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The sign on Pali Hill had a photograph of a young yogi, curly hair to his shoulders, in what appeared to be a variation of the elephant pose. It wasn’t. Pradeesh is a Kalari warrior. It was the Kalari Wild Boar stance.
Kalaripayattu (the u is silent) is the mother of all the martial arts. Over the centuries, movement, manner and muscle memory have permeated the membranes, differentiating dance forms, yoga, ancient medicine and the performing arts. You see ripples of the Kalari warrior’s practice in Kathakali, in yoga, in ayurvedic healing.
Pradeesh Raj comes from generations of ayurvedic healers and yoga and kalari practitioners in Calicut where his maternal and paternal families both continue to run healing centres. Fluent in 15 martial arts, today the mild-mannered, empathetic, intuitive Pradeesh has earned a sound reputation as an excellent yoga and kalari instructor.
He moved his class from Pali Hill to the Retreat House in Bandra, an open, airy, circular hall. Classes with Pradeesh here are rewarding not just for the practice itself but end with a savasana in a space buffered from urban friction by sprawling gardens in the shadow of the Basilica on the Mount.