The elephant-lifting guru who found enlightenment in strength – barbend

“The Dalai Lama meets The Incredible Hulk” is how one awestruck newscaster described the feats of Sri Chinmoy, who may have been the world’s only strongman spiritual guru.

He’s (literally) lifted up Muhammad Ali, Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela, who called Chinmoy’s work “in the interest of the entire humanity and the world.” But his most incredible lifts include supporting the weight of a grown Indian elephant (while Olympian Carl Lewis was riding it) at age 55 and, later in life, supporting the weight of a 2,229-pound card for thirteen full seconds.

Sri Chinmoy, who passed away in 2007, used his strength to draw attention to his work. Teacher training uk bursary After migrating from Bangladesh to New York City in the 1960s, he opened a meditation school that eventually expanded its locations to more than forty countries around the world.

Benefits of meditation during pregnancy When he would lift celebrities, helicopters, airplanes, and elephants, people would take notice.

“You can’t go to a newspaper and say I want to speak about peace and compassion, they won’t be interested,” said three-time Mr. Yoga positions for neck and shoulder pain Olympia Frank Zane in a documentary about Chinmoy, Challenging Impossibility. Hatha yoga video download “(But if) you’re lifting a thousand pounds, there’s some interest.”

So, what was his message? While born into a Hindu family, Chinmoy insisted he belonged to no religion, only seeking to unify himself and humankind with a God that is too big for any one faith. Yoga studios vancouver He believed that negative qualities prevent that union from happening, and taught that meditating on love and unity is what will bring us closer to experiencing oneness with the Divine. Almaden yoga (“When your love is pure or spiritual, there is no demand, no expectation. Yoga girl instagram There is only the sweetest feeling of spontaneous oneness,” is one of his better-known quotes.)

“You gotta look beyond the exterior of what he’s doing,” said Zane. Yoga institute san francisco “I mean, it’s very impressive, but what’s the meaning of the message? What’s the meaning of all this? It’s all about self-transcendence.”

Improving physical strength tied into Chinmoy’s belief in self-transcendence; the goal of making progress in life, exceeding our self-imposed limits, and becoming a better human being. Corporate yoga los angeles He hoped to show that through wisdom and God’s grace, there’s no such thing as impossibility.

“I am trying to be of some inner service to people who want to go one step forward,” he explained. Yoga west los angeles “They don’t have to lift two thousand pounds, but perhaps they will take the inspiration that I am offering and make the effort to do something in their own lives which they previously thought was too difficult or impossible. Acro yoga equinox In any field they can get inspiration to do something better than what they have been doing.”

A devoted teacher and practitioner of meditation, he also taught that crushing new PRs (our words) is itself an exercise in meditation. Bhakti yoga nyc “My focus is only on one thing: on the weight, on the thing I am lifting,” he said. Be yoga charlotte “I do not allow even an iota of thought to enter into my mind.”

His approaches earned him a devoted following among strength athletes all over the world, from bodybuilders like five-time Mr. Yoga relaxation video Universe winner Bill Pearl (who claims that Chinmoy had a glowing halo the first time they met) to Strongman Super Series world champion and two-time North America’s Strongest Man, Hugo Girard.

“When I first met Sri Chinmoy, I must say I was impressed with his lifting, but I was mainly impressed with the spirituality and the energy that came out from him,” said Girard. Yoga in reading ma “He makes you understand your own potential by him achieving his own potential.”

“It’s not the size of the stone I lift – it’s the reason I lift. Beginner yoga lesson You get to the place where it doesn’t matter how much something weighs, it’s going to move. My yoga pro If you think how much it weighs, you’re going to fail.”