Monday February 19, 2018

Sangeet Natak Akademi gears up for yoga day

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New Delhi: As the Modi government is not leaving any stone unturned in commemorating the International Day of Yoga on June 21, its cultural wings are also going into overdrive to showcase the country’s heritage to the world.Sangeet_Natak_Akademi

Spearheading the events, Sangeet Natak Akademi, a nodal agency of the culture ministry, has planned a week-long ‘Yog Parv’ festival during June 21-27. The festival encompasses over 300 select works of art, dance and music performances, workshops and other presentations by more than 150 artists from across India and overseas.

Elaborating on the plan, Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Secretary, Helen Acharya said that planning Yoga Parv was not an arduous task.

“Last year, the Akademi was asked to prepare a dossier for UNESCO on the intangible cultural heritage of India. We had collected a lot of material in the process. This year, when the ministry asked us to anchor a festival on yoga, it came handy for us. We only had to put together the material we had,” Achrya told IANS.

Divided into three sections, the festival will unfold at three venues.

Yoga Chakra, an exhibition at the Lalit Kala Akademi, will be a multimedia art show featuring over 300 works by 150 artists from across India. The second, Yoga and Performing Arts at the Meghdoot Theatre, will present dance performances, music concerts, theatre shows, lecture demonstrations, discourses and consultations with yoga experts. The third is the Organic and Wellness Stall at the Rabindra Bhawan lawns, with cafes and interactive sessions and an open platform for dialogue and consultancy.

The experts and organisations that will make presentations include Mandakini Trivedi, Masako Ono, Ranjana Gauhar and the Isha Foundation.

The Akademi has roped in other cultural bodies like Lalit Kala Akademi, Sahitya Akademi, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, and the National Museum for the event.

“We have many antiquities selected and sourced from museums around the country as well as fresh commissions created by some contemporary artists. We are getting 50 works from National Museum and a lot of contemporary painting and sculptures from Lalit Kala Akademi. This is the first time we are putting up contemporary and ancient works together,” Sushma Bahl, the curator of the event’s cultural projects, told IANS.

Bahl added that they had also collaborated with many lesser known artists in the country.

“We wrote to many contemporary artists asking for work. The result was amazing. Some of them made new works, which were interactive. Our criteria was whether their works responded to the theme of yoga,” Bahl added.

While prominent names like S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, G.H. Santhosh, Anupam Sud, Tyeb Mehta, and Seema Kohli make the list in the visual arts, artists like Geeta Chandran grace the performing arts list.

Besides a star-studded artists list, audiences will be treated to many traditional and folk performances from different parts of the country.

Noted classical dancer and choreographer Sonal Mansingh, who will deliver a speech on yoga and dance in the inaugural session, said that she is honoured to be a part of the event.

“I feel happy and proud to be the part of the event. Yoga is one of the great gifts to the world. Dance includes every form of yoga. That is why Lord Shiva has been given the title Natraja by great rishis thousands of years ago,” Mansingh told IANS.

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Yoga Face-toning May Compete With Fillers, Face-lifts

"The jury is still out on whether or not facial yoga is effective in reversing the signs of aging," he said in an email.

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Yoga face toning is an effective way of reducing the signs of ageing. VOA
  • Yoga face toning may take over botox and face lifting procedures.
  • 27 participants noted changes in their faces after weeks of this experiment.
  • It is still a matter of discussion if this method can reverse ageing or not.

In his toolbox of Botox, fillers and plastic surgery, cosmetic dermatologist Dr Murad Alam has added a new, low-cost, noninvasive anti-ageing treatment: facial yoga.

Dermatologists measured improvements in the appearance of the faces of a small group of middle-aged women after they did half an hour of daily face-toning exercises for eight weeks, followed by alternate-day exercises for another 12 weeks.

Facial exercises are healthier than surgeries. Pixabay
Facial exercises are healthier than surgeries. Pixabay

The results surprised lead author Alam, vice chair and professor of dermatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“In fact, the results were stronger than I expected,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s really a win-win for patients.”

Participants included 27 women between 40 and 65, though only 16 completed the full course. It began with two 90-minute muscle-resistant facial exercise-training sessions led by co-author Gary Sikorski of Happy Face Yoga in Providence, Rhode Island.

Participants learned to perform cheek pushups and eye-bag removers, among other exercises. Then they practised at home.

Improvements noted

Dermatologists looking at unmarked before-and-after photos saw improvements in upper cheek and lower cheek fullness, and they estimated the average age of women who stuck with the program as significantly younger at the end than at the start.

Face yoga is a healthier substitute to surgical procedures. Pixabay
Face yoga is a healthier substitute for surgical procedures. Pixabay

The average estimated age dropped almost three years, from nearly 51 years to 48 years.

Participants also rated themselves as more satisfied with the appearance of their faces at the study’s end, Alam and colleagues reported in JAMA Dermatology.

“Now there is some evidence that facial exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of ageing,” Alam said. “Assuming the findings are confirmed in a larger study, individuals now have a low-cost, non-toxic way of looking younger or augmenting other cosmetic or anti-ageing treatments they may be seeking.”

The exercises enlarge and strengthen facial muscles to firm and tone the face, giving it a younger appearance, he said.

Happy Face sells instructional worksheets — promising smoother skin, firmed cheeks and raised eyelids — for $19.95. DVDs cost $24.95.

Some skepticism

But not all dermatologists are rushing to promote the videos or the exercises.

Dr John Chi, a plastic surgeon and professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, said the study raises more questions than it answers.

“The jury is still out on whether or not facial yoga is effective in reversing the signs of ageing,” he said in an email.

Chi, who was not involved with the study, said he would recommend facial yoga to patients who found it relaxing and enjoyable but not for the purpose of facial rejuvenation.

“While the premise of facial exercises to improve the facial appearance or reverse signs of ageing is an appealing one, there is little evidence to suggest that there is any benefit in this regard,” he said.

Chi said facial yoga had not been rigorously examined in peer-reviewed scientific studies. Asked whether procedures such as face-lifts, Botox and fillers had been rigorously examined in peer-reviewed studies, he replied: “Great question. Attempts to do so have been made in the scientific literature with variable levels of scientific rigour.”

Alam agrees that his study raises additional research questions, such as whether the exercises would work for men and how much time people need to commit to doing the exercises for them to be optimally effective. He would like to see a larger study. VOA