Yoga in My Neighborhood

“The Goal of Yoga (Union) 
is Yoga (Union)”
– Anonymous

Out  of  bed  on  a  Sunday  morning, I  headed  straight  to  balcony  of  my  house  to  breathe  in  some  fresh  cool  air. I  looked  into  the  sky  preparing  myself  for   a  new  day  and  then  turned  to look  towards  the  park (just next to my house)  for  the  usual  sight  of  some  regular  mid-50s  women,  performing  yoga. My  house  is  so  close  to  the  park  that  if  need  be  I  can  easily  repeat  what  they  perform  and  talk. However,  I  never  had  such  intentions, I preferred my morning run or cycling. For  me  it  was  some  kind  of  new  gymnastics  developed  while attempting  to  imitate  what  Baba  Ramdev  demonstrated  on  television.

It  was  not  yoga  that  they  performed  for  sure.  The  ladies  some  10  in  nos.  formed  a  semi-circle  around  their  leader. The  leader  looked  in  her  mid-50s  with  brown  hair  (dyed with henna)  and  a  heavy  bottom  that  seemed  immovable.  Her  upper  body  tried  hard  to  move freely  while  performing  the  aasanas.  Most  them  wore  salwar  suits  or  a  saree,  forget  track  pants  and  performed  resting  their  heavy bottoms  on  the  make-shift  mat  made  out  of  an  old  blanket.  All  others followed  the exercise  being  performed  by  their  leader.  Throughout  their regime,  they  made rigorous  movements of  hands  either attempting  to stretch  them  over  the head  in  a  circular  fashion  or touching  their  feet.  Not,  even one  of  them, as  seen by  me  for  last  3  years,  managed  to  even ‘touch’  their feet  without  bending  their  knees.  A  couple  of  them  in  the group- may  be  in 40s-  performed  with  no  intent,  as evident  from  their  movements. With   their  heads  always  covered  with  a   dupatta,  I  sense  they  were  forced  out  of  house  to  accompany  their  mother-in-laws  to  the  park.  I  rather believe  they  would  have  exercised  themselves  more  in  a  morning  session  of  love  with  their  husbands  while  kids  slept and  in-laws out  attempting  to  regain  their  fast  deteriorating  health. 

The Kapaalbhaati, is an  aasan performed  while  being  seated  in  an  upright  position  with  back  kept  straight  and  legs  folded.  Keeping the  stomach  in  a relaxed  position,  it  is  to  be  slightly  tucked  in  and  then  breathing  from  nose  in  small  jerk  like  movement  of  stomach. Here,  when  I saw  the women  seated,  they had  their  belies  bulging  out  so much that most of  them  could  not  even  fold  their  legs  completely. With   such  large  bellies  the  jerk  seemed  to  be  occurring  on  their  upper  body  with  their  bust  shaken-up  with  the  jerks.  Thank  God!  that  the  bra  committed  to  spend  its  life  for   the  upliftment  of  the downtrodden (breasts)  did  not   tear  around  its  already  stretched  straps  inside  the  kurtaas.  

In one  of  the  last  exercise  for  the  session  they  assumed   a   posture  of  a  lion  and  made  a  loud  roar. The sound  of  10 such  heavy lions  must  be  enough  to  wake  the  neighborhood  from  sleep and  warn  their  counterparts  performing  yoga  in  privacy  of   their  homes.  Finally,  the  session  ended  with  three  loud  laughter  akin  to  a  session  at  a  laughter  club.

What  are  they  upto? OHM!……OHM!