Yoga Paramparas Revealed

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On the 19th July, IYA team including Prof Kambhampati Subrahmanyam, Sri DR Kaarthikeyan and Ravi Tumuluri visited Rajarajeshwari Temple and paid their respects to Sri Sri Sri Jayendra Puri Mahaswamiji, the present pontiff of Sri Kailash Ashrama Mahasamshtana. Sri Sri Sri Tiruchi Swamigal was the…

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Heartfulness proposes meditation on the heart with an aim of attaining subtler levels of consciousness. The heart is not merely a pump for blood circulation – its role goes far beyond that. References in ancient Indian literature on Yoga, especially that from Sages like Patanjali,…

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24 Sep 2023


Legacy Series


Mission – “Yoga Vidya Gharoghari” – Yoga to Every Household

Yogacharya Padmashri Sadashivrao Nimbalkar Guru­ji founded Yoga Vidya Niketan on 24th March 1974, with the motto “Yoga Vidya Gharoghari”. The prime objective of the Institute is to spread the knowledge of this ancient Indian heritage of Yoga Vidya to every household. The goal is to teach Yoga with traditional techniques to attain and maintain the positive health of every individual for the well-being of the society at large.

The sapling that was planted around more than four decades ago has now grown into a big tree and has spread its expanse even out­side India. Although there is a break on all physical ac­tivities on account of Cov­id-19 pandemic, it provided an opportunity to spread the reach of the institute farther with online classes. Now the institute has become global, teaching Yoga online to par­ticipants all across the globe.

Nimbalkar Guruji was born on 27th July 1926 in Ahmednagar. Since school days he was fond of physi­cal fitness and used to go to ‘Talim’. Apart from his liking for acting, he was also a popular swimming coach in his village. Dur­ing pre-independence days, he had even participated in non-cooperative movement. After completing M.Ed., he joined Marwadi Commercial School as a Physical Trainer and retired in 1984 as Vice Principal. His wife Smt Shakuntala Nimbalkar retired as Deputy Education Officer from Education Department of Maharashtra Government.The real transformation moment in his life came when he met Swami Kuvalayanandaji in the year 1959. Swamiji is the first person who scien­tifically studied effects of Asana and Pranayama on human body systems at Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute established by him. Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute is a world-renowned research institute and Nimbalkar Guruji was in close association with Swami Kuvalayanandaji for eight years till Swamiji left for heavenly abode on 19th April 1966. He also learned anatomy from Mumbai’s Nair Hospital and also completed a course in Homeopathy but due to work load could not practice it. After the sad demise of Swamiji, Nimbalkar Guruji decided to start his own Yoga Teacher’s Training Insti­tute. His wife Smt Shakuntala Nimbalkar, Shri Bapusaheb Dongare, Smt Ushatai Dongare, Shri Tijoriwala were amongst the first founder members. The dream he saw was supported by many of his Yoga loving associates and the stage where Yoga Vidya Niketan has reached today to become one of the renowned Yoga Institute of India is the result of their solid contribution only.

In 1977-78, his program “Yoga for Health” was being telecast on Doordarshan in ‘Prime Time’ slot which continued for two and half years and became very popular. He was writ­ing in Marathi daily, Maharashtra Times, a column on Yoga and renowned Marathi writer Shri Jayavant Dalvi insisted that he should write a book based on this writing on Yoga to help people know more about this ancient Indian heritage science. Thus the first Marathi book titled “Arogyasathi Yoga” meaning Yoga for Health, was published in 1977. It also won that year’s National Award. Subsequently, this book was published in several Indian languages including English (Yoga for Health and Peace) and Hindi (Swasthya Ke Liye Yoga). More than 2 lac copies of this book have been sold as on date. Hindi version of this book received grant of Rs one lac from Government of India. So far, 29 books authored by Nimbalkar Guruji on Yoga related topics are published by Yoga Vidya Niketan.

His paper on ‘Hypertension and Yoga’ received award in 2nd International Conference on Yoga. He visited many countries to attend different conferences on Yoga and his contribution in the field of Yoga has been thus acknowledged internationally.

Taking inspiration from his Guru, Swami Kuva­layanandaji, Nimbalkar Guruji also worked intently to see effects of Yogabhyasa on human body and mind with the help of famous doctors and surgeons. Prominent personalities in the field of medicine, Dr K.K. Date, the world-renowned cardiac specialist, Dr Bavdekar and many more have their valuable contri­bution in this great work. With Dr B. N. Purandare, the famous Gynecologist, Guruji designed ante-natal and post-natal Yoga courses for women.

