SivaOm School of Yoga, helmed by the internationally-acclaimed Yoga Guru Siddharth Shiv Khanna, has taken up the legendary initiative of connecting 20 yoga teachers from India, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, South Africa, USA and Venezuela to bring the world closer together. With his initiative, disciples from 5 continents can reap the benefits of the ancient yet eternal spiritual science of Yoga.
Harnessing the spiritual and yogic energy to give mental and physical health, and all-round well-being to humanity one human at a time, Mr. Khanna candidly spoke about his journey into Yoga and how Yogic lifestyle can be incorporated in simple, essential everyday tasks like drinking water. Prakash Shetty and Gauri Joshi form Prakashak.com did an online interview and asked him at length about his journey from India to Greece, and how Yoga has changed him and has the potential to change the world around him.
Prakashak: How do you best describe your journey from a normal lifestyle in India to that of a Yogi in Greece?
Yoga Guru Siddhartha Shiv Khanna (YGSSK): As a child, I was reckless and aimless! I was unaware of the reality of this world. My personal journey had big and small milestones which pushed me to the pursuit of this eternal goal. It was my destiny and I realized during my meditation in front of the Jyotirlinga at Kedarnath. The day I went there, the temple was empty which is unheard of! I realized I have a spiritual purpose, and I am blessed to have the experience of divinity, when I realized I was not made for materialistic pleasures. Yoga is my life; there is nothing in my life which has no element of it, from eating and sleeping to my purpose and ideology. My lineage is also spiritual, my grandmother’s brother was Mathadhishwar and my Guruji is from Prayagraj. I learnt and interned under him, teaching his students, and during this journey spanning some years I educated myself, travelled and met sanyasis to embark on this journey.
Greek lifestyle is very similar to Indians, and we have a history of association from the era of Mahabharata when Greeks were known as Unanis who fought on the side of Kauravas.
They are Indians of the western world, laidback and very similar to us in good and bad things as well! Western students are curious, and wish to learn yoga in its truest and purest essence.
Prakashak: India is the originator of the practice of Yoga, but it took us an International Yoga Day and studios to bring more people into the foray of this ancient lifestyle. How easy or difficult was it for you to take this idea to the West?
YGSSK : At a time when over the years India has taken pride in replicating western lifestyle, I believe my purpose is to Indianise the Indian traditions and removing effects of colonization. The western world is enamored by the culture and practices of India, and especially Yoga. India is the world’s doorway to the ancient world, even Greece and Egypt are modern orthodox nations because of the Islamic invasion, and Native American tribes have been wiped out. Popularizing Indian traditions through the Yoga day was a great initiative by the present government. Showing our legacy to the world was an important step, since India had been a soft center and our Saints and Munis were scientists of that time who mapped cosmic distances without modern machinery.
Sadly, commercialization of Yoga was needed to become ‘cool’ and accepted, so that the tradition doesn’t die. Being a traditionalist in this respect, I believe like water should be consumed as it is, without adding salt or sugar to it, yoga should also be practiced in its original form. It is one of the six philosophies that liberate the soul from the cycle of life and death, heaven and hell. Our team is spreading this message one person at a time.
Prakashak: How is the quarantine the perfect time to start Yoga, despite personal obligations of work, education and taking care of family?
YGSSK: The quarantine will change the world order. Psychological damage, unlike physical energy, can be irreversible. Yoga stabilizes the mind, and brings people to lead a healthy and balanced life. This is as important as maintaining social distancing and eating good food, or drinking water. Yoga is a natural immunity booster, and this will make sure the virus does not have a deep impact on our body. Yoga brings one closer to oneself, and makes people content with their present situation without the tension of the past or future. Yoga brings calmness and peace, and prevents anger and anxiety which are doorways to disease. It brings you closer to your emotions and real self.
People have studies and jobs, but in this hard time people can have a balanced mind and healthy body only through Yoga. Life is a crisis, we have issues all around the globe at all points of time, but nothing great can be achieved without peace of mental space. These are still minuscule issues, Arjuna in Mahabharata had the dilemma of killing his own blood and teachers but he was reminded of Karma Yoga by divine power, Shri Krishna. Lord Ram became Maryada Purushottama, man with the most supreme morals among humankind, after learning yoga from his Guru, Vashishta.
Any person who has practiced yoga sincerely has achieved the best heights of human civilization. There are 24 hours in a day, people must give only one hour to themselves or they will lead mechanical lives without being in tune with themselves. If yoga is made compulsory for every human for just an hour, in 10 years every single problem of Earth like war, famine and disease can be solved. Humanity will jump to the next level of consciousness.
Prakashak: What is your routine, in tune with the principles of Yoga?
YGSSK: I wake up at 5 and devote my time to the purpose of promoting Yoga through technology. Many people need Yoga today, and we must move with time in order to not become obsolete. The knowledge of Yoga needs no change, but the medium of dissemination can surely be upgraded. We specially created this system so that people can access the benefits of Yogic lifestyle through phones or laptops. There is a class every 1.5 hours, and everyone can join according to their needs- be it kids, senior citizens, or even pre-natal and post-natal women.
We are teaching Karma yoga these days, and how people can perform duties towards themselves. There is meditation, Pranayam and healing through Ayurvedic knowledge in the next hour.
For my breakfast, I consume a lot of nuts because of increased mental activity, with almond milk. I also take private lessons for people who may be shy to join with others. I also clean my house, as internal and external cleanliness are imperial- cleanliness leads to Godliness. All our actions or Karma lead to consequences, depending on good and bad deeds. Keeping that in mind, I follow my routine and dedicate my life to divinity and Yogic life. The only real freedom is liberation of soul, and this message must be taken to every person that all of us are equal, and we will reach our source sooner or later.
Prakashak: What is going to be the road ahead for your SivaOm Project?
YGSSK: I seek to give a source of employment to Yoga teachers and expand this project regionally. The first month will be free for all, and then a subscription charge of 30 Euros a month for 450 classes, or not even 5 cents for a class. Personally, I want to bring each person in contact with Yoga, if possible for free someday, in my lifespan. Seeing that the lockdown situation is not going away for a long time, this is a long plan that will keep evolving over several years down the line. We can use Yoga to build a defence mechanism for our bodies and establish equilibrium with nature and human life, and strengthen our lives. Positivity changes us, and the world around us.
I am creating manuals for yoga training and translations of the likes of Swami Vivekananda, Parmahansa and modernizing the language without affecting the essence of these texts.
To join 24×7 Yoga classes by SivaOm click here (All the time mentioned here is of Greek time zone)
To know more about Guruji’s work and purpose, visit SivaOM.com
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