How I started with Yoga

In 1966, when I was 8 years old, we moved from Israel to USA because of my father’s work and stayed there for two years.

While in the USA my mother coincidentally stumbled into a television program called ‘Yoga for Health with Richard Hittleman’ and this is how she got introduced to Yoga.

My mother became very enthusiastic about Yoga and got the rest of the family into it, including my father which in the beginning was a bit sceptical about it.

I was 9 years old when I started practicing together with my parents and also started to follow Yoga television programs. My parents were impressed that I could get into postures that required flexibility but that was not so difficult for a nine-year-old.

Before going back to Israel in 1967 my parents bought books and records on the subject of Yoga and Meditation.

We lived very close to the beach in Tel-Aviv and I remember my parents going early in the morning to the beach, practicing Yoga. I used to join them and practiced along.

My mother became involved the Yoga seen in Tel Aviv and attended Yoga classes.

Another figure that influenced my parent and indirectly influenced me in my early days was Swami Venkatesananda, a disciple of Swami Shivananda from Rishikesh India. Swami Venkatesananda was traveling around the world spreading the word of Yoga and one of his regular stops was Israel.

Swami Venkatesananda used to hold workshops and retreats which my parents attended. In the retreats they practiced Yoga, meditation, chanting and heard lectures on Indian philosophy from the Swami’s point of view on life. While visiting my parents at a Yoga retreat in the town of Gedera, I was allowed to join and exercise along.

My mother used to say “the swami recommended this….”, “the swami said that …..” so one day when I was told that the Swami himself is going to be our guest at home, there was great excitement.  We were honoured with a personal visit of Swami Venkatesananda to our home in Rehovot. My father took the Swami for a tour in the Weizmann Institute where he was working and the swami held a lecture there.

Another famous Swami that came to Israel and gave workshops which my parents attended, was Swami Devananda. A persistent peace fighter and author of many publications and book on the subjects of Yoga. My parents bought one of his books, ‘The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga’ which challenged and inspired my early experiments with Yoga.

I feel very fortunate that I got introduced to Yoga at an early stage of my life.

 

Richard Hittleman (1927 –1991) – Died in USA of prostate cancer at the age of 64.

Swami Ven Katesananda (1921- 1982) – Died in South Africa of heart failure at the age of 60.

Swami Vishnu Devananda (1927 – 1993 ) – Died in India following a series of strokes  at the age of 65

My early days “Gurus” offered plenty of advice on how to maintain mental and physical health. Seems that all three die a bit premature.

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