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From Impossible to Possible, Through Yoga

I met Guruji, Dr. B.K.S. Iyengar in 1996, at the lowest point in my life; and there was no looking back after that. After suffering for almost 12 years and being virtually bedridden, when I had to use a wheelchair I felt that all doors had closed for me. I felt utterly helpless and hopeless. Doctors said that I could never ever live a normal life again. Spinal surgery was presented as my last option, as I had suffered a slipped disc at the age of 15; and as no x-ray revealed this at the time, the condition was not treated properly. I was so disheartened that I wrote, ‘I Can Never Ever Become Alright Again’ on a paper with a bold, black marker, and stuck it on my study table. It was impossible for someone as young as I was to accept that she had become an invalid.

Luckily, Guruji diagnosed my problem without even looking at my MRI reports. He only needed a glimpse of the part of my neck that was visible above the t-shirt to know what the problem was. In that moment, I realized how learned he was. That was when I decided to surrender myself fully to his knowledge and experience. It was an instant connection, like that between a mother and child.

I never realized it at that time, but Guruji had seen some unusual qualities in me, right then. Finally my training began and he admitted me into the Medical Class, which took place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. When I heard that the class was only twice a week, I thought this was too little; but I soon realized that those two classes would make me tired for the rest of the week! All of a sudden, a body that lay flat on the bed became alive and active.

As a scientist, I was amazed to see Guruji’s knowledge and experience, as he had not studied in school beyond Class Eight. Generally, in the Medical Class Guruji never explained the logic of what he was doing to any student, but he would make it a point to explain it all to me. Interestingly enough, I would theoretically understand what he said and slowly my body also started responding.

On the twelfth day of my medical class, he asked me to perform Adhomukha Vrikshasana (hand-stand) and I looked at him with a bewildered expression, wondering how I could lift my heavy body on my weak and non-functional hands, but by the time I could understand anything he had positioned me to stand on my two hands. I suddenly realised that my non-functional hands could be made functional by practicing every day and the confidence which I had lost for twelve years, was back in a mere twelve days.

When he started training me there were many different poses every day, as he was giving me sequences according to my needs, which changed with the daily progress. These were difficult poses for any normal person, and yet I was able to do them. I can attribute my success in learning those asanas to the unique qualities of Iyengar yoga:

  1. Sequencing of asanas
  2. Timing of asanas
  3. Improvisation of asanas
  4. Usage of props invented by Dr. B.K.S Iyengar.

These qualities are what make Iyengar Yoga extraordinary, and they are the reason why it can be practiced by everyone, no matter what their physical condition may be. The results are phenomenal.

I did not even realize it, but at some point in time, while healing me, Guruji began to train me as a future Teacher. Now I feel that he had already decided that I had to open the first Iyengar Yoga Centre in India’s capital, New Delhi; which had been his dream for forty long years. ‘Yogakshema’ is the first Iyengar yoga centre in Delhi, which I established, and it was inaugurated by Dr. B.K.S Iyengar on 25th April, 2007. At Yogakshema, I conduct normal and medical classes to help suffering humanity. The thought in my mind which gave birth to Yogakshema was – “Whatever I have lost nobody should, and what I have achieved through yoga should be shared with all.”


  • Nivedita Joshi

    An ardent disciple of Yogacharya BKS Iyenger, renowned yoga guru Nivedita Joshi holds a Master’s degree in Microbiology. After facing challenging health issues at a very young age, and a re-birth of sorts through yoga, she decided to dedicate her life to yoga. Ms. Joshi is also a published poet and a lyricist. She has written and published ‘Yogikasparsh’ a one-of-its-kind yoga manual in braille, for which she was awarded the ‘First Ladies’ Award’. Delhi’s first accredited Iyenger yoga centre, Yogakshema, is one of the biggest and best equipped Iyenger yoga centres in the world.

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