In photos: Indian yogis twist bodies, soothe minds | Inquirer Lifestyle

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In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, an Indian Hindu holy man, illustrates the yoga pose Kakasana, or the crow pose in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

In photos: Indian yogis twist bodies, soothe minds

 

In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, an Indian Hindu holy man, illustrates the yoga pose Kakasana, or the crow pose in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, an Indian Hindu holy man, illustrates the yoga pose Kakasana, or the crow pose in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. AP

 

 

 

GAUHATI, India— The Hindu holy men have traveled from across India, arriving at a centuries-old temple overlooking the Brahmaputra River, not far from where the plains give way to the Himalayan foothills.

 

They have come, with tens of thousands of other devotees, to worship at the annual monsoon festival for the goddess Kamakhya.

 

And twice a day, most twist their bodies in ways most of us would find impossible. In yoga, they say, they found ways to soothe their bodies and their minds, honing a discipline most have practiced since they were children.

 

Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering.

 

But for these men, yoga is something to be done every day.

 

There is the Padmasana, the famed Lotus pose, where the legs are crossed and the feet rest on the thighs. It calms the mind, they say, and improves their health. There is a sort of half-headstand, where the yogi lies on his back and puts his crossed legs in the air. There is the Baddha Padmasana, or Locked Lotus, where the arms are twisted around the back.

 

That one, says Mahant Ranjitanand Giri Maharaj, takes years of training. But it stimulates the thyroid and the kidneys, he insists, and helps with chronic migraines.

 

Maharaj, a round 33-year-old, has had plenty of years to practice. He joined a brotherhood of holy men at age 7. He spends nearly all his time traveling across India, preaching and raising money for his sect.

 

But nearly every morning before the sun comes up, and in the afternoon before it sets, he practices yoga for an hour. Mostly, he does it by himself. But when he attends a major festival like the one at the Kamakhya Temple, he and the other holy men go through their poses together.

 

It is good for the mind, he says, and good for the body. Plus, he adds, yoga “is the best way to find God.” TVJ

 

In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Bhrahaspati Bharti Baba, an Indian Hindu holy man, demonstrates the yoga pose Eka Pada Sirsasana, where his foot is behind his head, in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Bhrahaspati Bharti Baba, an Indian Hindu holy man, demonstrates the yoga pose Eka Pada Sirsasana, where his foot is behind his head, in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. AP

In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, an Indian Hindu holy man, illustrates the yoga pose Ardha Sirasana, where the yogi lies on his back and puts his crossed legs in the air, in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, an Indian Hindu holy man, illustrates the yoga pose Ardha Sirasana, where the yogi lies on his back and puts his crossed legs in the air, in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. AP
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, an Indian Hindu holy man, illustrates the yoga pose, urdhva padmasana, a sort of half-headstand, where the yogi lies on his back and puts his crossed legs in the air, in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, an Indian Hindu holy man, illustrates the yoga pose, urdhva padmasana, a sort of half-headstand, where the yogi lies on his back and puts his crossed legs in the air, in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. AP

In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Mahant Ranjitanand Giri Maharaj, an Indian Hindu holy man, demonstrates the yoga pose, Padmasana, or the famed Lotus, where the legs are crossed and the feet rest on the thighs, in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Mahant Ranjitanand Giri Maharaj, an Indian Hindu holy man, demonstrates the yoga pose, Padmasana, or the famed Lotus, where the legs are crossed and the feet rest on the thighs, in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. AP
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Bhrahaspati Bharti Baba, an Indian Hindu holy man, demonstrates the yoga pose Ardha Padmasana, or the half Lotus, where the legs are crossed and foot rests on the thighs, in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Bhrahaspati Bharti Baba, an Indian Hindu holy man, demonstrates the yoga pose Ardha Padmasana, or the half Lotus, where the legs are crossed and foot rests on the thighs, in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. AP

In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Sita Ram Baba, an Indian Hindu holy man, displays the yoga pose Vriksasana or Tree pose in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Sita Ram Baba, an Indian Hindu holy man, displays the yoga pose Vriksasana or Tree pose in Gauhati, India. Sunday marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. AP
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Bhrahaspati Bharti Baba, an Indian Hindu holy man, demonstrates the yoga pose Baddha Padmasana, or Locked Lotus pose, where the arms are twisted around the back, in Gauhati, India. Sunday, June 21, marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this Friday, June 12, 2015 photo, Bhrahaspati Bharti Baba, an Indian Hindu holy man, demonstrates the yoga pose Baddha Padmasana, or Locked Lotus pose, where the arms are twisted around the back, in Gauhati, India. Sunday, June 21, marks the first International Yoga Day, which the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is marking with a massive outdoor New Delhi gathering. AP

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