Dancers are always known to be fit and flexible and loads of dances are often seeing practising various styles of fitness forms. be it swimming, jogging, gyming, aerobics, taichi, martial arts, cycling and even yoga, all different forms of workouts that are popular with dancers.But now for all the fit dancers there is another style of fitness program that is been introduced in the capital, by four dynamic young talented girls and this style of fitness is called Euphoric Yoga. In this unique style of yoga, is an amalgamation of yoga with Indian classical dance Kathak and rhythm all mixed with Indian classical music to bring to the fitness conscious a new fresh feeling to stay fit and agile. To my knowledge it is for the first time this exceptional style of yoga is happening in India.
I am proud to say that my Rakhi sister Shruti Chaturlal is the brain child behind this wonderful style of yoga, along with her three dear friends Suman Kanawat with Yoga, Garima Arya the Kathak dancer, Raajnandini on the vocals and Shruti herself as the conductor, conceptualiser and taking care of the rhythms, thus making it a gang of fantastic four.When I came to know about this different style of Yoga, I spoke to Shruti and she told me, “In the world of remixes and versions we have somewhere forgotten our ancestral roots. Euphonic yoga is our meagre effort to bring these roots back to life. It is a concept where spiritually dedicated Indian classical dance, music and yoga are combined together to vitalize and activate the stream of energy system flowing inside the human body, otherwise known as the Chakra system of our body. The pranic energy flowing through our system is affected by every movement inside and around our body. If the right vibrations are generated in right combination, it has deep and profound effects on our body, physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
Indian classical dance honours the body as sacred temple, the playhouse of the spirit. Kathak, one of the eight classical dance forms of India is one such graceful art form. Every movement, every mudra and every posture has a spiritual meaning to it. It is interesting to note that many hand mudras used in dance coincide with hand mudras used in the yoga. Yoga states that the fingers of our hand represent the ‘Pancha Mahabhutas’ or the five elements. Touching one finger with others in different combinations creates circuits in our body through which energy flows. Such a flow of energy allows the body to gain better circulation of blood, indirectly formulating long-term health benefits.
Different ‘Hastas’ are used to also communicate specific ideas, events, actions, or creatures. Each mudra is not just a representation, it has specific impact on our body. For example, The ‘Hamsasya hasta’ in Classical Dance represents the shape of a ‘Swan’ and is also similar to ‘Gyan mudra’ in Yoga which increases the memory power, enhances concentration and prevents insomnia; also, the ‘Trishula Hasta’ depicting ‘Trishula/ Trident’ matches with ‘Varun Mudra’ which is claimed to balance the water content in body and prevent pain due to inflammation or shrinkage of muscles.
Apart from Mudras, chakkar is an important aspect of Kathak. Among other things, it represents power and stability of Muladhar Chakra (one of the energy centers where energy flows through the legs). Stronger the Muladhar chakra, powerful the chakkar and vice versa. Practice of chakkar with thomping of feet increases blood circulation and heat in the legs. Chakkar also depends on the strength of the core, the centre of mass. The stronger your core is, stronger is your chakkar. It also helps in increasing concentration.Dance is not just a medium to express, it has immense power to alter the mood of the dancer as well as the spectator. This alteration is explained on the basis of Chakra system,the pranic energy flow into our body. All this and more is a part of Euphoric yoga and blends in Dance with yoga and bring a complete new look towards both dance and yoga.
Indian classical music is based on ragas, both Hindustani as well as Carnatic. These ragas also have different moods. The original ragas of the Indian classical music (Shastric Music) are created according to the deep knowledge of harmonious consonance between the seven swaras and chakras. This is why Shastric musical compositions are found to have significant positive effect on the mind-body system and also have the potential to awaken the otherwise dormant energies.
Music therapy is a growing field of interests among doctors and scientists around the world from the past 15 years now. Scientific studies have taken place in order to assess effect of music in curing some specific diseases. Ancient studies have also shown effect of asanas on the body. Euphonic yoga has attempted to combine these to enhance the effects.
For instance, matsyasana, sarvangasana or bhujangasana when performed along with Raga Bhairavi (its main note is Pa), affects Vishudh Chakra and has been found to uproot the diseases of kaphadosha e.g. asthma, chronic cold, cough, tuberculosis, some of the sinus and chest related problems etc. Raga Asavari is effective in eliminating the impurities of blood and related diseases. Raga Malhar pacifies anger, excessive mental excitements and mental instability. Raga Saurat and raga Jaijaivanti have also been found effective in curing mental disorders and calming the mind. Raga Hindol helps sharpening the memory and focusing mental concentration. It has been proved effective in curing liver ailments.
People with knowledge of dance and music know very well that controlled and stable breathing indicates graceful movement for kathak, and soulful harmony for the musicians.Yoga, dance and music all use rhythm and this rhythm is synced within us as a part of our heartbeat and breathing. Thus, combining the three has been just so organic, like a waterfall into a pond.
WhileI was in Delhi recently, I also happened to witness Euphoric yoga and I have to admit that I was overwhelmed after practising it. Seeing many dancers and fitness enthusiasts practise this new age style of yoga with dedication was delight.
Today, through this article, I wish to extend my best wishes to the fantastic Four. I also pray to Lord Natraj that may this Euphoric yoga which the girl power have come up with become the next Euphoria world over, so that it can take our thousands of years old tradition and culture of music and dance reach to a complete new level.
(Sandip Soparrkar is a well known Ballroom dancer and a Bollywood choreographer who has been honoured with National Achievement Award and National Excellence Award by the Govt of India. He can be contacted on [email protected])