Little did I know that, Yoga is a journey when I started it for fitness. It was way back in 2006, my life was filled with apathy and that was too young an age for me to feel disinterested about life. Like I always mention this favourite quote of mine from Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam’s ( I felt it’s worth remembering the great soul’s full name), “Wings of Fire” which says, “Every person in pain finds a special helper”; to me that special helper was books during times of dismay. I indulged into reading for my survival in those days. Depression, a serious mental illness which, without your knowledge, hits you down but never leaves any traces for common people to identify why you are so indifferent; to which the answer lies only with the Psychiatrist , who just finds you different from other cases but not indifferent. Yes, it was terrible and I went through it.
So no wonder, the genres that I preferred to read were self-help and philosophy and then comes a book in my way. I stayed at my aunt’s place when one of my cousins came to visit me. Playfully, I checked her bag and found a small book of quotes by Swami Vivekananda. I still don’t exactly know when and how my interest for spirituality developed. I dreamt of visiting an Ashram ( Hermit ) and see how they could live in such austerity.
In conjunction, way before all this, when I used to tag along with Dad to book stores ( I am a lover of stationery items ), I used to get some book or the other and that’s how I got a book with Swami Vivekananda’s quotes. But, the book I found in my sisters bag was the one which my mind got connected the most with. It was published by Ramakrishna Mission in Vizag which said how to live a happy life and there were these quotes. That was the first time I got introduced to the word ‘Surya Namaskaras’. Infact, for everyone, at some point in life, comes a moment of inspiration, which gives hope to live and let live. That little book was my inspiration. There began my association with Yoga. One of my cousins whom I am so close to , has his entire family into Yoga, teaching and practicing. That’s how I got to know a little more.
THE YOGA CONSCIOUSNESS TRUST (YCT- Vishakhapatnam)
The best thing about yoga is “Yoga makes you fall in love with your body!”. Trust me! As I began, a day passed without yoga was like a lifeless day! The days that I do yoga are the ones which make me enjoy the sunshine, the fragrance of flowers and the light breeze kissing my cheeks. That’s when I realised yoga makes one feel addicted to it. From then on, I used to search for yoga classes nearby and amidst time I have attended few yoga workshops as well. When we shifted to a new home, I was lucky enough to find the classes conducted by ‘Yoga Consciousness Trust’ just a few steps away . My parents were reluctant initially as I hail from a conservative family and grew up as a protected child but after a lot of insisting, finally Dad agreed, so I was lucky. This is the place where I actually began to learn what yoga is. My master used to elucidate what exactly happens within self while doing yoga. Amazing things to know! But I had huge breaks from my yoga routine with the YCT because of taking up a new job , relocating and further studies.
THE TIMES OF VISHADA VIYOGA( Distress of Detachment)
On a lighter note, I felt like naming this phase so! 😀 Hectic schedules of work, travel and lifestyle, made me fall apart from my routine with Yoga. However, a piece of my heart was always stuck with Yoga. I struggled most of the days to make time for practise however my journal was like a daily reminder before bed in which my next days’ task would certainly be “Practise yoga”. There were days when I wanted to do my regular 45 minute routine yet ended up with 2 of my favourite asanas. But, this didn’t last long as my desire for mastering the art still lingered in my mind.
DESIRE MEETS DESTINY
Yes! Desires meet destiny when you have conviction and that’s when miracles happen too! I feel pride in saying that it was my life partner who encouraged me to pursue my interest in yoga. I was diagnosed with a minor health ailment due to disturbed lifestyle and that paved my way to approach yoga as a retreat. Everything happens for a reason ! Also everything fell in place for the right reason. It was also a peak time at work but it was like a miracle to get those good days of leave. Though I was unsure , I discovered a yoga teacher training program at the “Art of Living ” on a suggestion and then voila! I am a yoga instructor now! Well, that marked the inception of my journey with the renowned Sri Sri School of Yoga.
THE ‘SRI SRI’ WAY OF HEALING
“An abode of tranquility”! What best could I describe the place-“Aashram” ! Away from the concrete jungle and the rush to make a living, the Ashram healed my mind with the serenity of nature. It was very different from the regular lifestyle of mine so I found living at Ashram was hectic too. Washing clothes with hands(A person who uses washing machine would understand this :P) , adjusting in small rooms with people hailing from myriad ethnicities and social backgrounds, walking miles daily, to and from the yoga classes within the Ashram, eating the same ghee filled Khichdi ( authentic Indian vegetarian dish) almost every day; I found it tough! But I realised, there are two kinds of pain. The one which hurts and the one which heals. I realised that the path of Yoga was absolutely my choice and so I was responsible for turning that pain to gain. It was all for my health and happy living.
I remember the day when I couldn’t adjust in my room sharing with people as I was not used to such sharing. I remember crying out my complaints to Kashi Bhaiya ( a renowned Guru whose preachings are very insightful) and he helped me shift to a new room.
I must mention that his way of dealing with a bag of complaints like mine amazed me! He once said something that changed my perspective towards people around and in fact myself. He said, “ For us to be in our nature , there is no need for others to be in our nature.” Eventually I fell in love with my routine, I joined the 5 AM club happily. I later thought, “ What is the point of seeking austerity without detachment from luxury?”.
At the Sri Sri School of Yoga, the syllabus doesn’t cover Aasanas alone. It includes Anatomy, History, Sanskrit and excerpts from Vedas and Puranas with the major subject being love for every creature and when I say every creature , I literally mean it. No wonder I’ve seen a cobra which lives right under near our room but none of us were hurt through out the duration that we stayed there. A congenial environment for the flora and fauna along with us isn’t it ? 🙂
My heartfelt gratitude to the revered Guru for bringing the ancient art and science into lime light & giving scope and access to the healing for millions of people around the globe irrespective of the caste , creed, religion and ethnicity. I made friends irrespective of age, Yu Tan , a 35 years old teacher from Taiwan and Anvi, a sweet kid , with whom the memories I had stay indelible.
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES because Yoga is not a destination, it is a journey to the self through the self. Yoga made me expand my horizons of thinking ability . To smile with all my heart , to stretch an extra mile to reach my toes without any discomfort, to try vegetarian recipes with that yummy A2 ghee have now become a part of my routine. Happiness is all what my path to yoga led and health is a perk. Now, I work out for health and not fitness. A fit person may not be healthy but a healthy person is always fit. Yoga is an ultimate secret to health and happiness and I welcome you all to be a part of this exhilarating journey 🙂