Drishti Point and the Smiling Yogi: The Secret of Happiness
The Smiling Yogi
One of Burnaby’s influential yoga teachers, Farah Nazarali, “The Smiling Yogi,” has been teaching at various location of Open Door Yoga for some time. In addition she is the founder of Drishti Point, an inspiring and informative look into to all aspects of yoga which airs every Monday from 5-6pm on CFRO 102.7FM. Her intention in creating Drishti Point was to build a forum for discussion about yoga and to create community among yoga practitioners of different paths and traditions.
“Drishti” can be roughly translated from the Sanskrit as a focal point – a place to rest the gaze of the eyes and quiet the mind during asana practice. Because yoga is a very contemplative and inner practice, Drishti Point offers a unique way to explore its broader aspects. With its eclectic mix of music, interviews with yoga teachers and yogacharyas from around the world, and updates on events in the local yoga community, Drishti Point has grown from a bi-weekly show to a weekly show and one that reaches an international community through the website www.drishtipoint.ca where free podcasts of weekly shows are available now. Those interested in the cultivation of happiness and abundance can explore the sources of popular teachings like The Secret, which lie in humanity's ancient wisdom teachings. The old scriptures of Vedanta, The Bhagavad Gita , the Yamas and Niyamas from the Yoga Sutras , the Six Perfections of Tibetan Heart Yoga from The Guide to the Boddhisattva's Way of Life and others are powerfully relevant to a contemporary world that is easily confused by false choices and is thirsting for the secret of happiness and cessation of suffering.
Farah’s journey in yoga began through her father, who has a deep thirst for knowledge and truth. His library contains many of the classics in yoga, including Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi . She began asana practice as a teenager with Kareen Zebroff’s ABC of Yoga . Since then she has been inspired by many of the great yogis who left us with the wisdom to live a balanced, healthy and harmonious life, such as Swami Sivananda Radha and Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, founder of Yoga in Daily Life.
Whole Foods and Spiritual Practice
As her yoga practice develops, Farah has become more aware of the influence of diet not only on the body, but also on the mind. She has always enjoyed vegetarian and healthy food, but recently she decided to become lacto-vegetarian as a way to practice Ahimsa, or non- violence, as a way to cultivate love for all sentient beings, and for spiritual reasons:
“I used to see yoga as a physical exercise, but the more I learn about yoga, the more I realize that yoga is a way of living and being in this world and I believe a vegetarian diet is most conducive for spiritual practice. As my body becomes healthier, I find it harder to make bad food choices- coffee, alcohol, sweets, fried foods- these foods don’t nourish me as do fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lentils. I don’t think food affects yoga practice as much as yoga practice affects food choices.”
Journeys on a Recumbent Tandem Bicycle
In the past three years, The Smiling Yogi’s interest in promoting joyful healthy living has taken her on self- funded cycling tours across Canada. In May and June of 2008 she and her partner cycled on a specially designed back- to-back recumbent tandem bicycle from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Edmonton, Alberta. While Farah gave workshops in Hatha Yoga, Raw Foods, Vegan and Vegetarian Cooking, and Laughter Yoga in community centres, yoga studios, and corporations, her partner Dustin Anderson presented his signature children’s show "FUNdamentals in Fitness" in elementary schools to promote fun instead of competition in exercise. The two travel back to back on the bicycle, with the pedals synchronized to one drive train, facing opposite ways but moving in one direction.
Revealing our Divine Nature
In a nutshell, this symbolizes what has always been the deepest purpose of yoga, to yoke the individual self, or Jivatman, with the universal life force or divinity, the Paratman. With Jivatman and Paratman facing opposite ways but going the same direction when the power is harnessed and directed through the practice of yoga and meditation, this is the path to self -realization and the attainment of our highest human destiny.
Yoga cultivates inner peace and makes us receptive to spontaneous joy. Farah Nazarali’s workshops in Laughter Yoga and the Laughter Club give her another way to share joy with her community. The Smiling Yogi’s classes, workshops and radio broadcasts are spreading joy and promoting healthy living in Burnaby, around the lower Mainland and across the world.
The Autobiography of a Yogi is an absorbing life story that introduces the teachings of yoga and the science of meditation, by a man who met Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindrath Tagore, Luther Burbank and other spiritual teachers and adepts of the twentieth century.