Why Mysuru girl Kushi is one of India's most prolific young Yoga stars

Kushi Hemachandra of Mysuru is popularly known as India's Yoga Wonder Girl. She is only 17-years-old and has achieved a lot in Yoga beyond our imagination. She is studying Science in class 11
Kushi Hemachandra performing one of the complex asanas
Kushi Hemachandra performing one of the complex asanas

If you watch Kushi's yoga videos on different YouTube channels, chances are you will be blown away at the kind of flexibility she shows. By now, you would have understood that Kushi Hemachandra is a yoga exponent but why are we talking about her when yoga practitioners are a dime a dozen in India. At 17, she has been performing yoga at several national and international competitions. She says, "I started practicing yoga at the age of 9 when I wanted to get rid of breathing problems. Initially, I started with some simple asanas and pranayams but then practiced complex and advanced asanas under the supervision of my teacher. My flexibility increased and I realised that I can participate in many competitions and win medals. My interest in yoga increased and I have been practicing it for nine years now. My first teacher was Geeta Kumar and she later introduced me to her teacher Ganesh Kumar who is a great yoga exponent."

Kushi, who is a student at Mysore Vivekananda Yoga and Research Institute, explains, "The journey to achieving things at the national and international level has not been easy. I remember on the first day of my yoga classes, even a simple back bending exercise was difficult. However, my confidence level changed gradually and I earned peace of mind and concentration."

In 2014, Kushi participated in the Shanghai First International Yoga Invitation Tournament and won a bronze medal for India. Similarly, in the second international competition, in 6th Asian Yoga Sports Championship, she won two silver and two gold medals. In 2017, she also participated in the  7th Asian Yoga Championship held in Singapore and won four golds and one silver medal. In 2018, she participated in the World Yoga Championship and won a bronze medal. She also participated in the 8th Asian Yoga Championship and won silver as well as a gold medal. Again in 2019, she won three gold medals in 9th Asian Yoga Championship help in Korea. In total, she has over 14 medals while representing India on international platforms. 

When Kushi was 14, her name first appeared in the World Book of Records. She recalls, "I used to watch America's Got Talent and I saw this person called Kenichi Ebina performing some back plank movements. I modified the same movements and practiced it by folding my hands. Initially, I did this back plank movement only seven to eight times in one minute. Later, I increased the number to 14 and on the day of the record, I did it 15 times in one minute." That was a one-minute miracle for the world from this yoga exponent. 

Kushi has a fixed routine that she doesn't miss even on the weekends. "I wake up at 6 am in the morning and practice pranayama for half an hour. Like any other student, I too attend college until 3.30 pm. After returning home, I have light food and study until 6 pm. After this, I go to the institute and practice from 6 pm to 9 pm. On returning home, I have dinner and finally sleep."

Like every other budding sportsperson, Kushi also follows two people — B K S Iyengar, who is the founder of Iyengar Yoga and Indian Yoga teacher and scholar Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. "Though the yogasanas might look similar, the styles are a bit different from each other. For instance, B K  S Iyengar was a student of Krishanmacharya but he has created his own style of using a prop while doing yoga. My favourite is Ashtanga Vinayasa Yoga created by Pattabhi Jois who is also a student of Krishanmacharya," says Kushi, who is in Class 11 at Vijaya Vittala Composite Pre-University College in Mysuru. In the future, she hopes to study Bachelor of Naturopathy and Yogic Science. 

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