Meet the yoga practitioner favoured by celebs and corporate giants alike
Yoga’s global popularity has ensured that this wellness practice has as many teachers as there are practitioners. But only the very best make a name for themselves and garner a following. Over her 13-year discipline, Mumbai-based Paloma Gangopadhyay, a yogi and injury management expert, has done exactly that.
Through her proprietary method called Palomayoga, she has conducted corporate wellness programmes at companies like Mercedes, HDFC sales, Mackenzie, and trained influential personalities like Anil Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, and Nikitin Dheer to name a few.
“I have always sought deeper knowledge about Yoga sciences and meditation, and I want to bridge the gap between science and yoga. For me, yoga is not only a philosophy of life, but also a pragmatic science that has the ability to transform people’s lives and make them fitter and happier. I like to focus on treatment of ailments by encouraging a healthy lifestyle. My specialties include weight loss, body toning, de-stress, detox, disease recovery and dynamic meditation,” explains Paloma, in a chat with YS Weekender.
How it started?
Paloma started her yoga journey at the age of six when she was initiated into the Bengal Hatha Yoga community. Every weekend, her mother would take her to the World Yoga Society, which is said to be the most renowned Yoga college in Kolkata. This allowed her to train under some of the best Yoga champions of their time, including brothers Prem Sundar and Dibya Sundar Das. Her training and dedication also won her many accolades.
Soon after, she began training with renowned Yoga guru BKS Iyengar, and global Yoga gurus like Bikram Choudhury, Joseph Encinia, Esak Garcia, Rajashree Choudhury, and Ilke Iyedin from Harvard. She pursued her Yoga teacher training in Los Angeles and was certified by the USA Yoga Federation. She also practised the Self-Realisation Fellowship of Yogananda in Los Angeles.
After her time in the West, Paloma returned home to learn mediation from Auroville and began teaching what she had learnt over the years from various gurus.
Currently, she refers to herself as a lifestyle coach. She practices out of her training studio in Bandra, Mumbai, and trains Indian as well as international clients with in-person online sessions.
“This is my 13th year of teaching Yoga. I count my teaching years through my experience, which is the accepted way in the world of Yoga. The more we teach, the more we grow and evolve. My personal training clients number around 500 students, but through group trainings, I have taught thousands of people. Each of my international seminars have around 500 students from around the world,” she says with pride.
Currently, Paloma teaches around 80 students one-on-one. These students are from various parts of the world including the USA, the UK, Canada, Germany, Czechia, Ghana, Dubai, Bangladesh, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, and various parts of India.
Most of her clients come through word of mouth and personal references. She feels this is because her classes are target oriented and result in client satisfaction. “Many times, the results are so good that my clients get other family members and friends to join,” she explains.
She describes her curated practice, Palomayoga, as a series of dialogue driven asanas and breathing exercises which aim at a 360-degree body-mind solution.
She works specifically with asanas that boost strength, stamina, and concentration. The postures are designed with scientific principles in mind and taught with high technical precision so that one gets 100 percent medical benefits.
“I believe my practice helps to change a person’s notion of yoga. It does not have to be boring! It can instead be superbly dynamic, physical, strength oriented and flow beautifully. It is through physical perfection that one reaches spiritual healing. I work on weight loss, body toning, destressing, and detoxing. Palomayoga works on multiple levels. In fact, it is an alternative medicine that has superb healing qualities and brings science and spiritualism together. It is a series which makes you physically agile and mentally strong,” Paloma says.
Yoga in general takes care of the holistic well-being of an individual by improving posture and flexibility, boosting metabolism, bettering cardiac function, keeping diseases away and improving self-confidence.
Palomayoga can be tailor made for people according to their fitness targets. She highlights its medical benefits aimed at resolving medical issues like PCOD, arthritis, thrombosis, neurosis, heart blockages, high blood pressure, sugar, diabetes, cholesterol, and thyroid, among others.
The focus on science in particular has an interesting reasoning behind it. Paloma highlights that since science is our reasoning and sense of understanding, Yoga bridges the gap between our understanding and our spiritual self. Palomayoga is based on an understanding of anatomy and physiology, where the impact of the postures open the spiritual and emotional senses to instil holistic wellness.
She shares, “It was not difficult for me to teach this Yoga, because it had firm roots in the study of science, anatomy, and health. And when a posture is defined with scientific precision and knowledge, faith and understanding help it grow.”
“My practice has attracted many celebrity clients over the years as I belong to a Yoga family. Anil Kapoor was one of the first walk-ins to my Andheri studio. He works hard on his yoga technique. Anup Jalotaji is a beautiful Yogi and practises regularly with me. I also have some political clients and loads of corporate brands and CEOs who train under me,” she shares.
When asked about the challenges she has had to scale in building her practice, she explains that sometimes people have pre-conceived notions of a single girl trying to set herself up in any field.
She says, “There are difficulties and people try to take you for a ride but being disciplined, I just focus on my end goal, which is to spread the knowledge of Yoga and advocate overall well-being.”
Despite the challenges, Paloma’s practice has been immensely rewarding as well, especially when she helps remove pain from the lives of her students and bring about good health.
She signs off with, “We Yogis find happiness in the smallest and simplest things around us. Sometimes a call from an old student makes me so happy that she remembers her teacher!”
YourStory’s flagship startup-tech and leadership conference will return virtually for its 13th edition on October 25-30, 2021. Sign up for updates on TechSparks or to express your interest in partnerships and speaker opportunities here.
For more on TechSparks 2021, click here.