Deepti Martolia is a yoga instructor who has been practising and has over a decade’s worth of experience in yoga. She is also the founder of Lyrical Yoga. Deepti had been practising and teaching yoga for many years before she realised that yoga and dance had many similarities. And that’s how Lyrical Yoga was born. A combination of yoga and dance, lyrical yoga involves the flow of Vinyasa and movements of dance synchronised with breathing techniques.
In an exclusive interview with The Bridge, she discussed what yoga truly is and how it helps the body and the mind.
Born and raised in Uttarakhand, she initially started yoga out of interest at a local park which soon evolved into a passion that is continued by her to this date. A brief hiatus introduced her to the world of contemporary dance, which later came in handy when she decided to open Lyrical Yoga.
Deepti structured a program that would have fluid transitions, reduce rigidity in joints and muscles, and be practised by everyone irrespective of age, gender or fitness level. It combines vinyasa flow with breathing rhythm and movements inspired by dance. “There is a proper structure to it so everyone can practice. Modifications are available for both beginners and advanced practitioners should they wish to alter the difficulty,” she said.
Some view yoga as being confined to asanas and various stretches. Deepti, however, explains that a lot of yoga is based on the emotional and mental well being too. “There are eight limbs of yoga; the asanas is just one of many. Yoga is something that has a holistic approach to health. It is not just physical but also mental and emotional well being” she said.
Leading a fit lifestyle herself, she explains that not only the average person but also, athletes of various sports could implement yoga for better mental health. Athletes are rigorously conditioned when it comes to the physical aspect, and yoga could possibly provide them with a mental boost and alleviate stress through the various meditation techniques.
Yoga is about finally getting control over the mind. According to the yoga sutras, elimination of infections from the mind, and bringing stillness and calm to oneself is one of the important purposes of practising yoga.
Various types of yoga such as Vinyasa flow, Yin yoga and power yoga have emerged today. “They have a different approach to doing asana practice, it revolves around physical fitness, but there’s a lot of breathing and mind awareness which is also present,” she said. Hatha Yoga is another kind of yoga that helps people progress through the physical and meditative aspects into the mind. For any common person, it is difficult to gain complete control of the mind, but this becomes easier with consistent practice. Deepti says that yoga is highly adaptive to a person’s routine, allowing them to plan out their practice according to the problems they wish to overcome and practice mindfulness. “Even 5-10 minutes will make a difference if you don’t have 30-40 minutes to practice yoga, it’s about being aware of yourself and your thoughts. The idea is to start small, and eventually develop it into a habit or part of daily lifestyle”, she explained.
When asked about her teaching methods in the time of lockdown, Deepti says that she prefers the physical interaction and practice with her class. She further elaborates, “You can help out a person with the right pose and breathing technique for Pranayama. Due to the pandemic, I have switched to teaching online which helps me reach people from different cities and states who can now practice with me. I’m able to facilitate and help in more ways than before.”
According to studies, Ayurveda and yoga have been shown to reduce the chances of getting infected by the coronavirus. Deepti explains that Ayurveda looks into the science of life. Combined with yoga, it promotes a healthy lifestyle and it could help many people eat healthier and live healthier. Not only the virus but studies have also shown that yoga can be prescribed as treatment to help people deal with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. “Yoga not only provides a physical way to keep fit, but has a very mindful approach to mental health and emotional well being too”.