Founder – Gowrisha

Gowrisha – 1975 model

My life today involves practicing and teaching yoga, working as a part-time mentor/coach at National Instruments, spending time with family/friends apart from running a homestay (www.ajjanamane.com).

I follow Ashtanga Vinyasa style for my asana practice and many techniques for my meditation practice. I try my best to keep up my practice every day, waking up early mornings for my asana and meditation practice sessions. I enjoy the early morning practice as it provides silence and enables time with myself. I also practice in the evenings. I teach at Samyama every morning and try to get to the studio by 5am and spend time with students till 8:30-9:00am. Some days, I teach yoga later in the day to students who aspire to be teachers. I work for National Instruments on a part-time basis. I also spend some time running AjjanaMane, a homestay near Jog Falls.

I am educationally qualified to be an engineering leader, having a Bachelors degree in Engineering in Computer Science from Bangalore, India and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Texas, USA. I followed my life in its general script till about 38 and all hell seemed to break loose after that. I questioned the relevance of myself in my role as Head of India R&D at National Instruments, my personal relationships redefined themselves, and I was in the midst of the most drastic changes I have ever been through. In other words, mid-life crisis had set in and I found myself in the eye of the storm. Having already been a practitioner of meditation primarily and asana for basic health insurance, I feel I was able to hold on and continue to take/accept hard decisions as an opportunity to re-engineer my life through engaging my heart with its most natural interests and connections. At every step, I tried to ask myself what I loved, irrespective of whether that was socially or financially viable, and took decisions that allowed me to follow my heart. I am still in the midst of changes, but I feel much more firm on my current path with my heart leading the way rather than my earlier life, where my mind led the way.

I was formally initiated into meditation by Paramahamsa Nithyananda in 2006 and have been a regular meditator since. Every now and then, I end up in several hours of intense meditation to center myself and get me connected to my stable zone. Meditation has helped me bring about a shift in my thinking towards me and the world we live in.

I enjoy brewing tea (ginger tea) and make tea every day for myself and those around me. I play tennis when I can and follow the games that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic play. Though Nadal is mypersonal favorite, all three of them with their focus and humility inspire me to practice harder and with greater dedication. I learn Carnatic Violin from well-known Carnatic Violinist B. Raghuram. I have been learning violin with my Guru for 8 years now and still don’t find myself any closer to performing than when I started, though I should say I enjoy playing for myself. My Guru himself is another person I have learnt a lot from, his simplicity, calmness and eagerness to teach – apart from his playing itself, inspire me to continue learning the art.

My asana/pranayama experience and its benefits to me

I learnt basic asanas and pranayama from a teacher close to my place in Bangalore and have been practicing simple yogasanas for health for the last decade. I had acute asthma and knee pain and after several consultations with doctors of modern medicine, I realized that I would have to be under regular medication to keep asthma and knee pain away. Since I had practiced asanas when I was a kid (without any indication that I would latch on to it later in life) and had heard about asanas on several occasions, I knew that practicing asana and pranayama could cure asthma. I did not have any idea that knee pain could be treated by yoga. In fact, I believed that I would aggravate my knee pain if I did advanced asanas. I decided to give asana and pranayama a try and to my surprise, asthma completely left me. So much that, as I type this, I wonder if it was really me who was admitted to a hospital for an acute attack of bronchial asthma. Since beginner practices solved my asthma, I felt satisfied to continue with being a beginner for almost a decade, practicing 30-45 mins of asana/pranayama 3-4 days a week. It kept me sufficiently healthy to experience my life without any form of medication and I felt great about it. My knee injury and condition invited advice from several orthopedic surgeons to experience surgery. However, I continued my asana practice and my knee condition has vastly improved to the point that orthopedic visits seem clearly a thing of the past.

My Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana experience and its benefits to me

I am an experienced meditator and believe that meditation has helped me achieve a unique understanding about my life and surroundings. My understanding of myself through these years of regular meditation has increased my levels of peace and happiness significantly. Recently, I decided to intensify my asana and meditation practice and attended a 200 Hour Teacher Training Course at Rishikesh. The course and my time at Rishikesh became a spark for my continued practice after my return from Rishikesh. I now spend time rigorously practicing asanas and meditating and often consult with friends and suggest techniques and guidelines for their meditation practice. My confidence in asana and meditation comes from the truth that I have been practicing both just by myself. While I have attended several programs and learnt different techniques, my entire practice is based on my own understanding of myself and experience of the truth of yoga.

Why start a yoga academy?

Personally, over the last several years, I have felt great freedom from body and mind issues and have felt at ease with myself (free from dis-ease). I have felt excitement that I have been consistently positive to myself and have appreciated my ability to take things in stride without being overly attached or detached. From a physical-social perspective, I have experienced everything from what is commonly referred to as ‘love’ to being ‘well-off’ to ‘losing my own child’ to having ‘lovely children’ to ‘deciding to live independently’ while staying committed to family and society in a way that I best understand. These life experiences and my observation of them and their impact to me through my consistent practice of contemplation, meditation and asana have led me to believe that I am at a point in my life where I feel confident that I can share them with people around me who are interested in the technology of Patanjali.

I decided that I would dedicate the next several years of my life learning through sharing my lessons from practicing asana and meditation with the goal of helping people achieve their true potentials through understanding, gratitude, non-violence and compassion. I believe I have done significant research on thought patterns and associated emotions and have applied them to my life to experience what I believe as ‘life-changing results’. My practice has made me believe that there is great benefit through learning contemplation and understanding thought patterns and ways to align and manage their thought processes in order to create greater harmony for themselves and the world. Even while trying to share, I understand that everything is already perfect in nature and nothing needs any change. It is only my own excitement of having experienced unique results that I feel an urge to share the same.

I do not follow any specific religion and believe that religion is only a tool meant to achieve progress and not an end in itself. My classes will be based on techniques derived from several religions and my own experiences from my practice.