Dance and Yoga are two sides of the same coin. United in their origins, while dispersing and expressing energy, both are wholesome practices for the body and mind. Lord Shiva, the Lord of Dance, also considered to be the Supreme Yogi in Indian culture, is known as the first Guru or the Adi Guru as well as the Adi Yogi. His realisation had resulted in ecstatic dances which had bouts of stillness, reminiscent of yoga, along with hectic movements that have seen manifestations in many Indian classical dances.
This humble effort of highlighting the commonalities between Indian classical dance and yoga comes from decades of experience of a classical dancer and a yoga enthusiast. This book endeavours to search and examine the 'asanas' and 'mudras' that are practiced in these pursuits. Like a prism that separates the light passing through into different colours, so has been the effort of analysing the postures and hand movements frequently utilised in Indian classical dance. These are especially seen through Patanjali's `ashtanga yoga'(othe eight-fold path of Yoga). This maiden joint exercise seeks to share the appreciation of such aspects of these two integral pursuits of Indian life.
It is only recently that art and science are emerging as disciplines independent of the divine. Dance and Yoga however continue to have strong spiritual association.
Shovana Narayan is India's topmost Kathak dancer per excellence, whose every fibre of the body lives and breathes dance. A consummate artiste and choreographer, revered guru to her disciples and an intellectual, she combines artistry with keen observation and humanism. In her career spanning over five and half decades that has seen her mesmerizing audiences all over the world in prestigious national and international festivals, she has been conferred with several awards, outstanding among which are the Padmashri Award for excellence and outstanding contribution to dance by the President of India in 1992, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by the President of India in 2001, Delhi Govt's Parishad Samman and the Bihar Gaurav Samman. Charting new paths, she is perhaps the only example of a person who has relentlessly pursued two parallel exacting professional careers, as a civil servant (IAAS, 1976 batch) and a recognized Kathak Dancer-Guru, achieving distinction and great heights in both. A keen researcher and scholar, she has 14 book publications and numerous articles to her credit. Her keen interest in research has led to the discovery of eight Kathak villages in Eastern UP and Bihar. She is also a visiting lecturer to several Universities in India and abroad. She is a classical example of a true Kathak, multi-faceted and dynamic, and presents a challenge to today's spectator, serving as a role model and peer for millions of girls of the younger generation of today.
Anita Dua is a disciple of Yogacharya B.K.S Iyenger, under whom she trained in Pune at the Ramamani lyengar Memorial Institute for several years in the early nineties. She is a widely cited expert who has conducted numerous workshops the world over including at the Delhi Golf Club, the IAS Association, Delhi Public School and in Central Park, New York. She is also a published author who frequently writes on sports, nutrition, and wellness in journals such as the Golf Digest.
She holds a post-graduate degree in Economics and formerly taughtat the Modern School in New Delhi. Having previously worked with international organizations such as CARE and Louis Berger, she is currently engaged in the full time practice of yoga, and he associate writing and teaching.
In every age and phase of history certain ideas have to be reiterated. Yoga is one such idea which has remained perennially fresh and useful to people of all ages, languages and cultures.
Dance is another idea which has roots in the beginning of time, when atoms began to form shapes and building blocks from which creation came into existence. Atoms in movement created a dance a choreography which we call the universe or cosmos. But even then the choreography of movement was not without rhythm and direction. What we now know as dance is but a reflection of such groupings and connections of points of energy, the Praana- Shakti, the cosmic Breath.
Yoga in India reflects these very ideas and principles of physical discipline combined with controlled and regulated breathing which is also inherent in dance as understood and practiced since ancient times in India.
This richly illustrated collaborative book by the eminent kathak dancer and scholar Shovana Narayan and Yoga practitioner Anita Dua is a welcome and timely addition to address the misconception that dance is mere entertainment but yoga is a science. As rightly pointed out by the authors in 'Authors Note' : "It is only recently that arts and science have emerged as disciplines independent of the divine. Dance & Yoga however continue to have strong spiritual association."
I am sure this book will be widely read and will clear many cobwebs of misconception about the supremacy of one over the other. Harmony alone creates balance and beauty, which in turn makes for a blissful life. I wish the book great success and congratulate the authors for this wonderful gift.
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