"Albeit for a short time, I do not regret even one moment of the time I had spent under the guidance of Niveditaji. It was a brilliantly unique propaganda and I wish life was always easy on us and would let us enjoy such experiences often; but professionally being busy it was hard to keep time.
Having been brought up in a strict Gurukul parampara from my childhood, it was the epitome of nostalgia to have entered the same sphere from the moment i entered this wonderful niche of excellence created by Niveditaji. It is rare to find such an institution of late where the subject may be one, but what one gains from it - numerous. Team building as well as creative stimulus, not to mention helping one another were a few traits that no one could miss out on.
Discipline, commitment, passion and vigor. I am not unfamiliar with these terms, but to reestablish them, it did take a while. These attributes go hand in hand without saying in any art form. And I was glad that I revitalized my self with such attributes, with all the teachings of Iyengar yoga.
What made it worth a while also was to see the passion flow from the Guru to the student. One could see that Nivedita ji was strongly inspired by her Guru, Guru B.K.S. Iyengar, and that passion came in a flux down to us, in her inspirational teaching.
In Yogakshema, background and occupational history, status, career success and attributes purely material in this temporal world of our's is not paid heed to. Every one comes together as an equal, learns to be an empty canvas and paints upon it incessantly. Life is made vibrant in Yogakshema. One can only learn and gain from the experience."
"I had been suffering from a few minor ailments which were causing me a bit of discomfort. As a rule,I am not a person who takes medicines very easily. In fact I have a great aversion to popping pills. It was then that my wife suggested that I meet Nivedita Joshi, as she was going to her for her slipped discs and had felt a remarkable improvement.
I was so pleasantly surprised to see the Iyengar ashram when I reached there. It was beautiful to say the least and the calm vibrations greet you as soon as you put a foot into the place. The staff goes out of their way to help and accommodate new patients and I was guided at every step of my exercise routine. Nivedita herself is a motivated, energetic person who puts her heart and soul into her work. She is a no nonsense person and a hard task master, which is why she produces results. Nivedita surely knows her work and knows what technique to use for which ailment. The force and passion with which she conducts her classes should be a lesson for us all.
I wish Nivedita all the best for the future and sincerely hope that she carries on with her work with as much zeal and zest as she has in the past. If there were more like her there would definitely be less ailments in our world today."
Even today, I remember the day I stepped into Iyengar Yoga Centre ' Yogakshema' and met Nivedita Madam. I was highly impressed by her devotion towards yoga and intensity of attentiveness in caring newcomers, like me. Ten months ago, I literally dragged myself into my first yoga session, depleted, having lot of health issues and pain. But practicing just for four months,I felt complete relief from my eight year old cervical pain, and within six months, two and half years old borderline Diabetes was under control.
After every session ,I started feeling better and better, feeling of wellness tarted prevailing for the whole day. Problems that were chasing me for years ,suddenly started getting resolved and became easily manageable too. Although I began practicing yoga to get relief from cervical pain, But more than that ,it gave me mental clarity at the time when I was emotionally disturbed. Only my yoga practice gave me internal strength to cope with the situations. A lot many positive changes started happening like organising things in a better way and becoming able to take more positive decisions. This was just happening without even consciously knowing. I felt great positive transformation was taking place within me.
It was not always easy for me to be regular with my yoga sessions. Many times there was no help at home and I have to bribe my eight year old daughter to stay at relatives or friends place. Other small small things popped up but by contemplating on Nivedita Madam and her teachings, I was able to manage all this with new awareness and confidence. I found a way to be calm during my most stressful and emotional turbulent times . With introduction of Patanjali sutras, I started feeling good and enjoy responsibilities in more meaningful way at home and with friends.
I loved the Iyengar Guru ji's way of yoga. I just adore the precision,detailing and alignment of poses and flow during yoga sessions. For three hours ,mind is totally present in those moments and therefore automatic getting controlled . I realise as if expansion of mind is happening. The very moment, I enter into Yogakshema, it is like stepping within where mind and body start merging through prayerful poses and feeling of serenity starts prevailing all over the one's whole being . Mindful asanas help to focus better and with the help of props , everyone can hold the pose longer and can take the complete benefits. I love the way, the teachers take care of every student and every thing at Yogakshema , like organising the props ,T-shirts, cleanliness, ,mats and warmth of heaters in winters.
I feel Iyengar Yoga is the best thing that has happened to me. Yoga poses and yoga teachers at Yogakshema helped me to think beyond circumstances and empowered me to live life to utmost . I think my yoga teachers are my guiding angels who help me to connect with my innermind and soul through my own body.
