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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - NEW DELHI: With three records in hand, including as the world’s youngest yoga instructor, a schoolgirl is setting her sights on a new feat — training with one of the most famous yogis, the Indian prime minister.
Seven-year-old Praanvi Gupta began learning yoga at the age of 3, copying her parents, who regularly practice the ancient Indian discipline at home.
When the family moved from New Delhi to Dubai four years ago, Gupta began attending yoga classes.
Last year, she completed a 200-hour course to be certified by Yoga Alliance, the largest nonprofit organization representing yoga teachers, and in late November 2022 was verified by Guinness World Records as the youngest yoga instructor.
At 7 years and 165 days old, Gupta beat Reyansh Surani, who was 9 years and 220 days old when he received his certification in 2021.
“I really feel proud and excited that nobody at this age has made it,” she told Arab News. “I know that yoga is beneficial. I want to spread this word that everyone should practice yoga and children should practice it.”
Gupta already knows her next career steps. She wants to write a yoga book for children and, encouraged by her achievements, also meet India’s leader Narendra Modi, an avid yoga practitioner, who has been promoting the discipline at home and abroad.
“I want to do yoga with him someday,” Gupta said. “I heard that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a big yoga enthusiast, and he loves yoga.”
The girl’s formal yoga education began at the Vedic Yoga Center in Dubai, under the supervision of trainer and educator Vincent Earth Kottayil, who encouraged her to enroll in a course for instructors.
“I have been teaching yoga for the past 25 years. I think she is one of the greatest students for me because she has some inborn quality for yoga,” Kottayil said.
“She was showing extra talent in yoga and showing enthusiasm to know more about yoga. I suggested that she join the yoga teachers’ training course, and she completed the course very successfully.”
Yoga is not the only discipline in which Gupta has been winning laurels. She already has several records and medals in other fields, both physical and academic.
Her father, Pramod, said that he is “super proud” of her achievements.
“She has two other world records for reciting all the countries and their capitals when she was 5 years old, and in 2021 she had a world record of telling 10 longest words in English in just 81 seconds,” he said.
At the age of 4, soon after moving to the UAE, Gupta took part in the annual Dubai Run and completed the 5 km route.
“She likes challenges. Whenever you challenge her to something, she’ll just learn that thing quickly,” Gupta’s mother, Priyanka Sengar, told Arab News.
Sengar, the founder and CEO of Women First Jobs, an organization that aims to close gender disparity in employment, is aware of her daughter’s talent for yoga and has also nurtured her interest in books.
But neither of Gupta’s parents are trying to plan the future for her.
“We just support her; whatever she dreams, we just support her,” Sengar said.
“The future will be bright for her, and we are 200 percent sure about that. Whatever she does, she will do her best and will shine in that.”
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