CHENNAI: The Chennai Yoga Studio is a dimly lit, airy space. Yoga mats are stuffed in a crevice behind an elevated stage where Rohini Manohar, the owner of the studio, spreads out her mat. Each mat has the names of her many students scribbled in a corner. “Most people join yoga for the physical aspect, like I did,” says Rohini, who left her job at Greenpeace to pursue a more fulfilling career. “In the beginning, everyone who comes here says, ‘I didn’t think yoga could be so powerful. With yoga, you learn to let go of things on a deeper level. It’s a physical and emotional detox,” she explains.
Rohini has a Post Graduate degree in Science and Biotechnology from the University of Queensland, Australia. She received her certification in 2014 from the Trimoorthy School of Yoga in Dharmkot, Dharmshala district, Himachal Pradesh. She began her career as a yoga teacher by having small classes in the basement of her house.
She believes that yoga needs to be taught the right way to reap the many emotional, physical, spiritual and intrinsic benefits. “You need to facilitate the right kind of space for your students. Otherwise, like me, you’ll think yoga is this silly activity that aerobics teachers do,” she says. “As a teacher, it’s not about getting them into the shape or form. You need to be able to help them to be the best person they can be today.” Rohini practices vinyasa yoga, a school of yoga that focuses on the movement between asanas and requires great concentration.
“Today, yoga has become synonymous with fitness and getting a ‘beach body’,” says Anjana Kankanala, one of her students. “It’s rare to come across teachers who hold on to the roots of yoga in its philosophy and practice. Rohini is one such teacher who provides that space where people can understand what yoga truly means, and at the same time ensure they get some good exercise in.”
She also teaches yoga in schools and companies, where she uses music, acrobatics and techniques like pairing people together to break their preconceived opinions on the discipline. Her eyes glimmer as she speaks of her students’ accomplishments during their time with her. “I had a student who was 30 kg overweight and lost all of it in two months. She didn’t think she could do any of the postures but now she’s joining me for my teacher training to Dharmkot to get certified as a yoga teacher.”
Chennai Yoga Studio is located at 1759/160, 6th Avenue, Anna Nagar West, Chennai-600040. For details call: 9940215351
Class timings: 6.15 am, 7.45 am, 10.30 am and 5.30 pm