestyle, it's not a quick fix," they rue. But if it helps draw in more numbers, what's the harm, counters Patki.

In the air

Aerial or anti-gravity yoga is a new concept that originated in New York. It combines the traditional asanas, Pilates and dance with the use of a hanging hammock. It is supposed to allow freer spinal movement that results in greater strengthening of the spine and muscles. Aerial yoga, better known as silk yoga in India, is finding many takers, especially dancers. "It is liberating and makes me even more flexible," says Niyati Jha, a contemporary western dancer.

Acro yoga combines yoga with acrobatics. It is also called partner yoga, you practise with a partner. It requires coordination, body balance and correct breathing. You cannot talk to each other during the movements. "It has several yogic benefits such as gaining physical strength, stability in breathing and concentration. It is challenging. So the younger lot loves it," says Shammi Gupta. 

Glamorous gear

The humble yoga mat has undergone a glamorous transformation. Designer mats are in vogue, Nike's 8 mm foam mat provides cushioning and support, the perforated foam dries quickly and it has a carry string for easy transport. US-based designer label — Spiritual Revolution, offers eco-friendly mats that are PVC-free, recyclable, and biodegradable, made with natural tree rubber. "Calmia is the most popular brand in mats. I use the non-slip cotton mat with natural rubber base which is great for my hatha yoga practice," says Norah, a Belgian student, who is currently in Mumbai for her yoga teacher training.

There are designer mat covers, yoga tees, slacks and yoga props like belts and blocks. Shammi Gupta attributes the popularity of designer stuff to 'disposable income' which is an unnecessary encumbrance, "Ideally we should not use those rubber mats that are marketed as yoga mats! What we really need is a thick cotton mat which won't let the pranic energy."

CalmAsutra  

People are increasingly turning to yoga for its calming and soothing effects, especially those in the corporate sector are usually prone to insomnia and other stress-related maladies. "Radha (name changed) is a divorcee and always changing jobs. There is no stability in her life. She hadn't slept properly for over a decade, but after practising 'pratipaksha bhavana' (when negative thoughts disturb, think positive thoughts), she benefited immensely.

“Yogic techniques have a wondrous transforming effect," asserts Nitin Patki. 

Shabri relates, "College students don't want to practise asanas, they are already doing a lot of physical exercising in gyms. Their demand is to learn relaxation techniques through meditation and yoga nidra." Om chanting is also a huge favourite with yoga followers, there are even phone classes for vedic chanting — and these classes are oversubscribed.

Sequentially, meditation is the seventh anga of ashtang yoga, it must be practiced only after the first six angas — yama, niyama, asana, pranayam, pratyahar, dharana have been perfected. "Meditation is the final stage of yoga. It cannot be achieved right at the outset. For meditation, the body must be stable with spine erect; the breath and mind must be controlled. Most importantly it must be practised under expert guidance," cautions Shammi. She relates the case of a young man who meditated without supervision and developed a serious mental affliction.

Bending with timeshanging in balance: Aerial or anti-gravity yoga combines the traditional asanas, Pilates and dance movements. It allows free spinal movement that strengthens the spine and muscles Below: Youngsters want to learn relaxation techniques through meditation
A green patch

A green patch

17 Jun 2017 | 11:25 AM

While the Pantone colour of the year is green, there is an easy way to create your own patch of greenery at home. And if you are worried about space, here are a host of ideas to go green even when you have a space constraint.

This cover story is a hit

This cover story is a hit

17 Jun 2017 | 11:25 AM

We all have heard the story of Aladdin and the magic lamp that changed his life forever. Something similar happened when Justin Bieber posted his covers of various songs on YouTube and got discovered by a talent manager.

Are you a sucker for leech therapy?

Are you a sucker for leech therapy?

17 Jun 2017 | 11:25 AM

Queen of bizarre beauty trends Gwyneth Paltrow proved that even she has her limits after friend and former Victoria’s Secret model, Miranda Kerr, revealed that she loves her leech facials.

Building the road to recovery

Building the road to recovery

17 Jun 2017 | 11:25 AM

The clouds of slowdown hanging over the Indian real estate sector are slowly lifting as indicated by different Q1 trend reports released over the past few weeks.

Fully  floored!Ground Realty

Fully floored!

17 Jun 2017 | 11:25 AM

Whosoever builds a house, longs to hear words of praise from friends, family and colleagues. After all, these are what encourage a person to continue with this otherwise tiring and money-draining exercise.

Listen to your bodyWellness

Listen to your body

17 Jun 2017 | 11:25 AM

Does your stomach feel bloated all the time? Do you suffer from acidity and digestion? After partying till late night, especially after drinking alcohol, do you wake up the next morning with a headache?

Diet in the fast lane

Diet in the fast lane

17 Jun 2017 | 11:25 AM

Ramzan and diet may seem like a paradox to many, especially due to the long hours of fasting and feasting on the huge spread to choose from later.

Health capsules

17 Jun 2017 | 11:25 AM

Over one-third of the devices used in open-heart surgeries may be contaminated with life-threatening bacteria, putting patients at the risk of deadly infections, a new study warns.

Realty bites

17 Jun 2017 | 11:25 AM

The real estate project launches in Mumbai dropped by 24 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, a recent survey said. Launches dropped by 24 per cent at 4,900 units against 6,500 a year ago, a study conducted by the property consultancy firm Colliers International found.