It is almost ten years ago that I first walked into Sharat's center in Arambol, Goa. I was 24 at the time and was suffering from quite severe back pain for over a year. I had knee surgery a few years earlier and some problems in my neck. My back was making me miserable, I was in constant pain - sitting, walking, even in bed. I had no control over the pain, no understanding of how it happens and what to do to make it go away. I had tried physical therapy, Ayurveda, naturopathy, massage, Tai-Chi, some made me worse, some made me feel a little better for a while but then the pain would come back and I was helpless against it. I remember when I finished the first 5-day course, I was surprised my back wasn't any worse. I was glad that I could do things, I could twist and bend and move without hurting myself. So I stayed for another course. Then another. Within a few weeks, I started noticing changes. I learned what to do when the pain starts, how to make it go away. I learned what not to do, how to not destroy the progress I was making. Sharat showed me how to modify the poses so that I can derive maximal benefit from them without taking any chances with my back.
Thus the months passed and became years. There are no magic cures, 24 years of conditioning don't get washed away overnight. But I kept making progress, slow but steady and it gave me all the motivation I needed. These days, my back is fine. Among my friends, I used to be the one with the bad back. We all got older, now they are the ones who suffer from back pain and I am the one who doesn't. So if my back is fine now, why do I still practice? From a ten year perspective it is crystal clear how many benefits the practice gives me. Not just physical benefits (though these are many), but also emotional and spiritual ones. PhD. student in theoretical physics and avid yoga practitioner.