Columbus Weekend Amrit Yoga at Muktidham
October 10-12, 2015
$125 per person (includes lunch and dinner on Sunday)
NorthEast Amrit Yoga Teachers and Yoga Nidra Facilitators (NEAYTYNF) are leading a group trip to the place where our beloved Bapuji spent the last few years of his life in sadhana and silence.
Clinging, grasping and hoarding indicate poverty of Spirit. Recognize the abundant nature of your life as it is now. Release attachments to others, to ideas and plans, possessions, expectations, dreams. Reduce clutter. Let go of the fear that you won’t have enough.
Affirmation: I am perfectly safe and taken care of. I am a divine child of the universe. I am one with all creation.
In Sanskrit “parigraha” means “to store or accumulate with strong attachment,”or “to cling firmly to.” The prefix ”a” means “not,” therefore aparigraha means “to firmly give up,” “not hoarding,”or “non-attachment.”
Aparigraha applies to our relationship to both our outer and inner worlds. As we reflect on our lives in relation to aparigraha we notice the tendency to cling to objects, people, places, thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and situations.
If we look deeply at our desire to cling or hoard, we can see the origins of these tendencies. For example: We may feel comfortable and safe with what we know and afraid of the unknown. Or we may falsely believe that our security is dependent on keeping what we have – that there is not enough to go around. We may feel so identified with our thoughts and beliefs that we do not want to let them go. We may feel strongly attracted to a person, or idea and that attraction creates fear and attachment. By observing ourselves in relation to aparigraha we begin to see and feel the burden of our attachments.
“When we practice aparigraha our mechanical mental and emotional habits are revealed to us in the light of consciousness providing us with the opportunity to let them go.” -Gurudev
We must observe both our clinging and our motivation for clinging with non judgmental self observation. Then aparigraha becomes a powerful tool for self inquiry and understanding. A few years after birth, when an individual begins to distinguish between “yours” and “mine, “ the roots of attachment are planted. Bapuji says, ”It is as difficult to move from attachment to non-attachment as it is to move from the earth to the sky. Non-attachment simply cannot be achieved in a single bound; only a gradual step-by step ascent is possible.”
In Amrit Yoga the practice of aparigraha is applied to simplify our lives, to reduce clutter on all levels and to let go of expectations and other fear based attachments. Our intention is to realize that the nature of the universe is abundant and that we are always safe and taken care of.
“Aparigraha means not clinging or holding onto that which we are not – our self concepts, belief systems, fears, and preprogrammed thinking, feeling, being and doing.” -Gurudev
Accept what is. Make the best out of everything. Deep inner contentment comes from having faith in God, faith in our own Higher Self, faith in our life. Cultivate gratitude and joyfulness. Remain calm with success or failure. This state of mind does not depend on any external circumstances.
Affirmation: I am content in myself, in God. I am at peace with myself, my life, and the world.
“Santosha” means “contentment,” or “the ability to tolerate all mental disturbances.” Bapuji says, “Contentment is a state of mind and discontentment is one of the aids to attaining it.” In fact, discontentment motivates us to become content. We begin to realize that we are always discontented with our present situation, and that we live for the future promise of the fulfillment of our dreams of happiness. This future never seems to come and in the present we are still practicing discontentment and the dream of future happiness to escape from our present reality.
Santosha is an unconditional state of being. It is not dependent on circumstances. Santosha is the experience of fulfillment with what is present from moment to moment to moment. To practice santosha we must be content with life, ourselves and others exactly as we are. When you are enough, everything else is enough.
“We are always seeking excitement and excitement is always followed by boredom or depression. The only way out is santosha.” -Gurudev
Santosha means we are not anxious to get somewhere, there is no worry or fear, and therefore we are fully present and content now. When we are not seeking excitement life becomes exciting in a very deep way. Santosha gives us the ability to receive joy and happiness without attachment or addiction. Then, when excitement comes we will see it as a gift and not get attached to it. The ability to no longer seek anything, to no longer project our happiness into the future, is a blessing. This experience of peace and contentment is santosha.
