Faculty in Focus: Yogesh and Geeta Bhatt
Dr. Yogesh and Mrs. Geeta Bhatt are instructors for the Culture in Practice: Yoga Theory and Practice course with The City, the River, the Sacred program in Varanasi. Dr. Yogesh Bhatt holds a Ph.D. in Yoga from Banaras Hindu University and Mrs. Geeta Bhatt is a current Ph.D. candidate.
At what age did you start practicing yoga?
Yogesh: I’m a fourth generation yogi. In my childhood I used to watch my father and grandfather performing yoga and imitated them in a playful mood. I started regularly practicing yoga when I was 18 years old. My life changed direction when I got job at Banaras Hindu University (BHU). At BHU Malviya Bhawan, diploma and certificate courses in yoga are offered and my passion for yoga has become my profession as well.
Geeta: Since childhood I have had a particular attraction for spiritual things. I liked sitting in prayer with the adult members of my family. I started practicing meditation when I was 19 years old, and I started practicing yoga after marriage in November 2005. I had to stop my yoga practice due to my two pregnancies. I started practicing yogasanas a regular daily basis after one year from the birth of my second child. After yoga practice I feel refreshed; it gives me the energy and peace of mind to face the challenges of every day. Now yoga has become an indispensable part of my life.
What do you think are the most important issues facing India today?
Yogesh: People have become so blind in egoism and materialism, that they have lost interest in important values like humanity, spirituality, and religion and have spoiled their meaning for their individual benefit. Our Prime Minister supports yoga – yoga may be beneficial for our country. Yoga facilitates both intellectual and physical development of a human being. Through a regular practice of yoga an individual may understand what “Self” is. This is a most important part of our life. Knowing “Self”, the individual is able to understand what are his/her qualities and defects and may accordingly work for improving him/herself. Once a person improves as an individual, he/she is able to take care of society and the nation.
What surprises your students most when they study yoga in India?
Yogesh: How yoga is not only asanas, but it helps in the development of physical health, mental health and spiritual health. Yoga is a combination of science and spirituality. My students learn yogic techniques in a scientific manner and are able to experience excellent results in overall health.
Geeta: How yoga may change your attitude towards life, nature and other living creatures. Especially after practicing meditation, our students have personally experienced a tremendous change in their approach, passing to a positive attitude towards things they didn’t like before.
What is your daily routine like? How does yoga fit in?
Yogesh: I regularly do my personal yoga practice for 1.5 hours every day in the morning; I complete my exercises by 6 am. Usually I wake up around 4 am. By 10 am I start teaching yoga classes at the college. At the time of dusk (sandhya), I practice meditation at home along with my children.
Geeta: I have two small children to take care of and to send to school. Still I find time out of my routine for a daily yoga practice. Practicing yoga gives me energy to face all the engagements of the day. I start with some Pranayama exercises (control of breath). Then I wake my children up, I feed them breakfast and prepare them for school. Then I practice some specific asanas beneficial for my health problems. I pay attention to my diet: both my husband and I don’t eat garlic and onion; we eat simple fresh vegetarian food and we try to consume our last meal by 7:30-8:00 pm. We also don’t use allopathic medicines, only ayurvedic medicines. I’m a Ph.D. student; I’m researching the use of "Stress Management through Ayurvedic Lifestyle Modification and Preksha Meditation" to correct people’s behavior and bring benefits to their health. I meet regularly with my Research Supervisor and work in the Out Patient Department to put in practice what I’m learning from my academic research. In the evening, I practice meditation at home with my children.