Anusha Karmakar has time and again made the country proud by winning three gold medals in the World and Asian Yoga Championships. She started when she was just 4 years old - learning and growing naturally in her mother's yoga institute in Jharkhand. Her father too, is a yoga instructor in Hong Kong. Anusha is a professional yoga artist now, her favourite asana being the hand stand. She is also particularly indulgent towards inversions and balancing yogic postures.
We were in conversation with Anusha, and here are few takeaways from the the conversation we had:
How significant is yoga to you? What impact has it had on your life?
I think that to wake up and to feel like you have a purpose to fulfill is a huge deal, specially when we're living in a world where every other person suffers an identity crisis on a frequent basis. Yoga has given me a purpose, a perspective. Since I was introduced to and recognised as a yoga player really young, it has become a very significant part of my life, I don't know of a life without yoga. It motivates me, it inspires me. Yoga is limitless, it is infinite.
How often do you practise Yoga?
I do try to do it on a daily basis, although it's not always possible due to work and shifting schedules. 5 days a week is what I usually manage to fit yoga into.
What style of yoga do you normally practice?
I do try out different forms of yoga but mostly find myself going back to the basics - hatha yoga, artistic yoga etc. There is also this new form of yoga called artistic yoga dance, which has graceful dance movements to a very soothing background music. I love practising that as well.
What has been the greatest highlight of your yoga life?
So my mum is the coach of Jharkhand Yoga Team. It was after a yoga championship that she was being felicitated on the stage, and was called upon to speak a few words. In her speech, she said that apart from being known by her own name, now she is more widely known as being my mother. This was one of the most emotional moments of my life, and it touched the core of my heart. It is something that I could never forget.
Yoga's physical benefits are well known, what do you think about its influence on mental health?
It is really difficult to put everything that yoga is into words. You cannot completely understand it until you practice it. Yoga makes you realise who you really are, it gives your purpose, a new way of life, a new vision through which you can see so much! It helps you become a better person teaching you how to concentrate, to live, to accept, to love yourself. It is only when you start practicing yoga that you realise what you really are it sets you free from within.
To me, yoga is ______
To me, yoga is a huge part of my life. I wouldn't call it my whole life, as everything should only be a part of who you are and not your complete self. To wake up and to have a purpose is a huge thing these days, as having an identity crisis is what most of us suffer from periodically. Yoga keeps me going, it makes me happy! I cannot imagine my life without it. I could go on, but I know that a part of me would be missing.
How has the age of social media affected yoga?
Though social media has propagated yoga at the global stage, it is quite difficult to present all that yoga is through a picture or a poster. Yoga isn't just the photos or postures that people post on their handle. The emotions that you feel, your whole experience while doing yoga cannot be put into pictures or even into mere words. Like I said, you have to do it to fully understand it.
Which outfit do you prefer while practising yoga?
Anything that is comfortable! For me, personally, I prefer my pants to be tight and the upper garment slightly loose and airy. I need to see how my legs bend in order to derive if the posture is correct. I need to see where my back bends, whether it is right or needs correction, whether the right muscles are put to use.
What do you like about Skyria? What makes it stand out?
I really like the fact that there's a personal touch to the brand, it feels like they have surveyed about what people actually want before producing garments. What a lot of big brands miss out on are the grassroot reviews, which is why they forget about little things that make clothes much more functional! A small example could be the addition of pockets, it is a small change but it makes the pants so much more convenient to wear.
What would be your advice to yoga beginners?
I think the most important point is that you initial motivation shouldn't fade away. Everything needs time, every seed needs to be watered every day to sprout. Even basic diets need motivation - you cannot keep eating junk everyday and call it a cheat day. It becomes your lifestyle then. You need to work consistently with yoga too. It doesn't matter whether you're fit or not, yoga is for everybody. Also, yoga is extremely vast, so take your time and research about what works for you. And at the end, choose what motivates you and inspires you.
Here are Anusha's favourite Skyria workout clothes: