Of a great awakening

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Nov 2018 12:38:34


Vijay Phanshikar,


Mornings have always been a good time for fitness seekers. Jogging, long walks along the roads or in parks or playgrounds, long bicycle rides, gyms have always been most charming parts of mornings. Fortunately and  thankfully, all these activities have been on the rise always. But the city of Nagpur has seen a very rapidly expanding activity in the wellness regime in the past few years. Even when he lived and promoted Yogasan exercise either himself or through some of his select disciples, Janardan Swami, the founder of Yogabhyasi Mandal, did not see great numbers of people thronging Yogasan classes. But in a casual conversation -- which he never took casually --

Swamiji had shared his vision that one day, the whole of Nagpur would be known as a Yoga City where lakhs of people would attend Yogasan classes in mornings and evenings and would even seek personal trainers for better results. Swamiji’s prophecy has come true and Nagpur can easily lay claims to the name ‘Yoga City’. A round of the city during the early hours of any morning reveals that literally countless thousands of people get engaged in yogic exercises at countless places around town.

One feels happy about this great awakening in the field of wellness. In almost every locality of the city, there is at least one Yogasan class run by a person trained in the science of yogic wellness by the Shri Janardan Swami Yogabhyasi Mandal headquartered in Ram Nagar. And in each of these classes, there are at least 25 persons -- men and women and youth -- learning the yogic exercises that help them maintain more than reasonable health all along. The very feeling that such an awakening has taken place and is continuing is very satisfying, to say the least.

Of course, Yogasan is not just a system of stretching exercises. Each posture, aasan, has a scientific base that does not promote just any kind of stretching, but is woven around a specific outcome for a body part or a set of muscles. Each aasan also has a method which the exerciser has to follow while breathing in or breathing out. There are specific rules that one has to follow while engaging in the Yogasan exercise -- rules about how to stretch, rules about how much to stretch, rules about how to stay stretched for how long, how to breathe in while stretching and how to release the held-up breath after the aasan is over.

“Never stretch yourself too much”, the trainer tells. He then recites a Sanskrit verse whose basic thought (as promoted by Shri Janardan Swamiji) was given verbal expression by none other than the iconic Dr. Shridhar Bhaskar Varnekar, the celebrated scholar of Sanskrit:Samadhanays Soukhyaya Nirogatvaya JeevaneyYogamewabhyaset Pradnyah Yathashakti Nirantaram! (For your satisfaction, happiness and healthy life Practise Yogabhyas Regularly In The Morning To Your Best)!

Thus, there is no compulsion, no overdoing as every person practises Yogasan to the best of his or her capabilities and is expected to do it with discipline and regularity. This absence of compulsion is the main attraction that brings people to the Yogasan classes. It is heartening to watch how people gravitate in the pre-dawn hours to Yogasan classes, eagerness dripping their faces, and how satisfied they look when they emerge from the daily classes. The same spectacle is available also in the evenings. The most endearing aspect of the Yogasan classes is that there are no fees to be paid and therefore no jarring commercial element.

The core of this activity is absolute volunteerism -- on the part of the people who attend the sessions and also on the part of the trainers.  But let us make no mistake in  thinking that the classes are popular only because they are free. Not in the least. The popularity stems from the utilitarian value of the effort. The  physical and psychological gains to the exercisers are almost immediate while spiritual gains follow a little later.

This is the most important reason that more and more numbers of people get magnetised to the Yogasan classes mornings and evenings, proving that Nagpur is truly turning into a Yoga City as per the dream and desire of (the late) Shri Janardan Swami.  Let alone all this description, it is worthwhile to watch the happy spectacle every day all over Nagpur.