Exploring the healing power of Yoga

Yamini Muthanna’s The Power of Yoga is a sequence manual for people to cope with their day-to-day routine.

July 02, 2015 04:51 pm | Updated 04:51 pm IST

Perfect act of balance between dance and yoga Photo: Murali Kumar K.

Perfect act of balance between dance and yoga Photo: Murali Kumar K.

Even though there have been outcries in social media over celebrating Yoga Day, there are practitioners like Yamini Muthanna, also a Bharatnatya dancer, deeply committed to Yoga. Yamini began teaching it only after having studied Ashtanga for 22 years with guru B.N.S. Iyengar, Her book, The Power of Yoga , which will be released in Bengaluru today, makes Yoga contemporary. The book is highly detailed, complete with photographs, instructions, and even includes deeper aspects of Yoga, such as its philosophy, chakras, mudras, pranayama etc.

The book is a culmination of Yamini’s years of dedicated practice. “Whenever I used to teach, I used to document instances. I have seen it work for those I have taught. I myself have worked on it. So I speak with conviction,” says Yamini, who runs Yogasthala, a yoga school in the city.

The focus of Yoga, she adds, is on health. “I have seen people suffering from anxiety and anger which usually sets in from the time they start working. Their lifestyle and eating habits change. All this adds on to the uneasiness of the body and Yoga can tackle all that.”

The book also demystifies ancient texts on yoga. “I couldn’t go into the details of Yoga Sutras in the book. But I have mentioned it as an important study. All the chapters in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras deal with how the mind is the main element of well being. Once the mind is composed, everything else falls into place. This is my understanding of the Yoga Sutras. What came into practice happened in the 16 Century text and is called Yoga Grantha. Granthas had postures in the forms of chakras and nadis. It is all about getting into different zones of the body and releasing its bondage.”

Yamini says her book gives a sequencing pattern for therapeutic benefits. “There are pre-sequence chapters for beginners. For more regular practitioners who want a variation, they can do the weekday sequence. You can keep doing Yoga asanas from any point of flexibility in your body. But what is important is to start. I am really hoping my book inspires that.”

Yamini recalls when her interest in Yoga developed. “My father was from the Army. We had settled in Mysore, and Yoga was part of people’s everyday life. I saw a picture of an asana in a newspaper and being a dancer, I thought I could do it and wondered what it was all about. One day, after dance rehearsal in Jaganmohan Palace Auditorium, I was walking out of the gate and saw the Patanjali Yoga Shala. Out of curiosity I walked into a session. I remember walking up a set of wooden stairs that led to the first floor; throughout I heard waves of sounds. When I entered the room, I saw 80 people doing the breathing -- Ujjayi. It was 1987. I was 17 then. When I attended the classes, I felt like it was permission to rest. And I used to come out with so much more clarity,” she says, adding that she has pursued Yoga through 27 years with single-minded devotion.

But she is critical of certified courses. “People become teachers in one month. I don’t give certificates. I became a teacher after 20 years of practise. A certificate course should be done by someone who does one year of proper yoga, without the intention of getting a certificate.”

The Power of Yoga will be launched on July 3 at Om Book Shop, G-70 Ground Floor, Phoenix Marketcity, Mahadevapura, 5 p.m. onwards.

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