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Want to stay afloat amidst all the clutter? Find yourself a guru to guide you on your way

Prateeksha Nayak
12th Sep 2016
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We are living in difficult times. With stress levels rising with every passing minute, most of us tend to feel directionless a little too frequently and this results in a constant state of unhappiness. With the advent of technology, answers to everything we seek to know are made available in a jiffy. But nothing is as simple as it sounds. For every question you ask your app will throw you a hundred answers and leave you all the more confused. So, how does one anchor the mind and body to focus on one thing?

The recent Olympic triumphs of P.V. Sindhu and Sakshi Malik brought into focus the usually ignored and undervalued coaches to the forefront. It was probably one of the first times that our nation woke up to acknowledge the efforts and importance of a teacher and showered them with all the respect and recognition they truly deserve. But is it enough?

We spoke to Grandmaster Akshar of Akshar Power Yoga to understand both the importance of a guru in our lives and what the system needs today.

Yogi-1

Talk about your childhood. How did your tryst with Yoga begin?

I was born in the Himalayas and as soon as I reached the age where I could assimilate things, I was chosen by a yogi, who trained me in my formative years. We followed the Natha Sampradaya. As years passed by I was trained by various masters, until I reached a certain level of expertise. While a few reside in the Himalayas, others are sent into the society to impart the knowledge of yoga and I happened to be one of them.

The guru-shishya parampara is slowly fading away. Why do you think it is important?

The guru is a powerful entity and so is a student. The best way to win over a territory is by killing the system and the various invaders of India did just that. All our ancient methods and practices were either forcefully stopped or discontinued. This led to a sense of lack of direction and purpose in the country, a problem we see even today. However, the system is now making a comeback slowly, albeit in a modern way, and the world is slowly waking up to the importance of a teacher.

What makes a good guru?

We are all students, no matter how many students or followers we happen to amass. The only focus of a guru should be to pass on what he has learnt over the years to his students and uphold the values of sincerity, humbleness and trust. A guru should always be aware of a superior and no matter how famous he becomes, he should remember that he will always remain a student of life.

What is the importance of a guru in an entrepreneur's life?

The world is full of distractions and hence as an entrepreneur you need to choose a mentor very wisely. Find that one person who you can surrender to and will help you make sense of the chaos. The quest to find someone who can guide you ably can be difficult but once you have succeeded in doing so you are sorted. No matter what you do, choosing a guru for body, mind and spirit can help you succeed.

How can yoga help in channeling our inner self? What role does a guru play here?

Yoga is a science. Everything is yoga. The physical aspect of being is only a foundation for us to build on. Look at it this way, your body is hardware and if it is perfect, you can do anything with it, install any software that you wish to. Hence, we talk about weight management. It’s not merely about losing weight if you want to stay fit, you need to maintain it. These are crucial lessons which only a guru can teach you. Yoga is about connecting our individual souls with the universal power and a guru with his knowledge and energy can help you get there.

Is it ever too late to find a good teacher?

Most people tend to feel guilty after a certain age for various reasons and go in search of ways to get rid of that feeling. They get fooled in following religion instead of spirituality. Nobody wants to know the purpose of life. There is nothing wrong with following a religion or a school of thought, but don’t do it out of fear. Whatever be your age, it’s all about knowledge. Yoga was practised in India to live; no matter what your age is, find a guru who can teach you how to live.

Are gurus given the respect they deserve in our country today?

The problem is both with teachers and the system today. True wonders can happen when both the teachers and the system work together. While it is the duty of the system to value the contribution of teachers and make sure they are compensated well, the onus also lies upon the teachers to upgrade their skill sets and evolve continuously.

Akshar is the Founder and owner of Akshar Power Yoga, one of the most successful yoga enterprises in Bengaluru. He also gives training to aspiring yoga teachers from around the world.

 

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