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Yoga in the hills

Yoga instructors come in all shapes and sizes. Our instructor at a recent course at the academy in Mussoorie was a gentleman in his seventies who looked as good as new. The fact that each one of us had to mark our attendance at the yoga class at 6.15 am every day was a pain in the neck. Writes Vivek Atray.

chandigarh Updated: May 26, 2014 09:52 IST
Vivek Atray
Chandigarh

Yoga instructors come in all shapes and sizes. Our instructor at a recent course at the academy in Mussoorie was a gentleman in his seventies who looked as good as new. The fact that each one of us had to mark our attendance at the yoga class at 6.15 am every day was a pain in the neck.

However, as we realised later, this was nothing compared to the benefits that accrued from twisting and twirling one's body in a manner hitherto thought impossible.

The neck was thus not the only part of the body to feel a certain amount of pain. We were subjected to a course in 'Hatha Yoga' that was unnerving at first but certainly energising once we got the hang of it.

The said instructor announced on the very first day that he had, over the years, transformed several thousand officers into much fitter versions of themselves. Sure enough, once we started obeying his directions and performing unusual feats ourselves, we had no reason to doubt him.

The most striking aspect of his classes was, however, his manner and his tone while addressing us.

The reverential attitude that officers of the civil services are usually the recipients of when others speak to them was not for him.

He would shout at us, taunt us, and even bully us into doing his bidding. Thus if the old back was not straight or the feet were not parallel to each other, we would bear the brunt of his ire in no uncertain terms.

His voice could probably be heard for miles around on those quiet and chilly Mussoorie mornings, so booming was it, much to our chagrin. Never would he cross the limits of decorum though.

But what was really difficult to digest was his constant reminder that we were getting on in years. Ours was a sort of mid-career or even late-career course, you see.

And some members of our group were well nigh ancient. Thus his remark that our bodies had got used to too much stooping and bowing over the years was not far off the mark.

He did not quite use the word 'spineless' for us, but he came quite close to it! And in deference to our healthy paunches and wobbly knees, he would come up with exercises that were meant specifically for the elderly.

When some of us would make faces at being clubbed with the senior citizens, he would remind us that our senior citizenship was not far off either. Bouts of laughter would follow whenever a colleague was the target of his sarcasm and much mirth would result.

Now that we are back to the usual humdrum of office work and in danger of slumping into sedentary tedium once more, all that we can do is to switch on the video of his unforgettable yoga classes, not just to practise what we'd learnt but also to entertain ourselves with some unforgettable footage.