Yoga is the discovery of freedom which is the nature of life. Freedom makes all equal. It challenges our assumed identity amidst the assembly of objects in the universe. Freedom and humility do engineer insecurity in many, but do indeed bring joy to a few. The realization that our physical existence is trivial and that truth is beyond existence becomes a step towards the yogic life. A yogi lives in the world, but remains unattached and free. He is a part of the society only to be a support to others. He does not seek help nor does he ever feel pain on any account. He exists and accepts the world as it is. He does not act in selfishness, his duty is prompted by his conscience. He is the part of the permanence that sustains the universe. He becomes the joy in person!
Thousands of yogis exist, but we don't notice them nor do we understand whom we might encounter. We took the journey through this class to understand what yoga is. I have to tell you about a yogi who "arrived" in my life in 1983. After losing his wife prematurely, Dr V. Satyananda Rao took retirement from a bank job he had in India, and emigrated to the US to be with his daughter. While I was busy living my own life in "my way", he began to associate with me through weekly meetings and several "unsolicited" discussion sessions. It took me a while to notice that he would be smiling all the time! I became a fan to him. He was my first yoga teacher and my mentor.
Dr. Rao, as he would be known, was a yoga teacher in the lineage of modern-day hatha-yoga teachers in India who had assumed the role of healing patients through yogic therapy and exercises. He took yogic initiation at the age of twenty with Yogiraj Sri Ramlal of Amritsar. The lineage operates a yoga center at Sawai near Agra in India.
With the aim of spreading the message of yoga in health, Dr. Rao conducted classes in public spaces in the libraries and schools in the US. He helped register an organization called High-Tech Yoga Institute and ran certificate courses in yoga education accredited by the lineage Center in India. Many of Dr. Rao's students have successfully launched new yoga centers and are teaching in various parts of the US. A listing of the students is given in the next link. I am attaching a biography of Dr. Rao that I created in 2007 for his Memorial service. I entered yoga in reluctance and became a convert. So was the magic of Dr. Rao!