It’s International Yoga Day, and the theme this year is ‘Yoga For Wellness’, which focuses on practicing Yoga for physical and mental well-being. The International Yoga Day has been celebrated annually on 21 June since 2015, following its inception in the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. While our social media feeds are inundated with the benefits of yoga and celebrities trying different asanas, let us spare you that this Yoga day, and bring to you a list of yoginis who have truly made the art not only a part of their everyday well-being but a way of life and also a profession.
Fharzana Siraj, Chennai
Msc (yoga therapy), Iyengar yoga
Fharzana is an Iyengar yoga therapist and later got her education from various lineages of Yoga. A Ph.D. Scholar (Yoga therapy), she is a holistic health coach, yoga therapist, acupuncturist and specialist in regenerative health care. She specializes in treating chronic musculoskeletal pain and lifestyle disorders with holistic health and wellness. She has been named as 1 of 16 most powerful yoginis by Hellomyyoga and is among one of the top 50 yogis.
Fharzana learnt Iyengar yoga, got certified by Guruji BKS Iyengar and armed with the sole purpose of treating people in pain, went back to college. She did her master’s in Yoga therapy and MD in Acupuncture. Trained under modern medical physicians to understand evidence-based medical approaches, in 2O13, she started her clinic Orange Ray which has all alternative medicine under one roof. She is a multi-linguist and winner of many National and International awards, she has been a resource person for AYUSH and represented India in many international conferences in Yoga therapy. “Currently into research, I am a Ph.D. scholar. From a mindset of why me, I have come to believe that the light only comes in from the cracks”, says Fharzana.
Sakina Mohammed, Coimbatore
Yoga Alliance International Certified Trainer (200 hours)
Sakina is trained and mentored by Yoga Gurus Yogi Santosh and Yogi Anita. Being a mother of two and managing day-to-day house routines, like most housewives, she too was looking for an avenue to get into fitness which was enjoyable as well. After trying and pursuing a lot of physical fitness activities like gymming (including strength training, etc.) she finally had a chance to try and start yoga.
“Having done intensive gym training coupled with the knowledge I acquired of yoga over the recent years along with an application-oriented mindset has helped me etch a somewhat singular position in the field of yoga cum strength training classes/workshops”, says Sakina. Yoga has given her strength and peace not just physically, but mentally as well. She lives by the simple motto “Becoming Better Every day.”
Chandrayee Chattopadhyay, Kolkata
“I have been doing yoga since I was around five years old”, says Chandrayee. “It was mostly to complement my gymnastics ballet training. My mother enrolled me into it before I gained any sense of it. Since then it has become a habit”. This 25 year old is a marketer who loves to dance and travel through life. She has been exploring herself through the art of dance and yoga.
Divya Srinivasan, Chennai
Divya Srinivasan has been practising yoga since 18 years now. “It was purely by accident that I attended a yoga class and after I understood the purity of the practice and its potential to bring about healing”, says Divya. Divya has worked with over 3000 students internationally including Bollywood celebrities. She is also a Tarot Reader, and a distance healer. “I believe in holistic healing and living practices. I have faith in the interconnections of life, people, animals, plants and nature”.
Tasneem Vadnagarwala, Hyderabad
RYT 200, Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Power and Yin yoga
Tasneem has been Practicing yoga as a student since she was 14 years old but started teaching four years back. “When I was 19 years old, my menstrual cycle was erratic”, says Tasneem. “I would get my period once in 3 or 4 months. This is when I took yoga seriously and started practicing regularly. And I fell in love with yoga ever since. I have always been a high school teacher but I knew somewhere I also wanted to take up yoga seriously and that’s when I decided to take up a teacher training course to deepen my knowledge and practice”.
As a mother of a toddler, she finds yoga as her creative outlet which helps her explore herself while helping her keep her mind and body fit. She coaches both adults and kids alike and her classes are much sought after. An avid reader, Tasneem also loves to cook, But on her life journey, she found yoga as her calling. “I felt lost as a person after my child was born, I went through postpartum depression. But getting back to yoga gave me a new purpose and became my vocation. I realized this is something I can still do with my toddler around”, says Tasneem. “Motherhood is a full-time job but it is very important for every woman not to make it their only identity.”. She goes by the motto, “Move the body, still the mind”.
Ruchi Gupta (Radha), Chennai
Hatha yoga & Ashtanga Yoga professional
Ruchi has done her training in hatha yoga from Asana Andiappan College of Yoga & Research Centre, Chennai. She later did her advanced course from International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta, Kerela. A model and a fashion blogger by profession, Ruchi learnt aerial yoga from Anaahat Yog in Rishikesh. Ruchi believes fitness is just not about how you look from the outside it is more about how you are from the inside, it is the harmony of yourself with others, with your mental health, the kinda vibe you give or your aura as they call it.
“I have always prioritized fitness, and my relationship with it has been a long one”, says Ruchi. “Being fit doesn’t require you to spend large sums of money. What it requires is mainly a disciplined lifestyle. For a brief period, I was a hardcore gym person, but once I hit my 30s I started to realise that gymming just made a difference in my external appearance, but never really made a difference internally … in fact, hitting the gym had adverse effects on my body, I started getting stiffer as well as started affecting my mental health, I would get angry fast. So that’s when yoga walked in. This decision of mine I can say changed my whole idea about fitness as a whole!”