Poorna: Center for Embodied Practices offers intensive training and advanced studies in Yoga, Bharatanatyam (Southern Indian classical dance) and Somatics. Poorna, meaning “whole”, envisions the body-mind composite as a whole and aims to corelate the rigorous physical practice with sensitive somatic enquiry, along with an informed engagement with philosophical discourses relating to the infinite possibilities—physical, insightful, spiritual, and poetic—of the material body.
About the founder/director:
Navtej Johar is a dancer-choreographer, scholar, yoga- exponent, and an urban activist. His work—within all fields of his varied interests—remains consistently body-centric! It twines practice with critical theory and social action, traverses freely between the traditional and the contemporary, and rigorously engages both the philosophical and the sociological discourses of the body. Delving equally into the pre-modern Indian and Western discourses, he has been examining the “idea of the body”, and how this may influence the practice, presentation, and the history of both Yoga and dance, as well as the envisioning of body-sensitive cities.
Johar trained Bharatanatyam and yoga in South India, at the Kalakshetra and the Krishnamcharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai, respectively, and then joined the Department of Performance Studies, NYU, for Critical Studies in dance. A long time fellow at the “Interweaving Performance Cultures”, International Research Centre, Freie University, Berlin, Germany, he has been engaged in rigorous research in the varied fields of his interest and offers workshops and lectures at various universities and institutes both in the US and internationally.
After years of teaching yoga and dance, Johar has devised a method to effectively practice asana, called BARPS. This method involves the progressive processes of bracing, aligning, rotation of joints, poising of attention in order to finally get into a fulsome stretch. He is also a founder of a Somatic practice that is informed by the sukha (reposeful pleasure) component of yoga and rasa (aesthetic pleasure) of dance.
Apart from being a dancer, choreographer and yoga master, Johar is also committed to rigorous research and cross-disciplinary inquiry. Considering that both Yoga and Indian dance are a) informed by two distinct schools of Indian thought, i.e. Samkhya and Tantra, and b) because these embodied practices also incorporate visualisation and imagery, he finds it imperative to equally delve into the fields of Linguistics, Poetics and Aesthetics.