by April Mietz – editor for yoga.in
A welcoming surprise greeted me upon my recent return to India, only one day after arriving in Mysore, I learned that Yogacharya BKS Iyengar himself was visiting his mother city in order to participate in the National Conference on Yoga & Naturopathy for Holistic Health. With a full two-day line-up packed with speakers, performers, demonstrations, and much more. The event was a fantastic coming together of some truly amazing and knowledgeable minds from a variety of fields, with the goal of addressing our rising health concerns of the modern era.
As pointed out on the first day by Dr Ramachandra Bhar Kote Mane, the cause of death in our world today is no longer due to bacteria related illness and malnutrition, we have found many ways to combat these issues which used to be our biggest threat. Now we are facing much different problems of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes – these forms of illness are what are considered lifestyle diseases, brought about by stress, poor diet, and laziness.
In our fast paced modern world, money and success are replacing our priorities for physical wellness. People are spending all their time making money, then spending all the money on health issues caused by this excessive work load. These are problems that are occurring more and more on a global level, especially with the modernization of our world.
Fortunately for us, the ancient Sages and Rishis of India left us the tools to deal with even the toughest of these modern diseases, and now is the time for recognizing this potential, and spreading this knowledge. This was the main message of the event, which was organized by the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH).
As the global recognition of these ancient practices rises, it is important that their potency and techniques are not diluted during their spread. The AYUSH is a branch of the Government of India which carries the role of standardizing educational requirements, improving availability of plant medicines, research and development of these practices, and both national and international awareness generation.
The speakers who attended and partook in the event touched on a wide array of topics and the diversity of talks included:
- Yoga and Modern Medicine,
- Health for All by 2020 with Yoga and Naturopathy,
- Yoga and Stress Response,
- How Yoga Therapy Can Cure Disease
- Complementary to Allopathy,
- Spirituality in Relation to Energy Levels
- and more.
The headlining speaker Yogacharya BKS Iyengar presented a 30-minute talk on “Yoga in Daily Life for Positive Health”, during which he spoke of health as being more than a stagnant idea but a flow of life force energy, a constant forward moving flow which requires our attention and sensitivity in order to maintain its vibrancy.
“We say we are doing but we are not doing, we say we know but we don’t know, and that is why we are suffering with problems of heath,” he proclaimed, while expressing the importance of regular Asana practice, “even if just one pose”, and cultivating and maintaining complete awareness of the flow of energy whilst partaking in the Yoga Asana.
93-year-old BKS, looked strong as he presented his wisdom about this practice that he has dedicated his life to, and his presence was as inspiring as the words which he spoke. He exposed the knowledge of the multilayers of health and consciousness and the importance of keeping the energy free from constrictions through yoga. This is key practice in order to keep the complexity of layers fully functioning, therefore enabling our potential to connect with true bliss on a fully cellular level, “that is holistic health”, he stated.
Other highlights from the occasion included a Yoga Demo by Blind Students, presented by the Gnana Sindu Residential School for the Blind, Gadag, a beautiful demonstration of Artistic Yoga by Sri BP Murthy and Mysore Yoga Okkuta, and an educational demonstration of correct Asana from Medical Practitioner and long time Yoga student of the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune, Dr Manoj Naik.
To learn more about AYUSH and their work, please visit http://indianmedicine.nic.in
For more on Yogacharya BKS Iyengar, see http://www.bksiyengar.com