For the love of yoga – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

UDUPI : As more and more people these days look for ways to keep themselves fit and healthy, a couple from Udupi has been teaching yoga to three batches in a single day, in the past nine years. For free. Amith Kumar Shetty (66), retired bank manager, and his wife Akhila Shetty (57), are on a mission to create a society that lives blissfully, without giving in to the attractions of a materialistic and stressful world.

Amith and Akhila reach Lions Bhavan, Brahmagiri, in Udupi city area, and teach yoga from 5.30am to 6.45 am every day. After this, the couple teaches yoga at Rotary Bhavan near Mannapalla Lake, Manipal. A batch of about 60 students eagerly follows their instructions and learns yoga the way it should be. As the clock strikes 4.45pm, the couple reaches Senior Citizens’ Forum, near Mahatma Gandhi District Stadium, Ajjarakad, and teaches yoga till 6.45 pm. This way, they have managed three sessions a day, for nine years. So far, the couple has taught yoga to more than 1,500 students of all age groups.

Asked why they chose to teach yoga free of cost to any number of students, Amith Shetty smiles and replies that he has worked in a nationalised bank for 38 long years. ‘‘Those days, I benefitted from society, which gave me everything in life. So two years before my retirement in 2015, I thought that my wife and I could conduct classes free of cost, as a gesture to give back to society.  

‘We couldn’t have been able to give back to society in a better way than this, as yoga classes benefit everyone.”Amith Shetty has another reason to give free yoga classes — he learnt yoga from his guru H M Krishnamurthi of Yoga Shikshana Samithi in Theerthahalli, for free, 22 years ago. So he wants to teach the same without expecting any remuneration from his students.

Shetty recalls how a senior citizen who lived in the UAE, met him in Udupi with severe back pain. ‘‘His daughter and son-in-law are both doctors, but his back pain problem could not be solved. I suggested that he join our yoga classes, and in six months, his back pain had disappeared without a trace,” he said.
A 30-year-old engineering professional with diabetes, who had come to meet him with a hunch, became a regular student at his yoga classes and got back his normal posture in six months. Now, he teaches yoga in Kolkata.

The couple teaches various asanas like trikonasana, parshwa konasana, veerabhadrasana, uthkatasana, parshwottanasana, bharadwajasana, ardha matsyendrasana, marichasana, mandookasana, pashchimottasana, shirshasana, sarvangasana, matsyasana, chakrasana, dhanurasana among others. The class starts with relaxation exercises, then surya namaskara, followed by asanas performed standing and sitting, then asanas for the belly, and ends with shavasana. The couple also teaches pranayama, and the entire session ends with meditation.

Apart from conducting free yoga classes with the motto ‘Life Without Medicine’, the couple has also helped students continue their education, cancer patients and those who undergo dialysis for kidney ailments. Amith Shetty told TNSE that over the past few years, yoga is being increasingly regarded as the best option to lead a healthy life. Apart from the three regular sessions, the couple also hold month-long camps at different places to reach out to people outside the city. As Akhila Shetty says, there is a need for every individual to practice yoga, as our lifestyle has changed dramatically.