Posts Tagged ‘interviews’

We interviewed John Tortorello, one of our New Jersey Sri Sri Yoga teachers.

Q. John, what do you like about yoga?
John: Yoga is the most natural science for the well-being of the body and the mind. Some people play video games to distract themselves. Yoga, for me, is an excellent distraction that leads to a good mental state. I don’t feel restless or de-energized afterwards. It is an energizing activity.

Yoga brings so much life into the body. It removes any discomfort or tension. It brings such awareness of the body. Yoga improves the communication between different parts of the body. It balances the various systems like the respiratory, circulatory, nervous and hormonal systems.

John teaching yoga at
the Art of Living center at Metuchen, New Jersey

The feeling of satisfaction and bliss that comes out of it is unmatched. I can’t get that from anything else. Hiking comes close and also gives me a great feeling. I like nature and fresh air! With yoga, sukha (happiness) increases and dukha (sorrow) decreases. It takes away misery, brings joyfulness and makes us aware of our true nature.

Yoga makes me transcend gross physical things like if the room temperature is not perfect or if the environment is not perfectly peaceful. I get that peace from inside. It puts me in touch with that peaceful space inside where there is perpetual satisfaction.


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To complete an impressive list of senior teachers visiting us this fall season, Sangeeta Jani came to New Jersey last weekend to teach the DSN course. Sangeeta Jani travels all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, Russia, Oman, USA, Africa, Western Europe and India teaching Art of Living courses. She has been teaching for 19 years. We took the opportunity to ask her a few questions.

Q: As a teacher, what are some challenges you face?
Sangeeta Jani: I don’t see anything as a challenge. I see it all as a happening. So whatever is happening in the current moment, I feel, and I have seen this happen, it is leading to something bigger, it is leading to something else. So something that may appear as an obstacle right now, is not really an obstacle. It is just something that is pushing you towards something bigger, towards a bigger plan. I have learnt that and that has made it very smooth and everything flows very easily.

Q: What do you enjoy about being a teacher?

Sangeeta Jani at Art of Living center, Metuchen, NJ

Sangeeta Jani: I just enjoy teaching, Because when I teach, first and foremost I feel so grateful that I have an opportunity to be an instrument to the Divine and do some work to make a difference. I feel I may have spent so many lifetimes just coming and going, coming and going,  taking from this planet. This lifetime also I may have done a lot of that but, you know, when I have an opportunity to give, I feel so grateful, and so indebted to be able to give to the world. I feel blessed to be chosen to do something like this, to have the ability to do something like this.

What I feel I enjoy most about teaching is the learning. I feel with every course that I teach, I along with the participants, I am also growing. I am also learning so much more with them. Every course that I teach, I feel I have learnt. It has opened something more. It has made the knowledge more authentic in my life, in my experience. It is more integrated into me. It is woven into me. That is what is so beautiful about it. You share and you grow at the same time.

Q: You have traveled all over the world teaching. What is your experience and how have people benefited?
Sangeeta Jani: I have been teaching the Art of living course for the past 19 years and my teachings have taken me to different parts of the world and I have had an opportunity to interact with people from various cultures. I have of course taught in India, I have taught in countries where people predominantly follow the Christian religion. I have taught in countries where they follow Islam.

What I have noticed is that there is a slight difference in culture everywhere. But the cultural aspect is what? The cultural aspect is the way they eat, the way they talk, the way they sleep, the way they pray, the manner in which they pray, their symbols. There is a slight difference when it comes to all that. But again what I have noticed is that the core values in every human being are the same. There is no difference. When they take the course they all identify with these core values.

Again there is another thing that is common amongst each and every human being, wherever the person is, and that is the breath. And what we focus on is the breath. What we teach mainly in the basic course, the Art of Living course, is the Sudharshan Kriya which is a breathing technique. It is a rhythmic breathing technique. What happens is that, like everything in nature, you know how nature has its own rhythm. In the same way, our nervous system also has its own rhythm. But due to the daily stresses that we accumulate we throw this nervous system off a little bit. What we do is in Sudarshan Kriya is we use the breath to eliminate these stresses and restore the nervous system to its natural rhythm. That is basically what we are doing.

So regardless of what faith one follows this is something that is very useful. It is a tool that helps you deal with stresses on a day-to-day basis. It helps you deal with the mind. Its very hard to deal with the mind from the level of the mind. So if you cannot do that then you use the breath. It is very easy to do it like that. It is very smooth, very gentle, anyone can do it.


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