Thursday, October 16, 2014

Staying well--body, mind, & soul--with yoga

Divya Todai teaches fellow NYLC students some basic concepts of yoga before starting the session with her daughter, Sweta.

When NYLC student Divya Todai suffered from back pain 27 years ago, she decided to heed advice from her doctor and took up Yoga as an alternative to surgery. Her back pain gradually dissipated as she gained increased awareness of her body, mind and breath, improved body alignment through specific Yoga postures for backache, and developed more physical strength and mental peace. Her belief in Yoga is so strong that for the last 25 years, she has been teaching Yoga in India and the U.S. and wishes to enlighten as many people as possible to the positive effects of Yoga on the mind and body.
  • HEED - pay attention; listen
  • TAKE UP - begin doing as a hobby
  • DISSIPATE - decrease; lose energy
  • ENLIGHTEN - inform

"Yoga is a way of life," Divya says to a group of NYLC students sitting on their personal mats in room 10. "It is deep like the ocean, and its benefits cannot be measured." She means that Yoga's positive effects on the body physically, mentally, and emotionally are unlimited. Yoga postures are meant to strengthen isolated areas of the body to reduce fat and relax the muscles. Conscious and focused deep breathing not only helps hold the poses for extended periods of time, it also teaches the participant to focus on the present, and in addition to strengthening the body, it teaches positive thinking, relieves stress and has been known to help cure illnesses that have been declared incurable by traditional medicine.

Divya, however, is quick to point out that Yoga is not an alternative to traditional medicine but should be practiced in conjunction with medical treatment when using it to help cure disease. In addition to the more obvious benefits of Yoga poses promoting blood flow and bringing oxygen to all parts of the body, practicing Yoga teaches the technique of disciplined controlled breathing and the ability to focus on the moment. This leads to a lifestyle that is able to consciously choose positive thoughts. Divya explains that positive thoughts are important as thoughts are vibrations, which generate energy. Our bodies use energy to generate cells, and cells created from positive energy are healthy cells. As our bodies are constantly generating new cells, producing healthy cells is crucial to maintaining health and fighting disease.  

  • IN CONJUNCTION WITH - together with
  • GENERATE - create; produce
  • CRUCIAL - very important; critical

Yoga at NYLC. Photo collage courtesy of Divya Todai
"It's a mind, body, and soul connection," she explains. This ability to focus in the present, in addition to helping with controlling one's thoughts, also helps with controlling one's emotions. A Yoga practitioner who is learning to control his breathing, therefore, is also strengthening his mind and his ability to deal with negative thoughts. Because of this, Divya says Yoga is also a natural remedy to pain and sorrow. While it doesn't remove negative circumstances, it helps the person control how he or she reacts to the mental and emotional challenges in life.

Divya and her family come from India, where Yoga originated. She shares her passion for Yoga with all three of her daughters, two of whom are also professionally certified Yoga Instructors and together they conduct Yoga classes, seminars, and workshops in New York and New Jersey. They also plan on opening a Yoga studio in the near future. 

These days, she spends her mornings at NYLC practicing her English as her Yoga classes are attended by both Indians and non-Indians alike, and she would like to gain more fluency with her English speaking ability. In the future, she hopes to share her knowledge of all the concepts of Yoga and all it has to offer in English with the same panache that she has in her Indian languages. We wish her the best, and we have full confidence that she will do it. 
  • PANACHE - flair; style and elegance
We thank Divya for bringing yoga to NYLC, and we wish her Namaste. 

Interested in contacting Divya Todai? She can be reached by phone or email.
phone: 1-201-888-8165

-- Joe Yu, ESL instructor

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