Fitness

Stretching your mind

For good health Start your day with some slow stretches ....and hold it right there Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.  

I’ve done yoga before, at least some version of it. I’ve squeezed myself between lines of rotund elderly ladies on grassy lawns. I’ve yawned through early morning one-on-one sessions on terraces. I’ve bought books and CDs starring popular yoga gurus — a saffron-clad god man, a rather attractive B-grade actor, a young lady who claims to have trained most Bollywood stars. I’ll be honest — I haven’t been impressed so far. So it is with a hint of scepticism that I walk into 136.1 (named so for the decibel at which Om is chanted) — a yoga studio that has opened a branch in Indiranagar recently.

“When we first started the studio in Chennai, we were aware of many prevailing perceptions and misconceptions about yoga,” says Yash Saran, one of the founding members of this yoga studio. “What we wanted to do was create an eclectic fusion of modernity and tradition without affecting the spirit of the art.” And the wood and glass interiors, brick panelled walls and soothing music of the new studio reflects this spirit more than adequately.

I settle down on a hot pink mat, waiting for the class to begin. There is only one other person but the class begins on the dot of seven. “They always stick to time — even if its just one person,” says the student Sonia. “I really like that about them.”

We are practicing Hatha yoga — a traditional and rigorous form. The movements are slow, the stretches are intense, and the poses are held for a long time. “Breath is an essential part of all forms of yoga,” says Regeesh, who is taking the class. He does admit that most younger people prefer the power and flow yoga classes as they are more dynamic but adds, “Eventually all movement comes to stillness — that is the essence of yoga.”

Experiencing surya namaskar

The sun has begun to rise, filling the room with soft, golden light. “The glass wall of the studio faces the east,” says Kim Kohn, manager, Business Development, at the studio. A neon Om emblazoned on the opposite wall is reflected on the glass and superimposes itself on the vermillion-shot early morning sky. The experience of performing surya namaskars to this sight is almost surreal.

“Yoga frees your mind and enhances your level of consciousness,” says Regeesh. “Yoga means different things to different people,” adds Yash. “It may be for fitness or wellness, for meditation or relaxation. Every need can be addressed through yoga.”

The classes do not come cheap — they cost as much as the membership to a top-of-the-line health club. But the price is worth it. “We have an excellent team of teachers who take a personal interest in their students,” says Kim. “Think of it as an excellent investment in your health,” laughs Yash.

The classes are not the only thing to look out for in the studio. They also retail yoga merchandise and holistic food products and conduct a variety of events and workshops. “Yoga can be divided into on-mat yoga and off-mat yoga,” says Yash. “While what you do on the mat is important, we also conduct events outside of class, to bring people closer together. The purpose of yoga is also to build communities and make them stable.” There is no sweat or endorphin rush. There are no aching limbs or sore muscles. But by the time we get to the cool down and relaxation session, I feel completely stretched out and very calm. There is a sense of peace but also a heightened awareness. I can feel my spine against the rubber mat, I can feel the air enter and leave my lungs, I can feel the sunlight warm my face and bare arms.

“We manage to marry retail consumer science to spiritual practice,” says Yash. “This is the only enterprise in the city which boasts of various schools of yoga, all under one roof,” adds Kim. “From traditional Hatha and Mysore yoga to the more contemporary power yoga — there is something for everyone.”

“People across ages have registered already,” says Yash. “It is a clear statement that anyone can practice yoga. All you need to know how to do, is breathe.” Call 41203345 for details.



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Printable version | May 17, 2021 1:02:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fitness/stretching-your-mind/article4375290.ece

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