On International Yoga Day, India Today brings you an exclusive interview with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder Art of Living to understand yoga and its unexplored secrets which can benefit you in everyday life.
Lets start the journey of Yoga with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Q.What is Yoga? How can Yoga transform people's lives?
Gurudev:Yoga is being natural and spontaneous. It is a state of harmony in every aspect of life whether it is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual and this brings a transformation from stress to happiness, not just at an individual level but at the level of society as well.
How is International Yoga Day benefiting the world?
Gurudev: The buzz around Yoga for the International Yoga Day will certainly bring more awareness on keeping the body and mind healthy all over the world. Yoga is not just limited to one religion or one country; it is a treasure of knowledge for all of humanity. The International Yoga Day will help make this treasure accessible to people across the world and will also remove the misconceptions and prejudice about yoga.
Yoga has been interpreted in various ways; spiritual bliss, exercise for healthy body and for some it is mastering the asanas. What is it?
Gurudev: Yoga means uniting, uniting with your own center. There are eight limbs to yoga and asanas is one of them. Most people think yoga is just a set of body postures but there is a lot more to it. Pranayama and meditation are also limbs of yoga and they bring harmony to deeper levels of existence beyond the physical.
What made you take Yoga as the sole goal in your life?
Gurudev: Yoga is so holistic that it includes everything. It is not a separate theoretical subject you study in life like the others, it enriches your very experience of living.
How can Yoga benefit students' lifestyle? Share some tips from which students can benefit.
Gurudev: Pranayama and meditation improve concentration and memory that students can really benefit from. Daily practice of meditation helps develop a keen insight into things and students develop strong receptivity. It can also enhance intuition for students and take away most of the mental fatigue as well as anxiety during exams. Yoga also helps to free them from inhibitions while interacting with people or performing. It also develops a strong and palatable personality. As teenagers, students go through a lot of inner turmoil. Yoga helps to ease them out.
Stress, tension, frustrations, depressions are key things identified in youth life. How can one get rid of such symptoms through Yoga?
Gurudev: They go away automatically with the practice of yoga. All these symptoms are due to low life force energy. Yoga raises our prana or life force energy and all these problems vanish without much effort.
A lot of people's lives go by sitting at office desks. Tell us how people can improve their lifestyle and make the most out of their life.
Gurudev: For people who spend most of their day sitting at desks, having some physical exercise or stretches as a part of their daily routine is essential. Pranayama and meditation keep the energy levels up through the day. High energy levels keep the mind clear and sharp. Offices can also have a group meditation before having meals together. This is also very helpful in promoting teamwork at the workplace. It is also a good idea to spend some time daily with Nature and do things that are not 'important'. This brings up creativity in us.
How technical is Yoga? How can one become a pro in it?
Gurudev:It is not something we have spend a lot of effort in learning. In fact, we have all done yoga as babies - all babies in the world are yogis. The way they stretch themselves in different postures, the way they smile, they way they breathe is all yoga. If you can observe a baby, you do not need a yoga teacher.
What is your goal in life?
Gurudev: To help people find the goal in their life.