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Practitioner sings praises of classic yoga

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Practitioner sings praises of classic yoga

Jaspal Dosanjh shows a traditional yoga meditation pose. The longtime yoga practitioner runs a Manteca studio where he passes on the traditional teachings he believes in.

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED July 26, 2013 1:50 a.m.

Body. Mind. Spirit.

In the day-to-day world that most of us face, they’re often disconnected entities – things that we don’t often think about, let alone try and put together in a perfect harmonious pattern.

That’s not the world that Jaspal Dosanjh lives in.

He has a real world job with deadlines and bosses and stresses. He has a mortgage.

But he has also practiced yoga for the last 20 years of his life, He had dedicated himself to sharing what he has learned with people that have the same thirst for knowledge that he does.

Yoga, in a sense, is in his blood.

“My maternal grandfather, in India, practiced yoga, and it was something that he taught to his children,” Dosanjh said. “I had my first real mystical experience when I was 14, and that’s when I started practicing meditation and yoga techniques.

“I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Twice a week Dosanjh, who works as a federal investigator during the day, teaches an introductory yoga class at his Manteca studio – Yoga Soul and Jiu-Jitsu. He gears everything towards the student, and works diligently to ensure that nobody feels like they have to be able to do as much as he, or anybody else, is able to.

In a sense, Dosanjh is a yoga purist.

When he really started to get serious about the practice, he looked towards the teachings of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya – who literally lived up on a mountain in the Himalayas and taught in the most traditional fashion possible – and sought out a connection to the man that is believed by many to be the grandfather of modern yoga.

And he found what he was looking for when he discovered that his children ran an academy in San Francisco. For more than two years, Dosanjh drove back-and-forth from the Central Valley to the Bay Area to earn a certificate that showed he had put in 500 hours of work. It was long and it was difficult, but it was something that he was proud of.

It showed that he was not only willing to invest his time in furthering his knowledge about yoga, but willing to do so in a matter that jived with his beliefs.

Since then he has pursued a path and taught what he considers “classical yoga” – chucking the concept of styles and trying to foster the traditional Eastern sense that he felt was lacking in many of the classes that were offered in the area.

“Yoga is a mess,” he said. “A lot of instructors get hired just because they’re flexible. Yoga should be a pyramid where the poses are the base of the pyramid, the breathing is the center and meditation is the top – that’s not what is taught today. A lot of instructors aren’t even certified, and that’s something that’s not fair to students that are trying to find the enlightenment that can come with doing this.

“One of the things that they teach you is that yoga is a sharp knife. With a sharp knife you can cut vegetables and other things, but it’s dangerous if you don’t know how to use it. You can hurt yourself or somebody else. The holistic part of it is important.”

Yoga Soul and Jiu-Jitsu is located at 1030B W. Yosemite Avenue. Dosanjh teaches his classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. For additional information call (209) 499-3907.

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