Bharatanatyam dancer, Dr. Rajeswari Sainath’s student, Dr. Koka Hiranmayi, speaking to Natyahasini agrees that practicing dance and Kalari Yoga help her build physical and mental strength. She says that she has been practicing Kalari Yoga since the past five years, under multi-danseuse and Kalari Yoga expert, Vyshnavie Sainath. “Since the pandemic began and amidst lockdowns, Vyshnavie has been conducting one-hour online classes in the morning, which has helped me to relieve physical and mental stress,” she says.
Hiranmayi began learning dance at the age of five years under Dr. Rajeswari Sainath. The dancer doctor shares that she first started learning dance as a summer school activity. “I later took it forward and enrolled under Rajeswari akka. At no time, did I feel, I should give up dance for academics,” she says. Hiranmayi gives credit for this to her Guru Rajeswari akka. She recalls: “Akka has always encouraged us to balance dance and academics. There have been many times, when after performing in Chennai, I have taken a flight back home to write my exams. When exams are there, dance practice has been rested and moreover, akka has been kind enough to adjust our classes according to the exams.”
An alumnus of Bhaskar Medical College, Chilkur, Hiranmayi says that even dancers need to be fit. “We give time for fitness to build strength and muscles. A fit body complements our dance,” she says, adding: “Currently, I spend daily an hour on fitness and an hour on dance during the weekends, as I am preparing for my PG exams.” She shares that there have been people who were surprised to see her pursuing dance, even after she had taken admission in MBBS course. “Many of my relatives and friends used to ask me are you still dancing and I would tell them, a programme is coming up, please come and watch. Nothing is impossible if you have the support of your family, a great Guru and friends,” Hiranmayi says.
The dancer doctor states that Kalari Yoga and dance motivate her and she loves balancing both. She says by practicing Kalari Yoga, all your joints move smoothly. “Kalari Yoga helps dancers in many ways – be it concentration or being agile. I dance or do Kalari Yoga which has a therapeutic effect,” she says. In today’s growing and competitive world, Hiranmayi’s advice is “Kalari Yoga will help a Bharatanatyam dancer in movements, sound mind, and the blood flowing through the veins will generate positive energy.”
Till recently, a doctor with Vrinchi Hospitals, Banjara Hills, on Covid duty, Dr. Hiranmayi quit to prepare for PG exams, and signs off by stating: “I find answers to many issues through my dance and Kalari Yoga.”