INDIAN yogi Acharya Venkatesha took a quiet moment to reflect on Newcastle beach yesterday in the lead up to the start of the Bodhi Festival.
Nicknamed rubber yogi, Venkatesha has spent 26 years in India mastering Atma Vikasa yoga (self expansion yoga). His training includes sessions of up to six hours day to maximise his flexibility.
Mr Venkatesha said he did not feel any pain in his yoga exercises and concentrated solely on breathing and drowning out the outside world.
"The aim is to inspire people to what is possible and to overcome the limits of your body through your mind," he said.
Based in Mysore, India, with his yoga teacher wife Hema, Mr Venkatesha has attended spiritual festivals in India, America and Europe but this is his first visit to Australia.
He won the prestigious title of the Emperor of Yoga in India in 1992 and will conduct classes at Newcastle's inaugural Bodhi Festival.
Opening tonight, the three-day festival will be held in the former David Jones building in Hunter Street and feature more than 100 stalls, yoga classes, musicians and spiritual healers from around the world.