We were especially interested to hear about how Yogaraj attained his title:
My full name is Chidhambaram Poovendiran. In 1991, young CP won the championship award at the State Yoga Competition in Tamilnadu, India and was awarded the title “Yogaraj” meaning
“King of Yoga”
At the tender age of five, Yogaraj CP was first inducted into Yoga by his father, Late Shri S. Chidambaram, an ex-service man from the Indian Military. After the passing of his father, he continued his Yoga discipline with Yoga Acharya A. Yesudas Antony, hailing from the renowned International Sivananda Ashram in Kerala, India.
Among other records under his belt, in 2003, the year he first came to Hong Kong, he held a headstand for two hours and forty minutes. In 2011, in India he held 23 postures while balancing on the seat of a moving motorbike.
Saanjh not only had the pleasure of being present at this recent extravaganza, but to also meet with him personally to talk to him about his inspirational journey from India to Hong Kong. Here is his life story.
Is your family into yoga?
I am a permanent resident of Hong Kong and live with my wife, 3 year old daughter, Gini and my mother. Having earned the new record in the Guinness book of records, I hope to build awareness of Yoga across the nation. My elder brother teaches yoga in India and many of my cousins are trained in Yoga and teach in Hong Kong.
What are your Motivation and Resolutions?
As a young boy, I was very passionate about Yoga and bringing it to the world for its health benefits. And since June 21st is not only International day of yoga, but also my daughter’s birthday, it doubles my motivation to do greater things. I am currently planning to write a book, as well as to bring fresh and new asanas on TV aired all over the world. I am very much inspired by the quote:
“Give the world the best you have and the best will come to You.”
What about the word Yogi?
Yogi I will describe as a highly conscious word, a very respectful word for the person who masters the science of yoga, I consider myself as a yoga teacher, and prefers to be called Yogaraj. Although yoga is my passion, profession and life.
Who is your inspiration?
My Guruji B.K.S. Iyenger. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2014. In 2004, Iyengar was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Light on Yoga was also written by Guruji BKS Iyenger.
How is your journey like as a Yoga teacher?
I started teaching Yoga at the age of 17 before moving to Hong Kong in 2003. Apart from teaching Yoga to students, I am also a teacher of teachers. Many of my students today work as yoga teachers in Hong Kong and other neighboring countries. I am currently a guest Yoga teacher at City University of Hong Kong & runs my own yoga studio in Tsim Sha Tsui teaching children as young as 5 and as old as 80 and above.
What you didn’t know about Yogaraj? A leap into IT, then returning back into Yoga.
In my formative years, I was an ITI – CNC operating system guy in a heavy vehicles factory. But soon I realized, the four corners of the office was not where my true passion lied, and that marked a change into Yoga as a full time profession. I started my career as a full time yoga teacher in Chennai. Although I earned less wages, I found my purpose and passion in Yoga.
Anything about your upcoming book?
Following in the footsteps of my Guruji BKS Iyenger, in my new book I will illustrate more than 1000 yoga postures, for the entire yoga world dedicated to my guruji. To date, I have mastered 1019 yoga postures.
Your Journey to Hong Kong ?
In 2003 I was brought into Hong Kong by Dr. Asana Andiyappan, the yoga therapist of South India, after which I was invited to teach at P lanet Yoga in Hong Kong, and further my teaching into China. Hong Kong was where my heart was, so I shifted my energies here and was invited to teach at Pure Yoga, Hong Kong.
How did PranaYogam start ?
Teaching at yoga clubs and studios was refreshing, helping people meet their fitness goals whether it was extending the body to greater heights and simply improving health, I realized it was time to branch out and so I created the PranaYogam studio in 2012.
Please elaborate Yoga for future ?
Having dedicated my life to Yoga, and seeing its benefits of increased concentration and focus from a young age, I am increasing this awareness to the youth. Yoga is for everyone, and it starts early. If practiced correctly at an early age, it has enormous effects on the mental faculty.
I am especially thrilled at the 3 day event, Mohan who kept track of the time I spent on my asanas was so inspired and moved, that he resolved to practice yoga for life.
“People know you by your work, not just by your word”.
Yoga and Diet, & Yoga and Spirit ?
For yoga enthusiasts, it is appreciated as a sport and for others they relate it back achieving wholesomeness. The choice is yours. I advocate a vegetarian diet to calm the mind and temperament. Is it then easier to work on your body as the mind and body feel and become light.
Yoga and Indians in Hong Kong
Typically, yoga has been widely accepted and practiced by Chinese people of all age groups. There is also the middle aged Indian community that practices Yoga. Yoga is also perceived as a sport for females so often you’ll find men at gyms, and women at the yoga clubs. I propagate Yoga for everyone as it works on softening the joints keeping the body supple and healthy.
Any advice from your side to the readers ?
Practice yoga every day for 60 minutes including stretching and cool down.
For all those who have never tried yoga, start at the very basic level. As long as you practice, you look and feel younger.
Breathing is optimized, lung capacity improves, and blood circulation also improves the system to all the parts of body, and aids digestion.
What is your favourite Asana ?
There are many but I like headstand most. It is King of all Asanas. I perfected this posture with the help of Guru ji Iyenger. As a result, I’ve also been able to practice many variations in a headstand. It is also advisable for students as it increases the concentration and alertness, keeps them young and energetic. Also Pranayogam and Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) are powerful asanas
Your favourite hobby?
I especially enjoy old classical films and films by Rajnikant.
Your dreams yet to come?
I have many, amongst which we spoke of my up and coming book, and to continue inspire yoga practitioners to go beyond the body and to make the impossible possible!
YOGARAJ’S ACCLAIMED ACCOLADES:
At age of 12 he participated in his first state level competition taking home the prize.
In 1991, he won the championship award at the State Yoga Competition, in Tamilnadu, India and was awarded the title “Yogaraj” meaning “King of Yoga”.
In 1997, he was awarded “The International Best Yoga Demonstrator” by the Government of Pondicherry. He has received awards from the Chief Ministers of three Indian States Karnataka, West Bengal and Pondicherry.
In June 2009, he achieved the Guinness World Record for “Longest Yoga Marathon” that lasted 28 hours in which he performed 1,019 different Yoga postures.
In February 2011, he made the new Guinness World Record for the most consecutive yoga positions (23) on a moving motorcycle on the set of Guinness World Records – Ab India Todega in Mumbai, by the channel “colors” in India.
On 15th February, 2015.Mr. Yogaraj C.P. earned a new Guinness World Record (GWR) by continuously performing more than 1500 asanas for 40 hours and 15 minutes. He started the Maha Yoga Sadhana at 1805 hours on 13th Feb, 2015 and continuously performed Yoga on successive nights of 13th and 14th Feb. He is ever grateful to Mr. Narender Modi, Prime Minister of India, declaring 21 June as International Yoga Day. About his performance in Hong Kong he is thankful to Consul General Prashant Agrawal and Deputy Consul General Bharath K Kuthati. Members of the Indian Community and Tamil Cultural Association of Hong Kong.