Anxious. Depressed. Isolated.
With the stress of the pandemic, there has been a surging demand for mental health help from medical professionals. San Jose-based Kushi Hosahalli, a 13-year-old attending Challenger School, and her 10-year-0ld brother Aditya Hosahalli have shared their experience with MyYogaTeacher, explaining how yoga has helped them physically and mentally during the pandemic.
Inspired by her grandfather, Kushi started practicing yoga when she was 5 years old. Aditya, inspired by seeing his sister trying out fun poses in yoga class, decided to join her shortly after.
After the pandemic shutdowns, Kushi and Aditya enrolled in MyYogaTeacher, a platform to participate in live yoga classes. With this interactive platform, yoga became an essential daily aspect of the duo’s lives. By incorporating yoga into her daily life, Kushi has seen herself grow in terms of her body and mind strength.
Aditya, following his instructors Rohan and Deepak Sir, learned about Pantanjali‘s stories and the meaning of yoga prayers. He says that learning about Sutras and Yamas, and how to apply them in real life is what started his path to becoming a yogi.
Aditya notes, “Yoga is a journey unique to every person.” He understands that one can only be the best version of themselves when one is disciplined and peaceful. Aditya tells more about some of the Yamas, principles that lead to a spiritual life: Ahisma or non-violence; Satya or truthfulness; Asteya or not stealing; and Niyama or observances.
Yamas as a vehicle, Kushi finds the importance of continuity, determination, and perseverance. Kushi realized that, at times, even with two yoga poses with similar difficulty levels, she took longer to learn one as opposed to the other. She says, “It’s because of the dedication and passion that I have towards learning each pose.”Aditya notices, “If I break the routine, it makes me agitated and less energetic.”
Along this transformative journey, Kushi and Aditya have had numerous fun incidents. Kushi notes that she was able to use her skills competitively when she participated in a talent show by KKNC. She performed a routine involving a headstand pose but was terrified of falling. After the routine, she and her mom, who recognized Kushi’s weakness with the pose, laughed about Kushi’s facial expression while performing. Kushi was able to acquire a second-place award in the competition, motivating her to work harder.
Aditya remembers how he and his cousins would do eye yoga exercises together. He says, “We would peek into each other to see if we were closing our eyes or gazing at the candlelight without blinking. There were laughs and fighting to do our best to be the winner.”
Furthermore, Kushi and Aditya believe in the beauty of yoga as it has helped them in their concentration and mental awareness. Both of them recommend yoga to others as it helps to improve people physically, mentally, or spiritually. Kushi, who currently studies with Gourangi Melana, believes that disabilities should not restrict one from practicing yoga as one can still participate in meditation or eye exercises.
Using their experience in yoga, Kushi and Aditya have ambitious goals for the future. Kushi hopes to give a Ted Talk and motivate teens to practice yoga as their daily routine. Through her entertaining talks, she would like to inspire others to focus on their mental health. Aditya’s goals were rather different. He says, “With regards to yoga, I would like to be a modern yogi.”
Fun fact! Kushi and Aditya each have their favorite yoga poses. Kushi’s favorite yoga pose is the Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations). She mentions, “The pose is a very systematic technique that combines the twelve asanas in a yoga sequence.” Aditya’s favorite pose is the Savasana (Corpse Pose). Aditya compares the pose to taking a nap at the end of your yoga practice. He believes, “Savasana helps us learn how to completely surrender, stop fighting the clock, and make space for a quiet and relaxed mind.”
Kaashvi Mittal is an 8th-grade student at Stratford Middle School. Her interests include art, speech and debate, and writing.