Much more than a mere workout you take up, Yoga is rather a lifestyle choice that one adopts. The regime works on holistic development and improves your mental well-being, your physique and inner body strength. For some, it is the source of respite after a stressful shift at work, for others, it is the best way to begin their day and still for others, yoga paved the way to overcome the most crushing challenges.
These yogis have gone online to inspire their followers to take up yoga and experience a positive change in their lifestyles.
On this World Yoga Day, we present five such yogis who overcame personal odds and are now running social media channels on the practice of yoga.
In 2016, Samrat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and a fatty liver. His sedentary lifestyle had not helped his case either. Speaking to The Better India (TBI), Samrat said, “I was over 100 kg at the time and was working night shifts in a corporate office. Although I was a regular at my gym, its sessions and routines were just adding to my physical stress. Since I was obese, the gym exercises put extra weight on my ankles. I needed something that was light and consistent in nature. That’s when I started yoga.”
Samrat’s fatty liver, hyperthyroidism and obesity meant he needed a lifestyle change, not just an exercise regime. Yoga turned out to be that saviour and he took it up with dedication and passion. Within a year, Samrat had not only shed the extra kilos but also became a certified yoga instructor.
Today, he takes regular workshops in Bengaluru and also online. With over 9,400 followers online, Samrat also posts his stretching exercises and yoga poses on Instagram. You can follow him by clicking on this link or watch his YouTube videos or visit his website, Yoga with Samrat.
With 1,95,000 followers on Instagram, Deepika Mehta is all the inspiration you need to take up yoga as a routine. She takes regular classes in Mumbai and has an active Instagram handle. Nowhere do her picture-perfect poses, composure and career graph indicate that in 1997, Deepika was told that she might not be able to walk. In 1997, a rock-climbing session had taken a disastrous turn when Deepika met with a terrible accident. So serious was the accident that the doctors had declared she might never be able to walk again.
But that was not to deter Deepika who took up yoga and worked on proving the doctors wrong. Over the years, she undertook several courses and mastered the practice, so much so that she is one of the most sought-after yoga instructors in the entertainment business!
You can catch her sessions as she travels the world teaching the ancient art of yoga. Or if you wish to be inspired by this amazing woman and take up the regime at home, you can follow her Instagram account. Click here to check out her Instagram account, her YouTube channel and her website.
Yoga is for everyone—irrespective of age, weight, health issues and lifestyles. Dolly Singh exemplifies this and is busting the myth that yoga is only for the lean, one Instagram post at a time.
About eight years ago, Dolly met with a minor accident and sprained her ankle. Afraid that her ankles may not be able to take her weight (she weighed about 90 kg then), she started practising yoga. “This was the first time I became active. I tried everything. Functional training, built up my stamina, aerobics, Zumba and other things. But I got bored. Two years into it, I landed in a yoga class. I never entered the class thinking I want to lose weight. I never had constraints about how big I was. However, it was the people around me in the yoga class who were surprised because they wondered how a big-bodied person could do this,” she tells TBI.
As traumatic as Natasha’s childhood experiences were, her journey from uplifting herself from those drudges, coping with acute depression and becoming a role model for thousands of women is just as inspiring. At the tender age of three years, Natasha witnessed her mother’s suicide. At the age of seven, she was raped by a male servant. In the following eight years, her uncle and cousins molested her, leaving Natasha scarred and a victim of clinical depression.
Rising above these disturbing experiences, Natasha found expression in dance and yoga. Today, the motivational speaker speaks about body positivity, about acceptance and about abusive relationships, inspiring her 2,50,000+ “supporters” on Instagram.
“I started doing yoga for mental health reasons. It taught me to accept and love myself regardless of my insecurities and demons. Yoga teaches you to be in the present, which is something I couldn’t do earlier — because I was depressed, I’d always be, in the past and because of my anxiety, I’d always be in the future. So, I was never here and in the now,” she tells the Verve Magazine.
A truly inspiring figure, Natasha is an influencer you must follow. Check out her Instagram account for uplifting, encouraging and positive posts.
About a decade ago, an inactive lifestyle, a lack of will to exercise and a pre-existing scoliosis condition had brought the health levels of Suvi crashing down. She was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was just a teenager but refused to do anything about it till she joined a call centre job.
“The doctor told me that I must quit the job right away and focus on exercising instead because, without this change, I was walking a very dangerous path. I was 21 then and had a slipped disc. At that time, my husband and I had very limited resources and could not afford the expensive yoga classes in Mumbai then. But following doctor’s advice, I quit my job and used the PF money to take a class. From the first class onwards, it was a pure inspiration,” the 32-year-old tells TBI.
A change in her physique and a glow on her face after the yoga classes was so evident that a friend of her asked her what the secret was. “She asked me to teach her yoga and that’s how I started the classes,” Suvi says.
In 2012, when Suvi became pregnant she gave up yoga for a while. But after having her son, she began again, this time also posting her pictures online. “To those who said I wasn’t fit enough to take up yoga, the likes and comments I get are proof enough that yoga is for everyone. I overcame my health problems and am confident in my poses,” she adds.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)