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Day one at the International Conference on Yoga, Naturopathy and Arogya Expo 2012

February 10, 2012

So the day started off well, breakfast tick, pack and wait for transport tick, be an hour late for the opening ceremony tick tick (which actually was a good thing as it still went on for an additional 3 hours when we did arrive!!!). So now I’m adjusting to the many many different accents and styles of speaking I’m hearing. And I thought English was English…

When we arrived at the venue the long presentation and welcoming speechs were in full force. A whole host of local and international dignitaries and swamis were there, including BKS Iyengar. I quickly realised that everyone in India seems to want to or need to have a chance to express their views and appreciation to all.

Iyengar did make some interesting comments. He expressed himself by saying that he felt Karnataka (Bangalore) is the new motherland of yoga and the home especially since this is where Krishnamacharya introduced yoga to him. He went on and shared how yoga and naturopathy are both complementary and supplementary to yoga for good health. The ensure health, one needs a right way of living through out ones whole life, which includes daily practice of yoga. And to understand yoga, one needs to have a basic background of Patanjali’s Sutra’s.

He was also very clear in expressing the fact that yoga is not practised for physical health, but that physical health is a by product of yoga, and that the reason one practices yoga is to bring the fluctuation of the mind to rest, to focus and to become single minded. That a dual mind can be transformed to a single mind, and therefore this international conference, which bring people from all over the world together aims to bring us all to that same point, where we are all one and working towards the same goal.

Then in his very powerful and dramatic way, he concluded by saying that one should follow the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga by working with the physical body first, to minimise or eliminate suffering, and then move towards the mental and emotional states.
Prevention is better than cure and that health = yoga + naturopathy.

{In India when you study yoga you study naturopathy as well and not Ayurveda. I thought this was quite interesting, why and how, it is like this I still need to find out and get a clear cut answer… which could be a challenge!}

So after a very very long inaugural ceremony, we finally got some lunch.. and I won’t go into too much detail of me trying to figure out how to go to the loo when all that was in the room that I walked into was a shower-like hole at the one end and a bucket of water… go figure?!?!?!? (I did manage to find “western” toilets later on)

So the afternoon talks I went to included a talk on the traditional basis for naturopathy as a system of healing by Dr Ramachandra Bhat, who proceeded to explain concepts of the cosmos, atman, eco-friendly journey in life and the importance of healthy living to keep the 101 nadis from the base of the heart to the crown centre active and pure. And to do that includes yogic awakening (meditation and kapalabhati pranayama before sunrise) and yogi evening (no late nights and healthy evening diet!)

Then Dr Prashanth Shetty  spoke about the professional yoga and naturopathy challenges and opportunites. And since yoga and naturopathy and fairly new educational topics, there is a big scope for learning, researching and growth. Nothing really earth shattering delivered in his speech… just common sense.

Finally Dr Madan Mohan spoke about integrating naturopathy and yoga in conventional medical education. And I must be honest, by this time I was exhausted from having to listen so intently all day, that I can’t even really remember what he said, and I’m sure that if there was some major break through, I would have remembered or picked that up 🙂

Finally the afternoon ended with a panel discussion on professional yoga and naturopathy eduction. So this is where I made my amazing 2 minute splutter… and it was a little bit of a splutter (nerves were high and doing nadi shodhana up on stage would probably have been an acceptable practice, but I was way too self conscious to give it a try). Any way, I shared that in SA yoga is growing at a rapid pace and that there are many yoga teachers now interested in studying yoga therapy, but that there are no tertiary institutions who offer this… The out come: Dr Naveen of the Yoga University of Bangalore will discuss with me/SA getting or using their curriculum to forward to our government and education department… So lets hold thumbs that this works and that we can finally get an internationally recognised yoga therapy degree in some universities back home 🙂 So if nothing else comes out of this conference in the next two days, at least we have made some progress in getting yoga therapy to SA 🙂

* will take better pictures tomorrow!!!




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