Interview with Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra

Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra

Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra, fondly known as Dr. Sahab, at The Yoga Institute, Santacruz, Mumbai, is one of the senior-most yoga educators in the world and is highly respected for his complete dedication to the practice and propagation of Astanga Yoga. He learnt yoga under the guidance of his father, Shri Yogendraji, Founder of The Yoga Institute and Father of Modern Yoga Renaissance.

Dr. Jayadeva’s most significant contribution to the yoga renaissance is the introduction of Bhavas as expounded in the Samkhya philosophy, in the practice of Asanas. His vast knowledge of yoga is scattered in various publications of the Institute. He was awarded the Hargobindas scholarship for his Ph.D. which was conferred upon him in 1955, for his doctoral thesis on Moksa Parvan of the Mahabharata.

On the occasion of his 84th birthday on 27th April, 2013, Yoga and Total Health (YTH) took the opportunity to interview the Householder Yogi, to learn about his views on present day yoga and its future.

YTH: What is yoga?
Dr. J: Yoga is a way of life.

YTH: Are there any pre-requisites in learning yoga?
Dr. J: A sincere interest in self improvement.

YTH: Is yoga religious?
Dr. J: No.

YTH: Which scriptures of ancient India mention yoga?
Dr. J: All scriptures of ancient India including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism

YTH: What should be the aim and duty of a teacher of yoga?
Dr. J: To make the learner to experience a better and better state of Consciousness.

YTH: What are your future plans for The Yoga Institute?
Dr. J: I have no plans. I leave it to God.

YTH: What is your message to all the people?
Dr. J: Don’t come to learn yoga when you are totally harassed in life. Come earlier; understanding the ups and downs that come in life and have a sincere desire to avoid them.

YTH: What made you choose the path of yoga?
Dr. J: Somehow I did not choose, I have been put into this path and I just followed it.

YTH: Tell us of your study of yoga.
Dr. J: I studied some simple practical thing of The Yoga Institute and then I studied in college Sanskrit, then graduated with Samkhya yoga, and did PhD in yoga.

YTH: What is your thesis on Moksa Parvan about?
Dr. J: It is in two very big volumes. It contains a summary of a work of around 300 chapters.

YTH: What do you aim to propagate though The Yoga Institute? What does The Yoga Institute stand for?
Dr. J: You see, the ideal is that yoga is presented in a simple understandable manner whereby people can pick it up and practice something that is spiritual.

YTH: What is your comment on how yoga is viewed by most people today, the popular aspect of yoga?
Dr. J: I have no good comment on present day yoga. There are people who don’t know about it and have taken up high positions in teaching yoga and are creating a lot of misunderstanding.

YTH: Today, many people take up yoga for purely materialistic reasons like improving health, losing weight, etc. so should a yoga teacher give them what they want?
Dr. J: If the teacher is in need of money, he/she can teach something immediately satisfactory, but the attempt (should be) to deflect and change the persons opinion about yoga and take him into the deeper aspects.

YTH: What is your comment on Power Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and other such brand names that have cropped up recently?
Dr. J: The present day culture is materialistic. The only things that satisfy – pleasure, money, is acceptable to people. The right yoga is not being popularized.

YTH: How can yoga help us as individuals, as a society and nation?
Dr. J: The question is of the individual and the society and the nation holding up spiritual objective. If the objectives are only physical health, physical strength then real yoga does not get transformed.

YTH: Considering how commercial and popular yoga has become today, what according to you is the future of yoga?
Dr. J: Well, it would reach a stage where people will see its weakness and as a result will start getting away from this kind of materialistic yoga.

YTH: How can yoga help the people in the West?
Dr. J: People in the West are interested in money, pleasure, physical culture. They may try that aspect of yoga and get happy with it.

YTH: Is there anything more you would like to tell us?
Dr. J: Unless a person is sincere and studies and practices yoga as it should be practiced, yoga has no future.

(This interview was published in the April 2013 issue of Yoga and Total Health.)

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