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Gaga over Yoga

Atlanta, along with many other cities in US, continues to play host to several propagators of the ancient practice, writes Meeta Chaitanya.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2006 18:40 IST
ATLANTA DIARY | Meeta Chaitanya
ATLANTA DIARY | Meeta Chaitanya

America's fascination with Yoga is anything but superficial. In fact, a few months back, we had seen how this appeal had found its way into the consciousness of even the most peripheral cross-section here.

As the trend grows and wins over many enthusiasts, Atlanta, along with many other cities in the United States continues to play host to several renowned propagators of this ancient practice.

In this context of Yoga's bulging popularity, Sri Swami Adhyatmanandaji Maharaj's visit to Georgia as a part of his sojourn in the continent assumes great significance.

Equally educative for dabblers as also advanced learners, this world-renowned yoga master's advent, albeit for a brief period is being hailed with gusto.

Swami Adhyatmananda of the Sivananda Ashram, Ahmedabad is a distinguished Yoga teacher in the Divine Life Society tradition, working for the most part in Gujarat, India.

Currently on tour in America, he kicked off the excursion in Chicago on June 9, 2006.

After spending time in nearly half a dozen other cities in the US and Canada, he is now in Atlanta to impart his teachings to zealous practitioners here.

The Swami is conducting a series of classes from July 28-31, 2006. These classes, unlike many regular metro gigs and workshops are free and open to all.

Held as a bi-part series the morning classes are being organized at the Indian American Cultural Association, Smyrna while the evening classes are being conducted at the Global Mall, Norcross.

Practiced for over 5,000 years, Yoga has won many fans across all sections of society in India and abroad.

Men and women across age groups here too have excitedly embraced this workshop, which just goes to endorse the fact that the spurt in this Indian practice's patronage is indeed meteoric.

Scores of fitness centres in this area have started including Yoga in their course curriculum to accommodate the growing demand for this discipline.

This particular format does not require cataclysmic change of lifestyle, faith or religion and yet it promises to improve one's sense of general well-being.

A disciple of HH Sri Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj, Adhyatmanandaji has continued to enthral audiences with a singular combination of insightful knowledge and charisma.

Universally regarded as a dynamic yogi, he is known to posses a mesmeric personality.

Inspiring confidence in even the most stoic of skeptics he has gone from milestone to milestone in emitting and conferring upon his audiences the timeless kernels of wisdom ingrained in the practice of Yoga and meditation.

It isn't surprising therefore that he is fast becoming one of the most sought after speakers globally.

A qualified Yogacharya, he has to his credit more than 600 yoga shibirs or camps in India and abroad for a slew of audiences such as universities, private sector companies and free-for-all camps.

An exponent of Hatha Yoga, Adhyatmananda has been an expert in Yogasanas, Pranayama and relaxation techniques for over 25 years. He has also authored a series of articles on the medical benefits of Yoga.

The Atlanta camp, open to all in essence, does require tacit adherence to certain basic tenets of 'Yoga Gyan', such as disciplined and punctual attendance and practice of some fundamental principles as being on a minimal fat diet that contains plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, abstinence from fried food, oil, butter and ghee and a general sense of finding peace within oneself before committing to the sessions.

Basic Yoga programs do not require special physical agility, knowledge or experience and are therefore extremely alluring for the uninitiated.

While it has been sold variously as an infallible mantra to achieve unity of mind, body and soul and alleviation of almost all physical ailments, its day-to-day benefits for all are probably the most significant part of its pervasive appeal.

Aside from the piquant interest that Yoga aficionados have espoused over the years, its resuscitation as a practice open to all has made it even more endearing and endurable.

Like many other hidden gems of wisdom it could have been curtailed as an esoteric art reserved for the privileged few.

Instead, it has become a healthy, holistic, permeable and flexible way of life, for one, for all.

First Published: Aug 21, 2006 18:40 IST