Yoga Mail

By Seenevasan Naidu

What is Yoga? What are its benefits? These were the first two questions that appeared in my mind when I heard about Yoga.

I am Seenevasan Naidu and I would like to share my experience in Yoga. Basically, Yoga stands for the union of body, mind and breath. This may sound simple, but it has a deep impact on a person emotionally, mentally and physically. When I was 13 years old, I was overweight and doctors said I could develop heart diseases if I continued to put on weight. I was looking for a solution to reduce body weight and be healthy. At that time, my cousin Reaasigan was attending the Teens Yoga classes conducted by MAYI Yoga Academy’s Super Yoga Kids in Brickfields.

I could literally see changes in him in terms of flexibility and health. He recommended yoga to me.

My whole life changed after that. In the very first yoga class I attended, the students were practising advanced asanas (postures) for that year’s yoga competition, and I was very inspired. When teacher Julie asked me to take part in the competition, I refused because I was shy and still not flexible. She told me yoga is not only about doing advanced asana or holding challenging poses, it’s also about enjoying the process. She motivated me and taught me the asanas I needed to do to prepare for the competition. It was a completely new experience for me.

I joined the competition and I really enjoyed doing the asanas. In the same year, Malaysian Yoga Society (MYS) organised the National Yoga Camp for the first time. The main objective of the camp is to spread yoga awareness and teach its benefits to the youngsters. It was a 7-day camp. In the camp, my knowledge about yoga deepened, especially on the Yama (restraints) and Niyama (observances) values.

Yama and Niyama are about how we should live our lives and what we need to do in order to attain a peaceful and harmonious life with others and also ourselves. Previously, I thought yoga was only physical in nature, but at the camp I understood that it was about living life in a wholesome and meaningful way.

Through the Shatkarma (cleansing) techniques, I learnt about the importance of practising Saucha (cleanliness) in body, mind and emotions. Trataka (concentration practice), for example, helped me greatly improve my performance in studies.

As I followed these steps, my concentration and memory powers increased. It helped me remember things easily and do well in the exams.

I started to continuously attend yoga classes. In the second year of the yoga camp, I joined the Learn to Teach, Teach to Learn (LTTL) programme for students who previously attended the camp. I got a wonderful insight into the teaching of yoga. I took the opportunity to learn the teaching skills, about Pranayama and a variety of other asanas.

After the second camp, I started teaching yoga to family members and friends. My interest in yoga increased tremendously. I started joining every workshop, festival celebration and gathering organised by MYS and MAYI Yoga Academy. There I got to meet and interact with many other instructors. Some of them shared their life experiences and personally motivated me. In the third yoga camp, I was promoted as a volunteer. Here I learnt to do Karma Yoga (Yoga of service) by helping the participants without expecting anything in return. It made me feel happy and gave a lot of self-satisfaction.

Days passed. My life’s biggest challenge was SPM. I surrendered completely to yoga. I did yoga every day and that helped me improve in studies as well. Sleep was one of my biggest challenges. Yoga helped me overcome this problem through Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra is a deep relaxation practice that is equivalent to 6 hours of sleep.  It helped me feel healthy and energised throughout the SPM year. In the end, I scored 4As, 3Bs, and 3Cs in SPM. Recently, I took up the International Yoga Foundation Instructor (IYIC), and now I’m teaching yoga in some schools.

My parents are very proud to see me as a yoga instructor at the young age of 18. Now, my body mass index is at a healthy level. I’m living a healthy lifestyle with daily practice of yoga.

Yoga is also helping me in sports. I play futsal and badminton weekly. An average athlete needs a lot of stamina to play. People know that physical activities increase stamina, but what they don’t know is that stamina can be built and maintained through the practice of yoga. Very simple and effective breathing techniques help to build stamina and control our breath during physical activities. One of it is called Bhastrika. I do this exercise every morning, together with the yoga asana practices. It has helped me greatly to be active in sports. Now, I’m able to play with full energy for a longer period of time compared with last time.

Yoga has helped me improve in sports and all other aspects of life as well. I would really like to thank my teachers and friends, and whoever guided me through my vital yoga journey. I would like to tell that yoga is not only about physical health, it’s about sound mental and emotional health as well. Whoever wants to do a great favour to themselves, please start on yoga. You can really see the difference. Thank you.