I Can Move Too!

This unique workshop gives yoga a unique twist that will make you look at your body in a whole new way. You & I finds out more.

“I Can Move Too” is the brainchild of friends Vaneeta Bhattacharyya and Swapna Gangadharan and was recently conducted at the Vidyaranya High School in Saifabad, under the Rainbow Inc. banner and patronage of Mahnoor Yar Khan.

Four months ago, Vaneeta and Swapna met after a gap of eight years and discovered they still had much in common. Swapna had given up a lucrative corporate career in the US to become a yoga instructor in New York, while Vaneeta’s growing fascination with body-centric movements had prompted her to leave the retail sector. Vaneeta was intrigued by Swapna’s unique approach to yoga which made it fun and more ‘user-friendly’. One thing led to another and they decided to join forces and work together.

The “I Can Move Too” workshop is the result of long conversations over innumerable cups of tulsi tea, meant to celebrate the idea that all bodies are beautiful and fun to live in. Vaneeta and Swapna believe that the best form of exercise is to ‘get the body moving’ in whatever way is comfortable.

“Alignment of the body is crucial to our well-being, yet very few of us are actually body aware. We aim to make everyone aware of their bodies through movement,” says Vaneeta. To enable participants to move freely, they are encouraged to use ‘movement props’ such as pens, pencils, balloons and stretch bands. These props allow participants to move fluidly and without inhibition, tricking the body into performing effortless movements. “As we grow up, we become inhibited. We stop making certain movements for fear of being judged. The props we use make participants less self-conscious,” adds Swapna.

“Most people are overly conscious of their bodies and do not feel free to express themselves. To enable them to move without inhibition, we play all types of music from around the world during our workshops. It could be classical, African, Mali, Cuban, jazz or meditative chants. Music evokes different emotions which, in turn, lead to free expression and movements. As our workshops aren’t structured, there is no right or wrong. Each individual will discover and develop his or her own personal movement repertoire. It is a self-awareness technique that gives participants a deeper awareness of their potential,” explains Vaneeta.

The workshop makes ample use of yoga. “Breathing techniques in yoga are an effective tool to calm, energise and harmonise the mind and body. Yoga postures give the body flexibility, while strengthening the muscles. Yoga also gives a sense of balance and rhythm,” says Swapna. During the workshop participants also use mime, theatrical and contemporary dance techniques. Tai Chi and the Feldenkrais method, often used by dancers who wish to improve their movement repertoire, are also integrated in an unstructured manner.

These workshops are suitable for anyone over the age of 21 and at any level of fitness. As Swapna puts it, “It isn’t necessary to have had training of any sort to take part in these workshops. In fact, it’s better to have untrained people as we don’t need to make them unlearn. Our workshops are suitable for men and women over 21. There was even an 82-year-old lady in our first workshop!”

As there is no ‘right or wrong’ way, “I Can Move Too” allows participants to move with abandon, and thus discover their true potential in a supportive environment.

If you’re inspired to 'get moving', there is a workshop for couples on April 4 and 5. To register and for more information, email: vaneeta.bhattacharyya@gmail.com or swapnayoga@gmail.com        

- Meera