The everyday word “Yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “Yog” which means addition. It refers to adding “something” to connect to your higher self. It referred to spirituality, energy, awakening of the ‘chakras’, and other meditative forms to feel connected to the greater power and achieve the higher level of consciousness. This definition was relevant in those times, when our food was pure, our lives led by physical activity and was free from the toxins of junk and negativity.
In the current era, the relevance and importance of ‘Yoga’ is far more noticeable. With the stress levels high, and the physical activity low, with the high concentration of chemicals and low nutrition in today’s diet, with the increasing consumption of medicines to regulate almost all body prosecces, it is only Yoga that can help maintain the right balance of hormones and blood pressure to keep the body healthy.
Indians are fortunate in this respect, as they have inherited this rich cultural heritage in its purest form, and there are still many Yoga gurus, who are working hard to preserve the pious spirituality associated with Yoga, and not let it transform into any other heart pumping work out routine. Yoga is about calmness, serenity, balance and it results in effective weight management, the most wanted result from any workout these days.
Top 10 Yoga Gurus in India, in no particular order
Late. Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya
Known as the father of Modern Yoga, who was not just a yogi, but also a healer. He combined ayurveda and yoga practices to effectively heal the ones he treated. He authored many books on Yoga, including Yogmakaranda, Yogarahasya and Yogasanagalu. Many of India’s most popular yoga teachers including Sri. B.N.S Iyender and Srivatsa Ramaswamy have been Sri Krishnamacharya’s students. Sri. Krishnamacharya based his yoga practice on the Patanjali yoga and believed in restoring the fine balance of mind, body and spirit in order to heal a person holistically.
2. Yog Guru Ramdev
One of the most popular Yoga Gurus in the country today, founder of the Divya Yog Mandir Trust and Patanjali Yogapeeth, Baba Ramdev has treated thousands of individuals with his teachings of yoga and healthy lifestyle. He holds camps all over the country, and has daily yoga telecast on various television channels to follow and do along.
3. Late. Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Founder of the Divine Life Society and Yoga Forest Vedant Academy, he also established the Sivananda Ashram for the yoga and spirituality enthusiasts. The Sivananda Yoga is even today one of the most popular yoga practices in the country.
4. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
A world famous spiritual leader and founder of “Art of Living Foundation”, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar received the prestigious “Padma Vibhushan” by the Government of India. His yoga practices are easy to follow and they mostly revolve around breathing techniques or pranayama which helps a person get rid of stress, anxiety and disease.
5. Sri Jaggi Vasudev
Founder of the Isha foundation, Sri Jaggi Vasudeva is a yogi, a spiritual guru, a mystic and a poet. He is internationally acclaimed for his teachings and preachings which are a mix of science and spirituality. He has emphasized the importance of “Dhyaana” in Yoga, and has uncountable followers all over the world.
6. Bikram Choudhury
The founder of “Bikram Yoga” or Hot Yoga, that is a series of 26 Hatha yoga postures performed at a temperature of about 40 degrees Celsius. The yoga practice was very effective, though Bikram Choudhury had to hand it over to one of his disciples due to his rough personal life owing to a number of lawsuits against him.
7. Sri. Vinod Kumar Rajan
A resident teacher in Ayuryoga Eco Ashram, Sri Vinod Kumar Rajan has been teaching yoga since 17 years now. A master of traditions of classical Siddhya Vidya, Rajan is a disciple and follower of Sivananda Paramahansa Siddha Ashram and his yoga practices are based on Paramhansa Yoga.
8. Sri Krishna Chaitanya
Founder/ Director of the Yoga Vidya Retreats, Sri. Krishna Chaitanya is a professional yoga trainer and spiritual healer. He started leading a monastic life since the age of 19, and learned and practiced in the best ashrams of India. An expert in Hatha Yoga himself, he holds trainings for yoga teachers in Teachers Retreat.
9. Swami Prabodh Chaitanya
Holding a masters degree in English Literature, besides his studies in Sanskrit, Swami Prabodh Chaitanya has been teaching Yoga in the spiritualy rich lands of Rishikesh and Varanasi since a very long time. His vast knowledge of the Upanishads, yoga and spirituality makes him a favorite among the yoga enthusiasts of foreign lands.
10. Sri. Shashi Dharan
A nutrition graduate, Sri. Shashi Dharan has worked in the health industry for over 15 years. His passion for yoga and alternate healing therapies made him switch his career path, and he has been devotedly working on Yoga, Siddha Nature Cure, and Holistic healing since 1994.
Yoga is magnetic. Yoga has benefits beyond measure, and the joy and calm of yoga can only be known after you do it with heart.