O.P. Tiwari (*1933 in North India) is one of the great living Pranayama masters of India. He is a direct disciple of Swami Kuvalayananda, the founder of Kaivalyadhama Lonavla Institute and Ashram. For many years he was the leader of this world-renowned institute, which links Yoga tradition and science. With great integrity, he has been teaching now for more than 50 years, following the classical approach by Patanjali. We are honoured to share his insights on the practice of Pranayama.
This is the first published article of a series of our interviews with Yoga masters in India.
It’s our 2nd day at the Kaivalyadhama Lonavla Ashram. This morning we attended the asana classes. First the boys class, followed by the girls class. Then, we listened to a philosophical speech, which was part of the teacher training course, and talked to the students. Surrounded by happy students, we feel like being at the right place.
We met Dr. Tiwari again for an interview and a photo shoot. In the conversation, we asked about Swami Maheshananda, whom we had heard of during our trip. “Do you want to see him?”, asked Dr. Tiwari. “Yes!”, we answered without hesitation. The director quickly organised an appointment with the Swami, who lives in an area we didn’t see before. Swami Maheshananda is the spiritual leader of the institute. He is accessible for everyone on the campus, but not part of any class schedule. A spiritual heart, what a nice idea for a yoga university!
Listening to Swami Maheshananda requires full concentration. One of his messages to all the yoga students:
“There are different ways to find the divine within oneself. The important thing is to work that out without much help of a guru”.
We finished the day by joining Swami Maheshananda’s daily Havan, a fire puja.
We took a taxi to Lonavla (also spelled Lonavale), a small city and hill station in the district of Pune (state of Maharashtra). Besides being a popular weekend hangout for Mumbai residents, Lonavla is also home to Kaivalyadhama Ashram, a well-known yoga educational institute.
We said goodbye to Heide, our German journalist was joining us for a bit more than 2 weeks now. Thank you Heide for these two weeks of voluntary work for our book project ‘Yoga in India’. While Heide continued to Mumbay to take her flight back to Germany, Coni and I went on to explore the yoga institute.
Dr. Tiwari, the director, welcomed us to Kaivalyadhama, and gave us an overview on the many programmes offered by the various departments: health care courses, naturopathy, P.G. Diploma in Yoga Education (P.G.D.Y.Ed.), P.G. Diploma in Yoga Therapy (P.G.D.Y.T.), Certificate Course in Yoga (C.C.Y.), Advanced Teacher Training Course in Yoga (A.T.T.C.), ayurvedic treatments, research activities, and much more…
We spent the rest of the day walking around Kaivalyadhama’s 180 acres of parkland.