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A Transformation that occurs in Body, Mind and Spirit

I feel blessed to share with you my thoughts on what I believe to be a most enlivening and empowering experience, as a student exponent of Yoga under the tutelage of our Guru, Ramanan Master of Insudar Yoga Maiyam, Canada.

Ramanan Master learned Yoga in Nallur, Jaffna at the Dhivvia Jeevana Sangam, following the strict traditions of yogic practice as enunciated by His Holiness Swamy Sithananda Saraswathy Yogi and his Guru, His Holiness Swamy Sivananda.

I have been fortunate to be learning Yoga under the able and expert guidance of Ramanan Master, a great exponent of Yoga and a great teacher. Ramanan master is so dedicated a teacher; he gives so much of himself as he inculcates in his students the disciplines of Yogasanam, Pranayamam and Dhyianam; keeping a close and watchful eye from start to finish on each one, making sure every student adheres to the right posture, technique and breathing that a particular Yoga discipline requires until itís mastered. For six days in a week, and if they wish all six days, excluding Fridays, students go through at each class, nearly two full hours of a rigorous routine of learning and practicing one exercise after another with short rests between each exercise; with beginners being allowed to learn and master each exercise at an easier and slower pace.

With every Yoga appyasam I feel small miracles happen; what seemed difficult and impossible can be accomplished and itís as Ramanan Master says, with the mind concentrated and focused, willing and determined, with proper technique and practice, slowly one achieves the impossible and then goes on to strive for perfection. The body then almost becomes your obedient servant.

In Yoga age does not matter and age does not show. You can be youthful in any age. ďItís the spine thatís so importantĒ says Ramanan Master, emphasizing the spine; with Yoga the spine gets stronger, more flexible and erect; this has an enormous impact on how you function as a person making you feel, look and stay young as long as you live. And itís so true. You have to know the difference to believe it.

I have always wanted to learn Yoga and had some informal and formal practice and exposure to it from time to time before, until a dear friend introduced me to Ramanan Master more than three years ago. Practicing Yoga has done me so much of good, it has changed my life for the better. Health is wealth, and health determines our quality of life. When I started Yoga, as a woman past fifty, going through pre-menopause; with my hormones depleting I was feeling tired and found to be anemic; I had pain in my joints and my bones felt brittle showing early symptoms of osteoporosis; I had to rely more and more on my reading glasses and my hair was falling; my feet were swelling due to bad circulation; with my health run down, my body was in bad shape; on the whole it was not a pretty picture; things were not looking good.

All of that changed with Yoga. Itís a transformation that occurs in body, mind and spirit. I believe itís so important to start young, although I must say itís better late than never.

Ramanan Master explains and drills into us the benefits of Yoga with lectures, drawings and visual graphics on the screen as he further elucidates the point. As we begin to experience the benefits we cannot agree more. With Yoga, with proper breathing exercises and with both proper inhaling and exhaling the body gets the right amount of oxygen it needs. From shallow breathing which is what I used to tend to do; from either hypo or hyper ventilating and never really breathing properly, I moved to not only learning how to breathe but consciously remembering to breathe properly.

Proper breathing has not only a calming effect it helps to relieve stress; with Yoga you learn the techniques of calming the body and mind and bringing it to a stillness, a silence, a state of peace thatís so beneficial to the whole of your being; with Yoga our glands start secreting and functioning normally and efficiently, preventing hormonal imbalance; with regular practice of Yoga our circulation not only improves but is maintained. The end result of this is proper cell renewal, properly functioning organs and nervous system and a healthy and energetic body. With Yoga I have come a long way.

And when I stop practicing Yoga for a period of time because of work with my activism connected with Tamil Freedom or other problems I can feel the difference. Itís then that I need Yoga more than ever. Yoga has given me the strength to carry on even in the worst of times.

In Yoga we are taught to chant the Primodial Mantra AUM at the beginning of our routine and start and end with a prayer, invoking the blessings of Goddess Aathiparasakthi the embodiment of cosmic energy, although Ramanan Master tells all non-Hindu students to invoke their own God. Yoga for me transcends all divisions, all religions and all cultures and is a means to make us aware of our divinity and unite with the Supreme God Principle.

Eerything else is a bonus; especially when people ask me about my healthy skin.

Therefore essentially as spiritual beings we are learning through Yoga how important it is to take care of the body Ė we have learned that the body is a temple that encases the Individual Spirit - the Athma - for one whole life time. This temple has spiritual energy centres that awaken as we practice Yoga Asanas and Pranayamam, further progressing in to successful Yoga Meditation to make that union with the Supreme. For me as a student of Yoga itís what I want to aspire to, each time I meditate, and I am so thankful that I have taken the first step.

I have immense gratitude and respect for our Guru Ramanan Master for his generosity as a great teacher and humbly dedicate all that I know to Goddess Aathiparasakthi.

Aum Sakthi, Anbe Sivam
Mrs Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

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