New Delhi: “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” – BKS Iyengar also known as Guruji, the founder of Iyengar Yoga. In 1991, the Indian government awarded BKS Iyengar the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2014. Iyengar yoga was developed to make yoga accessible to everyone, even those with chronic health conditions or physical injuries. A disciple of BKS Iyengar, Amina Sarkar Bharat Ram is taking ahead this practise through her yoga studio – Iyengar Yogamandala.
Sharing her journey of being a student to Iyengar Yoga teacher, Amina says,
In 2002 or 2003, I had a slipped disc and I was put on complete bed rest and I was given a lot of painkillers. I was also advised of surgery. It is then my sister-in-law introduced me to Iyengar Yoga. I fell in love with this form of yoga because of its scientific approach and then began my journey.
Amina, a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher opines that Iyengar yoga needs to be practised regularly to reap its benefits. She adds,
Iyengar yoga is not just a practise, it is a way of life. Iyengar yoga is a slow dose; it’s not like taking a pill and recovering. It takes time. It took me time to recover but when I saw its benefits, I stood by it. I never looked back.
Amina Sarkar Bharat Ram’s very detailed and precise instructions help her students achieve the correct body alignment in each asana, something Iyengar yoga is best known for. The instructions and demonstrations aren’t just to help the students get into the asanas, they are to help them deepen their understanding of the postures and what they are doing for body and mind.
Helping students experience the full benefits of the asanas are the Iyengar yoga props – bolsters, bricks, belts, chairs, benches. They support the body in different asanas so that even inexperienced, elderly, injured, fatigued or ill students can perform the asanas more easily. In fact, the attention to specific alignment and the use of props makes Iyengar yoga not only unique but also therapeutic for people with a host of health issues.
Arun, a student at Iyengar Yogamandala says,
I joined Iyengar Yoga a little over five years back and when I joined I came with a lot of neck and shoulder issues including severe and chronic pain, and stiffness. The pain used to bother me all day and night. I was on drugs day in and day out. And then with the continuous practice every day it has been transformative for me – from pain-ridden to a pain-free neck and shoulders.
Sharing the benefits of Iyengar Yoga and varied postures, Amina says,
Suppose you take a palette, you have a black color and white color. If I mix the two colours, I will get zillions of shades in the middle, right? In the same way, each pose and sequencing of a pose will give you different chemicals in your mind – permutations and combinations. We do poses that calm and relax the mind. You will have clarity and peace of mind. Importantly, to make the mind quiet, you have to stay in that pose for some time, that’s when the props come into play.
Guruji, as BKS Iyengar was known, believed that yoga is much more than a physical practice, it is an art, a science and a philosophy. And so, for its practitioners Iyengar yoga impacts not just their physical well-being, but also helps them in every aspect of daily living.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.