Text by Abhinav Das Shrestha
Photos by Arwind Chhetri
Sunaina Rana is 25 years old, and she deserves ‘cards of congratulations’ because, at a young age, she is certified as ‘competent’ to teach Upa Yoga, Angamardana, Surya Kriya, Yogasanas and Bhuta Suddhi.
After completing a 21-week-long intensive yoga training at Isha Hatha School of Yoga at Isha Foundation, Coimbatore in South India, Rana, with a finding of something dwelling inside her, not only found her life being transformed profoundly but also developed a wanting to spread the learning and help others to make the same discovery. This is why, starting with providing yoga classes in Indian cities, including New Delhi, Jaipur and Bihar, Rana has been teaching yoga to yoga enthusiasts at her residence in Kupondole, Lalitpur.
When and how did you decide to learn yoga?
It all started quite unconsciously back in 2012. I did a short program of Art of Living. I was working at a news organization and this was the time when I was exposed to various issues of our society which further stimulated my pursuit. For a couple of times, a friend had mentioned about the training and once I read about it, I decided to take the plunge and went there last year in August.
Tell us about the training.
It is a 21-week-long intensive program that runs for a total of 1750 classroom hours.Hatha yoga is not a form of exercise but understanding the mechanics of a body, creating a certain atmosphere, and then using body postures to drive energy in specific directions. We were also exposed to several aspects of Science in Siddhamedicines, Anatomy & Physiology, Yogic Physiology, Yogic Principles & Lifestyle and Yogic Diet and other practices. The aim of the training was to bring about an experiential transformation within us, only after which, we were told, we can impart true yoga.
What were your expectations from the training, and what changes did you find after finishing?
Honestly, I went there for more physical well-being and a disciplined way of life. All of that happened but something much bigger which completely altered my perception of human existence. During the training, I felt the explosions of different dimensions inside me, and experiences were profound. I also felt healthier, alive, energetic, conscious and so much in control. There’s just so much clarity.
So there’s much more in yoga than simply physical exercise?
Yoga has been misunderstood, not just in the western culture but also in our part of the world. Yes, there are lots of health benefits, but these are only the byproducts of yoga, which are attainable through several sports or physical activities anyway. Sadhguru says, “You can use yoga to get rid of your backache or improve your focus and peace of mind, or you can use it as a ladder to the divine.” Even things like the sun cycles, moon cycles, the cosmos and their alignments have an effect on us, and yoga teaches us to be in sync with them. It’s not a physical exercise but \ science and technology to understand and transform oneself.
Were there any specific moments or incidents during the training that you really recall or has had a major effect on you?
Well, everything happened step by step, and as a gradual process. Each aspect in the training was so intense mentally, physically, energetically and emotionally. I recently went to a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar in Tibet,
Sadhguru himself, and many others, which was so mystical and immense, and the overall experiences were simply ‘unimaginable’.
Now, you are providing classes, in which aspect do you focus the most?
Depending on what module the participants or learners choose amongst Upa Yoga, Angamardana, Surya Kriya/ Surya Shakti, Yogasanas and Bhuta Shuddi and other practices of Kriya, Pranayam, Nada Yoga, Mantra Yoga etc., a perfect structure of a class is planned.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to help inspire and encourage people to explore the different dimensions within us that yoga can open up by transcending our compulsions. Right now, I am going back to Isha foundation and will be working there for a year at their Rejuvenation Center.
Under the grace and guidance of mystic, yogi and realized master, Jaggi Vasudev, commonly known as Sadhguru, the institute operates at the Isha Yoga Center, which is located at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains in India, and offers classical Hatha Yoga in its full depth and dimension, taking it far beyond its normal scope of physical or psychological benefit.
“I found my life being transformed. I feel healthier, alive, energetic, conscious and so much in control.”