Radhika from Proyog has a candid chat with Pragya Bhatt about her yoga practice that led to her writing 'Beyond Asanas', a book on the significance and symbolism of asanas.
R: How did you get into yoga?
P: I was working as a software engineer for 8.5 years. And in the first 1.5 years my weight shot up to 69 kgs. I tried everything from running to zumba, the gym and of course terrible diet programs in an attempt to lose the weight. The first time I attended a yoga class, I think my focus shifted from external to internal and that's what keeps me connected to the practice.
R: Where did you learn the practice and how did you come across your teacher?
P: I first came across the practice in Brasilia. My dad was posted there and every Sunday we used to go the ISKON temple and there would be bhajan-kirtan and yoga. But when I was looking for weight loss I went for a regular class. One day I was searching specifically for Iyengar teachers and one thing led to another and I finally got in touch with my current teacher.
R: How would you say your practice has evolved over the years?
P: It's become more technical. That keeps it fresh and interesting for me.
Click here to get your copy of Beyond Asanas by Pragya Bhatt.
R: What led you to delve deeper into the history of yoga and think about writing a book like "Beyond Asanas"?
P: I'd say it was very organic. If you practice long enough you inevitably think about the philosophy and history. You start to ask questions. But while there are books about the philosophy of yoga, there are no books which talk about the symbolism and significance of asanas. I started reading and researching and decided that collating all that information would be of some merit. And hence the book.
R: How did you choose the people to partner with on this journey?
P: All the partnerships have been a result of chance and luck, and I suppose also the result of knowing what I wanted. After years of practice you cultivate your own opinion and beliefs about yoga, which are unique. I wanted everything in the book to reflect that. I'd seen some of Joel's work on social media and thought he could literally take pictures of what I was trying to depict. The Proyog partnership was just serendipity. I was walking by your office one day and thinking about my book and on a hunch just walked in. And you guys were enthusiastic. Also I resonate with the message that Proyog is sending about being eco-conscious. With the current state of things that is an issue we can't afford to ignore anymore.
R: How has the response been for the book?
P: It's been fabulous! I'm getting feedback from people across the world. Many people who I taught years ago have bought the book and are sending me messages about it. You just have to go on my Instagram or Facebook accounts to see the feedback. That said, more Amazon, Flipkart and Goodreads reviews wouldn't hurt.
R: How has this journey been so far?
P: The journey of yoga is essentially one of self- discovery and I wish I could be all Instagram-filterish and say it's been stars and unicorns and rainbows. But this journey is about daily work, about commitment, introspection and discipline. All I can say is that it's worth it to stay on track and persevere; you're a better person for it. Your life is better for it. Your world is better for it.
R: What's next on the agenda?
P: More hours of teaching ad practice. I'm pursuing a master's program at SVYASA. And of course, researching my next book!
R: What advice do you have for all those who are discovering their own yoga journeys?
Practice asanas daily.
R: Where can our readers buy the book?
P: I'm fortunate that the book is available on all online platforms, Amazon and Flipkart, and across bookstores in India. Amazon also ships the book internationally.