We Must Strike A Healthy Balance Between Real Life and Digital Living, Says Akshar Guru

 Spiritual Guru and Yoga Master Akshar Interview With Sakshipost

In an exclusive interaction with Sakshi Post, Grand Master Akshar, an internationally acclaimed Yoga Master, Philanthropist, Spiritual Guru, Lifestyle Coach, and Author of  Yoga Namaskar, talks to P Charitha about his journey as a Himalayan Yogi, changing the lives of people through spirituality and yoga.

Sakshi Post: As a spiritual guru and yogic master, how would you prescribe the way forward through Akshar Yoga, especially after the COVID Pandemic?

Grand Master Akshar: First and foremost COVID-19 came as a big surprise to the entire world. And the global community worked together relentlessly to overcome this pandemic and made a successful comeback. Government bodies, frontline workers, the medical commuting and everybody else involved in fighting this pandemic courageously kept the faith. COVID-19 also sparked off a major response among people to start practicing yoga.

Yoga and spirituality played a crucial part during the pandemic. Almost every household including those that had never practiced before took up yoga religiously. Post the pandemic all the students, practitioners, and teachers who are involved in this journey have become more serious about yoga. We have also spread our wings and made plans to expand the knowledge of yoga by establishing a spiritual centre in the Himalayas. This will be known by the name of Himalaya yoga ashram and is a haven for the study and development of yoga studies and is open to the whole world. We have also tied up with many educational institutions and corporate organizations to create a specialised syllabus in yoga and this we are doing with the help of the Akshar Yoga Research and Development Centre which is located in the Dravid Padukone sports centre in Bengaluru.

Sakshi Post: You have been enriching and touching the lives of many people through your spiritual discourses and life mantras, is there any one thing, person, or incident in particular that you would like to share with us which has been deeply impactful?

Grand Master Akshar: As it is every single practitioner who comes creates their own unique journey and story through the practice and study of yoga. However, there is this one incident involving a young practitioner who had transformed herself tremendously through yoga. She had given up her material lifestyle and involved herself in spiritual practices with me. Unfortunately, she fell ill and had to be shifted to another country to undergo a surgical procedure. Post this surgery she believed that her time had come and that she would not survive for much longer. This made her reach out to many of my other students as we had completely shifted to the online platform for classes and yoga sessions.

This young girl conveyed her wish to speak with me one last time and to receive any final messages or advice from the Himalayas. This was a very touching and emotional time for me even more than it was perhaps for her. When I finally managed to connect with her I don't know why but I felt that she would not be leaving us anytime soon. I advised her to chant the Maha Mrityunjay mantra and told her that the Himalayas would protect her. And she did this and survived with a rather miraculous and speedy recovery. This is one incident that will remain etched in my memory as it made a deep impact on me.

Sakshi Post: What are the upcoming campaigns of Akshar Yoga this 2022?

Grand Master Akshar: There are many plans for growth and expansion underway but we are most excited about International Yoga Day this year. We are looking forward to celebrating it in a grand way and to involve as many people as possible to spread the message of yoga. We are honestly hoping that everything goes according to plan and we are able to manifest this event in a large scale fashion. We want to be able to touch maximum number of lives through this special campaign and have estimated to reach out to one crore people. It is our sincere belief that yoga not only benefits the life of an individual who practices it but in the process yoga also brings welfare to the entire community. This is because when a person practices yoga then the rest of the society can be rest assured that he or she will not be contributing to any conflict or disharmony or hamper anyone’s well being. When a person is focused on his or her own growth and evolution then his/her influence to those around is certainly going to be positive.

Apart from this campaign we are also planning a spiritual journey to the Himalayas where many of practitioners from all over the world will be arriving for a special yoga and spiritual retreat. This event is being organised after a break of several years so we are also supremely excited for this one.

We will also be having to Puri shortly to participate in the great festival of the Rath Yatra that happens there annually. Many of our students and practitioners will be involved in rendering services and prayers to Lord Jagannath. As a team we will be offering food to devotees who attend the festival.

We also have plans to establish an exclusive Himalaya yoga ashram in the mountains and invite people from around the world to come and experience the power of the Himalayas.

Our goal is to lend our services to the specially-abled population of this country. It is estimated that approximately 8% of the total population of India are specially-abled. Our vision includes sharing the knowledge of yoga practices with this community and to empower them.

