He loves poisonous snakes.
He loves motorcycles.
He loves laughing.
He loves hiking, traveling and cooking.
Never miss a local story.
He loves strangers.
He writes poetry.
He daily does yoga.
He daily meditates on the universe and being human.
Forget, the Dos Equis beer pitch man, Sadhguru, a white-bearded 59-year-old from India with followers from Bradenton, might in reality be the most interesting man in the world.
His followers, of which there are about 1,500 in the Sarasota, Bradenton and Tampa areas combined, talk about him in tones of awe.
He provides a path for anyone who is willing, a path to follow for spiritual and mental well-being. Since I have been following Sadhguru, and doing the practices that he teaches, my life has changed in many, many, ways for the better.
Judy Wiggins, follower of Sadhguru
“The first time I met him was quite amazing,” said Sadhguru follower Judy Wiggins of west Bradenton, who met the yogi in Tennessee in 2009.
“I was actually angry with him because he shook me to my core,” said Wiggins, 61, a licensed clinical social worker who works for Jewish Family & Children’s Services of the Suncoast in Sarasota.
Embracing the impact, Wiggins and her husband, Michael, have been practicing for the past seven years the form of yoga and meditation suggested by Sadhguru.
Sadhguru, whose birth name is Jaggi Vasudev, will talk about yoga and meditation from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 25 at Van Wezel Performing Arts Center.
Wiggins says that Sadhguru’s teachings are well outlined in his first book for Western readers, called, “Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy.” The book is due out this week.
It was a book called “Midnights with the Mystic,” written by Sadhguru and Cheryl Simone, that Wiggins found in a Borders bookstore in a Chicago suburb that got her interested in the yogi.
“I looked down and saw this book and I read the inside cover and bought it,” Wiggins said. “I was completely blown away by what I was reading.”
The book led her to a class in Chicago with a Sadhguru disciple and a continuing commitment to the yogi’s teachings.
Every morning she does a 21-minute or longer “practice,” based on the yogi’s principles. She “practices” in a small meditation space in her condo. She lights an oil lamp.
The practice has an official name but “inner engineering” works fine, Wiggins said.
“Inner engineering teaches you simple yoga moves and some breathing techniques that help your body,” Wiggins said. “It settles body and mind. It’s a 21-minute practice that can change you physically, spiritually and emotionally.”
“Physically I feel much younger at 61 than at 51, and that is a fact,” Wiggins added. “ I totally attribute it to the practice.”
Disc problems in her lower back have all but disappeared, Wiggins said.
“I have more stamina, vitality, energy and I am much able to deal with stress,” Wiggins said. “I used to stew over things for weeks. I have come to realize through this practice that I am the one who creates my reality.”
In his videos, Sadhguru says people can get everything they want if they organize their minds into a constant focus on what they want, just like children fixate on that a cupcake or a special doll.
The yogi has organized his mind and his list of his “cupcakes,” a practice that is unusual to most of us, but, to him, it means everything.
In his childhood, Sadhguru was an expert in anything to do with snakes, according to his website. Growing up, he shared his room with more than 20 poisonous snakes, including cobras and vipers.
From a young age Sadhguru loved exploring nature, writing poems, driving fast on motorcycles, traveling and cooking for friends. Apparently, he still does those things that give him joy.
In order to pack in all this living, the guru keeps what has been called an “inhuman schedule.” He is awake 20 hours a day, attending programs, holding meetings and taking phone calls, his website states.
Sadhguru hopes his new book helps humans master the most sophisticated machine on the planet — the human being.
“My aim in this book is to help make joy your constant companion,” Sadhguru said on his website. “To make that happen, this book offers you not a sermon, but a science; not a teaching, but a technology; not a precept, but a path.”
“Sadhguru, to me, is the truest source of truth that I have ever encountered in my life,” Wiggins said. “He provides a path for anyone who is willing, a path to follow for spiritual and mental well-being. Since I have been following Sadhguru, and doing the practices that he teaches, my life has changed in many, many, ways for the better.”
“The work that he does across the globe for humanity is astounding,” Wiggins added. “People need to know there is an individual alive who is doing this sort of thing. It is transforming.
“My life was fine. It was good before. But he has brought a deeper dimension to the true experience of being a human being into my awareness.”
IF YOU GO
- What: Sadhguru’s North American Tour
- When: 2-4 p.m. Sept. 25
- Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, 777 Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
- Tickets: $31 to $306, plus service charge
- Information: vanwezel.org or 941-953-3368