Seacoast Scene, Wednesday, July 28, 2010
[The following article is courtesy of Seacoast Scene.]
You don't need to travel to a distant 'fat farm' in the mountains or to a yoga retreat in the tropics to begin a healthier lifestyle. Beginning a healthier and happier life is available right here on the Seacoast, according to Swami Jayananda of Hampton, aka Kenny Toy. "If people want a reason to travel and vacation, then that's fine," he said. "But why wait to begin a healthier life?"
The swami's approach to yoga and happiness is all-encompassing. "Yoga really, begins with thought," he said. "How you think is what you become.
Yoga, for instance, will help you lose weight if that's what you want or need. You could attempt the latest fad diet, but unless you change your beliefs, there's a great likelihood that the diet will fail. Typically, when people are overweight, they are using food to validate themselves, which means they're using food as a symbol to produce the feeling that they're happy; that they're okay. They're not thinking right. And that's what I would call 'eating emotionally.' The concept that must be grasped here is that you must learn to 'think right."
Toy's yoga methods differ from many other schools in that he doesn't consider yoga a cardio, quick-fix exercise. His studio emphasizes the mind as well as the body. The postures are slower, deliberate exercises that are coordinated with the mind and spirit. He is also a devout vegan, and he incorporates his knowledge of nutrition into his teachings.
His ashram is on Lafayette Road in Hampton and is just one of many yoga studios available to residents and vacationers on the Seacoast. The Institute for Personal Development offers walk-in classes in yoga theory,postures, breathing and meditation. He has been practicing yoga for 33 years and has been teaching Kriya Yoga in Hampton since 1994. Toy was ordained a Swami through a seminary program which trained him in religions of the world, Kriology (science of Kriya Yoga), The The Bhagavad-Gita, Karma and astrology.
"Yoga is not just the stretching exercises that are popular in many schools," said the Sigami. "I am not a proponent of the 'power yoga' in 100 degree heat that is so popular these days. If people just want to exercise and get some cardio activity, there's nothing wrong with that. Exercise is good. Just don't confuse it with yoga," he said. When students with back aches or other muscle related problems attend his classes, the Postures will usually alleviate or eliminate these aches, but without exercising the mind and thought, the exercises lose potential, he added.
"By thinking right, you will apply healthier beliefs to your life which will help you to make the right choices involving food, relationships and your physical and mental shape. All this and more is what yoga really is," according to Toy.
Because of the current popularity of the power yoga, people get the wrong idea about yoga, he said. "I've had people come up to me and say they'd like to do yoga, but they don't think they're in good enough shape, or that they don't think they could handle the workout. In my opinion, postures shouldn't be rapid or strenuous, and you should exercise the mind and breathing as well," he said.
"I have students over 70 years of age that attend classes every week. It's not a competition. I do not like to hear stories of instructors pushing on students' bodies during postures in order to extend their stretch. Everyone should work with the limits of their own body," he said.
Even the medical field is finally admitting the health benefits of yoga. And some insurance companies are covering the cost of a certain number of yoga classes, much as they do with chiropractic and physical therapy visits.
Dr. Bert Cole, a family practitioner and osteopath on the Seacoast is now also an accredited yoga instructor. "I started yoga at the Institute for Personal Development mainly for the postures and stretching, but there I learned the difference between a need and a want," said Dr. Cole. "Through advertising, businesses would have us convinced that a want is a need. In this society, we seem to have forgotten our true needs are air, water and food, in that order. Sugar, caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes are all addicting, and have infiltrated themselves deeply into our society. If you start looking at the sugar content in many products, you may wonder why they contain so much sugar. In my opinion, it's because it is addicting. And that addiction will keep you buying and consuming these products. In my opinion, obesity is one of the effects of the amount of sugar in products these days."
"There are probably several reasons on an unconscious level that we use substances such as alcohol and cigarettes to make us feel better. We may use wine as a way to lower our inhibitions at social situations. Or maybe holding. a drink in our hand makes us feel 'accepted' by the other drinkers. Only by bringing healthy concepts into our awareness will we make positive changes. I have seen this in my patients and myself, and I frequently try to squeeze some of the concepts I've learned from the Swami into the shortvisits with my patients."
Toy is also busy with private consultations in which he helps people deal with personal problems and points them in the direction of a healthier life.
He lives in the 'real' world on the Seacoast, riding his bicycle than 2,500 miles a year, and supplementing his yoga teachings as a racquetball instructor at Gold's Gym. You will occasionally find him hanging out at the wall on North Beach on weekends, talking to the friends he has accumulated over his 30 years of living on the Seacoast.Website: www.ipdtransform.com 725 Lafayette Rd, Hampton, NH 03842 (603) 929-0303