Teacher Series: Pandit Raj Kumar Vajpayee, Yogacharya

Today I’m full of gratitude for my teacher in Varanasi, Raju-ji!

He’s a friend, an adviser, and a wonderful yoga teacher who’s been pivotal in my evolution as a yogi.  If you want to read about some of my experiences in Varanasi with Raju-ji (I wrote several entries!), or the community seva project we launched last year, please click through.

(And if you’re a yogi headed to Banares, here are a few humble tips!)

Guruji with a pleased group of students – they all did their first headstands ever that day!

Raju-ji guided me through many firsts, in asana, pranayam, understanding the wisdom of many scriptures, and so much more.    Meeting him was no chance happening!

Guru-ji’s bio from his website:

Pandit Raj Kumar Vajpayee Yogacharya shines with the joy  and openness that yoga brings to life.  A family man and householder himself, Rajuji is able to translate the deep teachings of yoga in a way that is both understandable and applicable for a range of students.  His awesome intuition and in-depth knowledge of the human mind and body make Rajuji one of the most effective teachers out there.

Although yoga as a way of life is not competitive in nature, Rajuji also lays claim to a gold medal in asana competition.  He is the only gold medalist from the state of Uttar Pradesh in 36 years!  (To study asana and other yogic techniques with Rajuji in depth, check out his one-on-one program here.)

Whether your goals are spiritual, psychological, or physiological, Rajuji is a trustworthy teacher to help you open those doors.

Rajuji’s yoga experience began as a young boy.  He was ‘discovered’ in a Varanasi gym by a local yogi and trained for many years to became a gold medalist in Indian national yoga competitions.  As a recipient of the cherished Yoga Bushan title from the All India Yoga Society, Rajuji is among some of the best yoga asana practitioners in the country.

When Rajuji made the transition to teaching, he studied yoga therapy, hoping his gifts in yoga could help cure ailments and give peace to people in pain.  This capacity for giving and healing has drawn thousands of students from around the world to Rajuji’s doorstep in Varanasi.

Most recently, he has been leading Yoga Health Camps in Varanasi, bringing hundreds of people the healthful techniques of yoga.

One of his students, a 52 year-old American named Albert, had hurt his knee in a skiing accident some thirty years prior.  Albert had been to every specialist available to him in the States, but nothing stopped the chronic pain.  When he came to practice yoga with Rajuji, and his knee pain flared up, Rajuji told Albert, “Just give me ten minutes.”

Albert was given a ten minute program to follow and was shocked to be relieved so easily of his knee pain.  Since then, he’s been practicing Rajuji’s prescription, and is now living without any of the knee pain he’d been experiencing for thirty years!

Although Rajuji admits, not all ailments can be cured so simply, many common pains and diseases can be alleviated, and sometimes cured, through yogic technologies.  Asana, pranayama, proper diet, and meditation can make a world of difference in a practitioner’s life.

Om Shanti Yoga Niketan is where Rajuji instructs tourists from around the world, as well as provides yoga therapy for residents and visiting patients.  He has also trained professional models, helping them achieve fitness goals for their careers, and is a teacher of young children as well, at private and public schools throughout the state.

Rajuji and his apprentice Alok welcome students of all ages, levels, sizes and frames of mind, to visit the studio and experience yoga for yourselves.  Namaste, and may all beings be happy.

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