Hundreds of years from now, if the world is anything like it is today, we might invent a tablet that would cure everything. Be it a psychological condition or a respiratory issue, one tablet would solve all riddles. Posterity might call it the ‘magic tablet’ that wouldn’t let anyone fall sick or suffer from stress. Or they might name it ‘Yoga’, medicine that can heal and restore inside out.
But yoga is not medicine, it’s better. Yoga is for everyone—you could be suffering from a medical condition or just seeking healthier living, this timeless discipline would not disappoint. A universal motif for wellbeing, yoga truly cuts across cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles.
An ancient practice in a truly adapted, modern avatar, yoga has its roots deep within the soil of Indian heritage. The last 100 years have seen yogic science and practice not only reach shores across the world but also make its way into modern urban life. Researchers and scholars have dedicated their lives to comprehend what makes yoga so effective. Insomnia, PTSD, anxiety, anger, chronic stress, and even cancer—yoga helps fight all battles and win them too.
There’s an interesting analogy to help fathom the brilliance of this discipline. Einstein’s theories were not understood or accepted at first, but decades later, after years of research, they are the foundation of how we perceive the universe. The science behind yoga has seen a similar acceptance, all thanks to those who have made practising and teaching yoga their life’s purpose.
To celebrate this way of life that’s changed many lives, Soulveda spoke to Hatha Yoga instructor Reena Bhanot on International Yoga Day. During her long-standing relationship with yoga, this Netherlands-based yogi has helped individuals achieve holistic wellbeing. In an exclusive interview, Reena shares her story of learning, teaching, and paying it forward.
You come from a family of yoga practitioners. Tell us about the inspiration behind your journey in yoga.
I must have been six when my mother, Tripta Bhanot, now a renowned yoga therapist, was operated upon for her persistent lower back pain. Even after the surgery, nothing changed. I remember seeing my mother low and sick. During this time, someone suggested Siddh Samadhi Yog (SSY), back then taught in a park by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, which later grew into the Art of Living. For the first time in months, I saw my mother smiling and feeling better.
Soon, she began to take professional training from the Bihar School of Yoga and also started learning naturopathy, Reiki, and Pranic healing. My siblings and I would accompany her and help her demonstrate at seminars and courses during summer break. All this passive learning continued through my growing-up years.
Fast forward to when I finished university, passive learning gave me the courage to further explore yoga and understand its intricacies from different standpoints. An activity I got into unwittingly soon became my vocation.
Hatha yoga is a popular term today. Tell us what is hatha yoga? Is it for everyone?
Hatha yoga is one of the most commonly known and practiced forms of yoga today. According to the yogic scriptures, it is the combination of two mantras, ‘ham’ which represents the sun (Pingala) or vital energy or prana, and ‘tham’ that represents the moon (Ida) or mental energy. In this context, hatha yoga is a tool to balance these aspects.
Hatha yoga is a highly restorative and well-defined practice that can provide you a clear understanding of your own body. Through hatha yoga, you can achieve harmony between sympathetic, parasympathetic, and central nervous systems—you can also refer to them as pingala nadi, ida nadi, and sushumna nadi. It can be practiced by anyone irrespective of age, gender, or physical condition. You can follow it at your own pace.