Even in the sweltering heat of the afternoon, the Kabir Baug Yoga Institute radiates a sense of serene calm. There are enough shady trees here to impart a welcome coolness, so different from the hot sun outside. The people who come here regularly do so either for therapeutic reasons, to reduce stress or simply because they wish to align the mind and body into a more natural, self healing state. At first glance all seems quiet. But there is a lot of subdued activity going on. From the morning batches which are just getting over, a kids camp, a boys hostel whose inmates are busy preparing for exams, resident patients and even patients awaiting an X–ray or a health check–up, Kabir Baug is a community in itself.
Kabir Baug dates back to May 27, 1729 when the ruling Peshwa gifted the ashram land to Kabir Gosavi. Since then the place has been used for the spiritual and physical development of mankind. The institute also has a small school for nursery kids and a hostel for rural students. In 1988, Dr. Karandikar started Yoga therapy here. Anil Bhide, was a heart patient who was given a month to live by doctors. He started Yoga therapy under Dr. Karandikar’s guidance and went on to live for seven more years. Bhide who expired recently was instrumental in building the present institute and his wife Anagha Bhide is also one of the trustees.
“Teaching here, is based on modern methods of instruction. The use of computers and video equipment facilitates better understanding,” says Dr. Nivedita Pingale who teaches at the institute and has also recently set up her own clinic in Kothrud. Pingale also feels that a lot of small Yoga centres have mushroomed in the city recently. “But most of these are by untrained people who often do more harm than good. After all, Yoga exercises mean that you are working your body. If the methods are wrong, serious injury could result. Unfortunately, legal help and laws are sorely lacking,” says Pingale. Her time is divided between the separate batches the institute has for children, adults and senior citizens. There are separate classes for people and children suffering from various disorders and diseases like cerebral palsy, ischemic heart disease, lumbar and cervical spondylosis, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, osteoarthritis and paralysis.
A patient who comes to the institute for the first time needs to pay a one–time registration and consultation fee of INR 100 each and INR 250 per month for three days a week. There are also intensive programmes for people who come from outside the city. These people can reside in the premises itself and attend classes twice daily. Most try this treatment when conventional methods have failed. Others do so because they wish to get in touch with their inner self. Ultimately as with any other form of treatment, it is the benefits which count. So far away patients and people who come to the institute seem very satisfied. They are also motivated and some are now training to take this science to the areas they come from. They helped themselves first, now they are trying to help others.