Workshop on  
"Yoga and Indian Aesthetics for Performing Arts”  
by Dr (Sr) Margaret Bastin, Trichy 
October 31, 2003   

The Workshop was inaugurated on the morning of 27th October, 2003 and was held for six days. The Chief Guest of the inaugural function was Mr. Pargunan who himself  is a Yoga Guru and is a news reader on All India Radio. The Workshop ended on the evening of 1st November 2003 with a Valedictory function. 

The Workshop was conducted by Dr. Veena Londhe, Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Aesthetics, Mumbai University. Dr. Veena has been a Yoga teacher of high repute for almost 25 years. 

The participants of the Workshop were all the students as well as the teachers of the Dance Faculty of Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts in Tiruchirapalli. Some of the ex-students of the college also participated. The total number of participants was over 130 on all the days. 

Owing to the large number of participants, three separate sessions for Yoga were held daily, each of one and a half hours duration. 

The participants were taught 12 asanas apart from the relaxation asanas such as shavasana and the pranayama technique and meditation of the initial stage. Dr. Veena concentrated on asanas that strengthened the back muscles, spinal column, posture and a fine feel for line of body, upper limbs and so on. These asanas, therefore, were selected specially for the young dancers. 

Dr. Veena is also an expert on space-time therapy involving Ayurveda and Physics. As an extension of this therapy she has evolved a series of basic exercises  for increasing energy levels, helping fat persons to reduce or thin persons to gain weight, create greater alertness in the body systems and so on. Several of these exercises, which would benefit dancers were taught. The highlights and the unique feature of the Workshop was the adaptation of the Pranayama technique to the dance movements of adavus in Bharathanatyam. This inter-disciplinary process facilitates the dancer’s movements and energy level greatly. 

The Indian Aesthetics lectures of Dr. Veena held in the afternoons were attended by all the 260 students of the College, including the music students. In these lectures Dr. Veena discussed Bharatha’s Natya Shastra concentrating on the sections that would be of special interest to students of performing arts. The various qualities pertaining to artistes and the audience were discussed. The bhava theory was explained in detail and finally one relation between the bhavas and rasa was explained very graphically. 

After the lecture on Indian Aesthetics on 1st November 2003, the Valedictory function was held. The Coordinator, Dr. S. Saraswati who is the Research Advisor in Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts gave a summation of the Workshop and announced the initiation of a new Research Project of the Research Department of Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts. The teachers of Bharathanatyam in the college would take up the project of designing the detailed application of Pranayama technique to dance from this month onwards. 

Dr.Veena was thanked profusely by Rev. Fr. A. Susai Alangaram who is the Secretary of the College and by the representatives of the participants of the Workshop for the highly excellent and innovative Yoga sessions and lectures on Indian Aesthetics.  

Dr (Sr) Margaret Bastin is the Principal, Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts, 18, Benwells Road, Tiruchirapalli 620001.