This is the second of Astro Ulagam's two-part interview with SK Durai. You can read the first one here.

SK Durai is a household name in the local yoga scene. The 34-year-old runs the Sakthi School of Yoga in Kajang, Semenyih, and Puchong, and has trained over 120 yoga teachers nationwide.

Yesterday, Astro Ulagam spoke to Durai about his days in spiritualism, and blogging, prior to his discovery of yoga. Today, he talks about yoga, and how it has changed his life, and that of those around him.

Q: How did the transition to yoga happen?

A: Due to the exposure to religious studies in my earlier days, I started the quest to find my inner self. And somehow, it all lead to one path - yoga. I started reading about yoga and for 2 years, I practiced diligently on my own. Within a short span of time, I started experiencing the world from a completely different perspective. I continued studying with my master, Manisekaran, who helped mold my energy in the right direction. Over the years, I transformed, and in 2014, at the peak of my blogging activity, a few threats were issued against my family and wife. That is what ultimately made me quit blogging and do yoga full time.

My goal had always been to empower and uplift those around me, and with my blogging, I was doing it aggressively, but in yoga, it is done with compassion. Most importantly, I don't have to risk my life!

Q: What has yoga done to your life?

A: Yoga has changed my world. Now, I look at the world from a completely different perspective - it's as if someone has given me a new set of eyes, which only makes me see the beauty in the world. Those around me, including my family, wife, students, and kids, know that I'm not what I used to be.

Q: What's your interpretation of yoga?

A: To me, yoga transforms an individual from ordinary to extraordinary. This transformation can only happen when the mind is working at the highest possible clarity, and with clarity, wisdom will shine through. When all your actions are fueled by wisdom, all that you do will be extraordinary.

Q: What is your long term goal?

A: I cannot be here forever, neither will I be able to teach, or reach everyone. To be honest, not everyone would be able to resonate with my teachings. My Guru has entrusted me with a single mission - to bring these teachings to as many people as possible. And the only way that can happen is by empowering and training others.

I'm very fortunate because the growth of Sakthi School of Yoga has been phenomenal. Our students have been our pillar of strength, putting in massive amounts of effort and staying devoted to the practice in the same way I view yoga - as a sacred tool to self-realization.

My mission will remain the same, years from now - to instill these teachings to as many people as possible. With the backing of strong teachers I have produced thus far (and continue to), I'm confidet that I will be satisfied and contended when I look back one day.

Q: Are you a spiritual person? Define spirituality

A: Spirituality is a word often misquoted, or misunderstood. People think it relates to mysticism, or something that relates to religious people or people who have renounced the world.

If I could put this out in a very simple way, spirit is the core of our being. The source of our existence. It is all knowing, it is incorruptible and it is always in the state of purity. And it exists within us.

If you want to be a doctor, you would need to undergo 7 years of study and go through all the obstacles to finally graduate as a doctor. As a gardener, you will need years and years and experience to work with plants, it comes with trials and errors until you finally became adept to it. You will need to experiment with many methods to find out what works.

Similarly, the word spiritual carries its meaning in the word itself. In order to realize or understand the nature of your existence, or your fullest potential, you will need to conduct certain rituals. The more rituals you conduct, the closer you will move inward towards your spirit. The closer you move towards your spirit, the better you will be of use to yourself and to this world. The rituals I’m talking about here refers to practicing yoga, being kind to others, speaking sweet words and so on.

Q: Lastly, what is your hope for the society?

A: I hope the society in general will be exposed to yoga from a very young age, which will shape the individual in a completely different way as they grow up. Yoga is a sacred subject that needs to be treated with great respect, and mastery of the subject will grant great boons to the practitioners.

Yoga touches the inner core of your spirit, which will help you realize that we are all one; contributing to greater peace and harmony in this world. May all living being live in abundance of happiness, great health and prosperity. Valga Valamuden.

Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.

Photo source: Sakthi School of Yoga