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Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra was born in a family of Yogis on April 27, 1929. Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra, a true yogi and exemplary Yoga teacher of our times, was a humanitarian and a prodigious spiritual divinity. A contemporary Yoga Guru, ‘who actually followed what he taught.’ His simplicity and ‘Less is more’ philosophy is what set him apart. Dr. Jayadeva carried forward the Yoga legacy with lot of reverence and diligent hard work. He pioneered work in Yoga Education and Therapeutics. Dr. Jayadeva worked tirelessly towards developing the subtle dimensions of the consciousness. He emphasised on consciousness growth. He was an avid reader with brilliant academia achievements. He donned on many hats a great Yoga Guru, doting father and a devoted husband. Sadhakas and students at the Institute used to flock him. They continue to draw inspiration from his wisdom, kindness, wit and commitment to truth. In essence, he continues to live on forever through his invaluable teachings and in hearts of his millions of his students who are spreading his message of Yoga and world peace across all the five continents.
Transforming lives of millions, his significant contributions in all areas of Yoga like education, research, experiential learning, standardisation of Yoga practices have been widely-recognised.
A small interview that appeared in YOGA AND TOTAL Magazine November 1993 Noted by Benito Castillo, Sadhaka – Spain
INTERVIEW: Dr. JAYADEVA YOGENDRA (Director, The Yoga Institute, Santa Cruz)
What are the roots of Yoga?
Yoga forms the culture of India. Its development occurred in this geographic area. They were interested more in the development of the human mind than in the external world. They developed some techniques and practices. To understand this phenomenon we have to understand the culture of India.
Why did it surge in India?
There was an ideal atmosphere for it. It was a peaceful place without wars and a place of prolific vegetation and agriculture and the work was not hard, giving people more free time for this way of life. Another advantage was the beauty of nature of this country which aided concentration and relaxation. People could think deeply about things. As the famous orientalist Max Muller said: If you ask me below which sky culture was developed the most, I would answer it was India.
Who was Patanjali?
He is considered as a legendary and mythic figure. There arc references to his real existence in Taxila (now in Pakistan). He had great understanding, not only about Yoga, but he also wrote important works on grammar and medicine. During his time he observed that some people were doing strange things, like living with a hand permanently raised, inhaling smoke etc. He was trying to find a meaning in all these practices and processes which occurred around him. He wrote a most authoritative philosophy of all India – The Yoga Sutras – more than two thousand years ago!
What is Yoga – religion, philosophy, science…?
Yoga is a way of life. When persons practice Yoga they follow some routines, habits, attitudes etc. towards life. There are techniques of breathing, relaxation, which form part of their life. It is not a religion, but persons of any religion can practice and improve their own religious practice.
What is classical Yoga?
The Yoga of Patanjali is considered as Classical Yoga. He outlined the steps and its sequences. Unfortunately there were persons who were looking for physical development and gained mental powers, or other small benefits. Actually what we see is physical Yoga or meditation, but with limited objectives. Classical Yoga looks for an integrated person.
What was the objective of your father, Shri Yogendraji, in restoring Classical Yoga?
He studied with a great teacher, who did not know so much theory as practice. The student went further than the teacher. After learning the practice of Yoga, Shri Yogendraji wanted to learn about the totality of Yoga. He understood Yoga as something complete in itself.
What is the history of The Yoga Institute?
It is the first organised Yoga Centre in the world. Before there were Saddhus and Sanyasis, who wandered from place to place. Yoga was secret and there was no fixed place where people could go and study it. Shri Yogcndraji, started an Institute in the United States of America, where he did investigations about various Yoga practices in relation with medical science with known scientists of that time. Writing work on Yoga started in 1930 and continued during life following 60 years and we are working on a 10 volume encylopedia on Yoga. We have teachers training, research, Yoga education etc. We have several cultural activities, foreigners who come to study Yoga and the Government of India sends its teachers to learn Yoga. We have done a serial of 50 episodes on Yoga for the Indian National TV.
What types of persons come to The Yoga Institute?
People who come these days are either sick or with mental disorders or those who do not have a focus in life. They come more as patients rather than students of Yoga.
In what areas does the Institute work?
Education, therapy and social improvement.
How does Yoga help in psychosomatic sickness?
In education we can work at the sub-conscious level. Study subconscious tendencies, like discipline, detachment, concentration and improvement in will power. This is to transform the personality. People who have come year after year have transformed their personality. Our focus in the sickness is neither specific nor the form of medical treatment. We try to create a healthy life- style and this way eliminate sickness.
Is there also a place for training teachers?
To prepare a good teacher is a life times’ work. To start teaching one has to spend one year here. Living here, seeing how we function, and understanding the teaching etc. one can become a good teacher.
What are the activities of the Institute outside India?
Shri Yogendraji founded another centre in the USA. Later people from Lithuania etc. came to tile Institute here. Later foreigners who did teachers training started teaching in their own countries. We have teachers in Spain directed by Mr. Harold Scqucira: in Canada, USA, and other countries. The Saddhakas are trying to transform the society living with their families and working.
How are you celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Institute?
We arc starting new activities at the Institute. One of them is to teach the individual and the family, we are also working in the educational field helping with education videos, posters, etc.
What about the Museum of Classical Yoga?
The Founder had a historic sense and wanted to conserve the important manuscripts and texts of Yoga. We also thought of preparing a museum in tile memory of my father. This way the museum started. We have also tried to present a totality of Yoga. If we continue this we will have a unique thing in the world.
Read Also :
Stability through everyday Yoga –
88th Birthday Dr.Jayadeva…Yogic Journey Celebrations –
Book Review: Celebration of a Yogic Life (A book about Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra) –