The world celebrated the first International Day of Yoga on Sunday, 21st June, 2015 with great fanfare. In India, the event was celebrated throughout the country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking the centre-stage, transforming ‘Rajpath’ into ‘Yogapath’. He was flanked by 4 Prominent Yoga Gurus on the stage, one of which was none other than Smt.Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra, Director of The Yoga Institute, Santacruz East, Mumbai and the Chief Guest of our Club’s event on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 to celebrate the Yoga Day.
President Mohan Joshi welcomed the Chief Guest and the Members, Senior Citizens and Invited Guests present in large numbers to hear her speak on “Yoga for Health & Happiness”. Past President Saroj Rao formally introduced Smt.Hansaji as a dynamic and charismatic personality, who has devoted her entire life to propagation and advancement of yoga through her Institute which is the oldest organized Yoga Centre in the world. Her brilliant discourses delivered across continents, her TV programme ‘Yoga for Better Living’ acclaimed as the best-in-class and aired in the 1980s, her publications (in print form, video cassettes and CDs) on various topics related to Yoga, the ‘Caring Heart’ Research Project aimed at treating heart ailments through practice of Yoga, the innovative Stress Management techniques developed for students and her emphasis on Yoga Education for Women have all transformed lives of several thousands of people globally and helped them live life better.
President announced the Club was honoured to confer on Smt.Hansaji a Special Rotary Appreciation Award for her life-long dedication to Yoga. He then invited Vice President Aslam Merchant to read out the Citation. Joined by Past President Arvind Shah, Chairman, Vocational Excellence Awards and Sandeep Vasani, Club Secretary, the President presented the Trophy and the Citation to the Chief Guest amidst thunderous applause. He then invited the Chief Guest to address the audience.
Smt.Hansaji Yogendra thanked the Rotary Club of Bombay West and in particular Ms.Shahin Merchant for inviting her. She also thanked the Club for felicitating her on the eve of the first International Day of Yoga.
Yoga, according to Smt.Hansaji, signifies union of self with universe. Yoga is not just about ‘asanas’. It’s a complete union of body, mind and soul achieved through the philosophy and techniques of Yoga, which needs to be practiced regularly as a way of life.
Everyone wants to be happy and healthy. But some of us like to seek attention by remaining sick. However, these attention-seekers soon realize the futility as such actions cannot bring lasting happiness. When a young lad was asked what is life, he replied that life is everything that happens between ‘B’ and ‘D’ i.e. between ‘Birth’ and ‘Death’. To which Smt.Hansaji responded by saying that between B and D is “C” which stands for “Choice”. Every individual can make choices – like one can choose to be happy or sad, angry, frustrated, disturbed or remain calm, healthy or unhealthy, etc. No one in the world can make you unhappy unless you choose to be so. So being happy or unhappy is your personal choice.
She went on to illustrate her talk with several real life examples and stories which drove her point on the importance of making right choices in life. She also emphasized that everyone must take responsibility for one’s own life and not keep blaming others or the situations when things don’t work out as per the plans. Further, one needs to refrain from giving sermons or advice to others but focus on living a life which serve as an example for others to emulate.
Talking about the importance of a balanced state of mind, Smt.Hansaji said that like a spoilt machine can only produce defective goods, so would a disturbed mind produce troubled thoughts which will do us harm both mentally and physically. She then asked the audience to take an Oath with her as follows:
“Humey apne man ko hamesha santuleet banaye rakhna hai. Isi mein hi hamara aatmavikas samaya hua hai”
Lastly, Smt.Hansaji gave some simple health tips to follow to remain healthy
- Do simple stretches or asanas to keep your body supple and always be aware of the condition of your body. Don’t go for complicated physical exercises if your body cannot take it.
- · Morning walk is a must for everyone. It’s the best form of exercise.
- · Do simple breathing exercises like Pranayama no.9 (alternate nostril breathing) and Pranayama no.4 (abdominal breathing)
- · Eat simple food enough to satisfy your hunger, don’t over-eat, be regular in your eating habits, take dinner preferably before 7 PM and avoid junk food
- · Ensure adequate Sleep – it’s during the sleep that the body repairs itself.
- · Relax when you’re unwell to let the defense system in the body do its job.
She ended by urging the audience to apply the essence of her talk in their day-to-day lives which will make her coming to the Rotary Club of Bombay West a worthwhile effort.
The audience responded to her talk with a standing ovation. Past President Chandramohan Saigal proposed a fitting vote of thanks.
Rtn.Aslam Merchant (with inputs from R/Ann Shahin Merchant)