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    With the first International Day of Yoga barely two days away, we tell you how you can get in on the action

    It’s surprising that it took this long for the world to dedicate a day to the universally acknowledged way of life and exercise: yoga. An initiative led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the suggestion of his personal yoga instructor, Bengaluru-based HR Nagendra, June 21 is perhaps the most apt date for such an event—being the summer solstice. Practitioners will be rolling out their yoga mats for marathon surya namaskar (sun salutation) sessions, pranayamas (breathing exercises) and chanting. While June 21 was celebrated as Yoga Day across the globe informally, this is the first year after it was approved by the United Nations. One can imagine what the turnout will be like across the country, with government-endorsed group yoga activities planned in all 28 states. Baba Ramdev will join PM Modi, while others like Mumbai-based yogini Deepika Mehta will be seen at the International Festival of Yoga in China.side-(2)
    Read on to find out how you can join in.
    Tech talk
    Apt for the yoga loving geek, the SmartMat is designed to give real time instructions based on weight, height, wingspan and torso height with the help of a phone or tablet. SmartMat uses this information for suggestions on future practice sessions. Its maker, Neyman Jahan, claims that it can differentiate between 62 different poses, thanks to a conductive fabric, just under the rubbery top layer. `19,050 approximately.
    Details: smartmat.com

    Inhale, exhale
    Zorba Studio is introducing aerial yoga in the city on June 21. There is also the simpler Zorba Happiness Course—a 40-minute intensive yoga routine with elements of cardio and Pranayama. “I want to make yoga a daily routine and not just a one-off activity,” says co-founder Sarvesh Shashi, who is also launching a Spread Love Campaign—where you can send balloons with membership coupons to loved ones. Details: 9840699223

    In sync
    Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram is offering free yoga classes across 21 locations in the city. Instructed by members of the National Cadet Corps (who were trained for a month by KYM teachers),  you can join over 14,000 people performing the routine at Pachaiyappa’s College, Stella Maris and others. CEO T Swaminathan insists KYM teaches pure yoga and “not that Madonna-yoga nonsense”. Details: 24937998

    With respect
    “I hope this day can help India respect itself more as that’s what yoga is about,” says Ishani Appaya, founder of Rutland Gate Yoga Studio, which is offering free yoga sessions, special routines for beginners and meditation sessions. Details: 9791014592

    Postcard from Kerala
    Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in Thiruvananthapuram has over 500 students from across the globe at any given time. “This weekend, we will have kriya workshops and quizzes, besides talks on yoga and diet,” says T Sajan, centre-in-charge. Details: 9497008432

    Pose with a view
    Rishikesh Yog Peeth will conduct a group yoga session on the banks of river Ganga. “We have about 70 foreigners from over 20 countries who will be participating. And we’re expecting a gathering of about 500 people,” says Dheeraj Sharma, a practitioner and marketing head. Details: 0135 264 5933

    Made to suit
    Isha Yoga, in Coimbatore, will conduct sessions across the country, offering customised lessons based on health and lifestyle. Details: isha.sadhguru.org

    Artistic angle
    The founder of artistic yoga, Barath Thakur believes that a day dedicated to yoga will motivate new practices to come on board. His students from different centres will take a video of themselves talking about how artistic yoga has brought a positive change in their lives, and promote it on social media. He says, “By sharing these personal experiences, the viewers will be motivated to start practising yoga,” says Thakur, who will also be a part of The Story of Yoga, a programme on Discovery Channel.

    Tracking a record
    Doordarshan will cover the entire event, to take place at Rajpath, much like its Republic Day telecast. A record-breaking 45,000 people are expected, for what could possibly be the biggest group yoga event. The record is currently held by 29,973 students in Gwalior who performed suryanamaskaras for 18 minutes at a stretch on November 19, 2005. At 8 am

    On Discovery Channel, the Story
    of Yoga follows the origin of the  holistic discipline, how it travelled to the Western world and its popularity in modern times. On Saturday
    and Sunday, 9pm

    One for the road
    For those who’d like to  practise the ancient discipline at home, log on to YouTube for inspiration. A 13 minute Yoga Day video by practitioner and actor Shilpa Shetty, called Yoga to Increase Flexibility – The Shilpa’s Yoga Destress Program – International Yoga Day Special, involves pranayamas, and easy to hold poses like vrikshasana (tree pose), natarajasana (Lord Shiva’s pose) and ardha shalabhasana (locust pose), working everything from the glutes, to the thighs, abs and more.

    Text: Rashmi Rajagopal

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