On a recent afternoon, an unassuming yoga instructor named V.S. Ramanathan stood on the deck of his office building.
He had the look of a man who was having a blast in a room full of people wearing yoga pants and a long white tank top, and who seemed more at ease around the fire than his students.
“I do not teach anything I do not know,” he told me.
He wore a black shirt with a pink, white, and blue flower emblem on the left breast, a blue bandana around his neck, and a black and red bandana on his neck.
The top of his tank top had a red, white and blue symbol, and the bottom had a blue flower with the words “Yoga” on it.
“It is a symbol of the yogic spirit, a symbol for my practice and my message,” he said.
He seemed calm and collected.
But then he began telling me about a mysterious program he had created that he described as “Yogic Yoga.”
He said that the program was meant to help people learn to balance the physical body and the mind, and to help them connect with the spirit of the planet.
The program was named for the Sanskrit word “yoga,” which means “mindfulness.”
“I think it’s very important to look at this as a mental practice and not a physical one,” he explained.
Ramenathan, who has taught yoga for more than two decades in Mumbai, India, said that yoga has long been the domain of spiritual masters who have practiced for thousands of years.
He said he wanted to offer a service to the people of India, who, like him, have been struggling to understand how to connect with their spirits, as well as their bodies.
But he also told me that he was motivated by a spiritual need.
He was inspired by his son’s experience with a yogic yoga teacher who taught him how to balance and transcend his body.
The young man, who is now in his mid-twenties, said he was interested in being a teacher.
But the teacher told him that it was important for him to do his best to maintain his body and not lose it.
Ramana also told Ramanath he had a friend who had studied with the same teacher, but did not like it.
The yoga teacher told Ramana that he did not teach yoga in order to learn yoga.
“My goal is to learn it to learn how to maintain your body,” he was quoted as saying.
Ramathan said that he and his wife, Shastri, had both taken up yoga as a way to “get out of the house, get away from the pressure of living.”
But when Shastris told Ramanas father about the yoga program, he said that they had become frustrated.
“We were not able to practice the same way that the teacher taught,” he later told me, adding that he would have to teach yoga to Ramanas family.
“That was our problem, because the family could not understand how we can be yogis and also not have this body.”
Ramana was not the only person who was upset by the yoga guru’s comments.
“Why should a yoga teacher teach us?” a frustrated student, Ramanuja, wrote on Instagram.
“If we are to be a yogi, then we need to be in touch with our own body and spirit.
How could I do that if I am not conscious?”
In response to these questions, Ramana said that his program was not aimed at “sending a message.”
Instead, he described his program as a process of self-discovery.
“The first step is to realize that we have been in a state of unconsciousness and that this is our condition,” he wrote.
“This is not a good thing.
We should be aware of this state of consciousness.”
Ramanatha, who told me he was a student of Ramanujan, said his program is not meant to be about teaching yoga, but to learn to be mindful of our body.
“People have been teaching yoga for thousands and thousands of generations.
They know how to control their breathing and how to breathe correctly,” he added.
Ramanas wife said that Ramanas son was also struggling to find the right balance between yoga and the physical world.
“He was trying to control his emotions,” she said.
“Sometimes he was trying not to breathe.
Sometimes he was breathing through his mouth.
Sometimes, he would put his hands on his knees, but then he would not breathe.
So that was not a comfortable balance.”
“He’s not a yogis teacher,” Ramanas daughter said.
But Ramana’s yoga program was part of a wider trend in India that was pushing the traditional Hindu philosophy of yoga toward the “non-dual” philosophy, in which both yoga and meditation are practiced.
According to Ramana, there is