LS 2016 Abhishek Sharma on Yoga for Fitness: “most special”

Working as a yoga and holistic fitness coach for the last 15 years, I have had a chance to conduct sessions for many diverse groups – from Bollywood actors to Corporates to the Miss India Finalists, but the experience of conducting the session at FOM Leadership Summit in Kochi has been the most special.

My association with FOM goes back many years since I met Amma in 2010. Since then, I have attended many FOM events and ‘chai for cancer’ addas in Mumbai and have associated with this wonderful family at the launch event of my fitness book in 2012.

I landed in Kochi on the evening of 17th December, without a concrete plan for the yoga session I had to conduct the next morning. I had to see the participants, the space and soak in the energy to devise the session accordingly. At dinner, I got to meet the volunteers who had arrived from various parts of the country and the world. I was able to observe and feel the drive of the amazing FOM family and witness the most enjoyable introductions of the members being announced on the dance floor! The beautiful terrace by the pool which was being used for the dance was to be the area where I had to conduct Yoga in the morning. Vijaya, along with other volunteers helped me with my requirements for the mic, yoga mats etc. At the dinner, I also met my perfect yoga demonstrators for the session – the 11 year old, athletic Priyanka and veteran yoga practitioner, Sunder.

It was an exceptionally perfect morning and the weather was just right. At 6 am, the participants started pouring in wearing the new white FOM T-shirts. We tested the mics, decided the positions for the demonstrators at the elevated platform and adjusted the authentic local chatais from Kerala which were to be used as yoga mats. By 6:30, about 100 participants had taken their positions facing the sunrise. Just as the sun began to rise, we started the session with a brief introduction by Viji.

I started the session with a short meditation, moving on to gentle stretches. There were people from all age groups and many had never done yoga before. We did a light cardio and few joint rotations to warm up the body before moving on to simple yet some of the most important yoga postures such as bhujangasana, tadasana and shashankasana. My intention was to give all participants an experience of yoga practice, energise them for the day as well as inspire them to include regular cardio, stretches and yoga practice for their overall holistic fitness in the New Year. After yoga poses, including many spinal stretches, towards the end of the session we did relaxing postures leading to shavasana. The session concluded with the chanting of AUM which created very powerful vibrations with so many people chanting it in sync. By the time we finished, the sun was up at just the right angle for a perfect group photograph to capture the glowing faces!

Later that day, I was able to attend some other sessions of the FOM Leadership Summit which involved presentations by leaders from different countries as well as a ‘chai for cancer’ event. Many members came up to me with their specific queries on yoga and fitness. It was amazing for me to see the bond that members of the Max family from such far off regions shared. The warmth, the zest for life and the love this most special family exuded was incredible.

As I left for Mumbai later that day, I was full of positivity and really grateful for such a rich experience. While my attempt was to inspire the FOM members to include the physical aspect of yoga in their routine for their well being, I found that they all were already living the higher philosophical aspect of yoga in truly living each moment to the max!