YOUNG WORLD

Of mind and muscle

K. JESHI

TRICKY KNOT: Pankaj strikes a pose. Photo: K. Ananthan

TRICKY KNOT: Pankaj strikes a pose. Photo: K. Ananthan  

Ask R.R. Pankaj Kumar, a Std. IV student of Sulur Panchayat Middle School, Kamakshipuram, if Yoga, our traditional form of exercise is built around the concept of body flexibility? He will give a resounding yes. For, he can boast of a body that can bend backwards and forwards as he wishes.

Forward and backward balancing, twisting, hand balancing, shat kriya — you name it and he can do it. Meet the yogasana champion, who has to his credit more than thousands of asanas.

He is also the first in the below eight category to perform ekapadhasirasachakranatrajasana, which involves advanced form of twisting and backward bending movements.

"His day starts at five with one hour of yoga followed by Kriya (done on an empty stomach for purification of the nadis). He has a vegetarian diet and has been following the routine for the past five years," says his father Ravi.

Pankaj won the first prize in the All India Open Invitation Championship at Kanchipuram. He also emerged the winner at the All India Open Competition, which concluded recently in Chennai.

"He can perform advanced forms of Kriya," says R. Annaraj, chairman of Shree Veera Maruthi Yoga Centre and Pankaj's yoga teacher.

Annaraj says in yoga competition, Pankaj also won the overall championship for his graceful performance of asanas, which was judged based on body conditioning, flexibility, mind calmness, diet, innovation in performance and breathing control.

"The mind must be in harmony with the body movements. Yoga has a range of poses and well set- out sequences. There are several simple positions, as well as more complex ones. Pankaj began with simple poses and gradually moved towards the complex ones. Regular practice is the key," Annaraj adds.

Pankaj also won the overall champion title at the recently concluded first international yoga technical congress in Coimbatore, which saw the participation of students from all over the country.