World Yoga Day Special
How to survive the challenging environment during the pandemic was the thought that helped Madhurya Creations reach out to weavers and artisans in India through the yoga and meditation programmes designed by the Art of Living
During the adverse times of the pandemic the International Day of Yoga – 2021’s spotlight is on well-being, beyond its immediate impact on physical health, as the theme for this year’s 7th World Yoga Day (June 21) is “yoga for well-being.” The world at large is just about recuperating from the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic leaving behind physical, mental and emotional bruises, not to talk of the financial instability caused due to strains in the work atmosphere. With anxiety and constant fear, every section of society is seen helpless.
This phase was the right time for Madhurya Creations, an arts and crafts revival boutique in South Bangalore, to have the different modules of yoga and meditation packages (designed by Art of Living) offered free of cost to artisans in the skilled trade. This included the weaving and printing industry, carpenters and artists in the arts-and-crafts sector across the country to help them deal with distressed minds.
Most part of the last 15 months had pushed artisans into dreary dry spells with work-orders plummeting by the month. Madhurya deals with more than 75 arts and craft products and sources handmade creations, including its revival measures and encouragement given to more than 1000 weaver families across India. “What best we could do was to offer AOLs Yoga and Meditation courses to hundreds of artisan families connected with Madhurya over the last few years. This has helped them bind mentally and psychologically, and not give themselves up to habits that would only worsen their state,” says Bharathy Harish, Coordinator, Madhurya Creations, Bangalore. “We mentored them with yoga, breathing and meditation that benefited them with increased flexibility, clarity and concentration. Many said they felt lighter with energy to take on extra work in the coming days, gained fitness when they had lost agility, and mindfulness and relaxation to accept reality and not crumble during a crisis,” says Bharathy.
Carpenter and polisher Pradeep Kumar from Gorakpur in UP says, he came to know of yoga and meditation of AOL only after his association with Madhurya began two years ago.”Yoga has put me on a different track where the techniques helped me maintain a healthy state of mind and work better. The daily routine seems like a tonic to have creativity in my work get better. Yoga also helps me factor in positive thoughts” says Pradeep.
Take another example is of M.D. Ejaj Alam from Aurangabad in Bihar who does Aari Embroidery and had learnt the Aari art in Kolkata earlier. “After I combined yoga as part of my life, I see a different kind of happiness in the way I go about my work. It has definitely made a difference. The positives that have been inculcated through Meditation and Sudarshan Kriya help me face these difficult times I am going through,” says Ejaj.
Carpenter Sonu Sharma from UP, Gonda district, who started his connect with yoga sessions conducted through Madhurya in 2018 says, the last two years have been immensely beneficial to the way he tackles his work constructively, and most often he is able to have an optimistic approach.
Bharathy goes on to explain that this was the right stage to have physical and mental health addressed to artisans who required to be facilitated with a peace-prescription for well-being to help them carry along. The United Nations, as we know, has been offering Yoga to its personnel as a means to deal with health crises during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Justifiably we also took up the mantle to help the distressed in every sector of arts and crafts. Our focus was to show them how to use the breath to keep the mind calm, the body healthy and to bring in an overall happiness within. When you can’t deal with it directly, you can deal with it through meditation and breath, incredibly essential to one’s life,” she says.
Ask her if the whole process of Yoga and Meditation takes time to act on one’s psyche and she says, to find inner source of strength from within, meditation is paramount, and gradually people will realize this. “The benefits are instant, believe me,” adds Bharathy drawing a comparison with a dark and dingy room that gets bright the moment the lights are switched on. “When one is provided with a torch in diffused times (read as meditation), it is up to the individual to use the light whenever and wherever required to wake up their confidence,” she adds.
Immediacy of effects
The benefits do seem noticeable and immediate, more so when you hear many senior artisans expressing their positivity after being exposed to the yoga course. “It’s not that we did not have our family’s encouraging guidelines and procedures in our traditional business in Sanganer block prints going on. All of us require a shore when the rough winds blow us across strongly, now and then,” says 6th generation artisan Ashish Pandey, a State Awardee in Sanganer block prints from Jaipur. Son of National Awardee Avdesh Pandey whose forefathers from Gujarat served the royals of Jaipur in different kinds of textile work including block and Calico prints, Ashish says “Last year I took to the Yoga and Meditation (Art of Living programs conducted by Madhurya) and I find my mind still and clear, I am more open to taking up challenges in my work schedules. Yoga has improved my quality of life and work too.”
Yes Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, brings in harmony between man and nature. It’s a holistic approach to health and well being brought about by changing one’s lifestyle and creating consciousness. As Jageshwar Mahto, a carpenter and polisher from Jharkhand associated with Madhurya work sums it up, “It’s been a road to discovering myself to happiness after my encounter with AOL well-being sessions started from 2014. Much of my unhappiness in family life and my addiction to bad habits took a U-Turn to see all positives returning after I got determined to look within with yoga and meditation.”
(The proceeds from the sale of Madhurya products are channeled towards school education at AOL free schools across India. – www.madhurya.com).
The beginnings of the Yoga Day
Yoga is an ancient practice in India with a 5000 year history that combines a physical and mental discipline to have a peaceful body and mind. Owing to the global outbreak of corona virus and the necessary restrictions needed on mass gatherings, the International Yoga Day is being celebrated on digital platforms. PM Modi in his UN General Assembly speech in 2014 had proposed to adopt an International Yoga Day to celebrate the “invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition.” A record 177 member states supported the idea of June 21 as the Yoga Day, and the first year of celebrations were held in 2015.
Ministry of Ayush (MoA) has called the public at large to write and compose a jingle of 30 seconds in any official langue of India along with English for this year’s speciality. The package should focus on the cause of yoga to serve as a tool to improve physical and mental health.The last date of submission is June 21, 2021. Details on Ayush website.
Photos from Madhurya Creations