Settling comfortably into a lotus posture, with eyes closed, Lavanya took deep breaths as her friends sitting cross-legged alongside religiously followed suit. The five-year-old then swivelled her neck, hands and body, as the colourfully clad instructor on stage taught the exercises.

‘Joy of Yoga,’ a street theatre and yoga workshop organised by Arkaya Yoga Centre on Sunday, defied all rules of a workshop. Through ‘Burra Katha,’ a street theatre form from Andhra Pradesh, the messages on yoga and self-discipline were conveyed to the audience in a refreshingly informal manner.

It was an evening for children all through. Some waved hands, a few giggled and the rest were busy befriending each other. But at the end of the workshop, they did not miss the message on what it takes to lead a healthy life.

The event, inaugurated by The Hindu Director Nalini Krishnan, got off to a start with a music performance by the children from Ayodhikuppam. The songs, interspersed with messages on cleanliness and environment protection, were composed by a group of volunteers of the centre.

The performers of ‘Burra Katha,’ with their impromptu remarks, evoked ripples of giggles from the kids. Peppered with magic tricks and a few jigs, the performance featured messages on a balanced diet, the importance of yoga and taught the audience ways to vent out stress through simple breathing techniques.

In her inaugural speech, Dr.Krishnan said people should recognise small moments of happiness. The key to lead a stress-free life lies not in external things, but finding inner happiness. “One feels so happy when involved in community work. Making even a small change in others’ lives can do wonders to our inner health,” she said.

Maitreyi, Director of the centre, said the workshop sought to spread the message on right ways of living. “The yogic system has laid out some workable ways to be stress-free. Qualities such as lateral thinking and good memory could be built up within us if we consciously inculcate certain habits. You become what you think,” she said.

For details on the centre, write to: arkayoga@gmail.com.