Balancing Wellness: Yoga Showcase and Sattvik Food Discourse

Hindi students practicing Yoga with Subhash Mittal
Hindi students practicing Yoga with Subhash Mittal 

Prof. Kusum has a way of implementing culture into her classes solely for the benefit of us students. Even within the first couple months of being in Hindi class, we have had the chance to learn songs, partake in celebrations, and learn small things about the culture that are fascinating. 

On Friday the 29th, Hindi class had the pleasure of taking a "field trip" to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. We participated in a yoga class led by Subhash Mittal ji (Yoga with Subhash) out of Cary, NC. Subhas ji taught our class and the friends brought out many basic yoga poses and concepts. These included Surya namaskar (sun salutation), bow pose, and many breathing techniques. The entire experience was great for us students to get to know each other a bit better and slow down for a minute (which is especially hard during the mid-term season). Yoga has three separate focuses: movement, breathing, and meditation. Out of these, meditation is by far the hardest to find, but it is also the most important when it comes to reaching the peace you are looking for through practice. 

Overall, I truly loved this experience. My favorite part of the experience by far was the "bee breathing." This process saw us use our hands to silence our five senses and solely focus on our breathing. I got so into this exercise that I was about 20 seconds later than everyone else coming out of it. If you want to try it for yourself, gently put your fingers plugging your ears, closing your eyelids, on the bridge of your nose, under your nostrils, and just below your lips. Then gently hum as breathing out. Overall, I am eternally grateful for Kusum ji and Subhash ji for giving us this opportunity. If you get a chance, take Hindi 101!

A few comments about yoga class:

Shankul: I loved the yoga class. My expectations were met, exceeded even. I most enjoyed the hindi speaking and the theory that came with yoga exercises. This way we learned and calmed out bodies. My most memorable experience was seeing everyone struggle to do the yoga poses that involved a lot of core work. I wish we could have yoga every week!

Rishab: I enjoyed yoga, especially because we got to bring friends and do it outside. I like how he emphasized meditation, but I do wish that we could have done more movement/flow yoga. I did a lot of yoga over COVID-19 but not much since, so it was fun to do it in a social setting.

Ishan: I really enjoyed the class. My favorite part of the class was when I fell asleep for 15 minutes.

Vyom: It’s nice to be outside on a wonderful sunny day contrary to the typical day in the classroom. I honestly didn’t know what to expect coming into the day. I had done some yoga breathing stuff here and there but never actually taught by an actual instructor. It was fun doing some challenging poses but also relieving just to get away from the grind of midterms. The most memorable experience for me was the flutter kicks because it reminded me of some core workouts.

Avi: I enjoyed the Yoga class with Mittal Ji in the gardens. I hadn’t been to the gardens in a while and thought it was a good way to destress after a long week. I wish that I had dressed in some more flexible clothing and brought along a blanket / yoga material to avoid the itchiness from the grass. Overall, it was a great experience and I learned much about the importance of having a personalized diet that is conducive to one’s lifestyle and background. I was also impressed by the flexibility and strength of Mittal Ji.

Amrit: I enjoyed Yoga class with Mitthal Ji. The experience beat my expectations as I thought we would be doing a majority of various poses and finishing. The aspect of breath control and being calm was interesting. I found yoga to be engaging and fun. My most memorable experience with yoga was doing the breathing exercises.

Mili: I greatly enjoyed the yoga class with Subhash Mitthal ji. I liked how we explored many different aspects of yoga, including stretching, breathing, and mediation. While I had done some yoga for breathing before, I liked how he emphasized these three aspects that had equal importance. Also, I think the class being in the duke gardens was very beneficial as it allowed us to connect with each other, destress, and feel at peace while doing yoga outside on a nice day. My most memorable experience with yoga was doing pranayam at the end because it felt very refreshing to do in the fresh air.

Zoraver: I had a great time during the yoga class with Subhash Mitthal ji. It was so peaceful to be outside of the classroom and take time to meditate and reflect. His advice about how we should live our lives really resonated with me and made me consider new ways I can focus on grounding myself and improving personal development. I had done some yoga in the past, but his emphasis on meditation and focus set this apart from other experiences. This class exceeded my expectations.

Pallavi: I enjoyed the yoga class a lot and felt relaxed and rejuvenated. I thought Subhash Mitthal Ji did a really nice job of incorporating teaching us some new hindi terms while also teaching an interesting and relaxing yoga class. My most memorable experience was the importance of breathing.  

Arnav: I enjoyed the yoga class Subhash Ji had in the gardens. I did not know what to expect outside of practicing some basic yoga poses. I think my most memorable experience was learning about the meditation aspect of yoga. 

Meera: I had a lot of fun at the yoga class. I liked how we were able to step out of class and go to the gardens–I think it brought some variety to the class structure while also being engaging. The most memorable experience was the breathing exercises at the end.

This workshop was supported and funded by Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke Service Learning & Duke India Initiative.