Sakshi Post: How should a practitioner approach teaching Yoga and meditation to children who are caught up in the gadget world?

Grand Master Akshar: It may have been odd to witness the young generation fully engrossed and absorbed in the digital world. However this is simply an indication of things to come and the future of our lives. The virtual world is a dynamic space with endless possibilities and opportunities. Although just like anything else it comes with its own set of pros and cons. While we embrace the convenience of technology and gain multiple benefits from the World Wide Web we must also strike a healthy balance between the real life and digital living. As with everything else imbalance can bring destruction and the online space is no exception. Exercise discipline when it comes to using your digital devices and avoid spending endless hours in a day as this is addiction. Enable automatic timers and locks to monitor and limit your digital usage.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle by including habits such as waking up early in the morning. Practice yoga and meditation in the morning sun and pranayama techniques as this can be very beneficial for your well being.

Sakshi Post: How can one manage work-life balance through spirituality and yoga in the post-pandemic scenario?

Grand Master Akshar:A majority of us follow a 5-day week where we are busy with our career or professional responsibilities Monday to Friday and then we utilise the weekend to relax. In the same way, you can develop a healthy work-life balance using yoga and spirituality by structuring your day with discipline. In my opinion, it is beneficial to dedicate the morning hours to your yoga and spiritual practices. This will help you start the day on a positive note and automatically organise the rest of your day for you. Practicing yoga, pranayama, and meditation early in the morning will bring you into alignment and help you to tackle the rest of the day with ease.

Sakshi Post: How does one develop life skills through Yoga?

Grand Master Akshar: This is a very beautiful question because it highlights the true essence that is yoga. According to the teachings of Bhagavad Gita, ‘Yoga Karmasu Kaushalam’. This means that through the practice of yoga you can bring perfection into everything that you do and transform your life into a blissful state of being. This is what Lord Krishna taught Arjuna.

For example, through yoga postures, you will learn how to stand straight in a manner that is beneficial for you. One who does not practice yoga will stand or sit in any which way or on the day they wish to. This may not necessarily be beneficial, but through yoga, you will learn the correct alignment for your anatomy that will bring you health benefits. You will become more aware of your spine and how to keep your posture upright to prevent back-related issues or any other lifestyle diseases. Similarly, when you go deep into other practices like meditation and pranayama you are becoming closer to yourself. Through this deepened connection with the self you will be able to communicate better and align your thoughts, action, speech, and way of life. Yoga is a beautiful and holistic practice that will teach you how to achieve your potential in a way that is aligned with your highest and best self. All this will further make your words and thoughts a source of nourishment and positive influence on society and in everything that you do whether it is your work life or personal life.

Sakshi Post: Akshar Ji, as a Himalayan spiritual Guru you have recommended that one should visit the divine ranges. What are your guidelines for such seekers when they embark on a spiritual journey?

Grand Master Akshar: You can consider this as an invitation to visit the Himalayas because it is a divine place containing many powerful and dynamic energies. It is recommended that each and every single person should visit the Himalayas at least once in their life to experience the bliss, tranquillity and love that emanates from this place. Once you visit these divine mountain ranges you will belong to them and this is the language of the Himalayas. Just like you would invite people over to your home in the same way I believe that the mountains are my home and I invite you to come to experience the divinity of the Himalayan ranges.

When you come to the Himalayas you must prepare yourself beforehand for austerities and Tapasya. Whatever benefits that you experience normally when you practice yoga and spirituality become amplified in these regions. In order to absorb and gain these multifold benefits, you must practice yoga and try to deepen your study of spirituality before you visit the Himalayas.

You can start the practice of pranayama techniques like Anulom Vilom, Kapalbhati and Khand pranayama. Another ancient technique is the Siddha walk. This involves tracing figure 8 first from the South to North direction and then reversing it. This must be done for roughly 21 minutes in both directions so set aside 40 minutes to 1 hour for your practice. This will improve your stamina and also help you to build your lower body strength for when you visit the Himalayas. The mountains are a space of pure and divine energies so prepare yourself accordingly and when you feel that you are ready you should definitely pay a visit to the Himalayas because they are always calling you.

Images Source: Grand Master Akshar Facebook Account

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