“Contentment is not manufactured by thinking. When you are in santosha you are established in the witness.” -Gurudev
In Amrit Yoga santosha means being content and grateful for reality exactly as it is now, regardless of the self concepts that intervene to make reality appear to be insufficient or incomplete.
Honestly, clearly looking at oneself. A yogi “reads her own book of life, at the same time she writes and revises it” -BKS Iyengar. Studying scriptures, meditating, and self-reflecting in order to realize your divine nature. Attuning to, and trusting in your intuition.
Affirmation: I am divine knowledge. All knowing is within me. I trust my inner knowing and my intuition to guide me.
Swadhyaya is composed of two words: “swa” meaning “Self” or Atman, and “adhyaya” meaning “to study;” that is, “to study the Self or Atman.” We practice swadhyaya to get to know our true Self.
“Amrit Yoga’s transformative and healing impact is founded on introspection, self observation, and self study – swadhyaya – where the unconscious beliefs, self concepts, resistances, reactions emotions, and self rejections are clearly revealed and exposed to the light of consciousness.” Gurudev
As our unconscious or preprogrammed self-image is exposed to the light of consciousness the true Self is revealed. Witness consciousness is a fundamental practice in revealing the limitations of identifying with our self- image. Only by being the witness are we able to disassociate from the bondage of the self-image. When we witness our emotions, thoughts, reactions, likes and dislikes we discontinue feeding the self-image. As the witness starves the self-image, the Higher Self begins to reveal itself. Swadhyaya is a journey of Self-discovery – of Self-realization.
In the practice of swadhyaya we also come to realize the Self through repeated study and contemplation of yogic scriptures, studying wih a master, chanting the name of the Lord, practicing japa, and self inquiry. Practicing self-study means to search for the meaning behind the essential philosophy by asking universal questions such as “Who is the Self?”, “Who created the universe?”, “who am I?”. To answer these questions we must experientially study the Self throughout our entire journey.
“Self observation is the way of the Masters.” Gurudev
Tapas means “to blaze”. Connection with the inner fire that urges us on to develop, to love life and all that we do. The heat or fire of asana, pranayama, and other spiritual practices (sadhana) which burn away impurities. Once we are in touch with that inner desire, sadhana no longer becomes an effort, something we have to force ourselves to do. We really want to do it, from a deep inner knowing of its true effect and true meaning.
Affirmations: I touch the source of divine fire in me and let it work in my life. I am purified and radiant. I am the light of consciousness.
“Tapas” in Sanskrit means “to generate light and heat ” – as in the process of smelting or making finer metals. Just as fire purifies gold, restraint or discipline purifies the seeker. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna discusses the three types of tapas; tapas of the body , tapas of speech and tapas of the mind.
Tapas of the body is defined as the worship of God, guru, Brahma, sages and the practice of purity, moderation, and nonviolence. The regular practice of Hatha yoga postures creates the inner fire that burns away impurities, removing toxins and other blockages in the body. This disciplined action is performed with the desire to blaze to “generate light and heat” and to stoke the inner fire that leads us to love life and all that we do.
“To purify the mind, the average seeker should begin by attempting to accomplish tapas of the body. Tapas of speech and tapas of the mind will automatically follow.” Bapuji
Tapas of speech means speaking words that give no offense and which are truthful and beneficial. Generally, mental stimulation dictates the manner in which we speak. When we are displeased and speak while the mind is disturbed, our speech usually creates disturbances in others. When we hear bitter words we experience agitation, likewise, when we speak bitterly we inflict pain on others. Bapuji suggests we begin by practicing speaking lovingly to family members and loved ones. We must practice restraint and discrimination in speaking in order to be at peace within ourselves and to extend peace to others.
