OCTOGENARIAN TEACHER WITH TEENAGE SPARKLE
Nestled in a lane on Prabhat Colony Road in the suburb of Santa Cruz, The Yoga Institute of India is 60 years old today – modest and quiet about its pioneering efforts in the propagation of yoga
The Founder – member of the Institute, Shri Yogendraji, is 82, but speaks with the voice and sparkle of a teenager. He told this paper in an interview, :Yoga has become extremely popular now. It was different in my time. People were talking mainly about freedom for the country and the coming of industrialization. Yoga was an unfamiliar subject, even the educated people did not thin much about it.
“I was 19 or 20 when I learnt Yoga from Paramahamsa Madhavadasji, the last true apostle of Yoga. He was 119 years old when he taught us Yoga by the Narmada river”.
Shri Yogendraji added,: I learnt more from him than I had learnt in college and realized that the message of Yoga should spread. That was the beginning of the yoga movement. Now we have over 50 centre spread all over the world, including austalia, Canada, Finland, Germany and Spain”.
Shri Yogendraji said, he kept himself fit by practicing yoga daily. “I had never had a doctor examine me since I was 15. when I was in New York in winter once, I could wear a swimsuit and not feel the slightest bit of cold. I have never sneezed in my life. People should not think in terms of tablet cure, as health is not a package deal. Health has its own stages and can be mastered by following Yoga – by following the principles of moral and physiological education, the control of senses and adopting a one-pointed goal in life.”
The Yoga Institute of India was founded in 1918 on the sands of Versova Beach in Bombay and was housed in Dadabhai Naoroji’s residence the mission to spread yoga kriyas among the sick and also among the aspirants to higher psychic experiences was undertaken from here.
Over 30,000 pupils have been trained by the Institute in the yoga way of life. Through its academy of Yoga, some 500 teachers have been trained. The Institute has published over 30 books on practical aspects of the subject.
On the scientific side, it has a psychosomatic ‘clinic’ on the Santa Cruz campus, where nearly 200-3—patients are treated every day for ‘emotional problems which manifest themselves in ailments like colitis, allergy, asthma, arthritis and several disorders.”
The ‘clinic’ specializes in cases of refractory nature that have functional disorders and cannot be remedied through modern medical methods. The hospital also has a research wing conducting scientific investigations into psychosomatic problems.
The Yoga Institute had a three tier purpose – one was to educate i.e. to make the people learn yoga or learn to teach Yoga. The second was its medical aspect i.e. to control health, while the third was the sadhana stage in which persons trained as teachers changed their personality and helped in changing the personality of others.
New Delhi, 26th December 1978 Times of India
Published in the February 2010 edition of Yoga & Total Health Magazine.