Interview: Yoga guru, Akshar
We are reinventing yoga without compromising with its basic principles: Akshar
HP Correspondent|
Sunday, August 27, 2017

In a candid conversation with Healthpost, Akshar, the famous yoga master who has come up with whole new yoga forms such as Aerial yoga and Coconut yoga, talks about his journey as a yoga practitioner, and his many experiments with it. Excerpts…  
When did you start practising yoga?

I must have been 8-year-old. My father was with Border Security Force and we used to travel with him on his postings. In Kullu, where my father was posted, I met some yoga teachers from Kaulantak Peeth, one of the eight biggest ancient institutes of Yoga. Their talk had an ever lasting impact on my mind and I started practicing yoga. There was no looking back after that.  

What is Akshar yoga all about?

In the Himalayas, I practiced one of the purest forms of Yoga. In 2010, we thought to modify yoga a bit so that people in cities could adapt to it easily.  We wanted to integrate yoga in modern life. We came up with special yoga techniques that are best suited for people living in cities after studying their lifestyles.  We wanted to communicate to people that yoga doesn’t belong to any one religion and it helped. In fact, we have a lot of Muslim students, many of them from countries such as Iran. 

Why do you think so many people have discovered the joys of yoga all of a sudden?

Weight loss and mental peace, I feel, are the two major causes why people come to join our classes. For them, we came up with innovative and modified forms of yoga such as Agni Namaskar, Prithvi Namaskar, Jal Namaskar. They help people lose upto 8-10 kilograms in a month.

You believe in experimenting with yoga a lot…

Yes, I do. Yoga has four components—Asanas, Mudras, Pranayam and Meditation. These have miraculous effect on the human mind and body.

Our main aim, when we started, was to create a taste for Yoga among people. We keep coming up with innovative Yoga forms for our students--the most recent is Aerial yoga or Bird yoga. It is performed with hummocks. It has the elements of air in it. Since it is performed against gravity, it helps people regain physical as well as mental balance. It strengthens our right and left brain.

We also came up with Coconut yoga at a time when Beer yoga was getting popular among youngsters. The idea was to replace beer with fresh coconut water.

The experiment has to be within a limit, it should not alter the basic principles of yoga. Yoga purifies your body and mind, keeps it calm and composed. It aligns your thoughts. Any element deviating you from these objectives could be injurious

Do you think that with too much experiment, Yoga may lose its essence?

Yes, it can. And that’s a major concern with Yoga practitioners. The experiment has to be within a limit, it should not alter the basic principles of yoga. Yoga purifies your body and mind, keeps it calm and composed. It aligns your thoughts.

Any element deviating you from these objectives could be injurious. People practice nude yoga, or beer yoga, which are far from the principles of yoga.

How different are the yoga forms that you have come up with from pure yoga?

Very different, but without compromising the basic principles of yoga. When we perform yoga in Himalayas in its original form, we keep in mind little things-- from the direction of an asana, to the angle, to the itinerary.
But in cities, our idea is to introduce yoga in a form that people can adapt to easily and eventually graduate to the purer version.

What do you think of the government's efforts to promote yoga?

Celebrating International Yoga day is a very good initiative, it has brought about awareness among the masses. Yoga has also become a good career option for hundreds of young people. The starting salary of a trained yoga instructor is about Rs 50,000.

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