Practitioners find Hindu-based exercises enlightening - East Valley Tribune: Spirituallife

Practitioners find Hindu-based exercises enlightening

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Posted: Saturday, March 25, 2006 6:34 am | Updated: 4:44 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Inside the mirrored space of the Quantum Healing Room, breathing couldn’t be louder. Grand whooshes of air are expelled on command from deep within the bodies of the students during the workout at Central Yoga School of Mind-Body and Fitness on the second floor of the Cornerstone center next to Arizona State University in Tempe.

Yogi Tushar Ray lithely contorts his frame as he guides his students through the intense exercise. In his thick Indian accent, he advises a paced pattern of movement, breathing, experiencing and knowing. “Once our chest is open, relax . . . resolve in your mind . . . release and let go . . .”

Ray, a robust, upbeat teacher and spiritual poet, showcases a style of yoga that reflects its shamanistic roots in ancient Hinduism.

He has created and teaches “eternal yoga,” a style of hatha (physical) yoga emphasizing “wholebody meditation” to increase body flexibility and stress-release. “The ultimate goal is enlightenment,” he says.

“The purpose of yoga is full liberation,” says Ray, who was born in Calcutta, India, and who calls himself a mind-body scientist. “Quantum meditation is a process in which I use the regular stretching, breathing and meditation called ‘mind together.’ ”

Quantum healing takes its name from a term coined by writer and speaker Deepak Chopra, who described it as the “miracle” that routinely occurs when the intelligence within each cell of the body mends, heals and cures it of maladies great and small.

Yoga activates the body, which he likens to a whirlpool, a fast stream of information and energy flowing through it. When it flows efficiently, bliss follows.

Each class’ regimen begins with vigorous, measured breathing to wake the body and mind so that they are absorbed into each other and “then that person becomes totally within himself.”

“Balance — it’s all about balance,” says Ray. “If you are too much an intellectual, you are unhappy. If you are too emotional, always living in your heart, you are unhappy, so you have to make a balance. Balance is very important.”

Ray, 67, a Hindu, notes in his poem “Eternal Yoga” that yoga was designed to steady the mind “and to steadfastly increase the power of our will while bodily feeling remains amiably keen and mind gets fully busy in enjoying the feeling.” Once the mind and body are in harmony through practice, he writes, one can be like a 4-year-old again: “Becoming playful again, we gain fun in everything even with an intellect of a grown-up man.”

Martha Steinacker of Tempe has been taking Ray’s class weekly for more than a year. “It has helped me relax, and just have a more reasonable approach to my day-today work,” she says, which is developing curricula for online education. Unlike yoga classes she has taken elsewhere, this one showcases Ray’s skills without needless regimentation.

For Rob Romak of Scottsdale, an ASU electronic engineering graduate student, yoga has been invaluable in contrast to his technical science world. “This is selfmastery for me, for centering myself,” he say, adding that unlike other yoga classes he’s taken, Ray’s offers more oneon-one instruction.

After earning his doctorate in 1967 from the University of Calcutta, Ray, a biochemist, came to the United States, where he served on faculties of several universities before teaching at ASU, where he was an adjunct professor of microbiology. He arrived in the Valley in 1995 and opened Central Yoga (www.centralyoga .org), first in Phoenix in 1996. It moved to Tempe in 1998. Eternal yoga classes are mornings and nights Monday to Friday and noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Drop-in classes are $14.

Ray says yoga does not compromise one’s personal religion. “Through your love of God, you connect God within yourself,” he says. “God is in everything, he is everywhere. He is consciousness, and we are part of his consciousness. It encompasses everything in the universe.”

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