Published: 21st June 2021
Yoga Day: Eleven-year-old Tiya Khanderiya from Gujarat is all set to participate in the Khel Mahakumbh competition
This 11-year-old from Wankaner, Gujarat has always gravitated towards yoga, thanks to having been born with ultra-flexible limbs, writes
Tiya Khanderiya first stepped foot on Earth with uniquely flexible limbs. It was almost as though she was destined for a life in yoga, and it didn’t take the 11-year-old from Wankaner, Gujarat, very long to find her calling. For the past two years, she has been training in yoga at Rajarshi Yoga under the guidance of her guru, Hetvi Sutariya. Now, she is preparing for the state’s Khel Mahakumbh competition. “I started learning yoga at the age of 9,” says Tiya whose favourite asana is the Vrischikasana, or what is more popularly known as the Scorpion Pose.
So how do you master such complex moves at such a young age? She tells me, “At first, your hands have to be bent. Your elbows must make 90-degree angles. When you feel confident that you can maintain the balance, you should jump without your head touching the ground at any point!” She continues, “The hardest part is to stay in that position! You need a lot of training and concentration for this. When I was just starting in the fourth standard, this was much more difficult. I know now that your hands have to be in a particular position with your strong leg in front of the other. You lead with that leg and when you are at that perfect point of balance, the other one should also come off the ground.”
At 26, Tiya’s teacher also started quite early on. Currently, she has ten students under her who are all preparing advanced postures for the state-level competition. She says, “Tiya has been training continuously for the last two years. She is equally intelligent and flexible, and you need both to be good at yoga. She can understand every asana easily and can master it in good time. She is more flexible than most children her age.” She goes on, “Kids can learn fast but their flexibility has to be at par with their interest. All children can understand how yoga is done but flexibility is very important to help them actually do it. Children and people who excel at yoga are flexible by birth. Their bones are not tight like most people, it is ready to take any kind of pressure or stretching.”
Tiya and her peers are currently preparing for the district-level stage of the Khel Mahakumbh, a sports competition where students compete in a range of athletic events. After being cancelled due to COVID-19 last year, these students are excited to finally display all the training they have done over the year. For the competition, each student is expected to master at least 5 out of 18 basic asanas and 6 advanced ones. Tiya is ready for the challenge, her hands poised for another impressive handstand.