Behind The Scenes, Designs and Inspirations

Real Women Series- Mini Shastri

Our opening entry of the real women series for 2016 features the stunning Mini Shastri – Delhi’s finest yoga gurus. We chose a beautiful winter morning to shoot with her, explore her style, delve into her work and passion for Yoga. Read on to get inspired because we promise these words will only leave you wanting to the experience the goodness of the science of yoga. As Mini herself puts it, Yoga and Fashion is all about creativity and we agree!

When did you start practising Yoga and how were you drawn to it?

I started teaching Yoga in 1999. I was drawn to studying The Bhagwad Geeta very early on before getting introduced to formal Yoga training. I was always intrigued by the human mind and a sense of Dharma, Karma and ability to still the mind to get the clearest reflection of one self.

Yoga presented  the ultimate challenge of controlling the mind and using various tools with its science to delve deeper into the subject of health, mind and body.
Unlike other forms of fitness activities, Yoga has a more holistic approach- more like a way of life. Your take?
Yoga integrates the mind along with the body. It works with the physical body, using the breath to draw a fluctuating mind and trains it to grow stiller by focusing on the present. There’s a slow and steady shift in perspective while optimizing the potential. It’s the most sophisticated science of well being and relevant even after 3000 years and more so now. The only exercise form that does not spike the combustion of energy to produce anti-oxidant residue.Thus,it retards ageing while giving an optimum amount of challenge to the body to be the perfect exercise form.
You recently took a retreat to Gokarna. How important do you think it is for women to plan holidays like these focusing on their balance and energies?
It’s constructive time away unlike a holiday where you can over indulge and sometimes, over stretch yourself. A retreat once or twice a year is a great investment into yourself- to come away inspired, to bring in new healthy habits, re-training the mind, learning by experiencing and sometimes changing your perspectives of your own limitations. My retreats are designed to remind us of our connection with nature with awe and respect, clear out our cluttered mind and introspect while in the company of like minded yogis.
Women have a funny relationship with their bodies and how they perceive themselves. Can Yoga bring a difference?
Good question. A yoga teacher too, can sometimes, have a perspective shift if her own abyhas gets disturbed. It is about learning to look at the present from a place of equanimity and balance. Yoga works on releasing habit patterns and conditioning (Samskara) by making us unlearn all that we perceive and teaches us to  view things from an inherent space of silence and deep intelligence.
The relationship with our bodies is thus, of greater awareness, from a place of knowing and a sense of comfortable calmness, not of skewed comparisons and distorted perspectives.
A yogi’s diet?
Plant based proteins in largest quantities, millets, grains,unpolished rice and unprocessed sugar substitutes.Good fats, techniques of sprouting, fermentations, slow cooking and lots of responsible organic sourcing.
Fad diets make us cringe. Can you give us an insight into the what makes a healthy diet?
You mean the Apple Cider shots, gluten free diets, no carbs at night and so on. Most make me cringe.
It’s not long term sustainable eating and one thing does not work for all. Eat consistently with a conscious mind, participating in the intuition of correct eating and what is right for you. ALWAYS eat closer to nature, far away from factory made, yeast laden, preservatives laden convenience foods. Keep sugar intake down to a minimum- it is poison for the body and ages us with too much oxidation leading to a quicker inner rusting.
What’s the best way for working women to fit Yoga in their urban lifestyle?
More is not better. Consistent practice everyday without burning up the inner Ojas (juices) as they say.
How do you define spirituality and its place in the modern world?

It is about connecting with oneself, whatever tools you choose. Irrespective of religion and cultural binding- it is extremely important to keep the faith that something higher than ourselves can guide us.

Spirituality is to strive to make your environment inside and outside free of external influences and express yourself from a place of inner balance and equanimity. It is necessary to stay humble and make one respect what nurtures us.
A few health rituals you follow every day?
Bow to the sun every morning. It is very important to wake up early to maintain healthy bio-rhythms. Practise Jal Neti to stay alert. I say my prayers to help me settle into a comfortable silence at least once a day. I connect with my breath often and make my mind conscious of it as often as I can.
I eat Turmeric with Ginger – everyday. I drink lots of White tea.
Fashion and Yoga. Is there a connection?
Yoga is creativity and it is a hugely creative process to teach, practice, learn, experiment and explore your expression. I love fashion for the same reasons.
Your style?
I like to wear my Indian-ness on my sleeve so i explore for a genuine expression of Indian silhouettes but in a western Language. I like to dress androgynous too, I’m told. I like defying norms in fashion but I do it subtly I think.
Timeless pieces in your wardrobe.
Saree blouses with long sleeves, bandh-gala waistcoats and white Tibetan shirts that I pair with almost everything.
Your favourite piece of jewelry?
Costume- always .Oh! and my eternity band rings in different gold colours and platinum.
How were you introduced to Zariin and what was your first impression of the label?
At a jewelry store in Shahpur Jat village. Loved the boldness, the dull gold finish and the uniqueness in designs.
They were subtle and not overcrowded.
One Zariin piece that fits your style?
The new pearl collection ring

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