Singer Raageshwari Loomba was on a career high with four albums Duniya (1997), Pyaar Ka Rang and Sach Ka Saath (1998) and Y2K – Saal do haazar (2000) topping the charts one after another, when she was diagnosed with Bells Palsy. The singer recalls, “I couldn’t talk during that time, as my mouth was touching my right ear. So visually, I didn’t look anything close to how I used to. My loved ones suffered more than I did.” She adds, “I didn’t lose a day moping. I enrolled myself to train to be an aerobics instructor.”
The singer recalls how her parents didn’t allow her to call a private doctor to her home. She says, “In the hospital, I found worse-off cases of paralysis. It broadened my perspective on life.”
Now, Raageshwari credits yoga with her recovery. She learnt yoga under Zubin Zartoshimanash, a BKS Iyengar yoga teacher. She says, “Treating my body as a temple gave me my face back and healed me.”
About six months ago, she embraced another form of Buddhist exercises called Tibetan Rites and is now coming out with a DVD titled 5 Ancient Tibetan Rites, produced by Saregama. She says, “Tibetan Rites should be done with great love and care. There is great harmony in the rhythmic pattern.”
Rite 1: Swirling: When you start doing the whirls, keep it to three counts to begin with. As you get comfortable, you can increase one count of each rite. Stand straight with your hands jutting outwards and turn clockwise from left to right slowly. You will reach 21 counts eventually.
Between each rite
Bend in Vajrasan and breathe five times, then sit and breathe five times.
Rite 2: Lie down straight and flex your legs, bringing power into them and point your toes out as you raise them 90 degrees. Do a stomach crunch simultaneously. Lift your head and chest as much as you can, so that your head reaches your knees. When you reach the 90 degree point, flex, heels jut out and toes point towards your head. Placate your body, come back and rest. Then do the next count.
Rite 3: Kneel down and look up straight and rest your hands under your butt. Then pull your chin up looking towards the sky, while bending backwards as comfortably as you can. You’ll feel a great stretch in your neck, chest and stomach. Then slowly come back, touch your chin to your chest and repeat the rite.
Rite 4: Table rite/Crab rite: Lie on the mat with your legs absolutely straight, toes perpendicular, back straight, hands flat on the ground close to your butt. Bring your knees closer, keeping your soles on the floor. From that position, raise the entire body in a table position i.e. neck, stomach, hips and knees in a straight line. The body is supported by your arms and feet. Now throw your neck back and return to the original position, straightening your back. Repeat the rite in a rhythmic pattern, never moving the position of the hands.
Rite 5: Rite similar to Suryanamaskar: Stand up, then bend down, touching your fingers to your feet. Put your hands on the floor and
walk forward, using just your hands. Stop when you feel a great stretch at the back of your thighs. Now moving the weight onto your hands, swing down, raise your chest and look up. Balance yourself on your toes and hands only. If you feel the stretch at the back of your legs, face and arms, then your upward dog is correct. Swing the body back, raising your butt to the sky, so you become a mountain or a downward dog. Keep your heels always touching the floor and your eyes looking at them. Repeat the rite in an unvarying rhythm.