The secret of Manipur’s ‘Iron Lady’ Irom Sharmila’s fairly good health even after undertaking a hunger strike for 16 years, during which she was forcibly nose-fed, lay in her will power and the habit of practising yoga daily.
According to her associates and family members, she learnt yoga in 1998, two years before she sat on the hunger strike which recently ended. “It is her strong will power and daily habit of practising yoga which kept her physically fit,” Sharmila’s brother Irom Singhajit.
As a young woman in the nineties Sharmila was fascinated by the subject of nature cure and took up a course which also included yoga as a means of natural well-being.
“Yoga is not like football. It is different. If a person does yoga, it can help one to live longer. By doing yoga, one can live up to one hundred years! It is not so with other sports like football,” Sharmila had told her biographer Deepti Priya Mehrotra in the book ‘Burning Bright’.
She recalled that she began doing the Yoga asanas in 1998-99 and since then she has been doing it every day. Describing Sharmila as someone exceptionally close to nature, the book says she used to experiment continually with her body through Yoga and walking.