Indian NGO working with drug users and people living with HIV.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Uplifting the Mind Body and Soul- Interview of Fr. Joe in O HERALDO GOA
A worldwide acclaimed yoga teacher and practitioner, Padma Shree awardee Uplifting the mind, body and soul
I A worldwide acclaimed yoga teacher and practitioner, Padma Shree awardee Fr Joe Pereira is introducing his unique teaching of Yoga in Goa at the new Kripa Foundation Iyengar Yoga Centre at St Inez Uplifting the mind, body and soul A catholic priest’s association with yoga may perhaps raise a few eyebrows, but Fr Joe Pereira has walked the fine line to bring about a revolutionary change in the lives of people through his principal of infusing Iyengar Yoga into the practice of meditation, with a blend of science, psychology, spirituality and physical practice. In his research and teachings over the years, he has been strongly influenced by two people, Mother Theresa and his guru Yogacharya B K S Iyengar.
A Jesuit priest for over 50 years and a dedicated practitioner for 44 years, Fr Pereira’s expertise has been sought the world over, from Europe, America and Asia. He has doubled his innings as a National Co- ordinator in India for the World Community for Christian Meditation ( WCCM) which has well- known names on board like the Dalai Lama and a Class A Trustee ( Non Alcoholic) of Alcoholic Anonymous ( AA) in India.
Awarded the Padma Shree for his efforts, this founder of the Kripa Foundation ( which works in the field of substance use disorders and addiction related diseases particularly HIV/ AIDS) has successfully incorporated Iyengar Yoga in the process of addiction recovery. “ The AA recovery has a 12- point programme which deals with psycho- spiritual and psycho- social aspects. However, my Iyengar Yoga focuses on the 11th point which deals with meditation and the psychosomatic. I use the principles of this yoga as a powerful pathway to work within from the periphery to the centre and ultimately bring the body into hypo- metabolic condition,” explains Fr Pereira while elaborating that for an alcoholic to discover one’s true self and come into a totally transforming experience, he needs to have an ‘ meta- noia’ or conversion/ experience beyond the mind and this is where Iyengar Yoga steps in. His book, ‘ Wholeness and Holiness’, and a collection of CDs bring attention to this principle. As per the precepts of the Iyengar philosophy, props such as bolsters, chairs, ropes and the likes are used to bring about the desired results.
“ The principles and practice of Iyengar Yoga are open to everyone, not only addicts. The ultimate aim is to bring about a healing in mind body and soul,” he clarifies.
Conducting his first workshop at the new Kripa Foundation Iyengar Yoga Centre in Panjim, his intention, he reiterates, is to build a community of inter- faiths through meditation.
de- stressed damsel The healing process: Fr Joe Pereira chats about his unique teaching methods and ( below right) Dr Rajvi Mehta speaks on the principles of Guruji BKS Iyengar and the oldest forms of yoga TWEETS @ PATRICIAANNEALV Discussing the master Explaining the precepts of Iyengar Yoga, Dr Rajvi Mehta ( representing the 96 year old Guruji B K S Iyengar at the workshop) explains as a form of Hatha Yoga, Iyengar is one of the oldest forms of Yoga.
As a sickly child, Iyengar experienced the benefits of Yoga. Yoga soon became his raison de etre. His ultimate aim was that ‘ practice should corroborate with the text’. Training for the past 80 years, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan this year.
He soon began to observe that people understood the principle of comfortable position. However, his development was the reverse – that ‘ any position should be made comfortable and in doing so it can alter one’s state of mind’.’ His approach is a detailed and systematic methodology which is today followed in 80 countries worldwide and administered by dedicated and well trained students.