For Anu Aggarwal, yoga made her life better. She has been practicing it for years and self-healed herself. The actor got introduced to this way of life by her mother, a certified teacher, when she was just four years old. On International Day Of Yoga on June 21, the Aashiqui actor talks about how yoga changed her life, and made her a yogini.
“As I grew up, I joined the basketball team, started to learn Kathak, got involved in theatre acting etc. and forgot about yoga. When I was having a hard time facing the massive fame I had after Aashiqui, she gifted me a book “Yoga, Asana, Pranayama, Mundra, Bandha” and that was a start of me considering if I should take a break from acting and focus on self-development. I had started meditating to keep my mind cool. At that time, even if I sneezed at a night out that was picked up and would make a cover story. Why did she sneeze? Was she having a holiday, once a totally fake story was made about me and Saif [Ali Khan], who was nothing else but just a friend, another time there was a story about me holidaying with Amitabh Bachchan in Versova. Soon after I left for a yoga monastic life away from all and went to live by the Ganges and turned into a Yogini,” she says.
According to Anu, Yoga is why she is alive. “I made myself a yoga program and self healed from a deadly whack. More appropriate would be if you asked “How didn’t yoga change your life?” A total inner transformation happened which got stamped by my near-fatal-experience, which I do not call an ‘accident’ like people normally do. I call it my ‘awakening’,” she adds. The actor, known for films such as The Cloud Door and Ghazab Tamasha, shares further that soon her life took an absolute 360-degree turn when she started.
“My Jimmy Choo high heels were replaced by chappals. I had only one bag in which were my 3 sets of loose clothing, made of organic dyes (I was always environmentally conscious), a sweater, a jacket, a wooden cap. In the winter it was below 0 degrees and there were no geysers or hot water available as we were being trained to live the most naturally, with the natural temperature of the water. My hands were frozen for months, and so were my feet. I could have left anytime but I was determined. I developed so much love and compassion for everyone around me no matter whether they are rich, poor, beautiful or ugly, whichever colour or race. I understood for the first time what the 4 letter word ‘love’ really means. We have misinterpreted it to understand it as attached to a sexual bonding,” she explains.
On the forms of yoga she practices, the actor begins by talking about the history of yoga. “The time when it came about, the word yoga was not there. People were just finding the best way to tune into the new planet they were on, which came to be called Earth later. To develop harmony, the saptarishis each one of them practiced what suited their personality and character to unite, find harmony with the universe. It was all about communicating to the super power. So one did it through music, another through enhancing his knowledge, another through prayer etc. These developed to be different kinds of yoga. Today we have very many different kinds of yoga like Bhakti yoga, Nada Yoga, Karma Yoga, Gyan Yoga, Swar Yoga, etc. I use a combination of different types depending on what I need on a daily basis. In fact, I’ve combined a simple capsule that raises inner joy even in children, called Anufun and then registered Anu Aggarwal foundation to be its base,” she shares.
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Yoga also reduces stress. “What is stress? Why do you have it? The answer is look within. You will find not just the remedy but you may free yourself from the anxiety, depression, low self-confidence, insecurity etc. Yes, yoga can be a stress-buster but when I say ‘Yoga’ I don’t just mean asanas, pranayama, anulom, pratilom , that is just the physical aspect of it. Are you just your body? You also have a mind, you have feelings, a psyche. Hence you need a Yoga practice that not just makes you lose weight but also makes you proactive. Yoga prevents mental ailments. You need to stop the problem in the bud,” she says.
Yoga, according to the actor, is a fabulous reminder for people to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. She adds that India is really lucky to have a Prime Minister who propagates and pushes yoga. “It is due to him that yoga reached the United Nations. Today the world celebrates Yoga Day. How wonderful it is that we take time off to celebrate our wellness, health. I feel tremendously fortunate to have been a part of initiating Yoga Day in 2014 in KDham Mumbai first before Our PM Narendra Modi took it to the world,” she adds.