General intro about yourself?
Namaste friends, I am Hardik Mehta and by my side, I have my wife, Prutha Bhatt. We both are a Couple Yogis from Mumbai. We have been practising Yoga for the last five years. I had a corporate career spanning for close to 12 years working in the E-commerce and Retail sector; working in companies like Shoppers Stop, Raymond’s, Hopscotch, etc.
My wife had a teaching background; she was a visiting faculty, teaching subjects like Pattern Construction, Fashion Accessory Designing, Garment Manufacturing in Nirmala Niketan College of Home science and polytechnic, IITC, Kala Vidya Sankul, etc. Our educational backgrounds are diverse: She has done a Post Graduate Diploma in Apparel Merchandising from SASMIRA and I have done my Masters in Marketing Management from JBIMS.
And then what was the next step that you couple yogis took in order to learn yoga?
We first enrolled in a weekend 6 months Certificate course in Yoga and then enrolled for a 1-year Diploma in Yoga Education from Ghantali Mitra Mandal, Ghatkopar Division. It is a very traditional school and we were lucky to get introduced to the wonderful world of Yoga here. Post our Diploma course we enrolled ourselves in 2 years of Master’s Degree from K.J.Somaiya Bhartiya Sanskriti Peetham. My wife stood first in our College and second across Kavi Kulguru Kalidas Sanskrit University which conducts this course.
Apart from this, we are a Certified Posture, Prop, and Alignment Specialist in Yoga Asanas. My wife has also done a Certificate course in Patanjal Yog Darshan and Sankhya Darshan from K.J.Somaiya Bhartiya Sanskriti Peetham. Recently my wife also Qualified the UGC-National Eligibility Test for Assistant Professor in Yoga in her first attempt.
Tell us about your practice. How much time do you dedicate for your practice?
We believe in balanced practice which aims at bringing balance in both the Sun and Moon nadis. Our guru Swami Taponidhi Saraswati ji conducts Yoga Retreats on these concepts. These retreats are called Chakra Balance Retreats. Such practices help you internalize your awareness and help you off the mat as well. So our practices include Alignment Based Yogasana, Pranayama, Mudras, Bandhas, Relaxation, and Meditation.
I would specifically like to focus on our Alignment based Yoga practices which are aimed at engaging the muscles and protecting the joints by understanding the concepts of Compression and Muscle Tension. One needs to be aware of his or her body limitations and practice Asanas accordingly. Only then is the definition of Asanas i.e. sthira-sukham-āsanam. स्थिरसुखमासनम् II can be applied practically on the mat. There is no point in remaining in discomfort in Asanas; as it will not benefit and in the long run can lead to injury.
We couple yogis also conduct workshops on Posture and Alignment in Yoga Asanas and teach Functional Anatomy in various Yoga schools in India. Functional Anatomy helps a Yoga practitioner or teacher understand variations in Anatomical structures of individuals and also helps them practice and teach Yoga in a safer way. When we all are different from the inside, how can our Asanas look the same from outside? Thus, we need to understand the difference and design the Asana practice in such a way that it should give benefits and not injury.
How do you stay committed to your practice?
तपः स्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि क्रियायोगःII (tapah svadhyay-eshvarapranidhanani kriya-yogah)
Yoga is not just a state of being but also the practices which are associated with that state. The second chapter of Patanjal Yoga Sutra is concerned with those practices. “Tapas” comes from the Sanskrit word “tap” which means “to burn”. Tapas is therefore translated usually to mean austerity or discipline. I prefer to translate it as “consistency”. To me, there is no greater tapas than consistency. This consistency means we practice the postures, breathing, and meditation of yoga regularly regardless of whether we want to r not, whether it is exciting, or whether we have a teacher at that time of life. Tapas means continuing to practice regardless of the external circumstances
“Svadyaya” is self-study; self-study means being aware of the inner dialogue, the words we speak, the thoughts we have. Self-study can be practiced all the time.
Isvara pranidanah is the surrender of all the fruits of practice to one’s chosen almighty. This almighty can be whatever it is that one conceives to be a greater power beyond one’s self. The choice of almighty is not important; what is important is that one learns to let go of all the benefits and failures alike that are related to practice. This letting go focuses the practitioner on the process of practice rather than on the goals of the practice.
Which are your favourite forms of Yoga and do you teach the same form?
I practice Traditional Hatha Yoga with Alignment and Props and teach the same. I have mentioned above why I practice Alignment based yoga.
While teaching, as a teacher, what challenges did you face?
We started teaching after finishing our Masters in Yogashastra and also after gaining a thorough knowledge of Functional Anatomy, Alignments and Props as we first wanted to gain thorough knowledge as we wanted to teach Accessible Yoga which helps prevent injuries. We couple yogis believe in Aligning our Body, to align our Breath and therefore our Mind.
The basic challenge we faced was to convey the real essence of Yoga which is not weight loss. Also explaining participants not to imitate others by seeing Social media posts and understand their own limitations and practice Functional Yoga.
How did you overcome them?
By explaining them scientifically and practically with Joint Assessments and also through my social media handles.
Any special message you want to give to our readers?
Look for Physical, Mental , Emotional and Spiritual Benefits and not Aesthetics (in Yoga postures)
How to contact you to join Yoga sessions conducted by you?
You can connect with us on Social Media
(Facebook : @hardikmehtayoga)
(Instagram : @hardikmehtayoga ; @pruthabhattyoga)
You can watch full interview here.