Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani
Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is one of the most up and coming yoga exponents of the modern age. With a background like his, it should come as no surprise …
He is the son of the world famous yoga experts Yogasiromani Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri and Kalaimamani Yogacharini Smt. Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani.
Born and raised in India, he trained under the guidance of his father in the traditional gurukula setting of Ananda Ashram, in Pondicherry. In addition to his extensive yoga knowledge and experience, he also holds a medical degree and is a practicing physician.
Through decades of study and practice, he developed into a masterful classical South Indian Carnatic vocalist and mrudangam player as well.
I have known Ananda for ten years. Being fortunate to be able to return almost yearly to Ananda Ashram, I’ve had the opportunity to see him change over the years and watch him expand to fill that space that is expected of him. It really is a big space and he is filling it in a very natural and comfortable way as he grows with every experience and expands his consciousness.
Over the last couple of years he has travelled the world teaching and experiencing various cultures and customs in many different countries. He has been eagerly accepted into the international community of yoga as he glides into the groove his father carved in the world.
Yet, even though he is walking in his fathers footsteps, he is moving in his own way as well, with his own persona and unique energy. The more he moves in the world the more he is unfolding, and the more he unfolds the more enigmatic he is becoming.
Ananda’s father, Swami Gitananda, would always tell his students to go out into the world and live in it fully. He would especially encourage his students to go off and have a family. “Here you will really learn about yourself,” he said. Ananda has done and is doing exactly that. He lives and works in the world and also has a young family. Married to Devasena, they have two beautiful young children, Dhivya and Anandraj.
I had the good fortune of hosting Ananda for a week in 2008 for his UK tour and as a consequence got to spend a huge amount of quality time with him. I got to experience many sides of this man that I previously never knew, and each one I must say was dignified, humble and always honest. I think that is what makes him so special.
He talks of his experiences and obviously learns from them. His experiences are also quite human, as he is human, and so we can all relate to them. To know that he also undergoes many of the same challenges and circumstances that everyone else does, and to hear him talk of them through a yogic perspective, attracts people and make it easier for them to understand the deeper concepts of yoga.
One finds it impossible to avoid his jovial nature and his youthful and modern sense of humour, which not only radiates from his being, but also permeates throughout his teachings. This seemingly effortless quality enables his students to get a more manageable grasp of these ancient yogic concepts.
It is no surprise that he has such a rich sense of fun since both his father and mother enjoyed life to the fullest in a very correct yogic way, both of them having that same jovial attitude. This, I feel, is one reason why this remarkable yoga family is able to be so effective in what they do – they know the time to have fun, the time to be serious and the time to be quiet.
They are able to pick a crowd up when it’s down and bring a crowd safely down if it’s flying too high. They have the ability to steer the momentum gently and skilfully, whilst keeping everything under control. Yoga is, after all, “Skill in Action,” and Yogacharya Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani demonstrates that skill in marvellous ways.
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About the Author:
Yogacharini Kalavathi Devi is a senior teacher in the paramparai of Swami Gitananda Giri. She lives and teaches yoga in the UK, where she conducts various classes, residential retreats and yoga courses, including the correspondence course from I.C.Y.E.R.
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