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"My Thoughts On International Yoga Day"

1. How and when you started doing Yoga? How were you introduced to it, if you can please revisit that moment for us?
Around 10 years ago, before I got my first break, I was just trailing around Juhu beach and I saw a guy doing hand-stands, cartwheels, completely balance and do full-split on one hand. So I stood there watching all that he was doing and when he was done with his postures, he stood up and looked at me and asked, "what are you looking at". And I said I want to do all of that, and he said it's a mixture of many things. So I asked him if he would teach me to which he said he will try. Then I realised that he was a struggling stuntman and he knew a lot about Yoga, taekwondo, kick-boxing, martial arts, tai-chi and everything possible that an action master should know. He presented all the options to me, so I asked him what he thought I should do and he suggested Yoga which will bring initial core strength in my body which I would need because I didn't seem to be very strong. So, I said fine and started doing yoga. Then we continued for many years and I learnt many other forms too. He also trained me for "Krrish 3" and "Revolver Rani". I did kick-boxing and other styles with Surya Narayanan, but he doesn't teach me anymore and has shifted back to his village. But I continued doing Yoga.

2. How it changed/enhanced your life? What changes it brought to your persona - inner and outer well being?
I can actually say that I have survived due to Yoga, but I started as an ordinary person and I was subjected to extra-ordinary circumstances. I could actually tell that my survival was becoming next to impossible, you know the kind of circumstances I was subjected to, and it demanded me to be extra-ordinary in terms of my qualities. So Yoga gave me that with meditation, postures and venting out a lot of restless energy through many postures and pranayam. It bought a lot of spiritual and physical balance in me and I think I evolved a lot of superhuman qualities like perseverance and patience or controlling my impulses. As in, I was very young or everybody I was dealing with was way older than me. So all these qualities, I do and I think I lasted and survived and I could achieve all I have is because of Yoga.

3. Is there any particular form of Yoga that you practice - how many times a week and duration? What's your fitness regimen like?
Apparently, Yoga is what I practiced. I do that five days a week if I can. But if I am busy, I just mix that up with something like Pilates and cross-fits. They come and go out of my life depending on how hectic my schedule is and what is the demand of my character, but Yoga is constant. It's always there and I don't approach Yoga like something that I have to do to acquire a certain physical shape. For me it is the most important part of my life, just like how I have to have food and I can't survive without it. The same way Yoga is a spiritual exercise for my spirit and not for my body alone. Keeping my balance as a human being is more important than actually having a 24 inches waist for me.

4. What has been its greatest benefits? And what not to expect?
There is nothing you can't expect. You can expect anything from Yoga. I remember I had a severe backache when I was 16 or 17 and when I started Yoga, my Yoga instructor said that you really have an exceptional problem for a teenager. Lot of acne, weak eye-sight and a weak back and today I think I really have super-human powers. I am 29. I can do horse-riding, I read a lot and I do not have any glasses, nothing... Like I said, there is nothing you can’t expect, like my mother was suffering from so many conditions like cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure issues, low hemoglobin and she didn't listen to me for the longest time unless she was really close to dead. And then she started doing Yoga and within three months she came back and now her body is like a 28-year-old. So there is nothing you can't expect. I have seen women who couldn't conceive earlier get pregnant. I have seen cancer getting cured with Yoga. So, there's literally nothing you can't expect.

5. If you have to give one reason to convince someone to take up Yoga what would it be?
I don't believe in these kind of talks. I think Yoga is a gift. When I started to do Yoga, my sir said that it is a gift which is only for the ones who deserve it. No matter how much you tell someone, his own mother and wife don't listen to him for that matter. He is my guru and his family doesn't do Yoga even though he is there all the time. My mother didn't listen to me for the longest time, so it's for people who deserve it. No matter how much you try and impose it on others or force it on others, it's just not possible if you don't deserve it. It's like enlightenment. I can't impose enlightenment on some-one. They have to work their way up there. If Buddha had his way, he would impose enlightenment on everyone. But he said, "The only difference between me and a layman is that I struggle much more than anyone else." So, you need to struggle your way up to the enlightenment also and deserve to do yoga.
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