Learning the ropes of Mallakhamb

  • A girl practices a Mallakhamb pose while suspended from a rope at the Shree Samartha Vyayam Mandir in Mumbai. Vivek Prakash / Reuters
  • A boy with powder applied on his hands grabs onto a Mallakhamb pole during a Mallakhamb class. Vivek Prakash / Reuters
  • A boy reaches out his feet as he performs a Mallakhamb pose on a pole. Vivek Prakash / Reuters
  • A boy carries a gymnastic mattress during a Mallakhamb class. Vivek Prakash / Reuters
  • A boy stretches while waiting for his instructor before his Mallakhamb practice. Vivek Prakash / Reuters
  • His face expressing exertion, a boy works out hard hanging from a gym bar. Vivek Prakash / Reuters
  • A group of girls hang from parallel bars as they train during their Mallakhamb practice. Vivek Prakash / Reuters
  • A boy reacts as he and his classmates laugh during their Mallakhamb class. Vivek Prakash / Reuters
  • A boy hangs upside down as he performs Mallakhamb on a gymnast's pole during a practice session at a playground in Mumbai. Danish Siddiqui / Reuters
  • An instructor watches children performing during a Mallakhamb class at the Shree Samartha Vyayam Mandir in Mumbai. Vivek Prakash / Reuters
  • A group of boys prepare to set up a Mallakhamb pole during a class at the Shree Samartha Vyayam Mandir in Mumbai. Vivek Prakash / Reuters
  • A man performs a Mallakhamb pose on a gymnast's pole during a practice session at a playground in Mumbai. Danish Siddiqui / Reuters
  • Girls stack up toward the sky as they practice a Mallakhamb pose while suspended from a rope at the Shree Samartha Vyayam Mandir in Mumbai. Vivek Prakash / Reuters

Mallakhamb is an ancient Indian sport which originated as a complementary exercise for wrestling, but is now practiced as a sport in itself.

The name is a combination of the words 'malla', which means athlete or strong man, and 'khamba', which means pole. Athletes perform a variety of yogic and gymnastic poses while suspended from a rope or on a pole. Practitioners say that the sport not only develops a healthy and strong body, but also strengthens willpower and helps compose the mind.

* Vivek Prakash / Reuters

     
       
         
           
             
               
                 
                   
                     
                       
                         
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