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Growing up in yoga



Hello to everyone in the IYAC/ACYI family. We are Tanuj and Malini Pandya, the children of Niren and Nehal Pandya. We were invited to share our experience of growing up surrounded by yoga. We hope that you enjoy our story.



We were surrounded by yoga even before we were born.



Our mother continued her yoga practice during both of her pregnancies. During her first pregnancy (Tanuj) she practised with Kobad Variava Sir and during her second pregnancy (Malini) she practised at Yoga Centre Toronto (YCT) with Marlene Mawhinney.

As toddlers, we would watch our parents practise and laugh at all their struggles. My mother says she remembers us playing with yoga bricks and mats, saying we were doing yoga. At this time, we were living in Toronto, and we went along with our father to the studios where he taught. Suzanne Takemura’s studio and YCT welcomed us with open arms and gave us toys and crayons to play with while our father taught classes.

A few years later we moved to Mumbai and made new yoga memories! Our maternal grandparents would attend Kobad Variava Sir’s weekend classes and sometimes we would tag along. We remember climbing on the pillars at his studio and fooling around during his classes. Little did we know that very soon we would begin practising the same poses we saw all the people around us doing.

As children, we first began practising with our father. We would try to copy the poses he would do.



He always made (and still does make) practising yoga so exciting! We would hang from him while he was practising and try all sorts of new poses every day.



When it was time to practise yoga, we knew the next few hours would be filled with joy and laughter!

As children we also attended classes with Kobad Variava Sir, in Mumbai. We thought our father was fun, but Kobad Variava Sir was even more fun! His classes always had such a joyous atmosphere. He would make jokes with us, tease us and, most importantly, he taught us so much!

Soon classes especially designed for young children opened up at Iyengar Yogashraya in Mumbai. They were taught by Siddharth Bangera. Every Saturday, we looked forward to the drive to the studio where we got to attend his classes. For the first time, we practised alongside other children who matched our high energy levels. The classes were action-packed, with all sorts of jumpings, arm balancings and inversions. It was a new experience to practise with other children and we found it very appealing.

In 2014, we had the exciting opportunity to attend Yoganusasanam with Geeta Ji.  We went along with Aarushi and Vivaan (the children of Zubin [Zarthoshtimanesh] Sir and Parizad Ma’am). As a part of Yoganusasanam, Geeta Ji was teaching a special class for children on her birthday.  Getting to learn with such a knowledgeable and inspiring teacher was such a blessing! We thoroughly enjoyed the class, and it made our love for the subject grow deeper.



When we moved back to Canada in 2015, we did not join any new classes but continued practising with our parents. When our mother was completing her teacher training at YCT, we would go along with her and we were always welcomed. We remember doing our homework near the front desk while Mom was in class.

As we made friends in Toronto, our father wanted to encourage us to practise with other kids. He started a yoga class specially for our friends and us. Once a week our friends would come over to our home and we would practise together. These classes are such a fond memory and made practising so much fun.











As we grew up (Tanuj is at university, Malini in high school) and all our schedules got busier and more varied, we could not have our weekly class anymore. Now we (Malini and Tanuj) practise together a few times a week and continue to learn more and grow our curiosity for this noble subject.

When we are not practising ourselves, we can hear our parents practising or learning from online classes with teachers from RIMYI or Mumbai.

Yoga has taught us so much throughout our lives. It surely has improved our physical wellbeing but the impact it has had on our mental wellbeing cannot be expressed in words. Every memory we have associated with yoga throughout our lives so far brings so much joy. Practice time is always a happy time and yoga has always been by our sides. We are looking forward to growing and evolving more as we learn more about this beautiful subject.


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