Recently I came across a very strong post from a friend about how yoga had a lasting impact on his life and how he owes it to his teacher who took the time and effort to try and instil the values of a yogi in him. Since I’ve never been appreciative of yoga as a fitness routine or as many call it ‘a way of life’ and never took an effort to try it out on my own, I decided that perhaps Vidya Venkatesh, the woman who managed to guide my friend towards the enlightening path of yoga could help me understand it better.
‘Yoga is about going on an inward journey’ is the first thing she said when asked to define what yoga is for her. While a lot of people look at it as a form of physical exercise done to gain fitness benefits, this age old practice delves deeper into understanding the potential of the human mind and soul.
Patanjali Sutra, which is considered as the highest authority in the ancient scripture is possibly the origin of yoga. According to Vidya, since yoga has a lot to do with meditation and is about an individual’s spiritual journey, it could even date back to Vedanta’s.
Over the many years that Vidya has been doing yoga with varying levels of dedication and commitment up until three years back when she finally started taking it seriously, her perception about yoga has changed. “Initially even I was only looking at the physical benefits, but it is no longer an exercise, it is a spiritual journey,” she said.
Amongst the various indescribable ways in which yoga changed her life, she enlisted some that were on the top of her mind. “You will be more aware of your feelings. Not like any of your emotions are going to drastically change overnight. For example, if you are angry you feel it come and it won’t be prolonged as it is otherwise.”
Shattering my myths about yoga just being about postures and flexibility, Vidya explains, “While doing yoga, you are focusing on your breath. And breath, you can’t think of the one you took before or the one you will inhale later. Breath keeps you in the present. When you keep practising that and observing your own movement you will be more rooted to the present”.
One of the best things about yoga is that it is for all. People of any age, body size, fitness and flexibility levels can practice yoga. It is not about achieving the flexibility that your friend achieved or doing an asana better than he/she did but its about understanding your own body and letting it react to all the stimulus naturally.
The first thing you will notice when you practice yoga is that your mind will be calmer. You won’t feel as agitated and anxious and even if you do its effects won’t be prolonged. You will also note improved respiration, energy, and vitality. Apart from that you will also notice physical improvements such as improved flexibility, stronger core muscles, and balanced metabolism. “You need to have a body that is strong to pursue anything. Yoga will help you keep your body fit as your internal organs will get better, all your systems will get better and there will be no block in the flow of energy in your body. Once the flow is free, you can focus on a lot more and finally realise who you are”.
Since Vidya doesn’t believe in commercialising yoga and only teaches people who approach her as she feels it is her duty to impart the knowledge of yoga, she feels that it won’t be appropriate for us to promote her classes and instead people who truly want to learn can find her on their own. However, the other prominent classes in Oman that teach yoga include:
Yogashaala: +968 9575 3154
Art of Living: +968 2457 2770
Rajayoga: +968 247 82924