JOURNEY OF THE MIND, BODY, AND SOUL | FITNESS SAGA
Picture yourself in the middle of a green serene forest, under the shade of a mango tree on a warm summer morning, legs folded into perfect padmasana and hands gently resting on the corner of your knees. Your eyes are closed, yet you can see a bright white light guiding and fulfilling you. You inhale slow, long breathes and exhale leisurely detoxifying your lungs. The perfect atmosphere for your mind, body, and soul to be working in harmony. That is what yoga does, no matter where or who you practice with.
Prerna Ramananth, a Bangalore based yoga instructor creates this atmosphere and experience each time she holds a Hatha yoga session. Having learned Bharathnatyam for 9 years, the art of body movement came naturally to her and therefore, was inclined towards yoga. What truly inspired her to take to teaching yoga was the personal liberation and the change in the direction of her life’s goal she had acquired after all these years of practice.
Hatha yoga is not an uncommon form of yoga, but she has added a variation to it which is therapeutic in nature. She modifies sequences and provides apt variations to different students to cater to their physical, mental and spiritual needs. She believes that each one of us is born with a unique structure and personality of our own which leads us to choose a certain lifestyle, work preference, exercise regime, etc. If we try to stretch out far beyond to something different, it could result in dissatisfaction at varying levels. Therapy yoga customizes classical yoga into variations that would suit the person best and gradually work the process towards perfecting the classical form.
Yoga in general teaches self-discipline and Prerna finds time to practice yoga apart from her training sessions. She and her yoga mat are inseparable. She manages to find gaps in between private therapy classes and dives into her own practice which usually goes on for an hour and a half. These usually include a few pranayama exercises and a short meditation at the end. A regime almost every yogi follows - practice yoga for self every day.
The days Prerna feels physically low, she meditates and chants, and sometimes spends hours lost in pranayama practices. On some days she even gives back to the community by, practicing Yamas and Niyamas. However, she makes it a point to do her sadhana every single day. How else do you think a yogi can remain calm and complacent through each day!
Prerna expresses that after she began Yoga; she started to value her relationships better, respect her body and mind, become sensitive to people’s needs, understands the larger ordeals of life, and it has helped her reach out to people who needed to be guided. Through Yoga, she has transformed into a deeper and caring human.While yoga has a lot of benefits for the body, Prerna points out how yoga has helped her overall, - "Yoga had helped me release anxiety and future uncertainties during college years. It continues to help me stay confident and unshaken during stressful phases. It’s given me stability and ample clarity to make decisions rationally and calmly. I have definitely healed from my knee injury and lower back weakness after years of mindful practice. Pursuing a spiritual path of yoga apart from the physical one has helped me understand and accept certain realities of life and live it with complete gratitude."
When questioned about the challenges she experiences as a yoga instructor she explains, "Sometimes I feel helpless during rough times even though I’m aware of the right way to cope with the situation. I have guided many of my students to perceiving their problems differently but often find myself confused on facing the similar challenges. When I get questioned on my class plans and my approach to yoga from a few students who don’t know me, I try and work double as hard to assure them and if they still find it impossible to have faith, I graciously connect them to another teacher who can lead their path ahead. There are some students who are meant to be yours and some who need someone else. Accepting this fact was a huge challenge and I am still working on overcoming it".