The world is celebrating International Day of Yoga today with much enthusiasm and dedication. People across the globe have understood the importance of Yoga and have embraced the ancient Indian method of mental and physical healing.
In an exclusive with Raghav Jaitly of Zee News.com, International Art of Living Faculty Gaurav Verma talked about benefits of Yoga, its psychological advantages and much more. Here are some interesting excerpts from the interview:
Q: How does yoga help combat modern-day stress?
A: It increases your productivity, keeps you healthy, lets you do your tasks at ease, helps you to maintain the pace and to retain your position in the rat race. It actually helps you accelerate in the rat race. The rat race becomes a catwalk.
Q: What makes Yoga class apart from other exercise forms?
A: This is the most natural form of exercise. In the ancient years, when the rishis sat in meditation, the postures were spontaneously revealed to them. This makes it the most natural form of exercise which has no side effects, like the other form of fitness regimes. It can be practiced at any age. You have more restrictions when you follow any other form of fitness program. It can be done at the comfort of your own home. Apart from the physical fitness, it helps on all the levels of existence. It makes the body healthy, mind peaceful, intellect sharp, enhances your memory, brings you in touch with your core existence.
Q: What all qualities do we start absorbing as we make Yoga a part of our daily routine?
A: You become dynamic from outside and peaceful from inside. Dynamism helps you to deal with any given situation in your day to day life and peace helps you to connect with yourself. It brings a holistic development. You become friendlier, your mind becomes peaceful, which enhances the perception, increases the observation and the expression becomes perfect. It gives you a sense of contentment and fulfilment in life. It makes your life joyful. Life becomes meaningful rather than just being mean.
Q: What are the psychological benefits of Yoga that people are still aware of?
A: It can help you get rid of bad impressions on your mind, as it is said, 'Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha'. It clears all the impressions from your mind and keeps you in the present moment. Yoga helps you to overcome depression. Makes you highly aware and takes you to the conscious state of mind. Like, as we know that 90 percent of the diseases in the body are psychosomatic, Yoga helps us to make our mind healthy.
Q: Every year, Yoga attracts large number of foreign followers. Do you think young Indians aren’t as enthusiastic about Yoga as people are in the West?
A: No, I don’t think so. The youth these days are embracing Yoga as the people are welcoming it in other countries. Youth these days are intelligent enough to acknowledge the benefits Yoga offers. In my programs, there are equal number of youth participants as any other age group.
Q: What should be done to increase Yoga awareness in India?
A: We should include it in the curriculum in schools and colleges. We should offer our yoga programs in prisons. Medically also, it should be given priority. The leaders and role models like film personalities should share the benefits of Yoga with the common people. Government is taking the right steps and should continue to do so. The corporate culture should be aligned to practice this beautiful art.
Q: To what extent did your life change after you started practicing Yoga?
A: Complete 360 degrees turn around. I have experienced complete transformation. I have been practicing Yoga for the last 20 years and sharing it with others too. A complete sense of fulfillment is experienced on the level of inner self. It has made me more dynamic, spontaneous, clear in thinking, increased my energy, ability to deal with difficult situations is there. Physical fitness is better and an open minded approach away from narrow mindedness has dawned, which has helped me to figure out the harmony in diversity. Yoga insulates me from harsh and rough emotions like anger, delusion, jealousy, greed etc.
Q: Your thoughts on International Yoga Day?
A: It is a very good initiative. As the Chinese food is accepted all over the world, and Pizza comes from Italy but is consumed all over, American music is being appreciated all over the world. In the same way people, have rightly understood that the approach of Yoga is universal and can be practiced anywhere and everyone.