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Breathe easy

Mohamad Kadry (kadry@khaleejtimes.com) / 15 September 2011

We speak with yoga teacher Jyothirmaya from the Art of Living Foundation as he brings an exciting new workshop to Dubai that aims to educate people on the benefits of meditation

How can yoga help ease some of the stress of living and working in a high-speed environment like Dubai?

Yoga provides an easy and natural way to relax consciously at the same time limbers up the body systems. Just like a well-rested and well-oiled machine functions more effectively, in the same way, yoga helps to improve physical and mental efficiency.The physical asanas (postures in yoga exercises) help to release physical stress stored in the body as a result of postural and physiological imbalances. Emotional and mental stresses are taken care of by breathing techniques and meditations. Overall, the techniques of yoga can prove to be an effective tool to deal with the fast paced lifestyle of this generation.

What are the methods taught at the Art of Living?

At the Art Of Living (AOL), we teach a breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya. This is a very simple but powerful breathing technique introduced by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of AOL.

Millions of people in 151 countries are practicing this technique. Lots of research is being done on Sudarshan Kriya in different parts of the world. Once this technique is learnt, then to practice on your own it takes just 10-15 minutes everyday.

How do you feel your work influences people?

Having travelled all over the world, teaching these techniques, I have found great satisfaction in seeing the wide variety of people that find benefits from practicing yoga. For a stressed out executive, yoga offers a proven relief, for an upcoming executive, it is a way of improving soft skills, for a student it offers improved concentration and focus and for people in general - a sense of overall well being. I would say the techniques of yoga are like a buffet - you get to choose what you want. In a way, this is the beauty of yoga that you can choose how much you want to experience and how much you choose to benefit.

What does it take to master the art of yoga?

Nothing - the willingness to relax and the willingness to learn is the best asset to learn and master yoga.

What are some things all yoga beginners need to know?

Three things: do as much as you can, don’t be lazy and keep a smile on your face.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about yoga that you’ve encountered in your travels?

The biggest misconception is that yoga has something to do with religion. Just as eating pizza from Italy does not make you Italian, or using an iPhone designed in America does not make you an American, in the same way, though the knowledge of yoga originates in India, doing yoga does not imply a change in our culture or tradition. The benefits of yoga are proven and used by many all over the world and have brought peace, harmony and increase in energy and enthusiasm in people from all walks of life. A calm and energetic mind is better equipped to handle the stress of daily life, especially in the current situation. For a perfect state of health, one has to be mentally calm, steady and emotionally soft. This is not an easy state to attain in today’s fast-paced life.

Tips for healthy living from Jyothirmaya

1.   Know about yourself: We need to know a little bit about the layers of our existence - body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego and the self. It helps one to live in the present moment, and cope with life. Take a week off every year, like one takes a car for servicing. During that time, align oneself with nature, wake up with the sunrise, practice yoga, eat proper food and spend some time creatively.

2.   Make meditation a part of life.: Meditation gives one a deep rest. Deeper one is able to rest, more dynamic will one be in activity. For holistic health, meditation is the key. Meditation is a mind without agitation, hesitation and anticipation and a mind which is in the present moment.

3.   Learn about breath: Breathing is life. Yet neither at school, nor at home, have we been taught the importance of breathing. If we can understand the power of the breath, we can have a say over our thoughts, our feelings. We can control anger and negative moods.

4.   Eat right: For a healthy body and to control our emotions, thoughts and actions, we need to observe what we eat. It is said ‘As is the food, so is the mind)’ The kind of food we eat has a definite impact on our body and mind. Fresh food, fruits and some vegetables have more prana (life force energy), and frozen and canned food has very little prana. Fresh food brings ideal nourishment, promotes vigor, vitality, endurance and longevity.

5.   Make time for yourself: Everyday we are engaged in only gathering information and we do not take out time for ourselves - to think and reflect. Then we feel dull & tired. Few quiet moments are the source of creativity. Silence heals and rejuvenates and gives one depth and stability. Some time during the day, sit for a few minutes, get into the cave of your heart, eyes closed, and kick the world away like a ball.


Event details

What: The Art of Living yoga sessions

When: September 18 and 19, 7:30pm to 10pm

Where: Dubai International Convention Centre, Hall 8

Fee: Dhs300. Visit wakeupandshakeupdubai.com for registration

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