Stretch and breathe… We’ve got something rather lovely in store for you this week, thanks to the free yoga initiative from the High Commission of India. Run by yoga teacher Gaurav Vohra, the classes take place all over the island and are, of course, completely free of charge. “We want,” says Suresh Sharma, Attaché of Commerce and Culture at the High Commission, “a healthy Cyprus! Healthy people! And yoga is a truly wonderful way to help that happen… It reduces stress, decreases blood pressure, increases concentration and focus, and can help a great deal with ailments and maladies such as diabetes.
“India,” he explains, “is the birthplace of yoga; it’s a tradition which has evolved over 5,000 years and is very important to our country. In fact, the majority of Indians practise yoga every day: generally it’s a morning discipline which is included in the day’s routine to help regeneration, enhance the connection between the mind, the body and the soul, and help one’s overall health…”
On permanent secondment to the High Commission of India, and appointed by the Indian government, Vohra has been helping island locals for the past few months – and will continue to work his wellbeing magic in the coming year. “We really want to promote yoga in Cyprus, and make this an island of healthy people,” says Suresh. “So whenever and wherever an organisation or a group of people feel they might benefit from the practice of yoga, he goes! Many corporations such as Price Waterhouse Coopers and Deloitte have taken us up on this offer of free yoga classes, as well as a number of municipalities; all ages are invited and can benefit.”
Thus we have Yoga for Seniors taking place at the Multipurpose Hall in the Municipality of Engomi every Tuesday; while the Municipality Hall in Ayios Dometios offers both Yoga for Seniors every Friday, and Yoga for Kids each Tuesday. There are even a couple of well-known centres which have taken the Commission up on its generous offer, and this week you can try yoga classes with Vohra both in the capital and on the coast….
In the capital, it’s the Home for Cooperation that’s hosting, with free weekly yoga sessions every Tuesday and Thursday. Based on the Green Line, and a meeting point for peoples of all nationalities and backgrounds, this non-profit organisation is an ideal spot for any holistic activity, especially one which aims to bring a sense of peace and calm. Scheduled from 5 to 6pm, the hour-long session allows for roughly 20 participants. Taking place on January 29 and 31 this week, and running throughout the months of February, each session promises to leave you with a sub-continental sense of serenity: just what you need to tackle the exigencies of a busy work week!
“We’ve been running the classes for several months now,” say organisers, “and they’re proving to be very successful and enjoyable – Mr Vohra is a truly excellent instructor. We’re very grateful to the Indian High Commission, who have also donated various books to our library: now, we have an Indian section with everything from nature to recipes, literature and Bollywood, so you can drop by and enjoy both a class and a read! Do bring your yoga mat if you have one – we have a few spares for last-minute visitors and those who have forgotten their own – and there’s no need to reserve, just come by and enjoy; all levels and all ages are most welcome!”
Down in Larnaca, it’s the Tree of Life Centre which offers the practice under the title of Free Gentle Yoga Classes. “How else better to promote such a wonderful country,” ask organisers, “than enjoying a free session with Gaurav Vohra, teacher of Indian Culture? The class,” they add, “is truly excellent, and is becoming very popular!”
Focusing on “the traditional style of gentle yoga for all”, the classes take place every Friday from 4.30-5.30pm for the rest of the year, though – due to the immense popularity of the classes – places are limited and reservations are a must. All abilities and ages are welcome, and yoga mats are provided (though we’re asked to bring a towel: gentle it may be, but done right yoga can certainly work up a sweat!), as is water and excellent company! This week’s session takes place, of course, on Friday February 1; pop along if you’re in the area and fancy a healthy boost to your weekend!
For more information on the free yoga classes offered by the Indian High Commission, call 22 351170 or visit www.hci.gov.in/nicosia
For the Tree of Life classes, call 95 711801 or visit www.treeoflifelc.com/
For the Home for Cooperation classes call 22445740 or visit www.home4cooperation.info