Yoga isn’t just a fitness regimen, it’s also for your mind and soul: Viraj Malik

Last month, in January, the Delhi government launched online yoga classes for COVID-19 patients, who were isolated at home. It was not the first time the government had highlighted the health benefits of yoga for individuals, especially during the pandemic. PM Narendra Modi has repeatedly stressed that yoga is essential for mental health, pointing out that it helps strengthen our thought process so that negativity cannot break us down.

Viraj Malik, Founder of Utsav Yoga, discusses how yoga helps promote body positivity, why aerial yoga is beneficial, and why the pandemic has made yoga a cool form of fitness

The pandemic has seen a sudden increase in the number of people practicing yoga and gravitating towards fitness. What is your comment on that?

The pandemic has put a pause in everyone’s life and many of them have turned to practices that have helped them overcome covid anxiety and stress and at the same time helped them take care of their body and fitness while locked at home, Yoga offers both options and there has been a huge increase in the number of people who have embraced yoga. At Utsav, we have made people from all over the country join us in our online sessions at an affordable rate. The goal is to offer something that would help people find their happiness.

Several social media pages are dedicated to nude yoga. They don’t just promote yoga, they also promote body positivity and normalize nudity. Do you see this happening in India anytime soon? Is there a benefit to nude yoga?

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. What may seem aesthetic to someone in one culture may seem vulgar to others in another culture; what may be body positive for one may be shameful for another. There will always be cultural and legal aspects to nudity and popular culture and the legal framework of geography keeps changing. Indian culture at one time had a nude sculpture of Khajuraho, we had Jain masters like Mahaveera who cast clothes and a nude woman saint Lalla Yogiswar of Kashmir and that was an accepted aspect of art and the spiritual tradition. Yoga ultimately helps us see life beyond body and mind.

What is the biggest misconception people have about yoga?

That this is just a fitness regimen. Yoga is a matter of mind, soul and body.

Many people think that yoga is great for losing weight, but not great for building muscle. Would you like to elaborate?

Yoga is excellent for holistic health, which includes having a natural body weight and healthy, strong muscles are the natural result of any form of Asana practice. Yoga believes that each individual is unique and there are no notions of ideal weight and its approach is to manage the root. cause of the weight problem rather than the western calorific concept of weight management.

What are some of the mistakes one makes while doing yoga?

Doing too much too soon. Yoga is a gradual journey and one should enjoy the journey without having too many expectations of the outcome.

Currently, there is a lot of talk about aerial yoga. Why practice aerial yoga?

Aerial yoga is an improvisation of physical yoga practice that blends yoga principles with dance, aerial acrobatics, Pilates and calisthenics. Apart from the usual benefits of yoga like stress relief and overall body fitness, it offers additional benefits for people who can take help. aerial hammocks as extended props for doing advanced poses and it provides extra flexibility with a strong back and flexibility.

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