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Bharat Thakur’s Himalayan Challenge – Week 11: Nitya

“Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.”
~ Yoga Guru Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888-1989)

I read this quote ages ago and I couldn’t quite grasp the meaning then…
Now, almost at the end of the Bharat Thakur’s Himalayan Challenge, I can more than relate to this quote. I don’t think any of us, in our normal existences, give any importance to the way we breathe. Breathing is something we take for granted; it’s just something we do. But since I started the Himalayan Challenge, where we are taught the importance of inhalation and exhalation during exercises, I have discovered that this simple process is something so powerful it can energise or soothe you in ways nothing else can. I can vouch for the fact that each and every one of us attending the classes can relate to the quote. After sweating it out for almost an hour and 45 minutes, when we practise deep breathing, our minds achieve that state of nothingness that most people long for. I, for one, feel closer to the Supreme Power that we all believe in.

People are shocked at the change in me, both mentally and physically, I am so much fitter, and appear much calmer than what I used to be. I have finally achieved the weight I aimed for, which I did not believe I actually could (Only I know the thrill of fitting into clothes two sizes smaller!). I know that doing 108 Surya Namaskars is not as impossible as it sounds. I know that I can conquer stress and agitation with some deep breathing. I know that if I have “cheated” during a meal, I can compensate by doing the right exercises/postures that will not pile the kilos back on immediately.

This is my last week on the Himalayan Challenge… Bittersweet, that’s the way I am feeling right now… Happy and sad.

Joyous because I am finally starting a new phase in my life that I have been waiting for. The sadness is because something that has become an addiction is coming to an end – I think all of us involved in this programme will miss the camaraderie we have experienced attending classes everyday. Only we can understand the sense of achievement and joy in finally being able to hold a particular posture, the high energy levels we experience after finishing a particularly tough RED (Reduce Every Day) session with Ravi [Seshadri, programme director, Bharat Thakur’s Himalayan Challenge], or the pleasure coupled with the pain that Bhavin [Thakkar] takes us through while we attempt one of his “very easy” (as he insists!) sessions.

However, this is not the end of the classes for me. I shall resume regular classes from August (already I’m wondering how I am going to survive the next week without the daily 2-hour workout, though, workout is probably a very mild word for what we actually go through).

I know from the bottom of my heart that at the end of the Bharat Thakur’s Himalayan Challenge, I take with me a legacy to last me this lifetime.

My progress: 8/10. This week has been positive. I have not missed any class during the week despite the fact that it’s been crazy planning for one of the most important events in one’s life. I have had less than 5 hours sleep each night but this has not affected my energy levels in any way and it’s all thanks to my daily evening routine from 7-9pm during the three months. I have also (finally!) managed to hold some postures that I found really difficult and this reiterates the fact that nothing is impossible.

Bharat Thakur’s weekly review:
Nitya is continuing her classes. But the Challenge is over for her as she is busy in other endeavours.