It is hard to dispute the buzz that yoga, dating back thousands of years, is the panacea for most forms of aches, pains and internal illnesses plaguing the human body. The popularity of this form is global, with yoga classes abounding in the West and an international Yoga Day being celebrated. It is a delight to hear Westerners, who have embraced yoga, speak with the same spark regarding the topic as the ascetics do. But let me tell you that yoga is not food for all, and I have heard of people planning enrolment into yoga classes, only to abstain at the last minute.
A decade ago I joined a yoga class taught by simple teachers at an equally staid environment, for a modest fee. When I saw like-minded people panting, blowing, stretching and humming for the pranayama, kapalbhati, surya-namaskar, bhramari and so on, I felt a strange camaraderie with this unknown lot. I was reading up stuff on yogic postures, and felt at peace with my body and self for attempting to bring a unison between the two through this ancient practice. The body resisted and ached for a few days but soon got accustomed, and ached only if I withheld the practice for a day.
Recently I happened to visit the big city where my daughter resided and she informed me joyfully that she had enrolled for a yoga class. When I asked her about the gurudakshina, as the building structure resembled a gurukul, she replied, “Oh, it is only `4,000.” “Reasonable,” I said, “A decade ago I had paid around `3,000 for a six-month course and a couple of hundreds for the wheat grass juice we were provided after the session.” She laughed, “Amma, this is `4,000 per month.”
My mouth went dry and I wondered whether yoga had changed in its form or syllabus down the years. No, I realised, yoga had only been turned into a brand by a few training institutes. The core yoga has since taken many forms like acro-yoga resembling gymnastics, or the bungee yoga where the trainees resemble the toys I used to play with decades ago.
Coming to the nitty-gritty of its actual practice, I know people who work themselves up into a frenzy at the word itself, but cite a number of excuses for not being able to follow strict plans. These may range from work pressures, domestic chores, the distance of the training institute and so on. But upon casual scrutiny of any excuse, it will be seen that it is simple avoidance stemming from laziness, or lack of willpower. It is only discipline and dedication through which a person becomes conditioned to adhere to a regimen and achieve relevant success.