Fiona Fernandez: Mumbai, breathe

The city in a rush can benefit from dedicated, round-the-year yoga programmes in its schools, colleges and workspaces

“Madam, the demand for yoga mats has trebled in these past few weeks. Hehe.” The broad grin on the balding head salesman at the neighbourhood sports shop said it all. He added, “All thanks to World Yoga Day,” as he rattled off a long list of options of this highly sought- after product at his store. “China ka maal hai; it will last,” he tempted us. Make in India can wait.

We’re pretty sure that by tomorrow; today, even, his grin would have grown wider. Look around. There’s hot yoga, power yoga, floating yoga, pilates-yoga, fusion yoga; it’s tough to keep track of fads and new-age tweaks that have been added to this humble routine before you are able to wrap up one cycle of Surya Namaskar.

Add to that the spike in innovative yoga-centric deals and offers that will make you want to attempt a headstand (Please do not, unless you’re not an expert). If you are a yoga virgin, it’s a confusing time. Yoga breakfasts, mom-and-kid sessions, mom-to-be sessions, kiddie sessions, weekend sessions, stories with yoga and family sessions. And while you’re at it, pick up a copy of any of the gazillion ‘How To’ yoga books penned by uber cool, frequent flyer gurus. Phew. Breathe.

We’d cite the attention overkill towards yoga as a good thing, having been a practitioner (and fan) for years now. To inculcate a healthier addition to the average Mumbaikar’s time-strapped lifestyle is a much, much-needed positive step. But as is with any other event where the hype around it often dilutes the actual cause, Yoga Day – now with the official United Nations tag – seems to be going the same way. After all, it’s the new cool for now.

In a week’s time, at the most, the yoga mats will be rolled away, left to hibernate in their spiffy carry-along cases, and life will be back to the usual grind. What the city desperately needs is a sustained programme where it becomes a way of life across our schools, colleges and workspaces, and not just an annual phenomenon. Nothing can be more rejuvenating (and result-aiding) than a 20-minute session in the middle of a back-breaking, deadline-packed day. It’s cheap, effective and simple to practise, and flexible to follow depending on your time and energy levels.

While this might sound like a Utopian idea, it is entirely executable in today’s day and age where most of us find time to hit the gym, attend ballet class or run a marathon. Sleep over the thought, or else, there’s always Shavasana to get you there.

mid-day’s Features Editor Fiona Fernandez relishes the city’s sights, sounds, smells and stones...wherever the ink and the inclination takes her. She tweets @bombayana. Send your feedback to mailbag@mid-day.com

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