Yoga in Moscow
From times immemorial humanity has been trying to fathom mysteries of the universe, find a path to enlightenment, and reveal its capabilities. Earlier than any other, existing now, religions, about 5 000 years ago originated Yoga. And to the present day, Yoga has been extending its boundaries touching more and more people’s souls and minds and giving them hope for deliverance, recovery, for better future.
Besides, Yoga has become very popular, and Internet is literally saturated with information about Yoga, its history and gurus, its different types and techniques. And if you are reading this article, you must know quite enough about it. That’s why we are not going to follow the trodden path. Our aim is unveiling myths that true Yoga can exist only on a solitary island, far away from crowded city, surrounded with beautiful nature and chant of birds of paradise… but not in a city like Moscow.
My Guide Moscow decided to ask for expert’s help to see into this matter. Prabhu Jap Singh, who is more known in Russia as Alexey Vladovskiy, one of the leading teachers in Moscow practicing Yoga for about 10 years, author of many unique Yoga-seminars, teacher of Moscow University of Yoga and leader of music project “Yoginroll”, had the kindness to assent to give an interview.
MD: Prabhu Jap Singh, how did Yoga come into your life? Did you imagine that someday you would become a teacher?
Prabhu Jap Singh: Of course, I didn’t. For a long time I was a rock musician, and at a certain point I felt the state of my mind had left much to be desired. During that hard period I met a friend who had been already practicing Yoga. And I got interested and decided to try it too. The most surprising thing for me was the effect I felt after several weeks. I was feeling myself less tired by the evening, I became more concerned about what I ate. I never followed any ideas, I always listened to myself, to my feelings – this is why Yoga interested me.
At the beginning I practiced Hatha Yoga. Kundalini Yoga came into my life later and totally accidental. Once a teacher invited me to take part in her lesson, she needed a man to show exercises in doubles. Kundalini Yoga struck me with its immediate effect – not after the lesson, but during it! I simply couldn’t explain it, and that was time I started attending Kundalini classes. In couple of years, that teacher offered me to become an instructor myself. That was quite flattering, of course.
The meeting with Guru Dev Singh (one of the greatest healers of our time) has become a milestone event in my life. In 2009, I attended a seminar and had an unbelievable chance to spend as many as 4 days side-by-side with him. That association with Guru Dev has completely changed me. And, having returned, I was sure I would teach.
At Kundalini classes I met my future wife. In a word, my life turned around. I forgot about drugs, alcohol, everything has changed. And now here I am.
MD: Is it possible to practice Yoga in Moscow correctly? In other words, does the place of being influence on correct apprehension of Yoga, or does everything depend on us and our teacher?
Prabhu Jap Singh: It’s not just possible, it’s necessary to practice yoga in Moscow. As any other big city with its heavy atmosphere and information saturation, Moscow is a very severe place. It’s thousand times easier here to fall into a deep depression and stress. This is why Yoga in Moscow is like a breath of life, a remedy. It’s another matter that practicing Yoga in nature is, so to say, more natural. The state of relax Yoga strives to comes faster. Regularly we organize over-wintering in India – it helps us to accumulate energy for living in Moscow. But saying that it’s right or wrong to practice Yoga in a certain place is not correct.
MD: What do most people want to have from Yoga classes now? And what do you, as a teacher, want to give them?
Prabhu Jap Singh: Generally, the objectives are quite down-to-earth. Someone wants to improve his physical state, another one – emotional state. But, regardless of the objective, if the teacher seeing the true essence is able to lead in the right direction, the trainee comes to level of appreciation of higher aims. And then he faces a choice – whether he needs them and starts his way to their achievement, or he understands how serious Yoga is and he is not ready to follow it further. The main function of teacher is to open the doors and show. Teacher shouldn’t lead anyone. But when those who continued their way to the world of Yoga achieve great results, and their destinies change right in front of your eyes, I feel my mission is completed.
MD: What is your motto?
Prabhu Jap Singh: Yoga. Meditation. Creativity. Sanity. These are 4 anchors and guides of my life. For me Yoga is constant physical development; meditation is a continuous process of Yoga; creativity is an integration of what Yoga gives me; and sanity is a cool head and traditional values of family, health and work for society’s good.
MD: What three words can you describe you now as compared to you 10 years ago?
Prabhu Jap Singh: Real, Healthy and Sensible.
In the age of consumerism and material values, when it has become common to praise ego and show off individuality, we estrange from our true calling. No matter what religion we preach or ideology we follow, faith in goodness, non-violence and justice lies in our Nature and does not need in additional evidences. Sooner or later, thought of better future comes to everyone. What if we start making our future today, give up smoking and enjoy fresh air in the morning, turn TV off and go to sport? What if we stop aggressing in public transport and cede a sit, stop holding a grudge against our loved ones and give them a hug? What if we start making ourselves and the world around us different today?