Breaking boundaries with yoga

I used to be hospitalized for most of the time during my college years. As a teenager, I didn’t know how to handle relationships and academic stress. That messed up my life. But things changed when I got introduced to yoga and meditation. My physical and emotional health improved. I decided to use this knowledge to bring about a change in everyone’s life. So, I became a teacher and started traveling the world, teaching yoga and meditation.

In the past 20 years, I have taught in the poorest of villages and in the grandest of 5-star hotels. Whoever be my students, my high point remains seeing them smile on the last day of the program. Once, I was taking a program for school kids in Kazakhstan. Many of these kids used to smoke and wouldn’t even stay put. After the program ended, the kids who used to smoke, gave up smoking. The kids used the pieces of my dupatta as a token of remembrance. They told me that each of them will carry the piece until the next time I came.

There have been so many of my students who have told me that these programs have prevented them from committing suicide. It’s just amazing how an ancient science can change people within a short duration.

It’s a myth that being a yogi is all about being serious. Believe me, yoga makes you fun and joyful, and only a happy heart can give. Yoga makes you so happy that you would want to spend your life sharing it with others!

- Kamlesh Barwal, Head, Sri Sri Yoga and General Secretary, Indian Association of Yoga

Written by Vanditaa Kothari