The main principles of yoga includes a connection with nature and the body-mind balance, which can be found by means of regular yoga practices. Since people remain an essential part of the environment, becoming closer to nature is a real advantage for every person. When we can deal with a nature gaining new knowledge and possibilities once making no harm to nature, we always gain benefits and become better persons. This exceptional type of exercise allows getting control of your own mind and find a balance between body and mind eventually.
This body mind and soul connection make people strong individuals, which can control their own feelings, fears, and expectations. Yoga is an ancient treatment for numerous diseases and the best possible way to stay healthy throughout an entire life. Yoga allows reducing stress and anxiety by following simple guides and instructions, and in context to which Pankaj Uprety a Kalimpong based yoga instructor and a yog guru who has been practising yoga since his childhood days shares how yoga has changed his lifestyle. He is a registered teacher and a lifetime member of Indian Yoga Association, government of India
Furthermore Uprety also runs yoga centre namely Uprety Yoga centre at Kalimpong. The yoga centre was established in the year 2015 with a goal to develop spiritual and healthy way of living through yoga among the people.
Sikkim chronicle speaks with Yog Guru Pankaj Uprety to know more about yoga and how yoga can be way of life.
How long have you been practising yoga?
I have been practising yoga since my childhood, as yoga was a culture in our family. My father and my grandfather used to practice yoga, so I have been practising and learning yoga seeing them do. In the year 2007 I took up yoga professionally, and now it has been 14 years that I have been learning and teaching yoga as a professional instructor
How did you get started?
I wanted to become an actor and after my graduation, in the year 2007 I went to Pune to pursue my passion and got admitted in Choice Film and Television Institute, Pune, Maharashtra. While I was there, one of the faculty of the institution saw me practising yoga and approached me and gave me offer to work as a part-time, after which she took me to Abhimanyu Sable fitness centre and that was where it all started. Then I had never imagined that I will be a yog guru, now I teach yoga to people in Kalimpong as well as from outside the country.
What type of yoga do you teach?
There are different methods and techniques of yoga. I use an amalgamation of Ashtanga Yoga with power yoga or shakti yog.
What do you prefer/enjoy about this particular form of yoga?
I prefer Ashtanga power yoga. It’s a very old form of yoga developed by Maharishi Patanjali and power yoga which is a very new form of yoga which needs strength, so with amalgamation of power yoga with Ashtanga yoga, the practice blends one’s body and makes it very strong. The amalgamation of the these two yoga is very powerful and helps one in losing body weight, and due to this combination of Ashtanga with Power yoga, Uprtey Yoga centre is well known in the hills as well as abroad.
Do you feel anyone can enjoy and gain from yoga?
Yes, everyone can enjoy and gain from yoga. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word Yug which means to come together and while doing yoga one’s Body Mind and Soul comes together. This helps one stay mentally and physically fit, and in addition, spiritual development of soul can also be achieved through yoga.
What has yoga done for you as a person?
Yoga has changed my life a lot. As I have already mentioned, yoga is like a culture in my family. My grandfather and my father used to practice yoga, and they used to never feel ill, when my grandfather died not even a single penny was paid in his medical expenses because he was fit and healthy even during his last days. And now when I also took yoga as way of living I don’t fall ill I work 365 days round and at the same time remain fit and healthy.
Do you feel yoga is more mental or physical?
Yoga is a combination of mind, body and soul. In my personal opinion, the satisfaction we get from yoga cannot be compared to other forms of workout. It’s both mental and physical.
Do you believe it is an alternative form of healing and medicine?
Yes, yoga is an alternative form of healing also known as naturopathy. Yoga heals your body; it works as a medicine. In yoga, we perform many types of postures, ashans, pranayanas, meditation which work as an element in self-healing.
Do you associate yoga with Hinduism? If yes, in what ways?
I don’t associate with any religion. During my bal-bikash classes in my childhood days, I was taught that all religion is same. We are branches from the same tree.We celebrate June 21 as International Yoga Day every year. In the year 2014, when PM Narendra Modi proposed the United Nations in declaring June 21 as international yoga day, the decision was supported by 175 countries supported. Among these, there were countries who had the majority of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists. So I, as a professional yoga teacher, do not associate it with any religion, whether it Hinduism.
Is yoga a way of life or a way to exercise and meditate?
Yoga is a way of life rather than exercise. Going to gym, zumba, aerobics and working out is a physical development exercise which helps one in burning calories and building muscles. But yoga is totally different as it’s a spiritual science or inner engineering which works as a booster for the organs of the body and with yoga one can control every organ of the body. It helps people in managing anger and other mental illness and that is why it’s a way of living rather than just and exercise.