Like many others, Shobhana Kalyan and her husband led a fast-paced life. They went clubbing, watched plays and dined out often, but then her husband fell ill — consequences of a hectic lifestyle. Fortunately, they realised their mistake and made a turnaround. The couple adopted a healthy lifestyle and took up yoga.
Explaining the importance of yoga in her life, Kalyan, a certified yoga teacher at the Art of Living, says, “Yoga is my lifeline. When we decided to change our lifestyle, the first change we opted for was in our diet, like not having too much oil in the food. The second change was to take up yoga.”
Kalyan learnt Sudarshan Kriya and other yoga at Art of Living. “I saw an amazing transformation. I practise yoga everyday for 20 minutes. It helps me develop a protective shield around me. Sadhana can take you in some wonderful directions,” she says, adding that it helps you tame your temper and removes toxicity from your life making you and people around you live in harmony.
“There’s no age limit to practising yoga. In fact, a child is born with the capability to perform yoga. When the child rolls over and lifts his head up, it’s cobra posture or Bhujangasana. However, as we grow up, we stop practising yoga and keep forgetting it. Every child naturally does yoga and must continue to do so. Yoga keeps you young, boosts immunity and keeps circulating positive energy in your body,” she says.
Guiding you how to keep up the discipline, she says, “Yoga is an experiential process. When you start practising it, and you start reaping its benefits and feel good about the results, you keep doing it. When you start, you might feel lazy or tired but then it becomes a habit and a part of your life.”
Kalyan suggests that one must also do gym activities to keep up with the cardio exercises. “Gymming helps you do the aerobic activities. However, excess of anything is bad. Avoid indulging too much into the mechanical workout. Nowadays, other than regular yoga mats, there are many other yoga equipment like yoga blocks, yoga belts, meditation cushions, yoga brick etc.
Though the use varies from person to person,” she says, adding, “People think that yoga is just about meditation and doing a few asanas. It’s not so, it is a way of life. It has pranayama, asanas and meditation. Pranayama includes breathing exercises that help energise your body.”
Other exercises like Nadi Shodhan Pranayama or alternate nostril breathing helps fill the body with fresh oxygen, releases toxins from the body, reduces stress and anxiety, and helps balance hormones. Bhastrika Pranayama improves the respiratory and digestive systems, oxygenates the blood in the body, strengthens and tones the abdominal region and calms the mind. Kapalbhati helps relieve stress, tension, and anxiety, improves kidney function, and cures insomnia and improves sleep quality.
Speaking about modern types of yoga like power yoga and beer yoga, she says, “Nothing is more effective than traditional yoga. Having a guru is very important. You cannot learn yoga from a book or DVD, you need a master to help you learn proper posture. A guru has more knowledge than the limited knowledge of the book,” she says, adding, “Just one asana is not enough. There are four important postures — standing, sitting, lying on the back and lying on the stomach. Hence, one asana will never be enough. However, if you want to learn one asana, the sequence of Surya Namaskar is highly effective. It is energetic and helps channelise energy in your body. It builds your immunity, reduces weight, makes you flexible and tones your body. Start with 4 rounds, and gradually increase with 2 rounds every week depending on your capability. Doing 12-18 rounds of Surya Namaskar is highly effective.”