Romancing Yoga

Author: 
Sangeeta Gogoi

Sangeeta Gogoi is a freelancer based in Mizoram. She served as a Labour Officer at the Labour office of the Government of Assam. She was also HR executive in the Hospice sector and visiting faculty in various institutions. She is a certified nutritionist from Stanford University and a yoga therapist.

Presently Sangeeta is Director, Meraki Yoga Retreat Centre. She stays with her husband, Jitu Gohain, and 5 year old son, Ayan Gogoi Gohain, on a remote hill-top in Mizoram. Jitu Gohain is an electrical engineer and manager with Power Grid Corporation. The India Book of Records bestowed the title of youngest author in India on four-year-old Ayan for his book 'Honeycomb' that was published in January 2018.

My love for yoga started when I was 4. At home, I used to be dazed by seeing my mother, Janoki Gogoi, perform the various mudras (especially, chakrasan) right after her morning prayers. And at school our Principal; Dr. Haladhar Duwarah, Sir, made it a daily part of the school curriculum.

I used to be shy, reticent and an introvert. Once Papa, Purna Kanta Gogoi, took me to a wise lady, Phukan Aaita, in Moitree Ashram. She was close to Gandhiji and always had a bag-full of anecdotes to share with us.

I learned to meditate.

After my 10th exam, my parents took us to Vivekananda Kendra in Kanyakumari. We stayed in the Ashram for a month. Morning and evening, we used to hurry to the beach to watch the beauty of Sunrise and Sunset in the backdrop of the magnificent sea. The path leading to the beach was escorted by tamarind trees with soft breeze around us. And watching the peacocks hovering around us. Such absolute bliss!

One morning, I stayed back alone in our room. As I meditated, I felt a touch of light. On opening my eyes, I saw a million rays of golden light penetrating through the ceiling; trying to embrace me (as if) with a million arms. And right in the middle of it I saw a picture of Swami Vivekananda.

And then I collapsed!

During those days we didn't have the internet to quench our yogic thirst. I wanted to know everything about Swami Vivekananda. I simply laid my hands on every book I could possibly grab.

I was studying in SSA, Guwahati and our hostel, Vidyashram was situated right on top of a hillock in Silpukhuri. I shifted from a room to a verandah on the 2nd floor. No walls but secured by iron grills. I attached some bed sheets to convert the verandah into a room from where from the entire set of hillocks leading to the one where the ageless Gandhi Mandap stood became visible.

Naomi and Larli used to take me on morning treks, where we would speak to every plant and the life-form as we walked. I tried to seek yoga in Gita, Quran and the Bible. And, in fact, I found Yoga in each one those scriptures. I became a regular visitor to the Indian Church of Christ and ISKON.

During Cotton College days, the mighty Brahmaputra and situated on its bank, the Vivekananda Kendra lured me. In the mornings I would perform yoga and in the evenings, after classes, I would sit for hours reading the books on Swamiji.

In 3 years time I was delighted to finish reading most of the books available on Vivekananda in the Kendra. A lady used to visit us from Chinmaya Mission. From her I learned chanting of ‘Om Shanti’!

My understanding deepened so much so that I was ready to leave this material life and take the spiritual path. So I packed up the bare requirements and was all set to move to the Ashram in South India. But my mother pleaded and I had to stay back.

My parents took me to Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mathura and Vrindawan and it changed the way I looked at life. They also took me to Dargahs and Maajhaars in Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Delhi and various temples in different parts of India.

This time I started internalizing the scriptures; not just read them. I practiced Ramadan (fasting) month; from dawn to sun-set and it was one of the most fulfilling experiences that developed empathy and love for all.

Soon I moved to Delhi for higher studies. I met sister Nivedita and joined Brahma Kumaris. The 'Raj Yoga' of Art of Living mesmerized me. I also met there my dear friend for life, Charandeep Mehta Ji. Aunt Sashi Mehta gifted me two volumes of Bhagavad Gita in Hindi.

With much difficulty (because I was new to Hindi) I read the books and to my utter surprise, whenever I was facing any turmoil in life and needed an answer I would just turn a random page of those books and find my answer.

I pursued yoga formally and informally to my heart's content and started my mobile yoga centre named as 'Meraki Yoga’. It soon started gaining popularity among yoga enthusiasts.
It was there that I met Nancy and her mother whom I lovingly addressed as 'Mumma'. They developed in me a love for the Sikh culture and I started reading/understanding Guru Granth Sahib.

Although Yoga and Religion is not the same but they are connected. Both offer us 'a way of life'.

During my working days, changing different places and professions, yoga never left me. We moved from strength to strength. So did my mobile yoga centre; curing ailments of clients all along the way.

Sangeeta Gogoi's husband, Jitu, and son, Ayan.

Sangeeta Gogoi's husband, Jitu, and son, Ayan.

Then, along came Jitu Gohain Gogoi, my husband in my life. We share a mutual love for sports. Personally, we rose and fell with the tides of happy and difficult times. We were almost on the verge of separation when Ayan came to our rescue as a blessing. Ayan soon started joining me in my classes and workshops. We started experiencing a kind of miracle.

I worked as a Yoga Instructor in few institutes and best one was RSETI. Visit of Minoti Barthakur Madam, a great humanitarian, two time’s 4th stage cancer survivor, to share her experiences and guide the students in various schools of my native place. This was a turning point in my life.

She gave me a new vision. My husband started researching specifically on diets and exercises and I solely focused on yoga and meditation. By the grace of God hundreds of patients got cured. All through a magic hand of the Divine was helping us all out.

I went to Mizoram and there I missed my 4am to 7pm non-stop Yoga routine and stuck to providing bare minimum therapies to ailing patients. This irregularity and lethargy landed me on a hospital-bed. It's high time I realize how significant is the role of yoga and proper diet in living a healthy and happy life.

We are a team of three yoga-lovers now working for Meraki Yoga Retreat Centre. And we wish to march on...romancing life! Romancing Yoga!

Comments

An amazing story, full of twists and turns!

👌

I am happy to see you on this platform. This is an incredible article/write-up , as always. Through this article you have beautifully described the journey of yourself, your journey inward. Perhaps, your romancing with yoga made you the stronger and such a multi-talented person. This beautiful article inspire me to indulge more deeply with yoga in order to explore myself. Please, keep romancing with yoga. Keep writing. And keep inspiring. Looking for such more articles to come on this wall. Thank you.

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