Why did you start to do yoga and when?
First we should understand what is yoga then only answer of when and why it comes.
If you are talking about Hatha Yoga, I started to practice regularly 14 -15 years ago without a teacher and since the last 4 years I’m practicing with teacher too. Because of curiosity and belief in spirituality Asia has a lot of practices and exercises in this field. Our community, teachings and philosophy all believe ultimately in spirituality. There are temples, statues and spiritual places everywhere in our surroundings. Being from Buddhist community since very early age of life l have heard a lot about Buddha. About his teachings, his life and his philosophy. I was very impressed by Buddha. So I started to practice meditation without a teacher.
Yoga is not only practicing postures (asanas) but we can find everything in yoga just we don’t have that much level of sensitivity to understand it fully. Every action of ours, emotions and thoughts can be yoga too. So I started Hatha Yoga just 14-15 years back, but actually yoga from my childhood. Advantage of Hatha Yoga is that it gives health and fitness which we lack in other form of yoga so I choose this one. Our body is the best instrument for yoga so Hatha Yoga specifically is very good for me.
2. What does it give to your life?
It gives healthy body and understanding of life to me. Understanding of the action, thought and emotion. We are emotional and it is our nature but we are apart from it, untouchable from mind’s nature. Because nature lies in us but we are not nature, we are a creation but not a creator. Creator is not a creation, there is a gap between them. One day creation will die but creator always remains. I am not talking about person who create, I am talking about source of creation who is there from the very beginning of creation. We as humans can touch, feel, see and use creation but creator is present everywhere but we can1t realize it with our sense organs.
3. Traditionally how is yoga practiced in Asia and by whom?
In Asia, traditionally yogis follow very strict rules. Cleaning of mind and body is compulsory in yoga. So they bath every morning, follow strict vegetarian diet because they believe that what we eat is our mind. So they follow strict diet rules for the cleanliness of their mind. Mind creates thoughts then thoughts turn into actions. So diet is important. They chant some mantras which is prayer where they show their gratitude to god. They practice asanas so that their body can receive universal energy and wisdom for their entire selves. Then they concentrate on what they are feeling, what is arising in their mind and then slowly they move in meditative state which brings them to Samadhi by which they get ultimate truth of life.
4. In Western countries Yoga is mostly practiced and popular between women. Why is it recommended for men also to practice it?
It is recommended to men because men are more restless and unstable than women. Naturally women are peaceful and patient. Everybody wants peace and happiness in life which men are searching more aggressively in outer world. They are searching in drugs, alcohol, competition, gadgets and money. Men should ask themselves whether they find peace and happiness from all these things?!
Ultimately everything is giving pain so men should search peace and happiness within themselves through practicing yoga.
5. How would you encorage men to try and start doing yoga?
Western world is very much like a child in yoga. Don’t get angry, children are very lovely too, not discriminating. I said above naturally girls are more peaceful and patient than boys from inside. Yoga gives peace and patience. Peace attracts peace so girls are easily moving towards yoga but boys hesitate. I want to say that all human, everyone of us is ultimately seeking peace, health and happiness. Today’s men are trying different exercises like gym, jogging, sports that are also good but they don’t notice side effects of it on mental and physical level. In other form of exercise we don’t work on mental side and don’t care in alignment of body. In yoga we work on alignment of the body and practice meditation for mind. This is definitely a key addition and a point for success that anyone may need in such rushing world that we currently live in.