Till today he has received various awards and accolades. In 1978, Maharashtra Government presented him the award of ‘Best Teacher’. His book on Pranayama was acknowledged by State Government as ‘Best Literary Work’ in 1984. He received ‘Swami Kuvalayanand Award’ for his contribution in the field of Yoga. He was in­vited to train French and German Yoga Trainers at Paris in 1981. He was invited as Chief Guest at ‘Canada Yoga Conference’ held in Toran­to-1992. When he presented his Yoga demonstra­tions at World Bank auditorium, Washington DC, the officials at World bank were impressed and offered him to stay back and continue his work over there, but he politely declined the offer. Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation awarded him and Yoga Vidya Niketan with ‘Navi Mumbai Ratna’ award in 2002-03. The highest accolade of his illustrious career came when “Padmashri” award was conferred on him on 30th June 2004 by President of India Late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Most importantly all the fame and publicity he has earned, has not affected his humility and humbleness.

Nimbalkar Guruji’s ‘Unique Teaching Proce­dures’ (UTPs) based on Educational Principles are revealed through his Graded Yogic Course. He has specially designed preparatory Yogic practices like ‘Shwasan Marga Shuddhi’, Mara­rasana A & B, Tripad Marjarasana, Shwana­sana, Bhushirasana A & B. Utmost importance has been given to implementation of concepts like ‘Relaxation of Efforts’ (Prayatna Shaithi­lya), Conscious Differential Relaxation, Slow, Steady, Continuous, Controlled, Conditioned, Least-exertive, Pleasurable, Rhythmic & At­tractive movements coupled with three types of Pranadharana (Fixation of mind on breath) for ensuring total Awareness – Involvement- Ease- Blissful Experience in all Yogic practices. This may be reckoned as noteworthy contribution of Nimbalkar Guruji and Yoga Vidya Niketan to the field of Yoga. Numerous teachers passed out of the institute have taken these ‘Special Tech­niques’ forward through their private coaching.

Foundation of Yoga Vidya Niketan’s building known as “Yoga Bhavan” at Vashi, Navi Mum­bai, was laid on 24th March 1993 and today Yoga Vidya Niketan has its own 4 storied prem­ises with library, specious halls for Yogabhyasa, well-equipped Naturopathy Center and hygienic arrangement for shuddhi Kriyas to accommodate large number of students. This center at Vashi has provided a solid base for the Institute to spread its wings rapidly. Yoga Vidya Niketan also has one more center at Matunga, Mumbai named ‘Damale Yoga Kendra’.

During the course of its tradition Yoga Vidya Niketan has achieved certain milestones and the one month ‘Summer Course’ (introduction to Graded Course through daily two-hour practice session) which is being conducted in the month of May, every year, consecutively for the last forty-eight years is quite noteworthy. Even the Coronavirus pandemic has not made a dent into this tradition as it is now conducted online. A record number of nearly 1300 participants all across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and even a significant number from abroad are participat­ing in this year’s Summer Course.

Another important milestone is Yoga Vidya Niketan’s Monthly Bulletin ‘Yogavarta’, dedi­cated to Yoga related information and articles which is being published regularly since 1985.
Shri Nimbalkar Guruji’s vision of spreading “Yoga Vidya to Every Household” has been now rooted firmly in the society. The trained teachers are the ‘torch bear­ers’ of Yoga Vidya Niketan’s mission – “Yoga Vidya Gha­roghari”. After estab­lishing Yoga Vidya Niketan and taking it to great heights with all the efforts, Guruji has selflessly formed a Trust and did not make the institute his own property.

At the age of 95, Guruji is quite active and healthy. This is a gift of practicing Yoga for almost six decades. Such is the glorious per­sonality of Yogacharya Sadashiv Nimbalkar, a role model for all associated with Yoga Vidya Niketan who have vowed to carry forward his legacy.

Activities of Yoga Vidya Niketan

Teacher’s training Course – Highlights

Taking inspiration from Swami Kuvalayanan­dji’s design, Nimbalkar Guruji designed a four graded course; Preliminary for the beginners, Intermediate, Pre-standard and Standard. All the Yoga practices are in adherence with the traditional Yoga techniques and Guruji has seen that the same is adhered strictly and at no stage it has been compromised or deviated from the traditional Hatha Yoga.

