Two popular aspects of Indian culture unite in a class that combines high-energy Bollywood music and dance with the therapeutic practice of yoga.
The class in Toronto, Canada was the brainchild of 39-year old Indo-Canadian Ashima Suri, who also founded the dance company, Limitless Productions, which fuses Indian classical dance with contemporary ballet.
She explained that Bolly Yoga marries the celebration of Bollywood with the holistic practice of yoga.
Suri is a global yoga teacher who teaches regular pre and post-natal classes, yoga for diabetes, and yoga for mental health. She was born in Britain and her family has roots in Delhi and Kanpur. She discovered yoga when she was 15 years old in Abu Dhabi having just moved from Toronto. In addition to yoga, she is also a formally trained Bharat Natyam dancer.
Bolly Yoga classes are styled like a workshop where Suri plays music from popular Bollywood films, Indian artists to help participants let loose during class. She also plays more contemplative music to help with lessons on mindfulness, and also incorportates live drumming in some classes.
“It started to take off very fast, I got a lot of event opportunities to present this to big crowds and in yoga studios. As we continue to develop on it, it evolves more. It can be festive or it can be like a healing circle,” she said.
Suri has workshopped Bolly Yoga in several studios in the city, including a special class during the Festival of South Asia at the “Little India” of Toronto, Gerrard Street, and a special class to celebrate Diwali at Karma Teacher Toronto last Nov. 3.
She hopes that the popularity of Bolly Yoga will pick up enough for her to take it around the country.