I heard about this teacher 3 years ago when one good friend of mine visited Free International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh. He said that this teacher was one of the most interesting ones on the Festival, and that he gave my friend some good advises on deepening his personal yoga practice. Back then, I was visiting other teacher and did not care about expanding my horizons that much.
In November 2011, I was in Rishikesh and was set to visit all the teachers who were invited on the Festival, just to get acquainted with most famed yoga masters in the region. By the way, if you still don’t know, this Yoga Festival takes place on November 1-15 each year in Yoga and Music Culture Center near Ram Jhula, and it’s completely free. This is a great opportunity to find out about good yoga and Ayurveda teachers in Rishikesh and Haridwar. Yoga classes start at 7 AM and continue non stop until about 7 PM, everyday. After that, you have a great music concert with different Indian classic musicians and dancers.
So, last year, there were many great teachers in the schedule, many of them offered practical yoga classes, some of them gave lectures. There were a few teachers that I singled out from the list, and Vinay Chaitnya was among them, along with Yogi Vishvaketu and Surinder. Why? It’s hard to explain with one word, because there was nothing extraordinary in his choice of asanas, sometimes we did only 5-6 during entire class. And the alignment of those asanas were not as detailed or professional as some other teachers would give you. But the way you did these asanas was very different from other classes, and this was greatly impacted by attitude that Vinay tried to teach us.
In the beginning of each class he gave a brief lecture, where he explained the meaning of yoga and purpose of doing all these exercises. The purpose of all physical exercises, along with pranayama and meditation practices, is to be established in oneself, which means not to be driven by one’s thoughts, desires, instincts, inclinations, fears, etc., – just being in the moment, at least for a minute or two. The idea is certainly not new to yoga, but it’s just wonderful, how effective was his setting the understanding of the practice, and then guiding you through the practice so that the purpose is not just declared but achieved. I will not retell you the contents of all lessons, the idea is, he’s very good teacher, and with him, you will learn not only physical aspect of yoga or certain asanas/practices/exercises, but holistic understanding of the entire path, how to work with your mind through usual sequences of asanas. Apart from hatha yoga, he also teaches tantric meditations and practices.
I traditionally write about drawbacks or people that might find particular teacher’s classes not suitable. For Vinay that would include people who are very physically advanced and would seek many advanced poses, high intensity and big variety of practices. Yes, he likes to give traditional Pavana Muktasana series and traditional Surya Namaskara a lot (which would be good for beginners though!). Also, people who came to Rishikesh for some in-depth alignment may find more appropriate teachers. Those however that came for special meditations and traditional yoga experience may like his classes.
All that said, I can imagine that not all students would find Vinay’s personality suitable for them. My first impression was that he’s a bit proud and reserved, but once you get to know him closer he tends to open up and soften. So it certainly requires student-teacher match, and you need to try if it suits you. He has a school called Jeev Moksha, you can google him for contacts.