YJ Interview: Aadil Palkhivala

At seven years old, Aadil Palkhivala began his formal study of yoga with B.K.S. Iyengar. At Iyengar’s urging, Palkhivala
taught yoga in India when he was 15. He enjoyed a career in corporate law but now teaches yoga again—this time
with his wife, Mirra, in Bellevue, Washington, and around the world. He infuses classes with literary references and a
joyous sense of humor.

What was your childhood in India like?
My father was a lawyer, and I grew up in an affluent Bombay neighborhood. I
knew Iyengar from childhood and was his student for 30 years. He was very gentle with me and more than a teacher—he
was a close family friend.

You’ve studied many fields. What were you trying to achieve?
I wanted to get as much experience as possible. Every
one of my degrees helps me to be a better teacher of yoga: Law makes the mind clear; <a href=”/health/ayurveda“>Ayurvedic medicine helps me
understand therapeutic issues; flower arrangement brings more beauty; drama and poetry help me to communicate better.

Why did you become a yoga teacher?
I didn’t choose to be a yoga teacher. It was chosen for me. In my high school,
they wanted somebody to teach yoga. They knew I practiced, so they asked me. I asked Iyengar if I should teach. He
commanded, “Teach!”

What’s your take on yoga in America?
Yoga in America is way too asana oriented. Ninety percent of yoga asana is a
waste of time. The asana must be done to prepare the body to hold the light of the soul. Most people just want all of
the stuff the ego likes: a firm body and ways to impress people. We should be striving to find a real connection with
the Divine.

What legacy do you hope to leave?
My soul doesn’t give a toot about what I leave behind. It only matters what I take
with me. I want to take an enhanced connection to my soul and knowledge that I’ve lived my dharma. I want to know that
my life encouraged people to take care of themselves. People should believe they are spiritual beings living a human
life. I want to help those who are serious about the discovery of the Self and the true spiritual future of the human
race. I want to share Sri Aurobindo’s vision of transforming our life into a Divine life. Invite your soul into every
thought, word, and action. It’s not woo-woo; it’s a down-to-earth thing.

If the practice of yoga is becoming too serious, how can we bring more joy into it?
Intention. Until I intend to
bring joy, I cannot bring joy. The soul did not choose this life for punishment and pain. Feel connected with the soul,
and the moments of the soul are the moments when you feel ahhhh.