Yoga helps these artists better their art. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, June 19 : International Yoga Day is celebrated across the globe on Monday, June 21. To get you inspired, IANSlife speaks to eight exemplary visual artists, classical dancers and musicians who share insights on how their yogic lifestyle helps them with life and art.

Dance is yoga: Kathak Guru Padmashri Shovana Narayan My dance is my yoga. Since I do my Kathak dance practice every single day, in spirit, mentally, and physically, I am living and going through all the eight stages of Yoga namely yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharna, dhyan and samadhi. Kathak dance involves a lot of physical activity involving virtually the entire gamut of asanas. Pranayama is best seen in Kathak in the practice of 'padhant' (rhythmic utterances by the dancer herself) immediately after performing a strenuous energetic rhythmic pattern where a lot of energy has been expended. One has to recite the next rhythmic pattern without any trace of panting. Finally, when I start hearing within myself the music of dance and am completely oblivious of my surroundings, I am well on my way to reaching the seventh and eighth stages.

Brushstrokes become meditative: Visual artist Chetnaa I have been a workout enthusiast for almost two decades now and have managed to explore various aspects of exercise ranging from yoga to pilates to weight training. When it became an obsession, I took exercising to the next level by becoming a certified trainer. Although power yoga is my go-to form of exercise, Surya Namaskars and pranayama have never failed in helping me achieve a positive mindset for each morning. Many times, I have found myself holding my breath while painting in fine lines. The repetitive strokes and gestures in my artworks proved to be a form of meditation and I soon came to a realisation that these two together make a major contribution to my well being. (She is showcasing at Anupa Mehta Arts.) Yoga improves flexibility, balance: Bharatanatyam Dancer Priya Venkataraman
I have been practising Sivananda yoga for over twenty years now. I start my day with at least eleven rounds of Surya Namaskar and Pranayama practise. Yoga definitely keeps the body healthy and calms the mind. The use of breath and linking breath to movement, has helped my dance practice immensely. In addition, yoga has improved my flexibility and balance over the years. My students learn basic asanas as part of their dance training.

Merging yoga and classical performances: Shruti ChaturLal Sharma Euphonic yoga is an amalgamation of Yoga, Indian Classical Music and Indian classical Dance together on the same stage, it has been curated and conceptualized by me. It is a concept designed specially to help people cope with stress. It is also a merger effort to bring Indian culture closer to the people in the most perceivable form, with an aim to make our audience aware about the 7 chakras and their mammoth impact on the human body. The journey of seven musical notes transcends in the world of 7 mystical chakras... while classical dance narrates the mood, expression and the significance of both performing arts.

Yogic lifestyle brings mind to 'yes' mode: Ankur Pathak, author and co-founder, Garuda Prakashan I have been practising Yoga for the past twelve years. Different asanas help me in keeping myself physically fit while different pranayama (breathing techniques) and dhyana (meditation) make me centred and calm, which is essential for any person who is in the field of creative writing. Yogic lifestyle provides you immense energy, which brings your mind into 'yes' mode and this positive outlook makes you successful in all your endeavours. Personally, I feel that my creativity is honed due to Pranayam and Dhyan, not only in the writing field, but in music too. Yoga helps you in exploring the source of your untapped energy and unexplored talents.

Musical breathwork is yoga: Classical Vocalist Sunanda Sharma Yoga helps build strength, balance and flexibility--elements which are important for a musician. It also facilitates in managing stress which in turn uplifts mood and makes the body more energetic. I have been unknowingly using Yoga since childhood during music practice in the form of breath control and concentration. In the last 10 years I have started the scientific practice of yoga with breathing exercises like OM, Kapalbhati, anulom-vilom etc postures and meditation which have helped to improve my performance in music. Regular practice has created mental clarity, calmness, alertness, enthusiasm and also sharpened my concentration.

Yoga and art nourish each other: Visual artist Seema Kohli Physical discipline has been a part of me since my early years of my life. My inclination to yoga has grown as it struck a balance between breath, mind and body. It started with lawn yoga when I was eight and I went on to be possessed by the various nuances and the promise it holds. I studied and practised yoga through various able masters, presently I am practising yoga under Navtej Johar. For me the practise and the study yoga imbibes and weaves in my life and art; they are not separate entities but support each other for their nourishment.

Gurus RajaRadha Reddy and Kaushalya Reddy Karnas Yogic stances or yoga whatever you want to call it, for us this is an art that gives peace or Anandam to the soul created by Lord Shiva. It gives us happiness and fulfilment, that is the beauty of Yoga. By practicing these yogic postures, it brings calm and ease within you.

(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@ians.in)

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