Ridiculed when she began her effort 3 years ago, this yoga teacher now has 400 followers in Cubbon Park Three-and-a-half years ago when Preeti, a 28-year-old from Hisar in Haryana, decided to start free yoga classes in Cubbon Park, she did not find much support. People come to Cubbon Park to walk, not to do yoga, many told her. “They told me not to expect people to carry yoga mats to Cubbon Park. They discouraged me and some even tried to take advantage of the fact that I was alone in my pursuit,” she tells BM. For the first three months, this dismal outlook to yoga seemed to be on the verge of coming true. “I would sit alone in Cubbon Park every morning expecting people to turn up for the yoga classes,’’ Preeti says. After three months, two elderly women approached her. They wanted to practise yoga. One of the women was suffering from frequent headaches and high blood pressure. Training her first two students proved to be slightly tricky. “I had to struggle to motivate them to attend the classes regularly. One of them used to complain that she could not practise yoga for one hour as she did not want to delay breakfast,” Preeti says. The first ray of hope came when the other woman – Leela –realised that with yoga, her headache and her blood pressure became normal,’’ says Preeti. From then on, Preeti claims she has conducted classes for around 400 people. Preeti began doing yoga early on in life. She says yoga helped her to lose around 20 kg during college days.“Later, I trained my father, and by practising pranayama and meditation, he got relief from thryroid issues. A friend of mine during my college days, was suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD). I advised her to do pranayama and meditation. She does and has got relief from the condition,’’ says Preeti. Preeti had dreamt of becoming a doctor, but ended up as yoga teacher after a degree in physiotherapy. She came to Bengaluru in searching for a job but found self-employment. “It is destiny that made me come to Bengaluru. I find people in the city are broad-minded and do not trouble people from other states,’’ she says.