Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

Anugraha Rao
Sunday, 10 November 2019

Followed by a successful Yoga Utsav last year, organisers and yoga experts Sarika Salvi Vasudev and Zahabbiya Walbeek are coming up with Yoga Mahotsav to make Pune aware of the benefits of this exercise

With an aim to spread awareness about yoga and its benefits, Sarika Salvi Vasudev and Zahabbiya Walbeek came up with a platform -- Yog Utsav last year. This event provides experts and yoga enthusiasts a chance to interact on a personal level and eliminate all the wrong notions related to yoga. The huge response last year motivated the yoga instructor duo to hold the event this year too.
“When we were planning the event last year, we thought 100-150 people will turn up. We were just expecting our students, friends and relatives to come but we had an amazing response with a 225 head count. We had people coming from different locations like Katraj, Pimpri Chinchwad and Baner, and all the possible backgrounds like yoga practitioners, teachers and beginners,” says Vasudev.

This year, the one day fest is named as Yog Mahotsav which will take place at the Poona Club, Camp on November 17. Subodh Tiwari, CEO of Kaivalyadham Yoga Institute, Lonavala will inaugurate the event. He will be accompanied by Sai Susarla, Dean, MIT School of Vedic Sciences. Ten students from Kaivalyadham will keep a book stall at the fest. Many experts will also participate including Dr Jaiswal, who will talk about yoga and naturopathy, Prem Prakash Sharma will talk on acu-yoga, Sujata Vaidya will take a session on Ayurveda and healing while Kashmira Mody will conduct a session on meditation.

Vasudev informs that Tiwari will take a session on ‘Sanskrit: The Language of Yoga’. “We use a lot of Sanskrit in yoga -- all mantras and the names of yoga asanas are in Sanskrit. So his focus is on the significance of Sanskrit as a language; what it does to your body and mind,” she informs.
This year, 200-500 people are expected to attend the Mahotsav. Many are not aware of the different forms of yoga. The duo wants to deliver the true essence of yoga to people, especially the urban section of the city.

At the day-long event, three parallel sessions will take place, Vasudev says. Asana practice is one session where all the yoga teachers from various schools of yoga like Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga and Hatha Yoga will address participants. People will get to learn different styles of asana practice. In the second session, doctors and experts will attend to the participants and talk to them about their respective health issues and guide them on coping with the same. The session will give people a chance to interact with professionals on a personal level.

“People will get to learn asanas, philosophy of yoga, spiritual aspects and how to de-stress themselves. All the guidance will be provided by the experts,” says Vasudev.

The fest is open for every age group and there are a few specialised sessions. Seven-year-olds can be a part of the meditation session or nada yoga while certain sessions have been designed for senior citizens. The event will see a combination of beginner, medium and expert-level yoga. Teachers will make sure that nobody gets injured and guide them as per their body limits.

Vasudev’s interest in yoga started due to her own health concerns. Leaving her IT profession, she completely immersed in yoga practice and has been successfully teaching it for the past 10 years. Currently, she is pursuing MSc (Master of Science) in Yoga Therapy from S-Vyasa University, Bengaluru. 
Zahabbiya Walbeek, the other organiser, is a certified yoga teacher who annually hosts ‘Back to Elements retreat’ which is a one day retreat in the city. 

“Back to Elements Retreat helps people to connect with all the five elements -- earth, water, light, air and sky. We avoid the use of mobile phones during the session and we have noticed that people feel fresh and energetic after the session,” says Walbeek.

Today, people are going away from their culture. Yoga is also a part of our culture, says Walbeek and adds, “Keeping the declining preference for yoga in mind, we chose to come up with the Mahotsav. Our main aim is to make the urban crowd understand that yoga goes beyond weight loss and asanas.”

ST Reader Service
Yoga Mahotsav to be held at the Poona Club, Camp on November 17 from 9 am to 6.30 pm


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