Published: 21st June 2021
Yoga Day: This 11-year-old was inspired by her sister to learn yoga. Today, she has well and truly mastered it
Yoga wiz Shreshta Hemachandra speaks about her journey into Yoga and why she believes that yoga competitions should be held offline and not online
When we saw Shreshta Hemachandra perform yoga asanas, we couldn't take our eyes off her. Such was the flexibility and adaptability of this 11-year-old girl from Mysuru. You will be surprised to know that Shreshta was only seven when she started learning yoga from her elder sister Kushi. Recalling how it all began, Shreshta says, "My parents sent me for badminton training when I was seven. Though it is an interesting sport, I felt bored and didn't like to attend the classes anymore. I used to watch my sister do yoga at home and I wanted to learn from her."
Initially, Shreshta started with basic asanas based on suggestions from several instructors. Gradually, she went on to perform forward bending and back bending asanas. "Now, I am formally being trained at the Mysore Vivekananda Yoga Education and Research Institute. Forward and back bending asanas are my favourite. I can perform any asanas in this category no matter how complex they are. I can perform Chakra Bandhasana, Muktha Hastha Deepasana, Muktha Hastha Vrischikasana, Koundinyasana and different forms of Pincha Asanas," explains Shreshta who is from Mysuru - the Ashtanga yoga capital of the world.
Shreshta's favourite asana is Muktha Hastha Deepasana
Shreshta believes that learning yoga is a continuous process because there are different forms and styles of asanas. She says, "We cannot master asanas in a short time. One has to focus, remain calm and practice every day to learn both simple and complex asanas. I also follow the same principle." Currently, Shreshta is studying at St Joseph's Central School in Mysuru. Though she has online classes and assignments to complete every day, she and her sister take the time to practise yoga for an hour and a half. "When we had regular offline school and classes, we would practise for three hours," says the seventh-grader.
Talking about the competitions she's participated in, Shreshta says, "I have participated in open yoga competitions at the state-level and one national competition conducted by the Yoga Federation of India. I won a silver medal in the yoga competition organised by the Yoga Federation of India in 2019. I have also won two gold medals and one silver medal in state competitions." Shreshta considers this pandemic as an unfortunate situation for sportspersons. Shreshta says, "Last year, when the Yoga Federation of India organised a yoga competition, it happened online. We can never make out the criteria they are going to mark us on. Sports like yoga, chess and a few others have to be performed in the presence of people, offline. I hope that everything normalises in India soon, as it has in other countries, so that many aspirants like me can perform in offline competitions instead of going virtual."