International Lifestyle Magazine Issue 51 - Page 42

It was whilst researching that I discovered the Wise Living Yoga Academy, founded by Daniel Fonseca and Jeenal Mehta, a married couple, who follow a traditional approach to yoga from India, and are very much aware of this problem. They have a beautiful yoga centre in the North of Thailand, the only one in the city of Chiang Mai, for those who are looking for a genuine Yogic experience, so if you are new, a seasoned yogi or perhaps looking to become a yoga teacher yourself, through a four week, 200 hour residential programme, this is the perfect destination. Daniel and Jeenal have written a wonderful article, so please, take some time and read through, a wonderful piece for everyone with an interest in traditional yoga. Going Back to… Traditional Yoga By Daniel Fonseca & Jeenal Mehta Co-founders of Wise Living Yoga Academy Millions of people head towards Asia every year to have (besides the travelling experience) an encounter with eastern philosophies and practices which allows for selfhealing, self-discovery and self-empowerment. Among alternative medicine systems, therapies, and many other technical systems (including massage, martial arts, dances, etc, etc) one of the famous and inspiring subjects that attract people to Asia is Yoga. Although most people think, or like to think, of Yoga as a physical system, in reality it is an ancient and traditional system of Indian Philosophy and Disciplines that emphasizes on a holistic way of living which allows for a deep transformation, awareness and positive changes, not only on the physical, but also on the mental, social and spiritual planes of the human personality. What is Yoga? Traditionally, Asanas (postural training) is only one part of Yoga. Certain sets of conduct regulations (Yamas) and observances (Niyamas) throughout one’s own life form the very foundation of Yoga. Only then follows Asanas. The next step being control of bioenergy through breathing techniques (Pranayamas). Eventually withdrawal of senses (Pratyahara) will be achieved. Following stages are concentration (Dharana), meditation (Dhyana) and finally leading to total absorption in pure consciousness state (Samadhi). This is the goal of Yoga. The practices described above are known as “Ashtanga Yoga” or the “Eight-fold Path of Yoga” and the understanding of these disciplines and the systematic implementation of them in one’s own life is what is meant by “Classical Yoga”. The problem is that Yoga is becoming too much commercial and many teachers and so called “Yogis” have very little or no understanding of the Yoga path in its entirety. Yoga has become just a matter of performing some “stunt moves” on a rubber mat. But, the truth is that, even for the physical training, if the right attitude and feelings are not present then the Yoga exercises will be just like any other exercise. It will, of course, bring benefits to the practitioner, but that will be only partial, not the real life transforming experience that one may be looking for. As we have seen, more and more, people are realizing this, and there is somehow, a search and an interest for going back to Traditional Yoga. The first question is: where to go to learn Traditional Yoga? The most obvious answer would be: “India”. But nowadays even in India, commercial Yoga has taken over, and you can meet with either a good or a bad teacher or school, in India, or in any other Asian country. Literally thousands