GUWAHATI: Her critics call her a ‘devil’ and jeer at her often but Orentsani Suzen, a young yoga instructor of Nagaland, is least perturbed. She is focused on improving the health of the Christian-majority state through the art of yoga.
This 25-year-old is the state’s one and only trained yoga instructor. Yoga in parts of the Northeast is viewed as a tool to promote Hinduism.
“To me, yoga is all about how to stay fit and healthy. It connects your body, mind and soul. It is also about awareness. Its roots may have come from Hinduism but I introduced yoga to the people in Nagaland from the fitness point of view,” she says.
The athlete in her took to yoga at a very young age and she insists that every Naga must learn it to stay fit. She has trained at the Yoga Institute in Mumbai, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, and the Artistic Yoga in Bengaluru.
“After I passed Class XII in 2008, I was thinking of a career. It was then that one of my sisters advised me to pursue yoga,” says Orentsani Suzen, the only yoga instructor of Nagaland.
She runs a studio in Nagaland’s commercial hub Dimapur and her 30 students belong to various strata of society. Last month, she won a bronze medal at a national level yoga competition held in Assam. She says she was Nagaland’s lone representative while other states had at least 100 representations.
“Recently, when I talked about my fitness centre on the social media, there were some people who criticised me. They asked me to not bring this disease (yoga) to our state and equated me with the devil. But if there were five people who criticised me, there were 30 others who supported me,” Orentsani says.
Recently, she also organised an event for awareness on cancer. She received donations of `27,800 which she distributed to cancer patients.