Yoga Camp at National Defense Academy - (Oct 10, 2006 - Oct 18, 2006)

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Yoga Camp at National Defense Academy at Khadakwasla, (Pune): (Oct 10, 2006 -Oct 18, 2006)

Upon sincere and generous invitation of Lieutenant General Mr. Arun Chopra AVSM, PVSM, Sri Swami Adhyatmanandaji conducted Yoga camp at National Defense Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla (Pune). Yoga teacher from the ashram Ms. Sangeeta Thawani and Yoga expert Anant Chawda also joined with Swamiji. Sri Swamiji and his team conducted four yoga sessions everyday. Evening discourses on the subject of 'Gita for Soldiers' based on Karma Yoga of Bhagavad-Gita by Sri Swamiji were well attended. Plantation of Guava trees was done on a mass scale and prayer was offered at "Remembrance hut" at the academy in memory of the cadets and officers, who passed away either during training or in the battle field.

Swamiji with Yogamaster
 Mr.B.K.Iyengar

Swamiji with Anjuman-E-Islam Jamat on Ramazan Iftaar

with Devotees at Sadhu Vaswani Center

Yoga at National Defense Academy

Yoga session at National Defense Academy

Tree Plantation 

 A Grand Yoga valedictory function was held at Habibhulla Hall which was attended by about eighteen hundred army cadets and officers. People were overwhelmed with what they learnt during the Yoga Camp in such a short time and grateful to Pujya Swamiji. They expressed their gratitude to  Sri Swamiji, especially Lieutenant General A. K Choparaji's speech at Closing Ceremony (as given below) was heart touching.  It echoes the feelings of others.

 During his stay here, Rev. Swamiji met a great Yoga Master Mr. B. K. S. Iyengar. Sri Swamiji also visited Sadhu Vaswani Center at Pune and had a satsang with ashram inmates. All the inmates of the ashram were moved and sought blessings of Rev. Sri Swami Adhyatmanandaji Maharaj.

 Ramazan Iftaar (Breaking the fast after Sunset): Anjuman-E-Islam Muslim Jamat of  NDA and Pune jointly organized Ramazan (Ramadan) Iftaar. Swamiji graced the occasion and addressed the gathering that Ramadan is a special time of reflection, fasting, and charity. It is a time of spiritual growth and prayer. Ramadan is also a time for togetherness and thanksgiving. He added the importance of Zakat al-Fitrah, a religious alms (Zakat) to be paid on the day of  fast breaking period at the end of the month of Ramadan.

Swamiji furthermore laid emphasis on regular Namaz, the best among all acts of worship. One should keep in mind the Greatness of Almighty Allah with whom one communes while offering prayers and should consider oneself to be very humble and insignificant before His Grandeur and Glory. He talked about significance of Hajj.

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Speech of Lieutenant General Mr. Arun Chopra, PVSA, AVSM, National Defense Academy at closing ceremony of Yoga Camp on Oct 18, 2006.

His Holiness Swami Adhyatmanandaji. Ladies, Gentlemen and Dear cadets,

It gives me great happiness that Swami Adhyatmanandaji has graced the academy with his presence yet once more.

Swamiji is not only a great Yoga Acharya but a wonderful human being also. He is a world famous proponent and teacher of Yoga, results of which some of you saw last year when he had visited the Academy in October and again now in this 22 minutes demonstration by the 12 cadets, and this is the result of only one week's Yoga training. His skills can be judged from the fact that even oldies a 60 years old persons like me, could twist and turn their bodies like the young cadets sitting here after one week training.

Two saints have brought a profound change in my life ever since I came in contact with them. One is His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji of Art of Living, whom you all had the opportunity of meeting in August this year when he had visited the National Defense Academy (NDA) and the second is Swami Adhyatmanandaji whom I came to know nearly two and a half years ago and have already attended three Yoga camps, two under him and one under his learned teacher.

Swamiji has certain outstanding qualities. I am going to enumerate these qualities, not to praise him because he is beyond this human failing but with the aim so that we can emulate them and apply them in daily life, which will enable us to live a happier and a more meaningful life.

His first quality is that he is ever radiant and youthful. This has come through practicing yoga, Pranayama and meditation for over 30 years.   He is a contented man at peace with himself and with the world and his happiness comes from within.

He is a true nationalist, a   manner in which we expect all the personnel belonging to the defense services to be.  He advocates that the nation comes first, the society second and self the last.   This is similar to the word of Sir Philip Chetwode enshrined in the Chetwode Hall of the Indian Military Academy Dehradun, when he  had addressed a gathering at the time of the inauguration of the Academy in 1932 and it reads

His third major quality is the love for humanity. It is not only humanity that he loves but every thing living whether it is an insect or an animal. This is obvious from the fact that when an insect sits on him and causes some sort of an irritation, he does not swat or brush it away with the hand but blows it away by blowing from the mouth.

He has tremendous love for trees and wherever he goes he carries out tree plantation. Last year in NDA he carried out plantation of Mango. Chikoo, Gulmohar and Custard Apple trees and this year he has planted 72 Guava trees. He loves trees because trees breathe in poison i.e. carbon dioxide and breathe out the life giving oxygen. He also loves trees because they provide shade under which we can sit and relax and also sustain bird and insect life.

