Imphal, Feb 7:
Laitonjam Haridas Singh, born on October 5, 1950, at Pishumthong Ningom Leirak, Imphal West, Manipur, to (late) Laitonjam Pathou Singh and (L) L. Malika Devi has led a remarkable life dedicated to service and community development.
In 1970, Haridas embarked on a distinguished career by joining the Indian Air Force as an Air Warrior, serving the nation with dedication and commitment for a commendable 17 years. Post his tenure in the defence forces, he transitioned to the Micro Small & Medium Enterprise sector, joining the Ministry of MSME, Govt. of India, in 1991 as Asst. Director (IMT) posted at Directorate Office, MSME, Takyelpat, Imphal.
During his service, Haridas played a pivotal role in organizing various Entrepreneurship Development Programmes, Entrepreneurship Skill Development Programmes, Management Development Programmes, Workshops, and Sensitization Programmes for educated unemployed youths, women, and weaker sections in the states of Manipur and Nagaland. His efforts resulted in providing financial assistance to numerous educated unemployed youths, enabling them to establish self-employment ventures and secure their livelihoods.
In 2007, Haridas underwent a Management Development Programme on WTO and Competition Policies at the National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai. During this course, he was introduced to the transformative power of yoga through the “Yoga for Executives” program at The Yoga Institute, Santacruz (E), under the guidance of Prof. L.M. Sukhatankar. Impressed by the course, Haridas expressed his keen interest in practicing yoga and pranayama, highlighting the scarcity of yoga institutes in the North Eastern Region (NER).
Retiring from service on superannuation in 2014, Haridas continued his journey of service by being elected as the President of Yaifa Lamjing Lup (YLL) Pishumthong Ningom Leirak for two consecutive terms. During this period, he actively engaged in various youth development programs, contributing significantly to the welfare of the local community.
In 2015, Haridas delved deeper into the world of yoga, participating in regular classes at the Hidangmayum Mandap, Pishumthong Ningom Leirak, Imphal under the guidance of Patanjali Yogpeeth Haridwar. Following three months of committed practice and personally witnessing the therapeutic benefits of yoga, I participated in the “100 hours Assistant Yog Teachers’ Training Camp” conducted from September 21 to October 6, 2015, at Mayol Complex, Iroisemba, Imphal West. This training initiative was organized by Bharat Swabhiman (Trust), Manipur State, under the guidance of Patanjali Yogpeeth Haridwar, Uttarakhand. The experience not only deepened my understanding of yoga but also equipped me with enhanced knowledge on instructing others in the practice. The training not only enhanced his knowledge of yoga but also equipped him with the skills to teach others.
Following the successful completion of his yoga training, Haridas took the initiative to conduct Free Yoga Classes at Ereima Community Hall, Pishumthong Oinam Leikei, Imphal West. These classes, held from 4 am to 6 am for three months, participated by women mostly, marked a significant milestone in his teaching journey. The joy of sharing his knowledge became evident as participants reported improvements in their health.
Devoting himself to yoga instruction, Haridas was appointed as the District Prabhari of Patanjali Yog Samiti (PYS) in Imphal West District on October 13, 2015. Working diligently at the Samiti’s office in Wahengbam Leikai, Imphal, he dedicated 2 to 3 hours daily to prepare the “Daily Yoga Class Protocol” and organize awareness programs with his colleagues. Under his leadership, Bharat Swabhiman (Trust) & Patanjali Yog Samiti, Imphal West, organized the “100 hours Assistant Yog Teachers’ Training Camp” in December 2015 at Flash Mandap, Wahengbam Leikai, Imphal, with the aim of enhancing the knowledge of new yoga learners. Approximately 85 yoga enthusiasts greatly benefited from this training program.
Haridas’s commitment to advancing yoga education led him to attend a 5-day Advanced Yoga Shivir at Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar, in May 2016. Recognizing his dedication, he was appointed as the State Organising Secretary for Bharat Swabhiman (Trust) & Patanjali Yog Samiti, Manipur State, with a focus on spreading yoga mainly in rural areas.
Frequently detailed at Patanjali Yogpeeth (Trust) Haridwar for Advanced Yoga Trainings for Manipur state from 2016 to 2019, Haridas earned recognition for his exceptional service. His efforts culminated in the prestigious “Yoga Teacher Award 2018,” presented on the International Day of Yoga, June 21, 2018, by the Bharat Swabhiman Trust & Patanjali Yoga Samiti, Imphal West District.
Haridas’s impact expanded as he opened over 40 yoga centers in various locations across both Valley and Hills Districts of Manipur. Participants attested to the positive changes in their lifestyle and the alleviation of lifestyle diseases after engaging in his yoga training programs, with over 2500 individuals benefiting from one-month, three-month, and continuous nine-month Yoga Shivirs in Hills and Valley districts of Manipur state. Haridas Singh’s dedication to promoting yoga for the betterment of individuals and communities continues to inspire many on their own wellness journeys.
It’s worth mentioning here that the training Haridas organized was provided free of charge. As Yoga Teachers (Patanjali), Haridas do not impose any fees for his yoga training sessions. His guiding principle in yoga training revolves around fostering self-improvement and self-management across physical, mental, emotional, moral, and spiritual dimensions.
Haridas encourages and appeals to all yoga enthusiasts to adopt certain principles for a consistent yoga practice. Speaking to Imphal Times, Haridas asserts that yoga is a science dedicated to human excellence and emphasizes that it transcends notions of religion, mystery, or magic. Haridas stresses that yoga is not merely about performing Asanas; instead, it is a comprehensive way of life. Delving into classical yoga literature, particularly Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Haridas outlines the incorporation of eightfold parts (Astanga): YAMA, NIYAMA, ASANA, PRANAYAMA, PRATYAHARA, DHARANA, DHYANA, and SAMADHI.
Haridas advocates the adoption of meditative and cultural postures to alleviate tension and promote overall health. Additionally, Haridas recommends incorporating simple Kriyas like Jala-Niti for cleansing, enhancing immunity, and building self-confidence. Simplifying yoga pranayama practices is suggested to regulate breath, fostering mental poise and emotional control. The healing potential of yoga in addressing psychosomatic ailments, emphasizing that self-introspection and dedicated personal effort are essential over time. Regular yoga practice not only contributes to leading a balanced life aligned with higher values but also enhances effectiveness and productivity in professional endeavors.
Haridas’s transformative journey reflects a lifetime commitment to service, from his early days in the Indian Air Force to his current role as a catalyst for positive change through yoga.