Work deadlines, late night parties and running to catch the morning train.. it’s no surprise that city dwellers are always looking for a stress buster to keep them sane.
Hitting the gym may kick those thunder thighs into shape, but when it comes to complete bliss, nothing beats the charms of yoga.
A common practice in ancient India, Yoga only gained popularity once the West adopted it as a fashionable workout regimen in the 1990s. Since then, the variations on the traditional form have multiplied.. allowing everyone to chose their personal favourite. Not into heavy chanting? Try Power Yoga. Need some rhythm to have fun? Dance Yoga could be the thing for you.
Actress Shilpa Shetty can’t get enough of yoga, which is why she launched her own CDs, which have gone on to become a rage.
Bhavin Thakkar, yoga instructor at Bharat Thakur’s Artistic Yoga classes, waxes eloquent about this contemporary form of yoga that enables weight loss. “Earlier, weight loss with yoga was unheard of. Once we combined strength training, balance and co-ordination with traditional bandhas and kriyas, it evolved into a holistic regimen.”
Thakkar explains that orthodox yoga suited our ancestors who led lives of manual labour and physical activity. But since the average office worker spends most of his time sitting at a desk, he needs an extra push to stay fit. “We try and address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs through artistic yoga,” he states.
There’s even a special Iyengar yoga class for expectant mums. Firoza Ali who runs a class in Lower Parel explains the concept. “ We teach special asanas that result in the strengthening of the pelvis, better circulation and easy breathing. We also use a lot of props so that the pose can be maintained for a longer period of time.”
So does she employ music or chants to help the preggers parade? “ You don’t need music,” she smiles. “they just listen to the music of their souls.”
Ever since Kareena Kapoor debuted her tiny waistline, power yoga has become the IT style of fitness. The fun and fashionable form of yoga combines music and cardio activity with yoga, pushing for faster pose transitions to enable weight loss.
Aanchal Gupta of the Arts in Motion Dance Academy endorses this. “It’s very effective for weight loss and also results in a toned and flexible body,” he opines.
“People make choices depending on what they believe suits them best. A senior citizen may not believe in the gym culture while a teenager may find traditional yoga boring. This form of yoga bridges all gaps.” While purists may be shaking their fists at these evolutions, the new age instructors aren’t frazzled.
“Yoga is open to so many interpretations,” grins Thakkar. “Dance yoga is also becoming popular because it employs essentially the same rules as yoga.”
Gupta agrees, saying, “These contemporary forms are drawing people to yoga like never before. It’s great that it’s finally getting the credit it deserves,” he sums up.