Kathak dancer, Shovana Narayan and yoga expert cum educationist, Anita Dua recently launched ‘Illuminating Indian Classical Dances through yoga’ at the International Conference on Yoga for Public Healthcare which concluded recently in Panaji. NT BUZZ speaks to the authors to find more
VENITA GOMES| NT BUZZ
Yoga and Indian Classical dance are two integral parts of the Indian culture. The two forms have several similarities. Identifying the commonalities between yoga and dance, Kathak dancer Shovana Narayan and yoga expert and the co-author, Anita Dua released their coffee table book ‘Illuminating Indian Classical Dances through yoga’ at the International Conference on Yoga for Public Healthcare.
The book is a visual treat for yoga practitioners and dancers alike, with photographs of different yogic asanas and dance-mudras. It endeavours to search and examine the traces of the practice of yogic asanas and dance movements through the eight-fold path of yoga referred to as Patanjali’s ashtanga yoga. The book also demonstrates the steps to perform the yoga.
Shovana, a Padma Shree and Sangeet Natak Academy awardee speaks of how one can experience yoga through dance. She narrates how a dancer goes through the eight-fold path of ashtanga yoga – yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. “For six decades I have been performing dance and dance for me is yoga. Yoga does not mean sitting and doing all the asanas but while dancing itself, I am often doing yoga. If you notice kathak dancers they are performing the pranayama much better through their dance then yoga practitioners. While dancing I am able to gain control of my mind. At the same time I am doing yama, niyama all through dance,” she says.
She then talks about the point when a dancer completely connects with himself and becomes the dance; she calls that point Samadhi which in yoga terms means oneness. “If you see I have got scars on my body and this is when dance hits me. It has happened to me on two occasions and both of the times I did not realise I was bleeding, as I was totally engrossed in my mind, that is the point, I have experienced Samadhi,” says Shovana pointing out to the scars on her forehead and leg.
Though there are several books that are based on yoga and its practices, this book distinguishes itself from the rest. Shovana explains that most of the books are from yoga perspective but not many have analysed yoga through the perspective of dance which her book ‘Illuminating Indian Classical Dances through yoga’ has done. She adds: “The books does not restrict to a certain group but is for all those who are seeking to know and learn.
Co-author and a disciple of Yogacharya BKS Iyenger, Anita Dua elaborates of how this book is an essential tool that can work towards helping people live a healthy life. “This is a form of yoga which has gone beyond the asanas and has reached the highest point. The two forms yoga and dance have vedic roots in the ancient texts of Patanjali Yogasutra and Natyashastra which are about 2000 years old. It also outlines the easy-to-follow instructions for many of the relatively simple asanas and pranayama techniques; something which most people do,” she states.
Anita also states the health benefits of the dance yoga and says that both the forms can be used to tackle the root-cause of illnesses rather than only dealing with the symptoms of problems. “Our effort through this book has been to bring out benefits of yoga and dance, whether you are dealing with specific ailments or want to improve your general well-being. Regular practice of yoga and classical dancing can help build up inner strength and natural resistance thereby helping alleviate pain and tackle the root, rather than dealing only with the symptoms of the problems,” she says.
The book ‘Illuminating Indian Classical Dances through Yoga’ was launched at the inaugural session of the International Conference on Yoga for Public Healthcare in Goa on Monday in the presence of the founder president Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Minister for AYUSH, Shripad Naik. Several delegates and yoga experts from India and abroad attended the event. Shovana and Anita wish to work further on similar projects in future and continue to create awareness of the importance of dance and yoga in our day-to-day living.