Proponent Of Yoga And Meditation Abroad
India has been contributing to the world for thousands of years in the field of yoga and spirituality. Many yoga gurus of India are working abroad having established their ashrams and centres there. Apart from these clusters of organisations, there are some specialised chain of Indian origin folks, who have been living abroad for many decades, and working silently by spreading and teaching the Indian spiritual values through yoga. Indra Dhir Vadehra is one such yoga teacher. For the last 25 years, Indra Dhir has been successfully running yoga and meditation awareness classes in Canada. She also writes regular columns in several magazines such as Siver Web, Hindi Chetna, etc. Her endless efforts for disseminating the Indian culture are admirable.
Indra was born and brought up in India. She got her MSc degree from Punjab University and later taught Botany in Hansraj Women College (Jalandher) as Head of the Department. Then, she went to Canada, along with her husband. As a student and a lecturer, she had been associated with science subjects, but she has been strongly inclined towards yoga since her childhood days. She remembers: “I studied in a school where meditation and spirituality were deeply embedded in the curriculum. It was Gurukul Matindu where I finished my senior secondary education. If you go to Gurukul Matindu even today, you will find that the studies are conducted exactly according to our ancient system. I was trained there in meditation in a very simple way. That training has great influence on my mind.” After reaching Canada, Indra started to practise what she had learned in the Gurukul and this opened a new way for her. She started preaching spiritual meditation and within a short span of time, her classes were filled with aspiring students. With the success, she ultimately became popular as a “yoga guru”. Her popularity was first noticed by the local media, and she was offered to write a column named “Ask Indra”.
At present, the methods and the useful techniques of yoga are manipulated by the varied ‘yoga gurus’, who under the pressure of competition get influenced and deliver inconsequential course, whereas, Indra, deviating from other ‘yoga gurus’ teaches prehistoric yoga with a soft touch of modern yoga. She says: “I try to introduce every possible concept. Each concept has great values. For example, mantra has its own way and breathing has its own. I try to pick up the best way so that both mantra and breathing can work effectively.” Indra succeeded in attracting distinctive people from across the globe. In fact, native people of Canada and America are more interested in yoga than the people of Indian origin for their own reasons. Indra explains: “Mostly American students come to learn meditation. I have very few Indian students. My biggest attendees are professors. People are pouring in to learn meditation and I have taken innumerable classes. People come here to get relief from their stress-related problems. Most of them take it as a therapy. But soon they realise that it is much more than a therapy and they keep on attending the class.”
Apart from teaching yoga, meditation and writing columns in the magazines and newspapers, Indra’s immense interest in the poetry cannot be overlooked. Her poems too reflect her high spiritual thoughts. A collection of her poems in Hindi, namely Nishtabha Upasthiti (Silent Presence), was published recently in India. The collection has been widely appreciated by many veteran intellectuals and litterateurs such as Narendra Kohali, Anil Joshi and others. Another book on ‘meditation’, written by Indra, is in the press, and will soon be published in Canada.
By Ravi Shankar