A description of Yoganiyoga, an Indian Yoga anthem, an exquisite offering to the world on International Yoga Day.
India has a yoga anthem, and the festivities are not restricted to yoga alone. In Yoganiyoga, the initiative from the Centre for Soft Power, Heritage, India Foundation, and Indic Academy, dancer Rukmini Vijayakumar uses the minutest aspects of movement set to rhythm and melody in a defined dedication to Yoga and the International Yoga Day.
The team has presented the collaboration in a crisp video. Concept is by Bangalore-based culture impresario Vijayalakshmi Vijayakumar.
Let's look at the first layer of the visual impact: Rukmini Vijayakumar, the choreographer and her work. She takes the centre stage, meaningfully so, along with her co-performers. It is their space in movement and stillness.
Here is the video.
Vijaykumar is one of those (few) artistes who do not wait to celebrate Yoga in occasion-specific settings. She is known for having blended yoga and asanas in their wholeness, in depth, in their fullness, in valuable extractions, into the language and tradition of Bharatanatyam.
She starts her day with yoga. She invokes its soul in dance and movement each day with her disciples. It is part of her practice and material. It is part of her spaces. She communicates about yoga to even those viewers, who are yet to initiate a journey in dance or yoga or both, regularly.
Isn't that how all of us would like to or wish to or crave to make yoga a part of our lives? Movement and melody are great and effective pushers. Though this is not the first time dance in yoga and yoga in dance have been approached as a theme to support the International Yoga Day, the initiative is unique.
The anthem is a song that drifts you towards that one purpose --- of understanding movement and rhythm --- even simpler --- it drifts you towards embracing yoga. Then, it puts a face and melody to our Indic cultural history in a contemporary conversation.
Here are five reasons how this one video has pushed the boundaries for the visual depiction of performing arts as the Indic traditions knows them:
1) It celebrates the singularity in yoga and dance by giving a visual representation to two great and grand vidyas, movement traditions, and movement practices that have been celebrated in Bharat for ages. The unity in yoga and dance marvelously split and meet in movements and asanas that go into the two forms.
2) It celebrates the concept of composition in three performing traditions: dance, music and yoga. It's a confluence involving great depth, professionalism and quality. But more that anything else, it is a triumph in swara, rhythm, and bandish aesthetics.
Oh, that pause against the strings and beats set to the delicate attami --- against the play of the flame and gaze and darkness.
3) Dhrupad and its alap have found their place for the first time in a direct visual representation of yoga asanas (through dance) in a content-driven initiative. So has the Saraswati Veena. So has the flute (in its sort-of-a-jugalbandi with Dhrupad). Naming the stalwarts behind the genres, medium and instruments would be withdrawing the attention from music, the sound, and other artistes.
Naadyoga is under-represented in relation to yoga, but I have the right to put my craving here.
4) It is a short video. The soundscape is huge, yet the music finds a studio where each aspect of swar (the note), vaadya (percussion) and vrind (orchestration) is given utmost respect. This is a natural outcome of the presence of some of the ace musicians from the Indic and global music traditions.
5) The video and anthem give India's efforts to propagate yoga a sound and visual identity. It is a strenuous warm-up towards the next lease of a vibrant journey that Indic soft power is set to make through yoga around the globe. Notice the presence of the five elements --- the panchatattvas.
This celebration of Patanjali's legacy in the meeting of India's south and north, in movement and melody, and the meeting of global with Indic, has created a new space for a fresh presentation of the Indic performing arts. A rare feat indeed.