Yoga Is Not PT, It's Disciplining The Mind And Body, Says Catholic High Priest John Ferreira
Agra, June 23 (TNA) Long before prime minister Narendra Modi initiated concrete steps to popularise Yoga on the international landscape, back in 2007 a Catholic priest in Agra, Father John Ferreira, then principal of St Peter’s College, founded in 1846, had made Yoga compulsory for students and embarked on a mission to take Yoga to the common man.
Braving criticism from his peers in the community, Ferreira continued with full passion, holding workshops to train Yoga teachers, and organising camps for cynical parents who had initially opposed Yoga in the classroom.
Father John Ferreira said Yoga industry today was being run by pseudo practitioners of this ancient wisdom that has a proven record of several thousand years. PT is not Yoga. It is essentially disciplining the mind and our bodies. Inside should be in sync with outside.
“They have not taken yoga seriously. Before undergoing asanas they need to do shatkarmas, which will clean them from within. Then following Satvik diet, they need to follow the yoga step by step. After asanas and pranayama, we need to undertake pratihara, Dhara and dhyana. Just asanas is not yoga. Yoga means to join, word comes from the Sanskrit word Yuj, to join your soul to the eternal soul. Yoga also means karta ka karm se judna. These days anyone knowing a few asanas start teaching yoga, some follow TV tutorials. This way it is very harmful.”
Ferreira wants Yoga compulsory in all schools, each day in the morning assembly. “Morning hours are pure hours. Daily practice of Yoga by my students over a long period helped increase their focus and concentration.” When he was the principal, the normal punishment to students was yoga exercises, Kapal Bhati or pranayam.
He thinks Yoga is more important than sex education. Presently, Ferreira is the director of St Lawrence seminary in Agra. But he also helps run a yoga centre in the Dayalbagh area. He has started a certified training course, to teach correct yoga practices. More than 30 trainers are spreading his mission. At 70 years, John Ferreira looks fit as a fiddle, but there was a time, some 40 years ago when he was sick and had almost given up all hopes of surviving.
But a stint with an eminent Yoga saint in Bihar changed his life and perceptions. Since then, he has been practising himself and promoting yoga in a big way. Ferreira has authored several books on Yoga and thinks this ancient Hindu science is above narrow religious frameworks.