Yoga has always been a male domain. Right up till the early 20th century, men have been the sole preachers and practitioners of this spiritual discipline. It was in 1938 that India got its first female yoga teacher in Indra Devi, who broke tradition and laid the path for the next generations of female yogis. One of her torchbearers is Noida’s Neha Vasisht, who has carved a niche for herself in the world of yoga and spiritual fitness.
City Spidey managed to catch up with the yoga guru on International Yoga Day, one of her busiest in the year.
Let us first introduce you to her:
Name: Neha Vasisht
Educational qualification: MA Science of Living, Yoga and Meditation; Diploma in Yoga and Naturopathy. Currently pursuing PhD in yoga and meditation.
Home sweet home: Gaur City I, Greater Noida West
Yoga hangouts: Fortis Hospital, Sector 62, Noida; Neelgiri Hills School, Sector 50, Noida; Radisson Hotel, Sector 18, Noida; Sector 15A Club, Noida; the YogaGuru Studio, Sector 37 and 52, Noida; DDA Sports Complex, Jasola, Pitampura and Rajouri Garden; Sector 16, Rohini; Sector 11, Rohini
How is International Yoga Day different from your other days?
The word "yoga" is derived from the Sanskrit word "yuj", meaning "to join". A normal day for me means helping people attain the union of body and consciousness through yoga. Today, my schedule revolves around influencing many, many more, and raising awareness of this ancient discipline by giving it a global platform. I usually start my day with early-morning yoga at 5 am — but today it started at 3! I normally hold about four to five classes a day across various RWAs, Yogaguru studios, hospitals, schools and corporate offices, and my batches include 10 to 50 members — but today I am running from Noida to Ghaziabad to Delhi to conduct mass classes, about six to seven scheduled already, and including 3,000 participants!
Which yoga do you specialise in?
Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Garbha yoga and power yoga.
Why do you think yoga is special?
Yoga can influence how people spend their day, or even their life. That's what's so appealing about yoga for me. I also cherish the connect I develop with people while I help them practise yoga.
Is there any tip that will help people include yoga in their everyday lives?
People will have to make yoga an intrinsic part of their lives, just like cooking, bathing and eating.
What do you think keeps people away from yoga?
People generally think yoga is boring, and lacks the zing. They are attracted to gyms, Zumba and aerobics classes. But yoga has become a dynamic discipline nowadays, and is fast evolving to cater to modern lifestyles. There is aqua yoga, aerial yoga, partner yoga and even dance yoga.
How yoga-friendly is Noida and Ghaziabad?
Yoga is gradually picking up pace in Noida. People think yoga can be done in parks, and anyone can do it. They don’t want to spend much time or effort to learn yoga and its forms. But certain sectors in Noida are very yoga-friendly, such as 93, 93A, 82, 15A, 18, 44, 62, 27, 22, 37, 34 and 39.
What’s the age group that is most open to learning yoga?
I have clients from the age group of 6 to 85. However, the majority falls in the 22-55 bracket.