Radhika Vachani on How to Get the Most from Yoga [Diva in Focus]




Radhika Vachani

Radhika Vachani on How to Get the Most from Yoga [Diva in Focus]
Radhika Vachani believes that yoga has changed her life

Radhika Vachani set up Yogacara Healing Arts when she realised that there was a dearth of yoga centres that offered a practical training environment. After practising the ancient discipline for almost 12 years, she established a wellness centre for people looking to stay fit and healthy. In an interview with iDiva.com, Radhika Vachani talks about her yoga studio, how one can select their yoga institute and more. 

Lisabelle Gonsalves, Team iDiva


Q
What drew you to yoga?

Radhika Vachani

A Well, I started yoga just to stay fit, and to have a healthy mind and body. I began practising in San Francisco in 1997, and loved the practice. I later became a formally trained yoga teacher, though my true knowledge comes from having been dedicated to the Iyengar school and its methodology for numerous years now.

Lisabelle Gonsalves, Team iDiva


Q
Do you believe yoga has changed your life?

Radhika Vachani

A Without a doubt, yoga has changed my mind, body and spirit in several ways.
For one, I have healed myself of many different ailments such as a pinched nerve from a ski injury, migraines, very bad allergies, and a fall where I had hurt my hip quite badly. Not only has it been a very healing practice for me, but my level of both internal and external fitness has evolved a lot; I very rarely fall sick.

Through my practice I have also developed a very alert and clear mind, and am able to handle challenges of any magnitude with a tremendous sense of calm. I have learnt to be the very flow of life and to trust things as they unfold. In other words, I am able to live in the present moment and enjoy life for what it is, which is something I was never able to do in the past.

Lisabelle Gonsalves, Team iDiva


Q
What made you set up Yogacara; and what separates it from other yoga centres?

Radhika Vachani

A I returned to Mumbai in 2006 from San Francisco, and the idea of Yogacara began with my search for a well-trained yoga teacher to continue my practice and love of yoga. I soon discovered that while teachers were well trained in the theoretical aspects of yoga, and seemed knowledgeable, the practical training environment in India is very poor.  Further few teachers have little or no knowledge of alignment and technique fundamental to yoga. Finally, I began to focus my energies on delving deeper into the methodologies of BKS Iyengar, and became an avid student.  Almost 12 years after being a serious yoga practitioner I decided to become a teacher.

Yogacara began as my yoga studio, a place on the waterfront in a beautiful garden that I loved coming to, inspired to teach.  Very soon Yogacara evolved into a wellness center as more and more people joined Yogacara wanting to cure ailments, illnesses or looking to stay fit and healthy or simply wanting peace and serenity. Through the practice of Iyengar and classical hatha yoga, clients saw amazing improvement in their health and general wellness, and started looking for more.  My clients wanted a better quality of life, and turned to me for advice on different aspects of wellness, wanting to bring balance and harmony into their daily lives.

This set the foundation for a 3 year RD effort to develop effective Holisitic Healing therapies that could be integrated with modern medicine to suit a modern world.

What sets us apart is that we remain very true to the authenticity of the sciences in everything we offer. Further, our teachers and therapists are very highly trained, knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. When a client joins Yogacara they begin a wellness journey with us, and we provide them with the necessary support to help them achieve their goals. We approach wellness from a physical, mental and emotional angle, where learning to live a balanced and harmonious life is key.

Lisabelle Gonsalves, Team iDiva


Q
How can one select their yoga institute from the numerous ones out there?

Radhika Vachani

A Decide which school appeals to you and stay with it. The issue with most of the government institutes is that while the theoretical aspects of yoga are more or less fine, the physical training environments are very poor.

Lisabelle Gonsalves, Team iDiva


Q
How does one know if yoga is for them or not, especially if they are trying it for the first time?

Radhika Vachani

A One try is not good enough, a student should commit to atleast one month (twice per week) to understand what yoga can do for them. Yoga is a discipline, the benefits of which can only be felt with a regular practice.

Lisabelle Gonsalves, Team iDiva


Q
Does yoga take longer than regular gymming when it comes to losing weight?

Radhika Vachani

A Losing weight requires regular exercise, lifestyle change and food that nourishes the body. You can lose weight with yoga and completely change your body with regularity, by changing how you eat, sleep and live, just as you would by going to a gym.  Hatha and vinyasa flow classes are especially great for developing a lean body.

Lisabelle Gonsalves, Team iDiva


Q
How important is the breathing technique while performing yoga?

Radhika Vachani

A The breath is a very important part of the practice. If one does not learn to integrate the breath with the practice, silencing the mind and fully opening up the body will not come so easily.

Lisabelle Gonsalves, Team iDiva


Q
What are your future plans for Yogacara?

Radhika Vachani

A I plan to develop Yogacara Healing Arts into a global institution that focuses on holisitc healing sciences to suit a modern world.  Part of this plan is to break away from the vast fragmentation that exists in both yoga and ayurveda around the world, and to develop one trusted voice that people can rely on for authenticity and a safe product. Both yoga and ayurveda are amazing preventive and curative sciences, but most people do not experience these sciences in a proper way due to the lack of responsible and knowledgeable players dedicated to these fields.

The vision is to create a trust that focuses on RD, training and a well researched supply chain for Ayurvedic products, one that member organisations can rely on, and come together to set global standards for both sciences.

Lisabelle Gonsalves, Team iDiva


Q
Can you tell us more about Iyengar Yoga and Hatha Flow? Why have you focused more on these two?

Radhika Vachani

A Iyengar yoga is hatha yoga, and BKS Iyengar is the world’s foremost authority on Hatha yoga.

The true benefits of yoga can only be experienced if the body is aligned perfectly and energy is allowed to flow easily without obstruction, enabling the body to heal and rejuvenate.  Most people do not understand this.

BKS Iyengar understood this very well, and has spent 75 years of his life’s work having become a precision master, understanding the human body and how to make energy flow from the tip of the fingers to the tips of the toe.

My love for the Iyengar school is based on precisely this, and I have developed a tremendous amount of respect and dedication for this school over the past 15 years. I have dabbled with several of the other schools, and I do not see this dedication to technique and methodology or healing happening, to the extent that it does with the Iyengar methodology. 

Hatha Flow is also hatha yoga, the only difference is that in a flow class it is about moving from one posture to another in a continuous, flowing sequence, linked together by the breath. More physically demanding than the regular Hatha class, a flow sequence helps improve strength, flexibility, endurance and stamina.

Lisabelle Gonsalves, Team iDiva

Radhika Vachani

A Through my yoga practice I have developed the simple awareness that nothing in the external environment can remain the same and that change is the inevitable essence of life. Seasons change, tides change, our bodies change, our experiences and emotions change, there is birth and there is death, nothing remains the same.  Our lives encompass an amazing diversity of experiences, of happiness and pain, of hope and despair, of confidence and insecurity, of changing sights, sounds, smells, touch, tastes, thoughts and feelings. Yet we all cling onto the external world and experiences, which only leads to pain and disappointment.

Yoga has taught me that when you are alert, aware and strongly rooted in yourself, in your more permanent internal world, free from a mind cluttered with your perceptions, your experiences, your expectations, and your emotions; when you are willing to live each moment and day for what it is, awake to the present moment, only then are you able to see things the way they really are, and with a freshness never experienced before.

Only then can you embrace life for what it is with its immense diversity, living life joyously and harmoniously, intuitive, strong and clear about what you want, and completely at peace with the flow of life.

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