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Begin to breathe: Session on Yoga and Meditation

While these uncertain times put our physical health at risk, the lockdown and the imminent slowdown has also caused damage to the mental health of many.

In an attempt to provide relief and address this forgotten need of the hour, we, at the Rotaract Club of Mumbai Nariman Point have taken up this project titled “Ayna”, with the goal of showing those in a need a reflection of their mind. Ayna stands on two legs, the first being to raise awareness for mental health and the issues related to it through a series of talks that culminate to a two day event on the weekend of 10th and 11th October while we celebrate Mental Health Day.

With our GDP falling at an unprecedented rate, we realized that merely omitting the stigma of the issue was not enough, and that those in need might just be able to overcome the stigma, but the financial gap was something that they would not be able to cross. The second leg of Ayna attempts to bridge this gap by utilizing funds raised to connect mental health professions and the underprivileged in need of therapy, by funding their therapy sessions. 150 million Indians need mental health care services in India and less than 30 million Indians are seeking care for mental health.

Our 3 workshops, which aim to reduce stigma surrounding mental health while simultaneously spreading information, were held on weekends and spread out over 3 weeks.

The second workshop revolved around Yoga and Meditation and was conducted on the 27th of September. The session was led by Mrs. Naina Daryanani, a qualified yoga practitioner.

Mrs. Daryanani enlightened the audience about different yoga techniques and meditation techniques. She explained the etymology of the word “yoga” and that it was derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means “to yoke” or “to unite”. She stated that according to the yoga scriptures, the practice of yoga leads to union of an individual consciousness with universal consciousness.

Mrs. Daryanani explained the importance of Ashtanga Yoga; she said that the purpose of Ashtanga Yoga is the purification of body and mind. She suggested that we incorporate the practice of Ashtanga Yoga in our daily lives.

Mrs. Daryanani described the 3 basic components in Yoga, Asanas, Pranayama and Concentration. She began by explaining that Asanas restores the lost balance of body systems due to mental problems and static Asanas led to the secretion of “happy hormones” She taught everyone the practice of Pranayama, which helps in strengthening the connection between body and mind and release of “endorphins”.

Mrs. Daryanani taught us how to perform various postures in meditation which assist in calming the mind and brings the body into a state of peace by “om” chanting or sitting with crossed legs and placing the index finger on the thumb. The audience was educated in the knowledge of several components of yoga and different meditation positions.

Our Club collaborated with Rotaract Club of Khalsa College, Rotaract Club of Bombay Pier and Rotaract Club of UPG. A total of 72 people attended the workshop.

A recording of the session can be found here. We encourage all our readers to watch this insightful video on Yoga and Meditation.

Our next session on Self-Harm and Addiction, led by Ms. Deepika Bhandari will be on the 4th of October. We look forward to seeing you there!

For further details, please email us at

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