“Even loved ones and family members become alienated by bitter speech. Yet, even those who are alienated can become reconciled through loving speech.” Bapuji
Tapas of mind involves peace of mind, gentleness, self observation, self control and purity. Behavior can be controlled only if thought is controlled. We must gather positive thoughts and reduce negative thoughts. Tapas of the mind is the burning away of the mental and emotional disturbances that create inner conflict by learning to observe and examine our thoughts and their impact. Bapuji says that every thought transmitted is eventually received. “Whenever we think either positive or negative thoughts about someone else, these thoughts automatically register as either love or hate in the other person’s mind.”
In Amrit yoga we purify our bodies through regular Hatha yoga practice and as well as by following the guidelines of saucha -purity, brahmacharya -energy management and ahimsa – nonviolence. We practice swadhaya – self observation and restraint in both our speech and thoughts. We continuously align ourselves with our highest intentions as we let go of the self concepts and impurities that obscure our recognition of the light. By practicing tapas we are attracted to, and become increasingly more identified with, the light of consciousness as it glows ever brighter in our bodies, hearts and minds.
Satya means truth. Truthfulness in speech, thought, and deed. Honesty. Owning feelings. Clear, loving communication. Opening to the truth of the divinity in all.
Affirmation: I have the courage to see the truth. I am willing to move beyond my limited view of the world. I speak the truth with compassion.
“Satya” means “truth.” To be truthful means much more than not telling lies. Mahatma Gandhi said “Truth is God, God is Truth.” If we live in Truth our thoughts, speech and actions will always reflect the truth. If we reflect upon our lives, we see that it is almost impossible to practice being truthful. This is because our thoughts, speech and actions are unconsciously motivated by our need to establish, protect and sustain our self image.
“When you are identified with your self image you are not being being truthful.” Gurudev
Accepting our condition as it is, where do we begin to practice satya? Bapuji recommends we begin with our relationship to speech. He says, “We need not worry about practicing truth in speech, but merely need to delete a little untruth from the mass of untruth we usually speak.” This is why spiritual traditions all emphasis the practice of silence. Practicing silence makes it much easier to practice truthfulness in speech, and also creates the proper conditions for honestly looking at ourselves.
Since it is not possible for most of us to remain in silence, we must consider the origin and impact of our words before speaking. We must also look carefully at our definition of truth. Ordinarily what we call the truth is actually our adopted social norms. What do “speaking our truth”, “having integrity “and “being honest “really mean to us? How often do we use these principals to fortify our self image and create separation between ourselves and others? Do we have the courage to be honest and truthful in our assessment of our own thoughts and behaviors? Can we be true to our Higher Self and at the same time be open and authentic in our communications?
In Amrit Yoga the witness awakens your ability to be honest to your Higher Self. This is your ability to see the Truth – to see reality as it is – without the pre programmed filters of the mind. You cannot be honest and at the same time be identified with who you are not.
“Nothing in this world can ever match, in quality or in quantity, the pure, unadulterated truth. Truth is the ocean of beauty itself. Truth is the source of all the beauties of the entire universe.” Bapuji
Purity, cleanliness, holiness or sacredness. Saucha means purity of the external – our bodies and surroundings, and internal -purity of the mind . Releasing the obstacles that prevent us from recognizing our inherent Divinity. By practicing cleanliness of body and orderliness of surroundings, we become predisposed toward inner cleanliness, simplicity of mind, and eventual identity with our Source.
Affirmation: I am pure. I am innocent. I am divine
In Sanskrit the word “saucha” means “purity”,”cleanliness”,”holiness”, and “sacredness”. There are two types of purity; external or physical, and internal or mental. Physical purification or cleanliness of our bodies and surroundings, sanctifies our bodies, hearts and minds. Internal purification is impacted by physical purification and by the practices of meditative awareness and self observation.
