By Ria Deshpande
Bharti Bhakta is the owner of Manor on the Hill Assisted Living Community, and in the past twelve years, she has also become a yoga and meditation instructor. She credits her practice in aiding her to become a more grateful and balanced person, and encourages everyone to try it as well. Read her story below!
How did you get into yoga and meditation?
I run an assisted living facility, and around thirteen years ago, this one lady came to place her elder sister. She asked me if I do yoga, and after telling her that I do not, she suggested that I buy a yoga book titled “Do Yoga in 30 Days”, saying that it is the best book she has ever bought. After that, every time she visited, she used to ask whether I have bought the book and after months of me saying no, she finally gave me the book so that I would have no excuse. So, I have been practicing yoga since receiving the book in 2008.
What kind of training do you have?
I did a six week teacher training session in 2010, and a second asana training in 2014. I completed both in India.
What is your favorite style of yoga? What about your favorite way to meditate?
It really depends. Some people feel comfortable doing simple asana style yoga, whereas others like to sweat with hatha yoga. I enjoy all styles, as long as it helps my body feel healthy. I feel that no matter the style, yoga and meditation is extremely rewarding with physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. It helps the body feel energized and balanced. For example, I enjoy doing pranayam (breathing exercises) and meditation for mental awareness and feeling lightness in the body while at the same time making my life force feel very energetic. It is important to keep in mind that yoga and meditation makes the mind feel very compassionate for any being, and I always tell people that it can help you do anything you pursue more efficiently.
How do you think yoga and meditation has changed your life?
Physically, I have lost some weight and I feel more healthy, but beyond that, I see many mental changes. I have lost interest in arguing with anyone and overall, I am a more calm, level headed person. Meditation goes beyond the mind and can help change your personality to what you want to become. In fact, some jails in India even have prisoners practice yoga and meditation to change them into a better person. It really is powerful.
What advice do you have for people who want to start yoga?
I see many people who say they do not have time for yoga, but I always tell them, even if you don’t have time for a full one hour yoga session, give at least thirty minutes or even five minutes -- just keep going. You need to make it a habit, a lifestyle, and after you do, your body and mind will ask for it and it won’t feel like a chore anymore. The hardest part is always getting started.