BY PUJA GUPTA AND SIDDHI JAIN
New Delhi– Yoga is the new old, and it’s here to stay. From traditional yogis to the modern ones, yoga practitioners speak highly of its benefits. From physical to mental and even spiritual, the ancient practice has had a deep impact on many celebrity fitness trainers and enthusiasts, including Bollywood actors Malaika Arora and Shilpa Shetty Kundra.
On International Yoga Day 2020, IANSlife spoke to many celebrity yoga enthusiasts on the transformational power of yoga. Here’s what we learnt.
Malaika Arora, actor and co-founder of Diva Yoga
“There are a lot of times when life puts you down in a way that you feel it’s difficult to hold your head above the water. I turned to yoga in a similar phase like that where I needed that bit of calm and direction in my life. Some people turn to meditation, others to writing or singing. Everybody has a different outlet, for me I found that in yoga. It really helped me at a very precarious stage in my life and I’m extremely grateful.
“It has helped me manage my stress and gives me a certain level of spiritual peace. It helps to take a break from the chaos of our lives and more importantly from the chaos in our minds. Several platforms like Disney+Hotstar and the SARVA App have a number of specific asanas specially to uplift depressed moods, fight fatigue, and bring a state of calmness in an entirety, hence I’m a strong advocate for yoga.”
Sunaina Rekhi, celebrity yoga teacher and global icon in health and lifestyle
“I feel a lot have confused Yoga to be just about the physical asanas, but it’s more than that. It’s about working with the mind which controls our body, our thoughts, and overall our mental health. Handling a lot of things at once or facing major setbacks in life can bog us down, sometimes we don’t even realize the point of trigger for a depressed or anxious mood. Meditation and practicing different forms of yoga can be extremely beneficial to keep those thoughts and feelings in check.”
Mickey Mehta, health, well-being and fitness guru
“Next month, I complete 50 years of exercising, 38 years in the profession and in August I will be completely 58. With close to 4 decades of being in the profession I went through the entire spectrum of fitness, health, wellness, wellbeing. Haven’t found anything as deep as vast and as high; eternal and infinite as yoga is. Yoga has been the seed of evolution of mankind.
“Yoga is probably the only panacea for all ailments man is ailing from – pride, anger, lust, envy, gluttony, avarice and sloth. Yoga can dissolve it all. The disorder of life created by man’s ego and the seven sins could be put back in order. The disease of the man who takes birth with the seven sins could be brought to ease with yoga. Neutralising the toxins of the body, mind, spirit, bringing about a great harmony, unity, unification, synchronisation of our circadian rhythm with the rhythm of the electromagnetic field of the universe. Yoga transforms, yoga transcends, yoga can make us Gods, make us climb higher on the ladder of evolution higher than Gods and without yoga one can fall below animals. Yoga brings about the perfect equilibrium in the polarities of Chadra Surya, Ying Yang, Shiv Shakti. Yoga neutralises the conflict and the contradiction of the pull and push of the polarities. Yoga brings you at the shoonyam quotient of bliss. Yoga is that eternal kiss. Let yoga get maximized, mankind get optimized, this Universe get Mickeymized!”
Bollywood actress Soha Ali Khan
“Yoga is one of my most preferred forms of exercise – as it has a positive impact on the body as well as the mind. To complement my yoga routine, I also follow a healthy diet and ensure eating a handful of almonds every day. Almonds are considered as Sattvic foods, and are a source of 15 key nutrients like protein, Vitamin E, magnesium etc. Additionally, almonds provide energy and according to Ayurveda, they also help in toning all body tissues.”
Fitness enthusiast and Supermodel Milind Soman
“I am a firm believer in the power of Yoga, and make it a part of my activity. But I also believe it’s equally important to practice conscious and healthy eating to reap the best benefits of your exercise. I prefer snacking on healthier foods like almonds, instead of unwholesome or fried snacks. Almonds are light and easy to carry, making them a great snack to consume in between meals.”
Actress Kirti Kulhari
“Yoga has been a major part of my life for the last 15 years and like a lot of us , I was introduced to it through Baba Ramdev ji. I absolutely love the nature of it, owing to the fact that’s it’s holistic in nature. It brings together spiritual, physical, mental and emotional well-being and balance, and this for me is the true essence of ” Being healthy “. And we all know how important this original idea of “health” is in today’s times. Yoga’s calming and balancing effects are immediate and of course it’s regular and consistent practice brings about permanent changes of the highest quality..I couldn’t recommend it enough..And I feel that this introduction of “International yoga day” is a brilliant initiative and coming from the land where Yoga comes from, we must not only be very proud but truly make it a very important part of our lives. Rest, one who does Yoga knows, that it’s benefits are to be experienced and not so easily described in words.
Actress Yuvika Chaudhary
“I’ve just started practicing Yoga and it’s a new thing for me. I’ve been hearing a lot from people that Yoga se hi hoga. Its slow but even if I meditate for five minutes, its relaxing and I really want to go ahead and excel and completely pursue Yoga as I’ve been wanting to do so for the longest time. I started off with meditation and Surya Namaskar and it has really helped me, especially cope with the lockdown and the circumstances around us. With so much negativity happening around us, I have finally accepted Yoga, although not completely but it’s a slow and steady process. My father and grandfather have been practicing Yoga for years but I’ve never gotten into it. Yoga has been catching on a lot recently but it has been practiced for years in my family. My dad has always told me to practice Yoga and I’ve always took it for granted but now I really value it.”
Actress Rasika Dugal
“One of my yoga teachers said to me that yoga is as much about how the practice makes you feel when you are on the mat as when you are off the mat. Yoga has taught me how to be gentle with myself and that every small effort counts. It’s one of those things that you keep doing calmly and persistently without the pressure of achieving anything and your body surprises you. I also love the detail of it – how one tiny change in the way you execute an aasana can transform the experience and effect of that aasana entirely.”
Actress Sonnalli Seygall
“For me yoga tops the list when it comes to any sort of workout, because it’s a complete body and mind workout. I have been practising since my childhood in Kolkata and that time yoga was not even so popular as it is now! Infact I feel sad when I see that yoga has become more popular now in India after the west made it famous with likes of Madonna doing it. We as Indians have such a beautiful, beneficial and old discipline passed down to us, I feel we should definitely incorporate it in our lifestyle.
For me personally, yoga is my life! It not only keeps me fit physically and in great shape but also makes me emotionally strong and mentally fit. Especially now with this pandemic , I recommend certain pranayamas and asanas to everyone as it helps you make your lungs stronger and boosts your immunity!”
Actress Elli Avram
“Yoga is extremely important for your health, it helps you find your inner strength and inner peace. Yoga really calms you down and it helps you to stay balanced. According to me, that is what life is all about. It’s about balance. Yoga isn’t actually about weight loss, it’s basically about teaching you to find your inner strength and heal yourself. Every posture in yoga has a reason, it’s for a certain organ in your body, or it’s for your blood or your cells, yoga heals you from the inside. Yoga is actually medication, that’s how powerful it is and this is something that we all need to understand more. I have never practiced yoga in my life for weight loss, I practiced because I was because I was craving that inner strength.” (IANS)