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"Yoga Can Treat Some Fatal Diseases." - Padma Shri Dr. H. R. Nagendra Reveals

The exclusive interview of Dr. H. R. Nagendra reveals many facts about his life, mission and the ancient science of Yoga. Apart from holding key positions at S-VYASA, World Assembly on Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Task Force of AYUSH and SAC of CCRY, Govt. of India; He is the profound Yoga Guru of Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. A Must Read.

Dr. H. R. Nagendra is an Indian mechanical engineer, Yoga therapist, academic, writer and the Founder Chancellor of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), Bengaluru. He is a recipient of Yoga Shri title from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.He has authored 35 books and over 100 research papers on Yoga. The Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri in 2016, for his contributions to society.Dr. H. R. Nagendra, is widely recognized across the world as Yoga Guru.

Bodyandstrength.com interviewed this legendary Yoga Guru and was all inspired looking at the depth of his knowledge and experience in this field, his mission to popularize and ingrain Yoga and Ayurveda in the world health system, lifestyles of people has gained momentum over the years. Let’s know his story, vision and views in this insightful interview.

Q: Dr. Nagendra, we will start this conversation with a personal note. How and when did the science of Yoga intrigue you and how did it change you as a person over the period of time?

A:I was doing my Ph.D from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, ignorant of the reality, completely engrossed in learning the modern science with the aim to revolutionize the world. There I had a chance to meet Professor ASN Shastry (Chemistry). He opened a new world for me. He combined his brilliant analysis with spiritual wisdom and deep knowledge of the classical teachings to offer a new vision especially to people like me who have perhaps been too focused on scientific thinking. Under his guidance I started searching for reality and practicing Yoga.

Yoga has changed me completely as a person. 

Q: Is Yoga for everyone?  Is it Yog or Yoga? People would love to know the difference coming from you.

A: Yoga is for everyone. Yoga does not discriminate. Call it Yog or Yoga, it is similar.

Q: What is the best time of the day it should be practiced?

A: Morning hours are the best time to practice Yoga.

Q: People would like to know about your work in popularizing this ancient way of life - Yog across the world. Please throw some light.

A: My goal is to make yoga relevant to today’s world. At S-VYASA, we use the best of the East and the West by combining Eastern philosophy with Western systems. This has been our approach since 1975.

It was back then when we set up our first camp with 250 patients, set up a control trial, and followed them up for 54 months; we submitted our first paper, based on the resulting data and positive encouraging analysis, to the British Medical Journal in 1985. This opened up our work to the whole world; people started asking us what type of yoga do you do, can you teach us, can we do collaborative research. One single research paper went global.

Then we published another study on 660 patients of asthma with follow up results, and published in the Journal of Asthma in the USA. We began working with the Royal Free Hospital in London on the usefulness of yoga for diabetes and other health ailments. The GAIA Publishers in England published our first book, Yoga for Common Ailment, which refers to 18 ailments. This book was released in London, NYC, and Sydney, simultaneously. It was translated into four or five European languages. Based on these good results, we applied for a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant with MD Anderson Cancer Center (Texas), and received $ 4.5 million in funding, the biggest ever grant for research on yoga and breast cancer. Hope is the key!!

Q:  We are battling several health issues these days, some of the infections and viruses we don't even know the cure of. Science is struggling to find out answers. How can Yog contribute these times and condition?

A: Yoga can treat some fatal diseases. We use “cyclic meditation,” a combination of yoga postures and guided meditation, to alleviate occupational stress and treat diseases like asthma, cancer and psychiatric illnesses. We have evidences where people have been able to reduce their medications or stop them entirely. Modern Medical system deal with the body whereas, the root cause is in the mind.

Q:  Is there connection between Yog and Food? If one practices Yog daily, what kind of general food must one take to complement his or her health conditions.

A: Eat what suits your body. Seasonal vegetables and fruits are the best.

Q: People would love to know how you associated with Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji and how did you find him as person, supporter of your vision?

A: I have been working with our Honourable Prime Minister for more than 30 years now. He visited Prashanti Kutiram, Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (VYASA), Bengaluru, India in 1987. He is a great devotee of Swami Vivekananda. He was extremely impressed with our approach and took to the practice of yoga.

Our Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi is a remarkable person who very focused and determined. A strong believer and practitioner of Yoga, he knows what he wants and is very keen to see how we are developing scientific research in yoga. And not only Yoga, he wants Ayurveda to reach the higher realms of growth. It is an ancient science and his aim is to take Ayurveda to the forefront.

Q: Your strong message to the nation?

A: Yoga takes us to reality to fullest extent. It is the science that our ancestors practiced and implemented in their daily lives. They lived a healthier life as Yoga offered them the contentment and satisfaction that is missing from our lives. Besides the practical benefits of yoga there is much more to it if we go deeper and deeper into it to completely understand the science. Yoga can help us deal with stress of the modern world.

Q:  Thank you very much for this insightful session. Your input will help the nation and world to take up a fresh look towards the magic of Yoga. Last but not the least, message to coming up health industry, fitness industry and education system. Do you feel Yoga must be included as a part of curriculum to churn out mentally and physically strong generation?

A: Yoga has been made compulsory in the schools all over India from 6th to 10th class. The NCTE (National Council of Teacher Education) has made yoga compulsory for all 13 lakh teacher educators trained in a year. We have developed the syllabus for the requirement that all teachers are required to learn yoga, from pre-primary school, to elementary and high school, to BA, MA, and B.Ed. About 28 lakhs of teachers will be trained.

Yoga is growing wonderfully well with its true dimension in India. There is a lot happening in India to promote and propagate Yoga. Among many one such example is World Assembly on Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy(7-10th November, 2019) which is being organised in Greater Noida, India. WAAYN aims at unearthing the treasure of ancient knowledge and combine it with modern day advancement to benefit the mankind. 

Formal Introduction and A Brief History

Dr H. R. Nagendra is the Chancellor, S-VYASA; Chairman, Advisory Committee, World Assembly on Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy; Chairman, IDY (Internal national Day of Yoga) Experts Committee, Task force of AYUSH (Ministry of Health &Family Welfare), SAC of CCRY (CENTRAL COUNCIL FOR RESEARCH IN YOGA AND NATUROPATHY), Government of India. 

Born on January 1, 1943. Dr. H R Nagendra received his Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bangalore University in and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore in 1968. Later served as faculty of IISc in Department of Mechanical Engineering. Served as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the University of British Columbia, Canada in 1969. In 1970 moved to NASA Marshall Space Flight Centre, USA as Post-Doctoral Research Associate. In 1972 Moved to Engineering Science Laboratory, Harvard University, USA as a Consultant and also a Visiting Staff at Imperial College of Science and Technology, London.

Dr. H R Nagendra, During 1975, joined Vivekananda Kendra, a service mission, as Honorary Director of Training Centre, Vivekanandapuram, Kanyakumari. Served as Secretary, Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Therapy & Research Committee (VK YOGAS) during 1979-1986. During 1993-2000 served All India Vice-President.

Dr. H R Nagendra, is Serving as President Viveknanda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (VYASA), Bengaluru, since 2000. Served as Vice Chancellor Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samthana University (S-VYASA) from 2002-2013 and serving as Chancellor from 2013.

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