Smriti

I was born in 1976 in holy Varanasi, in the north of India, where Hindu people hope to die for the last time.
My mother is a good yogini and she taught me asana when I was child. When I was sixteen, I joined Besant Kanya havidhyalya (a college founded by Annie Besant; the third President of Theosophical Society) where I studied Sanskrit in depth. During the same period I became Miss Kashi, I constantly practiced asana to maintain my figure, I worked in television as an actress and as a young journalist and in the fashion world.
When I was eighteen I studied Ancient Indian History, Philosophy, Hindi in BHU (Banaras Hindu University). Some years later I studied Sociology, History and Hindi Literature in Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidhyapeath and I attended a course of Sanskrit in Sanskrit University finalised to the best recitation of mantra.
At 23 I started to work in Mother Mary English School and there I had my first experience as yoga teacher. During that time I had serious spondilite problems. I couldn’t breathe from the left side of my nose then I integrated the practice of asana with breathing traditional exercises known, in the science of yoga, as pranayama.
I had an operation on my nose but without success then I learned Shatkarma (six internal body cleansing: neti, dhauti, nauli, basti, kapalbhati, trataka) in International Yoga Ashram Nagwa Assi which indeed cured all my problems. I started to work in a drug-addiction centre as a yoga therapist and I went on for five years having a lot of success: many people have recovered as a result.
In 2004 I opened my own NGO-centre: Om International Yoga Health Society and I started to teach regularly.
In march 2007 I transferred my working place to Assi Ghat, the international area of Varanasi in front of Ganga and close to Banaras Hindu University.
In 2009 I came to Europe for the first time and visited Belgium and Holland. I was welcomed in an extraordinary way. In November 2010 I came again to Europe, to Belgium, Holland and Italy.
I’ve also visited Paris and I fell in love with that town. I like the order and the cleanliness of Europe as well as the politeness and good manners of the people.
Yet, when I’m in Europe I miss the spiritual power of India. I think India has many ings to offer to Europe and many things to learn as well.

The teachings
In general, in my center in Varanasi, I offer 90 minutes integrated yoga classes.
I start with a worship to Lord Shiva, singing the Mahamritiunjay Mantra as bhakti-yoga practice.
I avoid doing this during the menstruation period or when students expressly request it.
After Mahamritiunjay Mantra I lead my students in basic exercises to heat the body and prepare to perform asana.
I open my class with Surya Namaskar (Salutations to the sun): a sequence of 12 asana which dates back to the Vedic Age and is considered one of the most useful methods inducing an healthy, vigorous and active life and preparing for the expansion of awareness.
After 7-8 times performing Surya Namaskar I lead some asana included in the groups of standing, backward bending, forward bending, spinal twisting, inverted and balancing asana [to know more about this classification, I suggest the book Asana Pranayma Mudra Bandha].
In this series I adapt changes from class to class, according to the students’ physical preparation and level of experience.
After this stage some time has to be spent for pranayama (a series of practices which utilise breathing to influence the flow of vital energy — prana — in the energy channels — nadi — of the bioplasmic or vital energy body — pranayama kosha —), often wrongly ignored; breathing is our most vital process, influencing the activities of each cell and being closely linked to the heart and to the performance of the brain.
My standard class — which includes the practice of pranayama also the one of bandha and mudra — ends with short meditative experiences (the stage of meditation, however, needs finalised classes) and simple relaxation asana.
Conditions required to participate are an empty stomach, comfortable cloths and a serious attitude.