Yoga is a form of exercise that was first invented many years ago and since then it has been adapted in so many different forms. I myself have done power yoga a lot of times and it was good but very rigorous. We are celebrating International Yoga Day on June 21st with a week-long celebration of yoga on zee companion.

Today on the show I spoke to David Sye who is listed as one of the top 10 yoga teachers in the UK and he is a yoga elder. He invented his own brand of yoga called ‘’Yogabeats’’. He said that dance yoga is combining the sounds that we hear in the contemporary west with the ancient practice of yoga. He described his experience during the Bosnia war when he had to perform yoga with this kind of music so as to be able to cut out the sound of the guns and firing in the background.

He said that even in regular society, people have guns and wars inside their head. People have a lot of issues going on in their mind. But the use of music cuts out the mind and quickly leads you into a place of stillness.

The basic wisdoms of life or the greatest wealth that you can have in life is happiness according to David. And being happy is the whole point of yoga. Yoga is an exercise in being happy.

David said that you don’t need to be a good dancer to do dance yoga. He said that if you can blink and if you can move then you can do dance yoga. He believes in making yoga easy and accessible to everyone. He said that all the great yogis have always been simple and doing yoga was always about joy.

He showed us a move in dance yoga that helps to get rid of anger. According to him the organs inside our body are like sponges and with time they become full of toxicity. We need to let all the breath out of the lungs and without breathing suck the belly in and move it around. When the breath is released he said new blood flows into the organs, you are literally cleansing the organs and that feels very amazing and fresh. It doesn’t matter how fat or thin you are, 2 or 3 of this move and people will feel blissed. He teaches street kids and also people with heroin addiction and when they do this the fight and the anxiety goes from people and they just start feeling happy.

He said that children are constantly moving, they never sit still but adults just stay in one position a lot of times.  When you move you move all the musculature around the joints. He said that the micro movements are the tiny movements that allow the body to shift so that you are not stuck in one position while doing the asana, so instead of staying still it’s better to move around. When these small movements are done it brings synovial fluids into the joint and it might be helpful for people with arthritis too. He showed a lot of different micro moves for the backbone the legs and hands.

For some people the reason for doing Yoga is weight loss or getting a flat tummy and to achieve that people try to control what they eat. David says that everyone should eat anything they want. We should give the body whatever it wants. People go on and off diets and that’s not good for the body according to David. He says that it’s important to appreciate our body. Beauty is whoever you are and it’s important to be happy with it. He said that dance yoga brings the body into a state of being loved. There is a psychosis that the biology comes out of the psychology. One of the secrets of Yoga is that we can transmute any problem in the body with the act of self-love. He said that we need to understand what the body is calling for.

In the second half of the show today I had the pleasure of talking to Sister Daxa from the Brahmakumaris about a very different form of yoga that is Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga is very peaceful and concentrates on the emotional and mental along with the physical aspects of yoga. She said that most illnesses are psychosomatic disorders, which is why raja yoga or meditation has started to become very popular. Meditation is a good way to deal with the stress that has become a part of day to day life. She said that the basic motive of raj yoga is ‘’swa ki pehechan’’ Knowing yourself. It is the king of all yogas. The basic focus is about how we can know ourselves. We need to be antarmukhi.

The foundation of raja yoga is ‘’aatma ki pehechaan’’ which has 7 ‘’gun’’ like

  • Gyan
  • Pavitrata
  • Pain
  • Sukh
  • Shanti
  • Anand
  • Shakti

Raja yoga focuses on positive thinking. Instead of focussing on what we want it is important to focus on what we have. There is no mantra or there is no need to recite big verses. It is more about being friendly with our mind. The best time to do yoga is early in the morning, before you start anything else to be able to get more things done in the day according to Sister Daxa.

She said that yoga means union. Nowadays when we hear the word Yoga we think about physical exercises.  Yoga means coming together or touching base. So Raja Yoga focuses on touching base with your true self and then connecting with the paramatma.

Sister Daxa said that generally when conducting a lesson for beginners an explanation about the whole concept is given because it is based on a philosophy and it is important to have knowledge to do yoga. Many people complain that they try but are unable to do it. Sister Daxa said that it’s important to have the knowledge about our astitva and gun and after that practically meditation is done. She also said that they take the help of a ray of light to be able to focus for beginners. Sometimes commentary or music is used. She said that ideally it is better to do Raja Yoga in silence but it’s not absolutely necessary.

She also spoke about the various lessons of Raja Yoga like self-realisation, the tree of life, reincarnation, law of karma. She stressed that it is important for the mind to be calm. We should be happy with what we have. She also said that raja yoga indirectly also helps with reducing stress.

Sister Daxa conducted a short session of Raja Yoga where I tried my best to concentrate and not let my thoughts drift. But sister Daxa said that instead of controlling the thoughts from coming into the mind it is important to focus on getting positive thoughts into the mind and eventually the negative thoughts will go away on their own.

Sister Daxa gave the following tips for people who want to start Raja Yoga

  • Keep up the determination
  • Fix a time and place for meditation
  • Think of something positive and nice

It was a pleasure talking to David Sye and Sister Daxa about two such different forms of Yoga.