The Suriname connection

My neighbour Lizzie from the Czech Republic is a true yoga fanatic ...

By Raksha Chandnani

Retrospect and prospects: The Cultural Imprint of

Indian Diaspora, from goat yoga to butter chicken


My neighbour Lizzie from the Czech Republic is a true yoga fanatic. Ever since I moved into the flat next door to her in Barcelona, she keeps asking me if I want to join her for a yoga session sometime. After a few exasperated tries, she gives me a confused look before asking: “Rakshi, how come you don’t participate in yoga? You’re Indian. I thought all Indians like and practise yoga daily”. I giggle and shake my head. “No Lizzie, I guess I’m not there yet.” She still looks confused. I explain to her that the yoga I grew up seeing at the Indian Cultural Centre in Suriname during my youth was different than that of today. “As children, my parents used to often take us there for performances during a Republic Day celebration. We used to watch mostly older people perform a series of yoga moves on stage, which were quite funny to my brother and I at that young age: They would perform extremely slow movements while lying down and we often giggled at the very mention of “sav asana”. While I grew up as an NRI, there were no women clad in a sports top and tight leggings, much less the fancy goat yoga (which I still cannot believe exists).” This time, it is Lizzie who finds my experiences rather amusing, whereas for me, this conversation becomes an eye-opener regarding the influence and progress of Indian diaspora on the world. It occurs to me that through Yoga, we have spread some awareness of our country as well.