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The International Yoga Day will be celebrated on the 21st of June and for everyone who is practising or willing to try it is a great opportunity to do that. Honorary Consul of India to Lithuania kindly shared some inputs on the secrets of yoga and the importance of this celebration.

(Original article can be found in Lithuanian: Delfi.lt 15min.lt)

Yoga comes from India. They say the best yoga teachers are namely in that country. So, my question is as follows: could a Lithuanian be a perfect yoga teacher? In other words, would it be possible for him/her to become an outstanding yoga teacher who would equal to the counterparts in India? Can an outlandish yoga teacher find out the secrets, methods and the rest of the wide spectrum of knowledge about yoga, acquire and transfer the huge load of it to others without being an Indian?

Undoubtedly yoga,s origin is from India but it is now a universal phenomenon and its India's gift to the world to be a good teacher,you do not have to be an Indian only, any Lithuanian or any national from any part of the world can equally be a good teacher provided he or she has learnt the science of yoga the right way from a good teacher and has the devotion and dedication.. Yes, it is true that many from other parts of the world come to India to learn yoga and the teachers in India, therefore, have better knowledge but in Lithuania, there are many many good yoga teachers too who are doing as good a job as the Indian teachers.

What about other aspects of Indian culture in Lithuania – is it strong? Are Lithuanians interested in it? Don‘t they feel that it‘s outlandish for them?

Indian culture is not that strong as it should have been because the roots between the two countries are common. There are similarities in the language and the grammar, family values are the same, even some religious traditions are the same. Further, the Indian Bollywood movies have been very popular. Yet there is not a great deal of bonding.of course in the Vilnius University, there is the Oriental centre where Hindi and Sanskrit the two most vital languages are taught but the response is not that encouraging now. Also, there are a few schools teaching Indian classical dances to the girls, there are some musicians who play traditional Indian instruments but things can be a lot better.

What is your opinion about the scepticism of people saying that there are lots of false yoga teachers? What would be your advice how to recognise a false yoga teacher?

There are yoga schools now mushrooming in Lithuania and in other countries and in the name of the yoga, they are making quick money and it is the people who have to be careful to go to the reputed schools and Lithuania has quite a few reputed ones.

What shall we draw attention to, when trying to find "the right" yoga teacher? How would you characterise him/her? What is most important?

The very appearance and the glow on the teacher,s face can give a good idea. Their reputation and the kind of the standing that they have will surely guarantee that a good teacher can be found. The in-depth knowledge of the teachers can be gauged by seeing their teaching sessions. Also, there is a famous saying-"to find a good yoga teacher is like finding a needle in the box of sand" but there are always good and dedicated teachers whose reputation spreads fast for others to know by word of mouth.

Yoga's role in a human's life: what role should it play in everyone's life, shall it be important and why? Your opinion, please.

Yoga enriches body and soul. One stays very fit and healthy and one tends to get calmness when performed in moments of crises and stress and even otherwise.

If is not like that yoga nowadays is more a trend not a healthy habit of life?

Unfortunately, there is great emphasis on the non-traditional type of yoga, more of pop style dancing and merry making as the variations in the original form of yoga have been very little over the centuries. Of course, even in the classic yoga slight variations are coming but those are not so unusual. This can also be attributed to the non-trained so-called yoga teachers who merely to help themselves to run the business adopt such practices.

If it‘s possible in these days when there is a rush in everywhere to take a break and give yourself a fancy thing – meditation and yoga? Maybe this is only a habit for unemployed people?

Self-discipline is a must and the human beings have to learn this from the animals to a great extent. Pet dogs and cats and other animals stop eating if their body does not feel so well. Same way, knowing what is best for body and soul, the urge to practice yoga must be taken seriously.

It is the third year when The Yoga Day is being organised in Lithuania. In what aspect is it important for you? As you know, other Lithuanian cities are also going to take part in the event. What is the main purpose of the event, and what kind of message is being translated into it?

In December 2014, at the suggestion of Mr Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 June every year to be an international yoga day duly supported by 175 out of 194 member countries and the intent was that yoga with all its distinct advantages must be practiced across the world  for body,s well-being and  for the peace of mind and soul. Yoga and its associated form of healing through Ayurveda therapies be best provided to the people of the world as the menace of dreaded diseases and epidemics are ever increasing.

It is interesting to now know that the present governments itself are wanting to encourage yoga as also the Ayurveda as an alternative form of healing. We from the Indian embassy and the consulate therefore cooperate with various yoga clubs to spread the message through our 4 yoga ambassadors,all Lithuanian to the general public but much more to the young students to learn and practice yoga for the good of their body and mind as this is an impressionable age for them to easily adapt to the asanas of yoga.

In fact, in many others countries, it is spreading faster as compared to Lithuania. Many think yoga is a kind of religious faith or believe that India is trying to spread but if that were so, would 175 countries blindly support in the United Nations. India has never attacked and conquered territories and this power of yoga is being spread to the people of other countries to share our spiritual process and not to be at odds with any existing religions or culture as we ourselves are a pluralistic society with diverse religions... If China, Japan and even Russia can vote in favour of the resolution, this is ample proof that we are only spreading the knowledge to the people for their betterment.