LYW: How/why did you come to Yoga? And how, when, why did you choose to join the LiveYoga Wellness community.
SURENDRA: In 1981 I began working for a company designing and marketing industrial type equipment for processing Mexican food. Weekdays were full of extensive travel and entertaining customers. Weekends I spent with family, my wife and two teenage boys. The lifestyle and pace took a toll on my health. By the early 1990’s I gained weight, had elevated blood pressure, ulcers, difficulty breathing, irregular sleeping patterns and high levels of stress. This coupled with the strain of assuring my sons had a decent college education, and my wife also managing health issues around dealing with fibroids frequent spells of extreme pain.
In June 1994 I saw a friend whom I had not seen for a while. He had lost a lot of weight and was looking very healthy. When asked about the change in his health, he said he had been practicing yoga for few months, and just returned from a weeklong yoga retreat. He suggested yoga might help me to address my problems.
Without delay I registered for the next session. The program consisted of four weekends plus one weeklong retreat. With the added blessing of the postponement of my wife’s fibroid surgery due to pre-operation test results, the whole family was able to attend.
My yoga journey is ongoing and has changed my life. This journey has also given me the opportunity to touch other peoples’ lives, for which I am always grateful to the Almighty and my teachers.
Teri Roseman and I met when she was a pranayama student (at one of my workshops) at LMU. I knew that she has a studio, so I approached her about teaching at LiveYoga Wellness and she immediately agreed! I have been teaching workshops including pranayama and yoga nidra, to name a few, at LiveYoga Wellness since 2012.
LYW: How has Yoga changed your life?
SURENDRA: The practice of yoga has changed my life in many different ways. Yoga has helped me reduce weight, which was the root cause of many of my conditions. Reduction in stress and blood pressure, healing of ulcers, better sleeping pattern were the other benefits.
The lineage and programs of yoga I practice consist of mainly pranayama and meditation. There is a lot of emphasis on yogic/ayurvedic/sattvic food for these practices.
.My yoga teacher always reminds us that this type of food helps us to excel in our practice. My wife and I practiced regularly. As a result of her practice, her fibroid issue healed, and surgery was no longer required.
In 1997, I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, a condition of the spine. I turned back to the yoga teachings sought help from yoga and naturopathy. Within two years, I was able to stabilize my back and walk again. And while this condition flares up from time to time, I have my practices to turn to for healing.
In 2005 I was diagnosed as diabetic, a lifestyle disease that while contributed to family history is mostly because of my own negligence. Again, yoga helped, and my diabetes is considered managed, without additional medication.
The various episodes of health issues I faced, resulted in my many visits to India to learn from different yoga masters and to dive deeper into my yoga practice.
LYW: Why do you love teaching Yoga?
SURENDRA: All my teachers encouraged me to help others with whatever I learn and practice. Then in 2000,I attended an info session for a yoga teacher training given by a yoga master and researcher. During the session he pointed towards me and said that you could be a good teacher. I was hesitant at first but did join the training. I thought that if I decide not to teach later on, at least I will enhance my practice. I decided to take 3 weeks off and competed my teacher training. This was the 1st batch of teachers training for that school from India.
I started teaching right after the training, enjoyed it right away, and continue to do so. I love teaching because I see many students getting the benefits and having a better quality of life. This is so gratifying. I realize now, that I was practicing yoga therapy on myself, and few of my friends. In 2008, I met Larry Payne who guided me and encouraged me to join the Yoga Therapy Rx program at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). I began teaching Pranayama, in 2009.
LYW: How do you take your Yoga into the world?
SURENDRA: I am blessed in the sense that my “dis-eases” brought yoga into my life. I try to live yoga on and off the mat. Yoga has helped make me a better parent and friend. Yogic teachings guided me to vegetarianism. I am always looking for inspiration from my teachers, to keep my focus, eager to learn and share my knowledge.
LYW: What is your current practice or a recommendation and why?
My current practice consists of 20 to 60 minutes of Pranayama, 18 to 45 minutes of Meditation daily. I practice Yoga Nidra before bedtime and do some gentle yoga asana for my back and joint movement.