You can stay fit even in lockdown is what Ira Trivedi wants to tell people, making sure her fitness mantras — mainly yoga asanas — reach those stuck at home amid the ongoing pandemic. Trivedi recently put together India’s first virtual wellness festival called ‘Being Yoga’ that saw the participation of spiritual stalwarts, YouTube influencers and other big names in the health and wellness space.
In an email interaction with indianexpress.com, the author, columnist and yoga instructor talks about her love for fitness, what it takes to stay in shape, and how virtual yoga and wellness is here to stay.
How important is it for you to stay fit and how do you go about it?
It is of crucial importance to me, especially during lockdown. If the body feels good, the mind will feel good. It’s a simple fact. In Ira Yoga Wellness (of which she’s a founder), we offer four virtual classes a day, all seven days of the week. I make sure to attend one of these classes daily, no matter what. Online classes are great. They help maintain discipline of the body as well as of the mind. It’s so simple…you switch on your computer and you have a class.
I also go for a 20-minute run in the evening, or for a long walk. I like to do all my phone-calls while I am walking.
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I love teaching online, it’s an blessing to be able to connect to so many people in these times of self isolation (which don’t feel isolated at all!) I admit though, that I miss the physical touch, the joy of simple adjustments to both student and teacher and the potent pranic energy that charges through the room after a focussed yoga class. Can’t wait to get back to physical teaching very very soon…. #yoga #yogadays #delhiyoga #yogainspiration #yogadays
For how long have you been doing yoga?
For the past 16 years of my life.
What would you like to tell those who are feeling exceptionally lazy in lockdown?
One must make sure to exercise. During the lockdown, most of us have more time than usual. We are not socialising, we are not commuting anywhere, we are not travelling. Remember, it’s mind over matter. Make sure you practise.
Some people are working for longer hours from home, and are not able to engage in any kind of physical activity. What is your advice to them?
Everyone has 20 minutes to exercise. Twenty minutes is hardly anything at all. I would say, try and get into the habit of doing something physical. And begin with something simple. If you have to make calls for work, do it as you walk around the house. If you have a small house, you can do something easy, like some jumping jacks, or some mountain climbers — easy, simple things that don’t take up space.
What are some simpler asanas that you would suggest for a beginner?
Beginners should learn two things — two breathing practices: Kapalbhati and Anilom Vilom, and the Surya Namaskar.
What, according to you, is the healthiest way to start the day?
Start the day with 10 minutes of meditation. Make sure you do not look at the phone.
Any dietary advice for our readers?
They need to follow a few simple things: one, try to avoid snacking. This is something a lot of us are doing, as we are at home and food is available at all times. Two, drink a lot of water, as it is important for respiratory health and immunity. Three, take special care of your immunity by doing one easy thing: choose between daily amla, turmeric, or giloy. And four, try to take a vitamin C tablet if you aren’t eating enough fresh fruits.
You recently put together India’s first virtual wellness festival called Being Yoga — how was the experience and what prompted it?
It was a wonderful experience, one of the best in my life. We had over one million people attend it. We were raising funds for daily wagers. I also wanted people to have a deeper sense of hope as many are becoming depressed and negative during lockdown 3.0.
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Time for self practice and some of my personal rules for self practice. – show up on the mat. Even if you’re arent feeling so “great” today. Our mind will ALWAYS say NO to discipline. – Do what feels good to your body. It doesn’t have to be intense every day. Sometimes it’s just about doing one or two asanas. – Don’t over stretch, don’t over breath and don’t over do it. Yoga is like gentle love notes to your body. We live in a culture of over-doing. Unless we “feel” it the next day through pain or soreness, feel like we have dont anything. This is not yoga as much as it is about a physical practice, yoga is about non violence. Let’s start with being non violent to our bodies. – your practice can change every day depending on how you’re feeling. Listen to your body. – include a little bit of breath work and meditation in your practice. This is more important than you can imagine! #yogaeverydamnday #yoga #yogagirl #irayoga PC: the super talented @travelpalette
What would you like to tell people who are hesitant to take virtual fitness classes?
I would say, please come and try it. It is as good as the real thing. We offer free trial classes at Ira Yoga Wellness.
Any special fitness advice for women?
Yes, there is no better time than now to start practising yoga. Yoga has benefits for our body, mind, immune systems and respiratory systems. Please do take advantage of this beautiful, ancient gift given to us by the rishis of yore.
Yoga is an ancient medicine for modern times. There is no better time to start than now.