Applications of saucha on the physical level include; bodily cleanliness, orderliness of our surroundings, proper diet, and hatha yoga. It is interesting to note that the word saucha means not just purity, but sacredness or holiness. With this in mind the disciplines of purification become an act of devotion or a way of loving, respecting and taking care of ourselves. Saucha is not an imposed discipline or a rule we must obey. It is practiced from a place of understanding the impact our surroundings, physical health, actions and attitudes have on how we feel and therefore how we experience the world.
The purpose of hatha yoga practices is to purify the physical body which effects the more subtle energetic, mental and emotional bodies. The physical exercises of asana and pranayama as are integral in the purification process. Regular hatha yoga practice combined with proper diet and simplified orderly living, initiate saucha on the internal level.
“Not only is exercise an important approach to yoga, but it is the very foundation of yoga. Only one who loves good health can love yoga.” -Bapuji
The internal aspect of saucha focuses on awareness of our thoughts and attitudes,especially our habit of indulging in negative thinking such as: judgments, comparisons, and criticisms, or self defeating perceptions and emotions.
“If you realized the impact of self destructive thoughts, you’d let them go.” -Gurudev
Bapuji says, ” The mind is an ocean of thoughts. It has a greater chance to evolve if it contains more positive thoughts than negative, and it has a greater chance to deteriorate if it contains more negative thoughts than positive.” To purify the mind we must continuously analyze our thoughts with non judgmental awareness. “Without self analysis we cannot discover our vices and virtues. Clear awareness of our virtues and vices increases our love for virtue and decreases the influence of our personal limitations.”
In Amrit Yoga we practice saucha on the physical level as an entry point into the more subtle mental level. The awareness of saucha is something we can practice both on and off the yoga mat. As we purify our bodies, minds and hearts through saucha, we become aware of the impact of our thoughts on ourselves and in our personal relationships. Our intention is to bring our thinking into alignment with our highest potential, not by suppression or denial, but by acceptance, trust and faith. To awaken to our inborn divinity we must continually let go of that which we are not. Saucha happens when we are the witness. As we cease to nourish our thoughts by identifying with them, fighting with them, or denying or suppressing them they die of starvation. We are left with the awareness of our inherent innocence, purity and oneness with the Source.
“By purification arises disgust for one’s own body and for contact with other bodies.”
-II:40 Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Here Patanjali is saying that “When we spend more time on deeper things than the body, and eventually go into spiritual matters, realizing we are the true Self and not the body at all, we will not be interested in bringing two bodies together any more.”
Ahimsa encompasses seeing through all things with love and compassion, creating and affirming peace everywhere, knowing that which manifests as violence only comes out of fear. The absence of all violence reveals Ahimsa – pure Love.
Affirmations: I nurture and cherish myself. I am kind and compassionate to others. I am kind and loving towards myself and others.
Ahimsa is the first if the five yamas. it’s primary position signifies it’s primary importance; it is the very seed of these basic disciplines. Ahimsa is made up of two Sanskrit terms: “a” meaning “not” and “himsa” meaning “violent.” Ahimsa is really more than just the absence of violence, it is seeing through the eyes of love, acceptance of self and others, kindness, tolerance, consideration, and being non-judgmental. Violence comes in both gross and subtle forms. May we say that we adhere to ahimsa since we are not physically violent towards others? What about on the more subtle levels such as thoughts and words? Ahimsa must be applied to all or thoughts, words and actions.
In Amrit Yoga we practice ahimsa both on and off the yoga mat. We are attentive to our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, spoken words and to the impact they have on ourselves and others. We see and accept ourselves as we are, without the need to suppress or deny our perceived shortcomings. In Amrit Yoga we are developing consciousness – non judgmental awareness. The practice of ahimsa is essential in this endeavor
Ahimsa is the state that exists when all violence in the heart and mind have subsided. It is not something we have to acquire, it is always present and only needs to be uncovered.
“When one practices ahimsa, or nonviolence, one refrains from causing distress – in thought, word or deed – to any living creature, including oneself.” Bapuji