Yoga 'a durable remedy for mental ailments'
January 09 2018 09:46 AM
Yoga
YOGA CLASS: Learning yoga at the Nepalese embassy in Doha.

By Usha Wagle Gautam

Prakash Thapa, 37, hails from Kathmandu, Nepal. He has been in Qatar since July 2016. Thapa had taught yoga in Nepal for five years and in India for four years before coming to Qatar to work in a company called Group Four.
Thapa has obtained a diploma in yoga from India. He teaches yoga at the Nepalese embassy in Doha to a group of around 50 people every Friday. Community caught up with the yoga teacher recently.

Why have you chosen Qatar as an employment destination?

No one wants to leave his or her family back home and go to another country for work. But we have compulsions to earn more than what our companies offer. I came here to make a better future for my family and to provide quality education to my children. I have chosen Qatar because there is a large Nepalese community in the country and I can feel at home. When I came here, I got satisfied by the working environment and the security.



TEACHER: Prakash Thapa is teaching yoga

Can you tell us about your family?

I come from a middle class family. I am the only son of my parents. My wife, son and mother are living in Kathmandu.

How did you learn yoga? Has yoga made an impact in your life?

I had some family problems and was depressed in my teenage years. I tried so many ways to free myself from the depression. I went to Buddhist temples and churches for prayers. Later I chose to learn yoga when I was 18-year-old just to get rid of the frustration. But yoga gradually helped me and my depression faded away. I felt relaxed and content after doing yoga. Yoga gave me a new life in a way. It literally cured my clinical and non-clinical problems. And it was a turning point in my life.
Yoga, in general, helps us to understand ourselves much better and to go beyond our limitations. 

Where did you teach yoga before coming to Qatar and why did you abandon the teaching job for Qatar?

I had been a yoga teacher for around eight years in India and Nepal. I taught yoga to the police force in India. In Nepal, I taught 100 students in a school. Life has become more expensive in Kathmandu and the salaries are not on par with the living expenses. So I left yoga teaching in Kathmandu and came here for a better future for my family members.

Are your yoga teachings good for youth?

Youth is the most fruitful stage of life in which we need to be much more careful in expending our energies. Yoga teaches discipline, concentration and an improved sense of self. So it is important for the youth to learn yoga which is beneficial to realise their goals. We also gain invaluable insight into the deep patterns of our thoughts as we observe our responses to the poses, especially the poses that challenge us more. From observing our habitual responses, we see ourselves more clearly, we understand ourselves better, and we have a chance to free ourselves from our limitations

How do you relate yoga to mental health?

Yoga improves upper body blood circulation and energises the body. Deep breathing helps the nervous system to be oxygenated and the brain works better. Mental ailments like depression are not cured by pills and also have high relapse rates. Yoga, on the other hand, is the durable remedy for mental ailments. It leads us to self-realisation. Yoga also demands a kind of discipline and lifestyle which makes us control our own lives. 
Hence, yoga is important. It is something that is suitable for everyone and has no limitations. In fact, in today’s age, with increasing levels of stress and demanding workloads, it is essential to practise yoga in order to gain a better understanding of life. Yoga teaches control over one’s life no matter what the circumstances are. We need yoga now more than ever.

Is yoga taught the same way in every country?

Every yoga teacher and yoga class is unique yet yoga has a universal approach. Modalities and styles may differ, but the underlying principle is the same.

How did you get a chance to teach yoga in Nepalese Embassy in Doha?

One of my friends Durga Thapa took me to Ramesh Prasad Koirala, ambassador of Nepal to Qatar, for a meeting. After knowing that I had been a yoga teacher, the ambassador immediately asked me to teach yoga at the embassy premises. It made me happy that I could utilise my expertise and passion here.

How do you see your future? 

I have not really planned my future. I did not even in the past because the circumstances had been so unpredictable. I would probably open my own retreat centre or yoga studio in Nepal. However, I will be consistent in my pursuit of yoga practice and teaching.



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