He is a saint full of humility and he is very humble. He does not like publicity. Despite the fact that he has been teaching yoga for such a long time, he conducts his camps quietly and does not look for the Publicitywhich the present day Yoga acharyas and saints look for. He is very punctual, like a military man. He is in time for his classes and here I would like to mention that on the first day his train arrived at Pune Railway station at 4.45 AM and he came in time for the early morning class at 6 AM after a 45 minutes drive from the railway station to the NDA and having a bath. He is a strict self- disciplinarian and expects others to be disciplined. His personal conduct needs to be emulated.

Very sharp and observant, a skill has been honed over years of yoga, Pranayama and meditation. Practice of these three disciplines has helped improve my concentration and memory. And I do hope some of you will take to it to derive maximum benefits. Swamiji is very hard working. He teaches and believes in karam yoga. He advocates that everyone should do his duty sincerely and work hard without an eye on the results.

He is truly secular, like we in the defense services are. He quotes frequently from other faiths like from the Quran and Guru Granth Sahib. He did not hesitate to accept an invitation from our Muslim brethren of the academy to attend their Iftaar ceremony on 16 Oct 06 and there; I was surprised to see him speaking freely on the importance of Ramzan and Id. You should all know that the defense services are totally secular. In the Navy and the Air Force there are no religious places on their bases and in the Army we have a common place of worship called Sarva Dharma Sthal where space is given to all faiths and religions to display their idols and symbols of worship, around a main prayer hall. And last of all - his love for the defense service: He does not hesitate to accept an invitation to come to the defense services unit to conduct yoga camps from which so many people have benefit

Thank you Swamiji for being here and conducting the yoga camp from which, I am sure, all of us who have attended are drawing benefit. May I now have the privilege of honoring you with a shawl and some sandal wood saplings for your Ashram.

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Yoga - My  Experiences

It was last year around the same time that I was introduced to yoga through a short capsule which was conducted by Swami Adhyatmanandaji, here in NDA. Having passed out through this Academy more than eleven years back , where I grew up on diet of rigorous physical training, running, etc, it was firmly entrenched in my mind that any exercise ,which did not involve exertion , fatigue and which did not leave one sweating profusely, was no exercise of all! Hence, the apprehension in my mind about yoga initially. But, let me admit that this theory of mine was debunked by the yoga sessions that Swamiji has conducted here for us .In the capsule that was conducted last year I was naturally very apprehensive like most of us but by the end of the short capsule had come to realize the relevance of yoga asana in our daily life. Hence, when I learnt of the capsule being conducted now, I was quite naturally looking forward to it.

While performing the asana that Swamiji taught I have realized that no other form of exercise so completely involves the mind and the body resulting in an all round development and harmony. While other exercises can be exhausting, I find, yoga on the other hand is stimulating and gives a sense of rejuvenation and freshness. Moreover, I feel the greatest advantage of yoga for us in the services is that it can be practically practiced anywhere, even in places where one might not get the opportunity to carry out other conventional physical training and running, and thus keep oneself fit, both physically and mentally. Moreover, Swamiji in his own, inimitable way has made the process of learning these asana a very pleasant and simple experience. I am also amazed of the depth of his knowledge of the human physiology and the benefits with each asana, which gives his teaching a very sound scientific basis. I am firmly convinced that there can be no better way of teaching yoga.

Apart from the yoga sessions, I also attended three discourses. Here, we were exposed to simple day to day issue that we encounter in our life and ways to deal with them and live a better life. Swamiji with his characteristic humor made them very interesting too. I would like to recall something that Swamiji mentioned in yesterday's discourse. He said, "It is true that knowledge can be gained by reading books but a better way is to listen to a learned person who would have read several books before he gave that knowledge to you." I feel nothing is more true for Swamiji" s discourses too as we all have been exposed to his vast practical experiences and the knowledge of hundreds of books in so short a duration.

Personally, I am indeed very grateful to Swamiji and keenly look forward to greater interaction in the future too.

Major Rohit Gupta
OC 'D' Squadron.

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Experiences of a Cadet

Yoga is considered as one of the most precious gift of Vedic culture to human society. It consists of a system of exercises, which aim at gaining control over body mind and senses. Even modern science has recognized the importance of yoga in mental and physical well being of a person and as a result, yoga is now being practiced by a large number of people, not only in India but also around the world. The yoga capsule that was organized in the academy during the last week was a huge success due to the able guidance of His Holy Highness Sri Swami Adhyatmanandaji Maharaj who was a part of the capsule. I am sure that each and everyone who participated in it had been benefited in one way or the other.

I along with all those who will perform here today, as well as those who participated in the program know a little about yoga before this. But by now we have learnt basics of yoga and learnt how it affects our body and mind.  With 1 to 3 hours of workouts under the guidance of Swamiji we have experienced some of the immediate benefits of yoga, which include complete relaxation of body and mind, increased flexibility of muscles, relief from stress, etc. There are many long term benefits of yoga, which help a person to lead a long life with a sound body and glowing personality.  It improves our immune system, increases the proficiency of our organ system and above all makes our thinking clear.

Seeing these, I think more and more of such programs should be organized and all of us must try to get maximum benefit from them.Working under Swamiji was a great and an enriching experience. We have learnt a lot from him and he had been a source of inspiration for all not only for his expertise in yoga but also for his disciplined attitude and pleasant personality. We will always remember him for what he has taught us, for his sense of humor and his emphasis on punctuality and discipline.

I would like to thank Swamiji for working so meticulously for us, and spending maximum of his time teaching us something that would help us throughout our life. Lastly, I would only say that we all must try to get maximum benefit from the precious gift our wise ancestors have endowed us.

Vishal Joshi.

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