My Journey as a Yoga Teacher - Dr. Vetrivendhan - Part 2

Dr. vetrivendhan

Dr R Vetrivendhan, BSMS, MSc (yoga therapy) has graduated siddha medicine from TN DR MGR Medical university. He is a reputed Alternative Medicine Specialist in Reddiyur, Salem.

He joined the Tamil Nadu government service in 2001, and currently working as Siddha medical officer in Government hospital, Vembadithalam, Salem district. He owns a holistic clinic named VASISTA CLINIC , where he is the chief yoga therapy consultant, the clinic offers basic yoga, advance yoga, power yoga, medical yoga, corporate yoga, and stress management programs.

He has over 21 years of experience as an Alternative Medicine Specialist. You can meet Dr. R Vetrivendhan at Vasista clinic in Reddiyur, Salem.

Interview with Dr. Vetrivendhan

5. How do you thinks yoga can help us in the prevalent pandemic situation?

Yoga can definitely be helpful, specially during this COVID-19 pandemic. We inhale  around 500-1000 viruses but our immune system has millions of immune cells which fight against the viruses. If our immune system gets weaker then virus gets dominated. It is like a small group of people trying to conquer the whole country. Especially, If our mind and body are weak, virus takes the lead. It then multiplies and gives instruction to the cells what to do and what not to do. But, when we see positive things and perceive everything in a positive way, that balances the mind and body and help in combating the viruses. Yoga helps in maintaining the inner balance, so very helpful in overcoming the pandemic

During this COVID-19 pandemic, Government has restricted live yoga classes, but classes are continuing through online application platforms like Zoom, Skype, etc and the response is really amazing. There is an increase in interest among the public as well  since we all know how important it is to have a strong immunity when one gets infected by the virus. The stronger the immunity, the more chances of prevention/recovery. Keeping that in mind, apart from taking immunity boosting medicines, people are looking out for a healthy lifestyle and are preferring yoga classes. In our classes they prefer simple practices, specifically in a package of half an hour which can cover breathing exercise, asanas, pranayamas and meditation. So, everybody believes half an hour to one hour daily yoga practice keeps them fit, away from pandemic illness and strengthens the mind to fight against any situation.

Initially when we were conducting online classes, we would be alone in the studio and teaching to the screen. We will not be able to see the participants as they might not switch on their cameras. But, when we received the feedback after the sessions that the benefits they are receiving from the  yoga was really awesome,  kept us motivated. Also, previously we could not accommodate so many people in physical classes, whereas now, with the help of online classes we are able to reach more people and give them yoga lessons. World is changing and we have to change our mind according to situations. 


6. Apart from yoga being a holistic approach for treating patients, how does it benefit an average person? In other words how do we convince a common person to practice yoga if he / she is not having any health issues?

Yes, it is very difficult to convince a common man since they do not have any health issues so they think they don’t need yoga. But, it is high time that we focus on prevention perspective, as the proverb says, “Prevention is better than cure”, and now the fact is prevention is cheaper than cure. So, we should educate the people rather than focusing on the disease.  Let us focus on  salutogenisis part. The term salutogenesis speaks about wellness and healthy approach. It is opposite to pathogenesis, it speaks about course of the disease. So, salutogenesis helps in preventing and preparing the healthy way of life.

There are certain specific practices, that help in promotion of positive health. It comprises of Surya namaskar, sitting asanas, few pranayamas and simple meditation. These practices would be better for any average healthy person, as they don’t have any kind of illness and they would develop the immunity and mind-consciousness. 


7. What attracted your interest to yoga in particular?

To be frank, I would say that when I was studying in my fourth year in year 1998, we had a yoga subject in our curriculum. We were taught different types of asanas, some advance asanas, so that was my first initiation towards yoga. My teacher was 72 years old and he could do all asanas with great ease and it inspired me to learn them. So, that was my first step, and I kept on searching which is the best institute to go and study in depth, then I was able to find S-VYASA University, that is the pioneer yoga university in the world. So, I got admission there and started my yoga foundation course then Diploma and Masters.

I was fortunate to have very mindful gurus and one of them is the chancellor of that institute called Dr.Nagendra. He was a scientist working with Neil Armstrong in a NASA project. He was a renowned scientist who came back to India and started this institution out of his passion. His sister Dr. Nagratna is a medical doctor and she is our mentor, who has done lot of research in medical yoga. Their guidance definitely have changed my world to yogic life. Post  that I joined  medical service. Inspite of being in medical service , I also made sure to start my own yoga studio, where I teach yoga regularly so that I could also practice yoga and teach, specifically Siddha yoga. And my intention is to explore siddha yoga, it’s been 5-6 years we are working on it. Thirumoolar speaks more about siddha yoga and he recommends more pranayamas than asanas. He recommends only 8 asanas is enough for your life and you should start from pranayamas. It is a vast subject which I will continue to learn.


8. In this era where people are turning to aerobics, zumba and fast moving exercises, how can we bring back people to yoga practices?

The answer is your question, this is culture. It is always in your genes, only thing is to make the remembrance. Aerobics, zumba and other exercises only focuses on the physical aspect but not on the mind. Yoga have been there for centuries and it is in our genes. These modern practices are good, but in the long run, there will be saturation in the practices. But, we will not have saturation in yoga, all other things are external but yoga is internal. So, when we start travelling internally it will take us for a long run. Many new practices may come up in future as well, but yoga will surely sustain. Nowadays, some practices are coming as yoga plus aerobics as yoga-aerobics, people have started mixing the practices but the pure yoga will be the philosophy, specifically with Indian culture it will not get damaged and will be present in our genes. 

Here is the link for – My Journey as a Yoga Teacher – Dr. Vetrivendhan – Part 1

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