Students learn about the local effects, associ­ated effects and the central effects of every practice on body and mind. Within a span of eleven months Diploma Course, students learn various aspects of Yoga practically as well as theoretically. They learn basic human anatomy and physiology for better understanding of Yoga practices on the body. Psychology to un­derstand mind and facets of personality. A brief introduction to the Yogic Science is also in­ducted for the knowledge about the history and philosophy of this great ancient Indian heritage and culture.
Yoga is not limited only to Asana and Pranaya­ma but internal hygiene of the body is equally important for peace of mind and Guruji was aware of its importance and therefore included ‘Shuddhi Kriya’ in this curriculum. Learning Kriya is actually a high point of this course, as very seldom it is taught anywhere with such detailing and hygiene. Students gain expertise in the Kriyas like Jala Neti, Sutra Neti, Vaman Dhouti, Danda Dhouti, Vastra Dhouti, Sitkrama – Vyutkrama, Kapalbhati, Nauli, Shankha-Prak­shalana etc. under the guidance of experienced teachers, as many of them are considered un­usual ones. Students participate in conferences and exhibitions and excursions through which their creativity is allowed to blossom as they are made to participate in poster making, as­signments, reports of various activities, debates and discussions on various Yoga topics. They prepare themselves for teaching Yogic practices through ‘class-lessons’ and the public speaking removes the stage fear to become an able Yoga teacher. They have to select a topic of Yoga, for a research project work. Conduct research work and have to present a dissertation on the same. They conduct a one-week ‘free workshop’ for common people and teach them Yoga prac­tices. At the end of the curriculum a “Summer Course” camp is conducted for a period of one month where students canvas participants for the camp. They conduct the camp entirely on the skills they have acquired during the cur­riculum. This ‘Teacher’s Training Course’ is so enchanting and one gets so much to learn that this course is aptly termed as “Total Transfor­mation Course”.

Yoga Therapy, Naturopathy and Natural Living course – Highlights

After successful completion of Yoga Teach­er’s Training Course, it becomes obvious that one learns about the therapeutic ap­plications of Yoga practices and applies it successfully in treatment and rehabilitation. Nimbalkar Guruji understood the impor­tance of this and launched this course 21 years ago and since then it has become a very popular one amongst Yoga Teachers. Dur­ing this course, emphasis is on practicing what is taught. Students therefore are provided with fresh fruit breakfast every Sunday morning during the classes to bring the ‘Natural Liv­ing’ principles in actual practice. Students also get personal expe­rience of various detoxification procedures. Students learn as well as experience themselves Pan­chmahabhoutic Chikitsa like Mud Therapy, Hydrotherapy, Sunbath. Unique feature is undergoing Shankhaprakshalana Kriya (de­toxification treatment) and ‘Chlo­rophyll Sunbath’ (exposing one­self to Sun by getting wrapped in green banana leaves). Another highlight is a visit to Naturopathy Center for self-experience of therapeutic treatments. One more important aspect of this course is an oppor­tunity to listen to eminent specialist doctors who de­liver lectures on eight body systems. During a two-day conference, student have a treat to listen to renowned speakers in the field of Yoga on varied topics. Learning various specially designed Yogic Practices as therapy is obviously a focal point of this course. It is seen that at the end of the course a student emerges out as an able Yoga Therapist and Naturopath.

Regular Yoga Classes:

Apart from these two courses, Yoga Vidya Niketan runs regular daily Yoga classes. These classes are run at nearly 12 centers all across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and few outside Mumbai. At these centers various batches are conducted throughout the day as required. In a way it is a continuous ‘Yoga Yajna’ performance.

Workshops of Yoga Therapy for different ailments and Kriya Workshops for Detoxification:

Yoga Vidya Niketan conducts various Yoga Therapy workshops for various ailments. Yoga for Hy­pertension, Yoga for Backache, Yoga for Neckache, Yoga for Diabetes, Yoga for Cardiac disorders, Yoga for Weight loss etc. are few examples. Also, there are special workshops on Pranayama and Meditation.

Yoga Therapy Consultation:

Yoga Vidya Niketan’s experienced therapists are available for consultation at Dadar and Vashi Centers on particular days and times. Now this service is available online also.

Naturopathy Center at Vashi:

Yoga Vidya Niketan also runs a Naturopathy Center at Vashi, Navi Mumbai where anyone can avail different Therapy Treatments like massage, steam baths, hip baths etc.

The Legacy Series articles are contributed by institutional members of IYA and are published as provided by them; we encourage all Member Institutions of the Association to send a six page article with some photos about their organisations

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