Ancient Classical Dance Bharatnatyam is an Apt Stress-buster
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For generations, traditional healers knew that music and dance have the power to heal and even today several classical singers feel that tunes have the power to ‘take one out of himself for some time’. And Dr Shikha Nehru Sharma, a renowned doctor turned nutrition expert, wants to show that dance has the same powers of healing and is also a major stress-buster.
At a time when the stress of managing deadlines and achieving success is weighing on everyone’s mind, it becomes even more important to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety and work, towards finding peace despite the pressures of everyday life.
By practical experience, Dr Sharma found that the classical dance form “Bharatnatyam” is the perfect antidote to the stress and in today’s lifestyle it helps is achieving a state of inner balance and peace. The occasion will also see the release of her book titled “Health, Stress management, and Fitness via Bharatnatyam”. Doordarshan Additional Director General and senior Indian Broadcasting (Programme) Service officer, Ms Deepa Chandra will preside as the chief guest while renowned danseuse who has excelled in Odissi, Chhau and Manipuri dance forms, Sharon Lowen will be the Guest of Honour on the occasion.
An alumnus of Maulana Azad Medical College, Dr Sharma is a notable nutrition expert who has been working hard in the area of preventive medicine and weight loss for several years. Her focus and dedication to her work helped her to scale her organisation from few nutritionists to 200 full time employees. Her unique model of using Remote Nutrition Advisory using a tele-Nutrition Centre to deliver Nutrition advisory and compliance monitoring to clients globally has helped her to draw international Venture Capital funding. But the stress and pressure of work began to show on her health and she had to find a stress-buster. She tried every possible solution to keep away from the pressure of work and even tried her hands on yoga, meditation and aerobatics.
And then she found that it was the combination of Meditation, music and dance - Bharatnatyam – that gave her the much needed break. ‘Natya Sudha’, a Delhi-based school of performing arts headed by Ms Rani Shingal which is dedicated towards imparting quality training in the field of ‘Bharatnatyam’ helped her through her journey. Without diluting the intensity and pure form of this performing art form, the school also teaches the internationally respected ‘Kalakshetra’ style. Dr Sharma found that Bharatnatyam not only helped her to manage stress but also improve concentration, memory, build flexibility, and strengthen her spine and back.
This improved her mind and body coordination and fitness levels and she discovered that it may have application in learning subjects like geometry and maths via the beats of rhythm. In fact, this is the subject of research in many Universities for teaching geometry. As Dr Sharma and her team are dedicated to spread health consciousness, so she decided to share her experience with Bharatnatyam through her book “Health, Stress management and Fitness via Bharatnatyam”. The book has shared various benefits of Bharatanatyam.
It explains how dancing to the intonation of ancient mantras and shlokas is like praying in motion. It also explains how foot tapping movements are like acupressure and help to press all the points of the body connected to the feet. This also helps in increasing concentration power, as the dancer needs to have sheer concentration while dancing.
As Dr Sharma says, “As my work grew and the mental pressures of following my dream with passion and determination took its toll on my health, I found I could treat myself with the correct Nutrition and Ayurvedic medicines but the stress was getting difficult to manage. Once while searching for solutions to fight stress, I stumbled upon the word “Natya Yoga”, also known as Bharatnatyam which was a combination of breathing, Exercise, meditation and music. My intuition told me “I have found the antidote! This was that Eureka moment for me and over time it proved right.”