Profile: The way to tranquillity
It is only once in a blue moon that our paths stumble across someone so eccentric and interesting, that the experience itself is exuberant.
Upon our first encounter, I felt stressed as I had to hide my excitement for meeting such an honoured preacher with a personality marked by so many ironies and idiosyncrasies that my fascination soon overshadowed my excitement. He has a way of making people feel at ease with his guttural voice and a modest aura.
It is difficult to conceive that a person of his calibre could be so down to earth. Nevertheless Yogi Wajahat is a name known by anyone familiar with Pakistani television. Being an artist, he has dedicated his life to the art of yoga and spirituality.
Today, apart from hosting, producing and directing the longest running commercial television show, he also owns a yoga teaching institute in Karachi, and overseas in Dubai. He has delivered countless lectures on yoga in Pakistan and abroad, and he still continues to grow in prominence and fame.
As a scholar, he has also produced substantial research to rewrite history of yoga as the world knows it. With so much of success, it is hard to believe that yogi’s life before fame was rather humble and he suffered scores of obstacles and miseries during his lifetime. At only the first tender year of his life, he lost his father, and commenting on his father’s early and unexpected demise, he says, “I never really understood fatherhood, until I became a father myself.”
Despite financial hurdles arising from the loss of her husband, his mother was determined to provide little Wajahat with an education, and being eager to learn, his mother initially also took the same classes as the yogi did. She eventually was promoted to higher classes far quicker as she could read and write. She continued her education, and earned a diploma in teaching, after which she became a teacher and retired as a school principle.
“Watching my mother work so hard, provoked an ambition within me to achieve success,” adds Wajahat. “Yet at such a young age, I was restrained by my physical being, so I started taking shortcuts to achieve this success and one such shortcut was learning the art of hypnosis.”
While learning, hypnosis was not something he ended up specialising in. Hypnosis paved the way for further interest into the field of what he calls ‘human design engineering’. At the time, Raaes Amrohi was a source of inspiration to him and he would read his columns with much interest. Amrohi, in his writings mentioned about consciousness, spirituality and the experience of being and this was the first time the yogi started to take interest in spirituality beyond simple hypnosis.
As he started to reach adulthood, he felt more responsibility towards his career and studies, so he eventually ended up studying mechanical engineering for his higher education and also achieved the highest position in Sindh. As his curiosity towards spirituality grew stronger upon leaving university, his interest led him to pursuing education at Moiz Hussain’s institute, where he was first introduced to yoga and ended up learning the sacred art and gaining the prestigious title of ‘Yogi’.
Lacking enough capital and clientele required to start his own yoga centre, he started taking yoga classes at his client’s homes. While delivering one such class, a famous TV network owner stumbled across him, and found his charm rather captivating. Wajahat adds, “The owner asked me if I was willing to speak my naïve beliefs about the healing power of yoga on television?” He hence replied, “A naïve man will be brave enough to say anything on television which he says in real life. Just tell me where should I come?” Soon after the launch of his show, he became a common household name and achieved fame that very few people have achieved.
He states, “The TV show bolstered my lifelong obsession with yoga, and I eventually started to take interest in not only yoga exercises, but yoga as a philosophy of life.” He states that while people usually tend to only include yoga exercises and postures into their teachings, he went beyond that and learnt other yoga principles including breathing techniques, muscle movement and a wide array of yoga postures to better comprehend benefits and limitations of each. He maintains that to become a yogi — one must not only understand the deeper meaning of yoga, but also implement its teachings in their daily life as only then can one achieve tranquillity of mind.
He claims that by practising yoga teachings, he has become a better human being and argues that yoga should not only be taken at a superficial level but a more profound and deeper understanding of yoga is necessary to ensure that the practice is fully utilised. From his research into yoga, he says that there are a few main teachings of the sacred art with the first one being yum. Yum is a set of principles, which include yogi’s allegiance towards pacifism, truth, denouncing theft and detachment.
Niyum, he explains, is another set of principles which is about how to conduct oneself in the public sphere. These ethics include hard work, cleanliness and reading to learn. Following one’s own religious inclinations is also important in yoga but respecting towards other religions holds equal importance.
Other principles include the 84,000 postures of yoga, breathing techniques and ultimate relaxation or nirvana. He states that most people tend to be selective in the principles they adopt while ignoring others, and he claims that he wishes not to neglect other principles as they hold equal importance in the holistic practice which is yoga.
Another important discovery he made from his research into yoga was the discovery of evidence which contradicts our currently accepted belief about yoga. While yoga is believed to have originated from India, yet in his research, he found that yoga is actually from Moen jo Daro, Sindh, Pakistan. This discovery, he argues proves that yoga has its heritage in Pakistan, and as such our country should be given patent rights over yoga across the globe.
Wajahat argues that he has provided evidence to many websites, which have changed the origin from India to Pakistan. He has also provided the evidence to the President of Pakistan and army, with the army having published an article of yoga as a gift from Pakistan to the world. He goes on to argue that recent research has shown that Buddhism in South Korea has its historical origins in Taxila, Pakistan, and ever since this has been proven in an academic journal, many South Koreans have started making pilgrimage to Taxila.
While all this success has made him such an esteemed member of society, during his early years, he had to struggle in pursuing the art. He states that when he was teaching yoga in people’s homes, he would have time left between classes and during this time he would go to public parks, as he would not have any place to stay in between classes.
Eventually, success increased his demand and he opened up his yoga institute which became an astounding success and so he now also runs yoga institutes in not only Karachi, but also Dubai. He also plans to soon open a groundbreaking ayurvedic spa. He goes on to say that he never expected he would ever achieve such fame by merely following his dream and passion.
The yoga instructor credits his wife of 25 years, as a major factor that contributed to success in his life. He states that if it wasn’t for his wife’s support, he probably would have never achieved the level of success he has achieved. He claims that when his endeavours seemed unworldly to many, his wife supported him and took care of his children. Wajahat is also quite a role model for his children, as they are now attending, practising and teaching yoga and mind sciences. He says that he is a proud father and husband, and he feels that if it was not for his family, he may not have had the drive to continue being the man he is today.