Edited by Claudia Pia Palumbo
Interview with Gelsomina Di Maio
Some call it sport, others religion or philosophy of life: we are talking about yoga. A practice born more than 2000 years ago in India to establish a balance between body and mind and which, during all these years, has never gone out of fashion. On the contrary, it has known more and more new forms, such as Sri Sri Yoga.
In view of the cycle of Sri Sri Yoga lessons that will be held this summer at the Annunziata castle, we asked the instructor Gelsomina di Maio for some information on Sri Sri Yoga.
Could you briefly describe what Sri Sri Yoga consists of? And above all, how does it differ from traditional yoga?
Actually, Sri Sri Yoga does not differ at all from the yogic tradition but is a faithful expression of it, indeed the SSY integrates the various traditional paths such as Hatha Yoga (effort), Jnana Yoga (wisdom), Karma Yoga (service and action) and Bakti Yoga (devotion). The founder of SSY is Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a living master, accomplished in yoga and meditation, peace ambassador, and humanitarian leader known and appreciated all over the world. The goal is to bring into the world an authentic education of yoga accessible to all. His message is that inner and outer peace is possible through service and the awakening of human values. The word yoga means “union”, the one between the body, mind, and breath.
Why is yoga called a “complete” discipline, which provides significant benefits for both the body and the mind?
Yoga is undoubtedly a very complete discipline. Numerous scientific studies demonstrate the therapeutic power of yogic practices. With yoga, we work on the body through postures or positions called “ASANA“. Through certain breathing practices “PRANAYAMA” and meditation “DHYANA“, we work on our vital energy until we reach a deep meditative state called “SAMADHI“.
The benefits of yoga are immense: On a physical level, there is an improvement in elasticity and muscle tone and in all the joints of the body. It improves blood and lymphatic circulation, gives better balance and coordination, increases breathing capacity, and helps reduce body weight. Mentally, it reduces stress, improves concentration and memory, and calms anxiety and mental agitation. Not least, it helps improve sleep quality and quality of life.
Why precisely the Annunziata castle? Is the environment a determining factor when practicing Sri Sri Yoga?
Having the opportunity to take advantage of a place of such scenic beauty certainly enriches the yoga experience. This magnificent and harmonious place, far from the chaos of the city, where you can breathe fresh air deeply, is certainly an ideal setting for a positive and regenerating experience. The environment in which Yoga is practiced must be clean, tidy, cared for, possibly quiet and well ventilated.
Do you think SSY is for everyone? And above all, is there a specific age to start practicing SSY? Is yoga recommended for pregnant women?
On so many occasions, especially in modern times, yoga is distorted and praticed inappropriately, neglecting the most sacred and profound aspects of this millenary practice. In SSY, wisdom and techniques are proposed in an easy and joyful way, in a simple but effective way. It can therefore be within everyone’s reach and practiced at all ages. The principles of yoga can be taught from an early age, obviously, the teaching methodology and the type of practices change if we are dealing with children. Similarly in the case of pregnant women: yoga is highly recommended but you must be very careful especially in the first three months of pregnancy during which any too stimulating activity is often not recommended. During pregnancy, there are certain postures that are extremely beneficial. Proper breathing along with the well-being and deep relaxation experienced by the mother also benefits the baby in her womb.
What advice would you give to a person who has never tried yoga until now but really wants to do it?
Not to hesitate any further and take this opportunity immediately. I would recommend giving oneself this possibility without judging themselves, without thinking a priori of being more or less capable. I would suggest experimenting and getting involved. It is never too late to make a change in one’s life and it is never too late to live fully.
We, therefore, thank the instructor Gelsomina di Maio for answering some questions, and now all that remains is to try the free lessons organized by the Pro loco of Massa Lubrense to enjoy the countless advantages that Sri Sri Yoga provides.
Gelsomina di Maio