A Rhythmic Workouthttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/a-rhythmic-workout/

A Rhythmic Workout

US-based Pt Chitresh Das introduces Pune to Kathak Yoga,an art form that involves dancing with dumbbells instead of ghungroos

US-based Pt Chitresh Das introduces Pune to Kathak Yoga,an art form that involves dancing with dumbbells instead of ghungroos

As a young boy,he would often go to the temple with his mother and listen to stories about sages and yogis performing complex exercises and postures in the cold Himalayas. The inspiring tales stayed with him as he grew up and,at the age of nine,he began to learn classical dance. Gradually,he started fusing other art forms into his dance. This is the story of 69-year-old Pt Chitresh Das,who can sing,play tabla and perform Kathak,all at the same time. He has named this artform Kathak Yoga. The US-based artiste is in Pune today to conduct a workshop on Kathak Yoga and share the art of multi-tasking.

The concept of Kathak Yoga,he says,is inspired by the classical dance form Kathak. “What is yoga? It is the union of the mind and the body. Kathak Yoga is based on the same principle; when your feet are dancing,you’re physically exerting yourself. At the same time,you’re focused on singing the melody,playing the tabla and keeping track of the different beats. This is mental application and it needs immense concentration,” explains Das,who has performed at the American Folk Festival and the American Dance Festival besides several festivals in India.

He will be demonstrating the art with slight twist. Instead of ghungroos,he will tie dumbbells around his wrists and ankles while dancing. “Participants can use lighter weights,” he says,“or they can skip the weights altogether.” .

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While the workshop in Pune is a corporate event for Zensar Technologies employees,Das will hold a similar workshop in Mumbai on July 13. “You don’t have to be too fit to participate in this workshop. In fact,you don’t even need to have any knowledge of music or dance to learn Kathak Yoga. I just want people to come and try it with an open mind.”

One can also play the harmonium instead of the tabla. According to Das,this is even more effective because not only are you singing and dancing at the same time but are also playing the harmonium,which requires higher concentration. “If a student is unsure about his or her singing skills,he can simply count the beats aloud,” says Das. Unlike popular exercise formats that demand particular settings,musical accompaniment,space and exercise gear,Kathak Yoga,is independent of peripherals,he says.

Besides conducting workshops,Das visits India for performances and to give Kathak lessons in his dance school,Chhandam Nritya Bharati in Kolkata.

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