Today, I can say Iyengar Yoga is the only real Yoga, rest all in name of yoga are misleading not only masses but mind and body of each individual, causing anxiety and deformities.
Now I feel Iyengar yoga is an integral part of my life and I will be associated with it throughout my life. Tonnes of Thanks to Guruji for wonderful contribution to mankind and to Nivedita Madam too,who made it within reach of common people in Delhi and North India.
"I have been practicing at Iyengar Yogakshema for 5 years. I was diagnosed with Scoliosis when I was 12. Instead of growing straight, my spine was deviating due to unknown causes. I had a right thoracic curve and my whole body was badly misaligned. I was young and scared; suddenly disoriented and emotionally shaken. With divine grace, Yoga came into my life and with hard work, I gained strength in my body and poise in my mind. Bit by bit, I built myself up, rose from the pits of self doubt and stood tall on the strong roots of Yoga- A beautiful tree, springing out from supporting roots, branching in all directions, laden with fresh leaves of thought, reaching out to the sky and talking to the stars; The trunk, slightly deviated to the right and twisted, an essential element of the tree’s beauty that makes it different from the other straight trees. Yoga has now become the most important part of my life and I am learning to understand my body’s structure more and more. Apart from the physical relief and alignment, I am slowly developing sensitivity in different parts of the spine. Nivedita Maam has taught me how to lengthen, strengthen, align, de rotate and stabilize the spine, how to move and align the body in every pose, to physically ingrain little details like evenly distributing the body weight, extending the convex side of the spine more, digging in the ribs where there is a hump, to be able feel different parts of the body in different asanas and to use props to achieve the correct actions in the pose. My condition is now extremely improved. I have no pain and I do not look Scoliotic. My posture has corrected, my body has become aligned and my spinal curvature has greatly decreased. I am deeply grateful to Guruji BKS Iyengar for the yoga that has taught me to work hard and work for myself. It influences my everyday life in a positive way; it has taught me to stand on my feet (and hands as well!) and has given me the confidence that if I can conquer my body, there is nothing I can not do."
"It all began sometime in August 2008. I was sitting in the bed watching TV and getting ready to go off to sleep after a hectic day. Suddenly I felt a shooting pain in my lower back; the pain was so severe that I could barely utter a word.
Thereafter, I was horizontal on bed for almost three weeks. I then tried to slowly start walking. But the intensity of pain often let me immobile. I was on strong painkillers recommended by the orthopaedic doctor. I felt extremely helpless. I could not perform any of my daily activities; let alone going out or socializing. I used to cry for hours. I did not leave any treatment untouched; tried physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, acupressure, ayurvedic massages. With no relief coming my way, I started slipping into depression. It was as if life had ended for me – until I reached to Iyengar Yoga centre and met Nivideta Joshi ma’am.
Ma’am gave me hope, a hope to live, a hope of joy, a hope to carry on my life like anyone else. She admitted me in her medical batch. I was given a lot of help by her assistant teachers at the centre to negotiate different yogic postures. Under Ma’am’s guidance, I was given a sequence to follow which I did religiously . What helped me get through this trying phase of life is Ma’am’s constant support and presence. After completing the medical course I was promoted to the regular classes where I joined the beginner’s batch. Although I did not feel confident enough to join the normal classes, Ma’am ability to judge the body and mind proved superior.
From the beginner’s batch, I was promoted to the intermediate batch and stayed in this batch for a year. Recently, ma’am promoted me to the senior batch. Senior batch! How could I cope with the intense practise and learning in the senior class? But ma’am knew the body was ready for next level of challenges. Today, after two and a half years of yogic journey, I not only carry out my normal chores, but I also work, take care of my two children and my larger family. I truly, from the core of my heart thank Guruji, Nivideta ma’am, and The Almighty for helping me out in this journey of life."
“Diagnosed with Hereditary Neuro Pressure Palsy (HNPP), the world around me just crashed and crumbled. HNPP is a debilitating disease where the myelin sheath, the protective substance that covers nerve cells, gets eroded. As a result, not just the motor nerves but the sensory nerves and the autonomic nervous system get severely affected. That is to say that the body’s electrical wiring simply breaks down.
This ailment manifests symptomatically in many ways: there are recurrent episodes of numbing, tingling and loss of muscle function get chronic. Medical science has little to offer. I was advised to take steroids since there was no cure. I was further warned that the symptoms would simply go from bad to worse as age progressed.
