Columns, In Black & White


June 24, 2017

Mysuru lost to Ahmedabad in making it into the Guinness Book of Records for the most number of people performing yoga in a single location. It’s unfortunate but kudos to Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep and the numerous organisations for conducting such a huge event. It was a great way to evoke interest in yoga.

But the truth is, Mysuru would have actually beaten Ahmedabad if not for a small glitch ­— many never returned the entry ticket. First, the participants had to exit from the same gate they entered from and more importantly they had to return their entry slips. Unfortunately, over 1,500 participants in their hurry to get to the parking lot chose to exit from the nearest gate instead of the gate they entered from. So these participants’ presence was not registered, hence not counted for the Guinness Record.

Now, while we did not set a yoga record, we sure set another record… the most selfies taken at 5.30 am. Yes, it was flash-mob in Mysore Race Course (MRC), not the dancing kind, the clicking kind. From atop the Hill it looked like the twinkling stars had descended on the Mysore Race Course. I met many friends who, let alone doing yoga, have never bought a shoe with lace for years because they get breathless just bending forward ! Yet, they were all set to take selfies.

These days all physical events have become  self-promotion opportunities. Last year hundreds participated in the Mysore Celebration Run, but after the first two kilometers for many it had turned into a walk-a-thon. Which then turned into a talk-a-thon as they chit-chatted and walked leisurely. This then further turned into a ‘eat-a thon’ as most of them congregated at Nalpak for dosa.  Finally, it was post-a-thon as they posted pictures on Facebook sporting the ‘V’ sign! Yeah, they felt they were victorious. May be it’s time to host a brag-a-thon for such people.

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But that said, we also have to accept the fact that what may have begun as a fashion could also turn to passion, be it biking, running, photography or yoga.

Now, speaking of yoga, I like yoga like many but the key to keeping it going is not only a good guru but also a good batch. A few years ago, I joined a yoga class because someone said  “30 minutes of yoga a day can reduce your risk of giving a damn,” and once in a while we need to stop caring about forces you cannot control.  But my yoga class was packed  and one among the many reasons I did not like going to the class was I could not control a certain force blowing from others’ orifice… flatulence.  I didn’t like the idea of wallowing in another person’s gaseous cosmos early in the morning. Also quite a few in my class didn’t look too fit. Yes, they were kind of flexible, but as the joke goes, “Their pants said yoga, but their butt said I love paneer tikka and gulab jamoon.”  It’s not very motivating when people around you are not healthy looking.

Then I had another grouse, I was disappointed that when you do animal poses you could not make the respective animals’ voice. Once while doing the cobra pose, I hissed…everyone laughed and some thought I had let one slip from my ‘mula dhara’. My teacher first laughed, then told me sternly not to do it again.

Finally, I realised my favourite pose is the Shavasana… and realised I needed more sleep and be in a more visually motivating group of yoga students. So now I practice a few asanas at home. Many who came to the yoga record setting event may simply have come to be part of a memorable event, but hopefully after this, they will feel like pursuing yoga regularly.

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Now, we may not have made it to the Record Books but we can keep Mysuru as the epicentre of yoga. To do this, the city administration  should show the same enthusiasm they showed in the record setting event. They not only must promote yoga but also protect foreign yoga students.

The biggest issue for yoga students is molestation. The abuse and molestation of yoga students has been going on for many years now. Unfortunately, many yoga students tolerate this harassment in silence as they fear they may embarrass their yoga guru by getting the Police involved.

Instead, they have started moving around in groups or pairs keeping a vigilant eye, like a herd of petrified gazelles, constantly scanning the horizon for sexual predators.

It is time, our city administrators appreciated the fact that yoga has put Mysuru on the world map and it is these foreign students who have been our ambassadors.

While our State capital is IT-hub, may be Mysuru can be Yoga and Wellness-hub. After all, India’s wellness industry is poised to touch Rs. 1,00,000 crore.  And we must get a piece of this pie. So Mysuru needs yoga, yogashalas and yoga students.

For now, we may not have made it to the Record Books but it’s ok don’t be disappointed. But if you are, then just  breathe innnn… breathe ouuuut…. Or just give a nice shouting to your friend, who did not return the ticket. After all, screaming also can calm one down!

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Mysuru’s favorite and largest circulated English evening daily has kept the citizens of Mysuru informed and entertained since 1978. Over the past 41 years, Star of Mysore has been the newspaper that Mysureans reach for every evening to know about the happenings in Mysuru city. The newspaper has feature rich articles and dedicated pages targeted at readers across the demographic spectrum of Mysuru city. With a readership of over 2,50,000 Star of Mysore has been the best connection between it’s readers and their leaders; between advertisers and customers; between Mysuru and Mysureans.


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