A Yogic way of life

Whether at 45C in Chandra-pur or 10C in Baramulla, I did not go lax on my fitness plan.

Today Yoga has caught the imagination of people worldwide. But with many taking it up in mid-life or after the detection of blood pressure, diabetes or other ailments, it is not easy to vouch for its results. However, here is a case to draw your own conclusions.

Around 1972, at age of 34, I was a Divisional Engineer Class I Gazetted Officer under Central Home Ministry posted at Chandrapur district, Maharashtra, living with my wife and two sons. Health being a vital factor, it was then that I started a daily routine of physical exercises for 40 minutes. Yoga and gym were unheard of then. Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh spread has begun spreading his version of Yoga, called Transcendental Meditation, globally.

During this period in 1975, at Sanctoria in Dhanbagh district, I met Swami Vidythananda of Bihar School of Yoga (BSY), Monghyr. He had come on a Yoga training assignment to the Eastern Coalfields Ltd to help middle-aged officers prevent and control obesity cases, thereby enhancing their productivity while visiting underground mines.

A year later, the same Swami was invited by the Western Coalfields Ltd in Chandrapur and then I promptly enroled for the fortnight course with my wife, who joined the 10 am session for the ladies. Children of staff had evening classes, all scripted suitably by the BSY.

This institution devoted itself to yogic treatment for prevention of physical diseases. In addition to teaching specific exercises and asanas, equal stress was on one’s breathing style, diet, lifestyle, etc. Swamiji advocated the use of raw vegetables, sprouted pulses, seeds and leaves, less salt intake etc. “When sending your vehicle to garage at night you do not fill tank full,”he would say. Not many spoke that language then.

By consulting him, I drew out a 45-minute exercises plus asanas regimen. This started with baski (120 times, later lowered to 30), 12 items in standing posture (with tada and trikona asanas), then 15 items in straight-lying posture (bhujang, vajra, gupta vajra, mayura, shavasana etc), and lastly Surya Namaskar (raised from 12 to 20, then down to 13). I’m proud to say that wherever I was posted (45°C in Chandrapur or 10°C in Baramulla), I did not go lax on this job, sweating even in winter.

Now after 42 years, at the age of 77, the dividends I reap are many. My weight has remained constant, there’s no sign of blood pressure or sugar, my bone density and joints are all okay, and I’ve never been hospitalised or have taken daily pills. I experience the same level of fatigue as I felt 30 years ago and my agility and alertness have only sharpened.

In 2003, during the Kailas-Man-sarovar yatra over the Darchula route, I walked 150 km without hiring horses, as a way of reverence to the Himavat parvat. Two months ago, I covered a 11-km marathon in 105 minutes, least tired. I continue a disciplined, content, retired life being active in various social services.   

Today, my wife and two sons also take part in routines of exercises, asanas or marathon running. Health has become a catch-word for us all. One can never vouch for what tomorrow may bring, but this health is due to my initiation to a yogic way of life at the right age and my persistence with it. “Catch them young,” is my message to everybody.

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