Yogakshema: An Iyengar Yoga-Centre, Right in the Heart of Delhi

Yoga isn’t just about getting the postures right. It’s about inviting a whole new way of seeing things to every facet of your life. Whether it is the food you eat, the work you do, people you hang out with or how you respond to silence. Believe it or not, yoga has the capability of changing you and helping you connect with your deeper self. Of course, that is if you are willing to give it a fair chance.

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We came upon Yogakshema accidentally and ended up attending their two-hour workshop, organized for anyone who wanted to get a taste of yoga, right before Yoga Day. And what a workshop it was. Before we tell you about what we learnt, let us first tell you a little bit about the place itself. Never before could I imagine that a space like that could exist literally five minutes from Connaught Place. The centre is beautifully done with French doors, is spacious and quiet, and has a lovely, zen vibe to it. Immediately, we were greeted by one of the volunteers and asked to change into comfortable clothing before the workshop. We even had enough time to speak to one of the volunteers manning the little store in the basement that had books, yoga mats, t-shirts and a few other things to buy, about why he decided to sign up for their (part-time) year and a half long program. His reason was, “When I came here, my back was hurting a lot. In fact, my doctor asked me get a surgery done. But coming here and learning from Nivedita Ma’am has really helped me. And of course, there are still days when my back hurts but it’s nothing like how it used to be and I didn’t even have to get that surgery done.”

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Nivedita Joshi, the founder of the centre and a microbiologist, has an even interesting story about what brought her to her teacher, BKS Iyengar. After being bed-ridden for eight long years because of cervical spondylosis, she decided to give modern medicine a break and took up yoga, which eventually completely healed her. And her sense of gratitude, not just for her teacher but also her practice is evident. During the workshop, she kept reiterating the fact that she is not standing in front of us for approval, praise or money. All she cares about is passing on the healing wisdom of yoga to as many people as she can.

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After a brief introduction to Iyengar Yoga, she taught us some basic postures, stretching, pranayama, and ended it with a meditation. She even altered the practice for those who had issues with their knees or back. And her volunteers around the room made sure that we all got the postures right since the basic premise of Iyengar Yoga is alignment. Shared BKS Iyengar with Yoga Journal, “I just try to get the physical body in line with the mental body, the mental body in line with the intellectual body, and the intellectual body with the spiritual body so they are balanced. It’s just pure traditional yoga, from our ancestors, from our gurus, from Patanjali.”

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At the end of the workshop, we didn’t realize that we’d been practicing for almost two hours. Guess time does move quickly when you’re invested in something. Oh, and when we stepped out, our first thoughts weren’t food. They were how good our bodies felt. So clean, open and need I say, perfectly aligned.

To know more about Yogakshema or to sign up for their Introductory Course (starting on the 5th of September, 2016), visit http://www.iyengaryogakshema.org/

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