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Lifestyle Travel Yoga

Of Old Friends and Pleasant Surprises

October 21, 2019

My line of work brings many pleasant surprises.  I’ll often meet people who follow me on social media, or who have heard about me, or have read my blog.  Now I meet people who read my book, and they send me photos with the book to prove it!  Just this morning I met someone who looked at me for a tad bit longer than is considered polite and then told me he’s following ‘yogawithpragya’ on Twitter.

A month ago I received a mail from a friend I used to work with in Infosys.  Ayumi and I were both recruited to the July 25th, 2005 batch of Infocions.  We got to know each other pretty well during our month long training in Mysore.  Eventually she moved back to Japan and Orkut shut down.  With that went all her connections.

Teaching colleagues makes me feel that life has come a full circle. In today’s class we learned the nuances of the tree pose, something I’ve written about in this blog.

Fifteen years later Ayumi had switched jobs and was living and working in Japan.  She had attended a few yoga classes and wanted to attend more.   A month ago she ran a search on google and came across ‘Pragya Bhatt – yoga teacher’.  Could it be the same Pragya, she wondered, and lo and behold! it was.  She promptly shot a mail to the email ID listed.  Fifteen years!!! I thought as I responded to her email.

A week ago she email me again to say she was coming to India and could we catch up?  I said of course!  As I hugged her I thought she looked just the same.  She asked me if yoga made my hair grow so long.  I told her about how MG Road no longer had the walkway, but the Metro.  We spoke of how the Forum is no longer the only mall in Bangalore.  We took her out to Arbor Brewing Company and she had locally brewed beer.  We’ve been pigging out on idlis and filter coffee daily.  She reminded me of the time we went to Ooty for New Year’s.  How we rented an auto for two days and went sight seeing around Mangalore.  How we escaped a bomb blast during Diwali season in Sarojini Nagar Market in Delhi.  How we booked a one day tour to visit Agra and Mathura in a rickety old bus.

We did a private yoga session together and she came to my group class.  It was surreal.  From the swanky, state of the art Infosys Mysore campus we were meeting 15 years later, so much changed in mind and body.  Thanks to the beauty of technology.


Fresh-faced, optimistic and ready to take on the world. Ayumi is in the front row, second from the right. Can you spot me?


Why Gym Goers MUST Practice Yoga (Part 2)

November 11, 2013

In ‘Why Gym Goers MUST Practice Yoga (Part 1)’ I gave you what, to my mind, were very compelling reasons to supplement your daily workout with a few yoga sessions a week.  Here are 5 more reasons for why you have no excuse NOT to practice yoga.

6.  Lets talk about abs.  The real kinds.  Anyone who has them will tell you they need a strong back and strong sides.  Ever seen anyone with washboard abs slouching?  Or do you associate their mien with that of a proud pigeon?  Well that tall, proud profile is a result of the strong back muscles which hold up the abs.  And the strong back muscles are a byproduct of a regular yoga practice.  Ofcourse you still have to work like crazy for the abs … but every bit counts in the quest for Those Perfect Abs.

7.  Do you workout before work?  Then the guided meditation in the savasana post a yoga session can refresh you mentally and physically, so you won’t feel fatigued for the workday, Au contraire, you might experience new found energy due to the increased oxygen flow through your system.  You will get that perfect bod and that perfect appraisal.

8.  Breath control.  You can harness this natural process to increase your body’s ability to breathe better and increase your performance and well being.  Whether you’re a casual gym goer or an athlete, being able to breath better will bring about an immeasurable improvement in your performance and overall well being.  Breathing exercises form an integral part of any yoga class.

9.  Balance.  I’m not talking of the Natrajasana variety.  I’m talking about mental balance.  Your first yoga class may make you feel like you’ve been beaten into a corner.  Everyone else will seem to be effortlessly gliding into poses and smiling while doing unbelievable contortions.  And in the middle of it all, there’s you, an adrenaline driven gym rat who competes with himself/herself every single moment they’re in the gym.  So when you’re unable to do an asana, it can be more than a triffle de-motivating.  However, think of the unbelievable mental strength that you will cultivate when you take yourself back to yoga class every day and then see your body and mind becoming stronger and more supple.  This point is about the mental strength, the physical aspect is a byproduct.

10.  It’s fun!!!  Have you ever seen anyone frowning or grimacing during yoga class?  It won’t kill you to add some fun to your daily workout.  Fun is good for you!!!