Happiness is an inside job. If you don’t do the right things for yourself then there are chances that no one else will. I had a chance to interview one such person who is working untiringly and selflessly for the underprivileged, for the joy and happiness it brings to her. Meet Anju Mishra, who teaches Yoga to the underprivileged in Haridwar, the city where the River Ganges exits the Himalayan foothills.
She was drawn to Yoga from a very young age but she couldn’t pursue it due to lack of guidance. Later on, she studied Yoga at a university and completely plunged herself into the yogic philosophy and sciences. She runs a not-for-profit organization where the focus is on the education of underprivileged children. Simultaneously, she is associated with Innerwheel, an organisation that deals with issues like environmental protection and afforestation, issues that are very close to her heart.
Here’s what she has to say:-
Q) What made you start doing and now practice Yoga? Since how many years have you been practicing it?
In the modern scenario, Yoga seems more relevant than ever before. It occurred to me that our environment and atmosphere, our food habits and way of life have become less and less organic as compared to the ancient times. Be it fast food, packaged/processed food, food high in calories and low in minerals and vitamins is fostering a depraved mentality in people and as a result affecting our wholesome health. The advancement in technology gave us comforts, convenience and may have increased the number of years of our life expectancy but it has reduced the quality of healthy life considerably. Thus, the next logical step to a better and holistic future is Yoga without a doubt and that’s the reason why I have chosen this path. It has been close to 10 years since I have completely immersed myself in Yoga and that’s way of my life. Tranquillity that my soul experiences through Yoga is addictive and I still pursue to learn more.
Q) What inspired you to teach Yoga?
Interestingly, I have been inspired to teach Yoga by my own teachers from the university who do outstanding service for the society by educating students to share the knowledge with people yet untouched by the virtues of Yoga. Helping another human being is the sole purpose of our existence and even though one has no resources and no possessions, he/she can still be of help to the society. This thought is at the core of my motivation to teach Yoga to everyone who has the desire to learn.
Q) With your knowledge and success you could have become a well known Yoga guru. Why did you choose to teach Yoga to the under-priviledged?
I’m driven by the philosophies of Yoga and fame isn’t mentioned anywhere in it. I’m not averse to success and popularity but look at things this way. There is a huge section of society that is so busy surviving the daily grind of life. They are vulnerable to diseases and disorders very early in life and they don’t have access to better healthcare and hospitals like us. Yoga seems more essential for them than for us and yet you will not see a Baba Ramdev or Shilpa Shetty, who are so called ambassadors of brand Yoga, to come and teach these poor folks. I’m simply compelled to fill the blanks which were overlooked by more influential people and in this process, fame and material success became trivial and inconsequential for me.
Q) What is your take on prevalent modern day Yoga practices?
The prevalent Yoga in-vogue is a two edged sword in my opinion. On one hand, Yoga is more popular than it has ever been since the prehistoric times. But on the other hand, I feel it has lost its depth and the attention to detail of each asana. The commercialisation of Yogic studies has turned it into an industry and that’s against the fabric of yogic principles. As long as it’s a win-win situation for teachers and Yoga aspirants and leads towards fulfilling life, I have no complaints.
Q) Do you have a website, Instagram page or any other social media presence? (I will mention these in the article)
The thought of a website or an Instagram account never occurred to me. Although I am active on Facebook I do not use it for broadcasting my activities related to Yoga. You will be my first connect to the online world as far as Yoga is concerned and I’m grateful for that. Although, whenever I had set up a Yoga camp anywhere it was reported either in local news channels or news papers; that’s about it.
I want to thank Anjuji for agreeing to be a part of my blog. I am grateful to her for taking out time from her busy schedule to answer my questions. I wish her all the success in all her future endeavours.
This article is the sixth blog in the series of 7 blogs that I am writing as a part of The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6, 2017. Prompt for Day6 is “Feature a guest – a guest post / an interview”. #writetribe #writebravely #wtfow