“My association with yoga was a coincidence. My mother had some health issues and I began to attend yoga classes at the Satyananda Yoga Research Centre to give her company. It was a one month course, but I soon realised the virtues of yoga. It opened me to a world I had never known. That was way back in 1999 and after practising yoga for 4-5 years regularly, I did the Yoga Teachers Training Course at Satyananda and became an instructor here. Since I held a teaching job for a while, I taught yoga at the centre in the evenings.

Yoga, for me, was a life-changing experience. I had weight problems which were kept in control with yoga and strict diet. Lot of other health niggles I had reduced considerably once I started yoga. It made my body more flexible. The biggest takeaway though was what yoga did to my mind; it relaxes the mind completely. My personal yoga sessions are for an hour in the morning.

I believe there are many misconceptions about yoga among people. When they think yoga, they think acrobatic postures. Yoga is about doing in a slow, relaxed way postures your body is comfortable with. But it is important to do it regularly to bring about change. Even simple asanas can relax you tremendously.

Here I do not teach very advanced courses. If people have health problems like high blood pressure or back pain, asanas that suit them are prescribed. In yoga, the mind is given as much significance as the body. It is through the mind that one can control the body. So here I teach meditation, yoga nidra (a relaxation technique done in shavasana) and pranayam too.

Most of the students who join for the month-long course are those around 40 and more. I don’t see many youngsters may be because they prefer something more active like being in a gym. Most sign in for a course when life-style related diseases have begun to raise their head. Not many are taking up yoga just to remain fit. But of course people are more fitness conscious now. In fact, people should not wait till they have some kind of illness to begin yoga. As they say, prevention is what one must be looking at. Of late, we have had many senior citizens too learning yoga. They are dedicated and they also have time on their hands. I tend to see that women are much more committed once they start out on something like this.”

(A weekly column on the men and women who make Kozhikode what it is.)