During the old times, people live in accordance to these three things: health, money and relation. People ranked health as the most important factor of living. Money and relation just came second and third.
But as the world evolved, people’s perspective on these three things also changed. People now put too much focus on money more than anything else. Getting a well-paid job becomes a priority for most and health is often taken for granted.
But a high-paying job does not often equate to contentment and happiness. Indian national Parul Khurana learned this when she still felt empty even with a high salary in her work in New Delhi. She knew she had a far greater purpose.
Parul decided to resign and leave her homeland. She set off on a journey to Cambodia to become a yoga instructor. A yoga teacher at The Art of Living back in India, Parul was determined to follow the footsteps of the famous spiritual leader and philanthropist Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who also founded the organisation. Parul shares the importance of practicing yoga to Youth Today’s Say Tola.
YT: When did you arrive in Cambodia? Why did you choose this place?
Ms Parul: I came here in 2014 aiming to teach people how to achieve a better lifestyle, healthy mind and healthy body through The Art of Living organisation. I want people to understand that there’s a way to put your body, mind and spirit in perfect synch.
I think that’s what we all need. Our lives are full of stress and we often get frustrated. I think that I have a purpose here, and that is to help people release their stress and make their lives better and happier.
Through yoga, people will have a clearer vision of what they want to do in life. My master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar once told me that there are seven levels of human existence – body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, ego and self. If all these levels are free, you are healthy. And I am working to help people achieve this.
YT: What does your yoga programme mainly focus on?
Ms Parul: The yoga programme that I am handling mainly focuses on four important processes of yoga. The first is body stretching, which helps for the betterment of the body. Second is breathing technique. This is a very important aspect because breathing is connected to the emotions of human beings. They can learn to control their emotions through controlling the pattern of their breath. The third is meditation, and the fourth is reflection. When their minds are in a better state, people need to acknowledge their human value as well. They need to identify the right ways of behaving and thinking.
The Art of Living is working with different age groups and kinds of people – children, youth, managers, CEOs and those who own businesses and companies. My master said, “People spend half of their health to gain wealth and half of their wealth to gain health.” My master’s words couldn’t be any truer.
YT: What can people get from participating in the yoga programme?
Ms Parul: Some people may not think of yoga as something helpful and great. But it really is. Yoga can make people achieve a stable mind and healthy body. They will also learn to communicate better and become better listeners. Yoga is also helpful in improving one’s memories. In short, yoga shows people the right way for a better and more successful life.
YT: There are some people who practice yoga through the videos they see online. Is that advisable?
Ms Parul: If you really want to practice yoga, you have to seek for the guidance of a professional yoga teacher, otherwise you will face some dangers because yoga has dos and don’ts. Some people have experienced hurting themselves while doing yoga because there was no professional guidance.
A proper yoga isn’t like aerobic and gymnastic. It has different levels. If you enroll for a yoga programme, you will be guided on how to successfully surpass all the levels of yoga until you reach the higher form of the art.
I advise people to go to yoga teachers first and learn from them before doing the practice on their own. They need to study the programme so the yoga becomes more effective.
YT: How will you encourage people to try yoga?
Ms Parul: Whatever you do in life or whatever you position you hold in your workplaces, yoga is for you. It won’t just make your body healthier. Yoga has the power to transform your whole being – how you act, how you think, how you interact with other people and with your environment. It is very helpful especially for those who have troubles in finding peace within themselves. Yoga is for everyone – for the young and the old, for the men and the women.
The arts of living Cambodia is organising a free yoga workshop at 3rd floor of Preah Sihamoniraja Buddhist University on 3-4 March.
To get more details about the yoga programme, visit The Art of Living Cambodia website and Facebook page.