Stretch to your limit
Yogi Mohan often encountered embarrassing questions about why he was so good at yoga, when he first arrived in China more than two years ago. Being a veteran yogi from India who has practised yoga for 18 years, Mohan found it a little annoying and yet quite funny.
"Many people, not just one person, asked me did I learn yoga in the USA?" recalled Mohan, "They perceived such misunderstanding mainly because at that time their main sources for yoga were books and VCDs published in America."
Just ask around and you will likely find that yoga has become a popular topic talked about by friends, colleagues and in media reports.
The mushrooming of yoga clubs over past few years has transformed this ancient practice into a trendy fitness exercise widely pursued by urban dwellers, who still have misunderstanding and confusion about yoga.
"Nowadays people often get confused by the different names of yoga they see. In fact, these different practices are just various modifications upon the basic yoga practice. For people confused by what type they should choose, my suggestion is try them all and find the most suitable one for yourself," advised Mohan.
An ancient practice originated in India, yoga is regarded as an effective exercise for the body and mind achieved after lengthy practice. The demanding stretching of one's body is thought to be of great help to people who want to keep physically fit and is also said to have healing effects for some illnesses. But it also scares away some who want to give it a go.
"The purpose of yoga is to make your body healthy. It is not about how much you can bend, how much you can stretch but take your body further and control you mind," explained the yogi.
According to Mohan, the practice of yoga can help people find their senses inside by exercising the internal energy and channelling the function of their mind. "You go beyond the physical body when you continuously practise. Yoga can fulfil whatever you want on the physical level and the mental level," Mohan added.
In Mohan's eyes, the modernization of yoga practice in big cities is somehow distracting people from the basic principle still followed by people in small villages in his home country. People can hardly get full concentration when they pay too much attention to their weight or practise with an MP3 or TV on. "You can only practice yoga when you have your five senses with you. When you have total concentration not to be touched by the outside, you feel what's going on inside your body," stressed Mohan.
The most common excuse people would resort to when they can't stick to an exercise program is a busy life, but Mohan has some advice for them:
"Yoga practice is not necessarily a hard ritual. It can be flexible and people can just practise for certain time they can spare every day. It can be 15 minutes or half an hour.
"It is ok to work hard to make money. But you should do something for your self, to invest in your own 'banks' of health and then money," described Mohan.
Yoga is suitable for all except those have high blood pressure, back pain or asthma, who are advised to inform the coach and take a special course. If you are interested in Mohan's class, please visit the centre's website: www.yogiyogacenter.com.
(China Daily 12/30/2005 page9)
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