Master Teacher Sharat Arora was born in 1953 and discovered yoga in 1978. He went through intensive, full-time training for seven years with Guruji BKS Iyengar at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Institute in Pune and assisted Iyengar on all levels of Asana classes. However, more significant in his development as a practitioner and teacher was his involvement in the daily therapy sessions, serving countless patients. His fusion of this experience, with his extensive study of medicine, greatly influenced his continually-evolving Yoga technique and sharpened his unique Yoga therapy skills.
In an exclusive interview with India One News.in Sharat Arora talks about what motivates him to keep going. Excerpts of the interview:
India One News: What is your take on Yoga considering now it is a practice all around the world?
Sharat Arora: Yoga has been practised as a way to grow spiritually. What it has become now is the way to be healthy – a lot of the time flexible and strong. Unfortunately with these goals only few people will carry on teaching yoga as a spiritual path. Even in yoga centres that are government recognised, they do yoga in a physical manner & then by chanting mantras, shlokas & pujas they think that’s the way to combine spirituality in yoga. What needs to change is some education in what yoga actually is.
India One News: Why does allopathic medical professionals need to know about Yoga?
Sharat Arora : Allopathic practitioners treat body symptoms , It would help a great deal if they also understand and learn holistic approach to health by incorporating Yoga as a way of life. The mind plays a big factor in the health of a person. Doctors know it but it’s not official.
The depth will only come when decision makers are open to listening to actual practitioners. Till that changes it is not going to take us anywhere.
Indeed if allopathic medical professionals come to understand what yoga is and actually practice it, It will benefit the public a lot and there are Doctors in India and US who are incorporating modern medicines with Yoga . We have had many doctors who have come to us to learn yoga and they have also shared insight from their field of expertise and I believe that both can learn from each other for the betterment of people.
India One News: There have been several people who have come for several reasons and they have benefited from Iyenger Yoga, What are the few benefits and what can a person overcome from practising Yoga?
Sharat Arora: Generally we only get the benefits of that what we seek. Some people come to us to find a path because they want to believe in something. People who have physical problems say injuries, old standing imbalances etc they have benefited a great deal within a short time after starting to practice Yoga. However only some people actually understand that they can get rid of the suffering that they live in everyday life – that suffering is a byproduct of their own reality. After continuous practice one learns how to drop that and be free. It is this last type of students who have perseverance and willingness to change things & it is they who that stick to yoga no matter what.
India One News: How important is to be flexible to do yoga?
Sharat Arora: Flexibility is not at all a criteria unless you want to show off. You start your work from where you are and try to understand your body rather than force it into flexibility. If you practice violently everyday you get violence back, this affects how you deal with things in daily life.
India One News: Is there any age restriction to join HIYC?
Sharat Arora: Most of the courses that we have at Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Center are for people who have small imbalances. When they have a big imbalance they have to follow a different program. A program that is suitable only for them. So indeed there is no age restrictions. There is only restrictions on someone who as they age become more and more incapacitated in many areas. There is no age restrictions to practice yoga but one must be physically willing to practice it .
India One News:How does Yoga aids towards mental health?
Sharat Arora: The yogis/seers/rishis, they found that yoga and mind are connected. Both body & mind we inherit as well as condition them during our life. In general when we do yoga, we do asanas. Asanas help in bringing a balanced body and Asanas also help us to energetically understand our current state of mind and body which is nothing but prognosis of our body by oneself. Yoga is not Panacea but it is a way of life so apart from Yoga one also has to incorporate routine like eating healthy ,thinking right and following a time cycle everyday.
Of course this is not possible unless someone has got a commitment towards how they feel or are willing to look inwards. Only then do they understand the reality and current state and also they would be able to understand the link between Yoga Practice and good physical & mental health. A good practice method considers current general trends of thinking and conceives an asana practice to align them.
India One News: How does one need to go through the entire process?
Sharat Arora: The process starts with universal rules which were called dharma in Hindu philosophy. One needs to understand this before one does the asana practice. Of course no one talks about them and emphasises on them enough to make people realise this is the path. The application of dharma in our practice is what makes it spiritual. These rules of alignment with oneself are yama and niyama. They help us in not only bringing about physical and mental balance but also putting it and expressing it in our daily life in all things.
India One News: Can you please explain about lifestyle changes that Yoga brings in one’s life?
Sharat Arora: If the yoga practitioner’s goal is healthy practice, of course it brings changes in one’s life but very small. Life changes only come about when one introspected goals within and checks the present status. This status is not aligned with my life. Can I change this!
And the going inwards therefore is the main path that yoga brings about. Going within introspection, being sensitive, allows the practitioner to actually feel what’s going on. Without this there is only superficial changes. I say superficial because even the improvement of the health of the body is pretty superficial because yoga has much deeper benefits if one goes inwards.