Age? What Age! I was barely in my 30s. And here I was already unable to hold and grip even a pen , let alone stand, teach or for that matter use the blackboard. I could not use a knife in the kitchen or fasten buttons, or for that matter, use the spoon to eat a morsel of food or stay balanced my feet…….. The list was endless. If day time wasn’t terrible enough, nights were traumatic as I could not lie down without the arms and legs going numb and intense pain searing through them. Year after year, I braved the illness .The physical deformities were evident but none could gauge the psychological impact. My confidence was shattered and I was looking for succor. That is when my colleague suggested that I take up Iyengar yoga With hope in my heart, I approached Ms. Nivedita Joshi who took me under her tutelage. There has been no looking back since then. Within three months I could sense an improvement. No longer were the mornings an ordeal overpowered by fatigue and pain. Nivedita Ma’am put me on a ‘rejuvenating yoga sequence’ that soon infused energy into me. Slowly but steadily I regained strength. Six years into the programme, I have nearly forgotten the pain. Instances of tripping and falling, extreme fatigue, incessant pain in the limbs, migraines are a thing of the past. I am able to go about the daily chores with ease. I continue to use several props in my asana practice but the remarkable thing is that I now have gathered the courage to let go of them.
I quote Guruji, “Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.” Under the able guidance of my guru, Nivedita Joshi, I am working towards this transformation. The essential element in the magnetic personality of my guru, Nivedita Joshi ji is her all consuming passion for knowledge and it is with this overpowering conviction that she has drawn us all into her fold in her relentless pursuit of perfection. I bow to the Almighty for having shown me and many others like me the light of Iyengar Yoga."
"It all began with an ordinary chest x-ray eight years ago, when I came to know of my medical condition- Scoliosis. In utter daze, my anxiety stricken parents ushered me around from one doctor to the other. After many more tests, consultations with doctors, and education on Internet websites, we came to understand it as “a musculoskeletal disorder due to which the spine curves in abnormal ways”.
As a teenager, it was difficult to accept this definition as a part of my existence. Scoliosis manifested on my physical body as a hump on my back, a slight protrusion of one rib and uneven shoulders - a definite embarrassment at that age. Over time, this embarrassment led to low self-esteem, fuelled by constant feeling that something was wrong with my body. It was more than just about the cosmetic appearance: I would suffer from stiffness and gnawing pain after working or sitting in one position even for a limited period of time. The medical condition stood in the way of my ambition to become an artist, for an artist’s job is too strenuous for someone with my back condition. So, what then? Surgery? Bracing? Or just waiting and hoping that it didn’t get worse?
With a lot of ambiguity surrounding Scoliosis in the medical world, my father continued his search for an enduring solution. In the course of his research, he came across the philosophy of Iyengar yoga two years ago. At that time, it seemed unbelievable. Even so, the human desire to seek a cure when in pain is a very powerful one. And so, we pinned our hopes on Nivedita Ma’am’s institute. The truth, the solution, the answer all remains in the yoga practice; yet, the day it all started, a sense of relief and calm finally enveloped us.
The initial part of the journey was perhaps less difficult for me, and perhaps more of a challenge for Nivedita Ma’am and the teachers at ‘Yogakshema’ Centre. The intensity of work done on me was monumental. When I positioned myself for the various asanas, I was constantly guided, with each breath, towards gaining the sensitivity of feeling and visualizing my body from the inside, a key aspect of the healing process. For me, this is what makes Iyengar yoga enduring. Over time, I could finally gain control of my body, a refreshing feeling, since much of my teenage life was spent in experiences that let me to foster gloom and uncertainty in my mind.
All this would not have been possible without use of props, a unique feature of Iyengar yoga. The props allow anyone, in any situation to be able to experience the benefits of an asana in the event that the body does not allow for a particular movement. Once the body benefits from the asanas and recovers the movement, the props make an exit. This makes Iyengar yoga all the more accessible and approachable, offering a ‘soft landing’ for those with ailments. I have been fortunate to experience this shift. Recently, I graduated from the medical class to the regular class.
Even with all its beautiful elements, Iyengar Yoga is in no way easy. Crossing the hump is not easy; especially since it develops a sense that is dormant in the modern man – the sense of connecting mind and body in a cyclical smooth flow. After months of frustration, today I can see myself doing yoga for the rest of my life.
Yoga has amazed me for today I can attend the regular class and go at the same pace as everyone else, do the asana’s that I had once needed support for without support, be in control of my body, and utilize my mind for my body. Best of all, there is so much to learn that the excitement would continue alongside the practice."