Sanjay Kumar, a professional yoga therapy trainer, now works at the Embassy of India in Rangoon, which offers affordable Yoga courses for various levels of proficiency. Sanjay, who graduated from Kasturba Medical College in Karnataka, India, said the course is intended to foster a “healthy relationship” between Burma and India by promoting the Indian tradition while providing a source of physical and spiritual health. A project of the India Council for Cultural Relations, the course will include three styles of the ancient art: Ashtanga, Hatha and Bihar yoga. In addition to leading the courses, Sanjay also gives outdoor demonstrations in such places as Kandawgyi Park, the Myanmar Convention Center and Thuwanna Stadium. The Irrawaddy recently visited the Indian Embassy to speak with Sanjay about the benefits of yoga and the impetus for the program. Are local people in Rangoon interested in yoga? Have you seen an increase in the number of participants since you began offering the course? Our class is open to anyone. Many people, including foreigners, are coming. Staffs from the British Embassy and the Japanese Embassy are also attending. Participants are Chinese, Austrian, Japanese, Singaporean, Italian, French and American. Most [participants] are Myanmar people, but others also come. Everybody can join. When I came here, there were 125 students, now there are about 250 to 300 in eight classes at the beginner and advanced levels. Most people come for health reasons, to keep fit and have peace of mind, to do well in their jobs. What are the main health benefits of yoga? Of the people who come here, some have back pain, some have neck pain. Some are obese. People have very different problems. Sometimes they are stressed; their lives feel hectic, they have too much work to do. They can’t sleep at night. After practicing yoga for one or two months, they come to me and thank me for solving their problems. How is yoga helping the Embassy to build a “healthy relationship” with Burma? We are approaching the common people, it’s easy to connect. They come here and they feel better. The Indian Embassy only charges $5 per month [5,000 kyats]. We are helping Myanmar people with their health and supporting them to keep fit. They are fit and feeling fresh. Sometimes people have disease, or back pain. After class, I will give them special training for about 10 to 15 minutes. I help them like this. Do many people come to you and tell you about their health problems? How many leave feeling satisfied? Many people taking the class tell me about their problems. More than 30 percent. Somebody came to me and told me, “thank you very much, I am relieved.” They also tell others to do yoga by sharing their experiences. Why should people try yoga? I think everybody should learn Yoga. It is preventive of future ailments. Suppose people practice regularly, in the future, they will have better health. If you have time for half an hour, practice half an hour. If you have time once a week, practice weekly. This is not linked to religion. This is yoga for everybody, yoga for all. In the yoga textbook, it says, “Whether young or old, very old, sick or feeble, one can attain perfection in yoga by practicing.” Everybody can practice. Those who want to achieve spiritual power, they can also practice.">
Yen Saning
[gallery type="slideshow" ids="82075,82076,82077,82078"] Sanjay Kumar, a professional yoga therapy trainer, now works at the Embassy of India in Rangoon, which offers affordable Yoga courses for various levels of proficiency. Sanjay, who graduated from Kasturba Medical College in Karnataka, India, said the course is intended to foster a “healthy relationship” between Burma and India by promoting the Indian tradition while providing a source of physical and spiritual health. A project of the India Council for Cultural Relations, the course will include three styles of the ancient art: Ashtanga, Hatha and Bihar yoga. In addition to leading the courses, Sanjay also gives outdoor demonstrations in such places as Kandawgyi Park, the Myanmar Convention Center and Thuwanna Stadium. The Irrawaddy recently visited the Indian Embassy to speak with Sanjay about the benefits of yoga and the impetus for the program. Are local people in Rangoon interested in yoga? Have you seen an increase in the number of participants since you began offering the course? Our class is open to anyone. Many people, including foreigners, are coming. Staffs from the British Embassy and the Japanese Embassy are also attending. Participants are Chinese, Austrian, Japanese, Singaporean, Italian, French and American. Most [participants] are Myanmar people, but others also come. Everybody can join. When I came here, there were 125 students, now there are about 250 to 300 in eight classes at the beginner and advanced levels. Most people come for health reasons, to keep fit and have peace of mind, to do well in their jobs. What are the main health benefits of yoga? Of the people who come here, some have back pain, some have neck pain. Some are obese. People have very different problems. Sometimes they are stressed; their lives feel hectic, they have too much work to do. They can’t sleep at night. After practicing yoga for one or two months, they come to me and thank me for solving their problems. How is yoga helping the Embassy to build a “healthy relationship” with Burma? We are approaching the common people, it’s easy to connect. They come here and they feel better. The Indian Embassy only charges $5 per month [5,000 kyats]. We are helping Myanmar people with their health and supporting them to keep fit. They are fit and feeling fresh. Sometimes people have disease, or back pain. After class, I will give them special training for about 10 to 15 minutes. I help them like this. Do many people come to you and tell you about their health problems? How many leave feeling satisfied? Many people taking the class tell me about their problems. More than 30 percent. Somebody came to me and told me, “thank you very much, I am relieved.” They also tell others to do yoga by sharing their experiences. Why should people try yoga? I think everybody should learn Yoga. It is preventive of future ailments. Suppose people practice regularly, in the future, they will have better health. If you have time for half an hour, practice half an hour. If you have time once a week, practice weekly. This is not linked to religion. This is yoga for everybody, yoga for all. In the yoga textbook, it says, “Whether young or old, very old, sick or feeble, one can attain perfection in yoga by practicing.” Everybody can practice. Those who want to achieve spiritual power, they can also practice.

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