Sampoorna Yoga: A Preferable Way to Healthy Life

Words of Yoga Practitioner Alka

Alka was born and brought up in Delhi. She was born to Jagannathan and Prabhavati. Alka is married to Hari Krishnan. The Sampoorna (Complete) Yoga practitioner has done her law from Delhi University. Her experience is enriched with a five-year practice of Corporate Law. She has also put in about ten years with ESPN Star Sports (Advertisement & Sales Division). Finally, Alka quit the corporate life and moved into wellness & health for herself. This has been her journey for some years now. The lady is also a Behavioural Skills Trainer for Corporates (Soft skills trainer).

“I was going through Chronic Asthma from the age of 12 and till about 42 years of my age. Yoga for me has been a life changer, both in terms of body and mind. I was fortunate to identify the correct form suitable for me. Today, I can climb an altitude of 5000 metres in the Himalayas at least and at a mind level I am comfortable without medication. I am also stronger physically simply because I could breathe better,” smiled Alka while talking about her yoga journey.

Alka gave some inputs in connection with yoga, and these are universal. “As a regular practitioner, I learn everyday through my abhyaasa. Let me begin by stating that yoga is the union of the body, breath, and mind. This helps us to get two important things; Samyama, balance of health & emotion; Swatantra, to keep the body and mind free from issues. The limbs of yoga are very important here. Since they are 8 of them it is aptly known as Ashtanga Yoga, aasana, praanaayaama, prathyaahaara, dhaarana, yama and niyama.”

“These 8 limbs must be connected. When I do my morning Yogaabhyaasa (Yoga postures), I need to have my own yama and niyama in place. Even if I practice for half an hour, the aasana, praanaayaama & dhaarana have to be brought together. This gives me a 360-degree view of my day which is going to span out and how I would be handling it. Yoga here is experiential in nature. Of course, these days we have so much to download of yoga, types and everything else. Let me say something, till the time that knowledge is applied on self and that too as per the need or requirement it does not become yoga.”

The teacher-cum-practitioner spoke about being a panditha and a kshetrika. The kshetrika is one who applies it on oneself based on yukti. Well, yukti is doing what is right for oneself than trying to do the latest or something which is trending. Alka compares it to one trying to reach God in his or her own way. She says that the connect is achieved through the personality of the person, therefore each one has their sweet way.

Alka is a Yoga Therapist these days. She continues to train under Saraswathi Vasudevan, the Founder of Yogavahini Foundation & Research Institute in Chennai. In fact, this happens to be the only school in India to be recognized by I. A. Y. T. (International Association of Yoga Therapy). If anyone has I. A. Y. T. accreditation, then he or she can practice world over. In many parts of the world, one cannot teach or charge students without a recognized certificate. People from around the world come to Yogavahini to learn from Saraswathi Vasudevan. She is popularly known as Saras and was learning and teaching under T. K. V. Desikachar (Son of T. Krishnamacharya, Father of Modern Yoga).

Practitioners like Alka focus on the person and since they are therapists, they meet them where they are, and the process begins without forcing them. “Meeting the person where they are, is important, for ahimsaa is the first principle of yoga. Hence, the therapist has to reach out to the student and move forward which is very important for healing. In this tradition, the main focus is on breath. Do we not enquire about the well-being of a person when we meet them? Similarly, we encourage our students to start their abhyaasa after they know how they need to be for the day.”

“A person may be sad, confused, in pain, or scattered, but one must remember that the breath is the code here. If one is angry or sad, then there is shortness of breath. Breaks while breathing short is an indication of the mind being in a scattered or in a confused state. When the person focuses on breath and practices aasana-s, they will be able to bring some change at a body and breath level. I have been teaching this way since 2014. Have seen many people getting out of chronic conditions like cervical spondylitis, back pain, asthma, digestive problems, hormonal problems in women etc. This kind of yogaabhyasa is required for the wellness journey of an individual,” added Alka Krishnan.

Alka puts in a caveat too. She states that yoga is incomplete without ayurveda, for both go hand in hand. Alka goes by the paradigm in ayurveda which states that, “I am what I eat.” She adds further, “By bringing in this for what one practices brings in effectiveness and for gaining efficiency it has to be a combination of Aahaaram (Food) and lifestyle. It also means that I need to take ownership and it brings us back to what the core of yoga is, which is to explore or keep exploring who I am. In healing, we teach with the focus on panchamahaakoshaa-s and vaayu-s. They are important and bring in the scientific approach in healing. A good practice will help us to access all the 5 kosha-s,

1. Annamayakosha with the aasana

2. Praanamayakosha with aasana & praanaayaama

3. Manomayakosha with praanaayaama

4. Vignyaanamayakosha with prathyaahaaraa

5. Aanandhamaya is the ability to be in a space where there is Santhoshaa (Contentment).

While bahiranga is tangible, for it is outward (Aasana & praanaayaama), antharanga is aahaaram for the journey (Prathi is your own). Further to this we have to understand the vaayu-s. Giving the right aasana-s and praanaayaama-s to bring back the balance is quite essential in this form of yoga.”

The teacher-cum-mentor states that eating the right kind of food has to be in accordance with the specific dosha of the person, be it vaadha, pittha or kapa. This will help them trot towards good health. Alka added more, “I will be able to experience a better body, mind balance & health and stay away from medication with my simple daily life. Additionally, we must remember that these methods are tailor-made. There is definitely a difference between tailor-made and ready-made. The results are much better for they make one understand santhosha.”

Alka has students around the world. Meditation is included for it is part of dhaarana. However, the learner in Alka makes her spend time with her teacher on an annual basis. Alka has a space on the banks of River Bhagirathi in the Himalayas. This is the spot for a retreat where the abhayaasa is undertaken.

 We can definitely call Alka, the Sampoorna Yoga Practitioner.

Mr. Rajesh Govindarajulu is one of the founding members of the Verandah Club Pvt. Ltd. He is a leading columnist, historian, jeweler, entrepreneur, and a heritage enthusiast who is earnestly working to revive the past in the light of the present. Experiential learning about the history of Coimbatore is his main course of interest and he is also a panel member of many colleges in the city.