Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International

Teacher training
Himalayan tradition
Two minute meditations
Full moon meditations
Silence programs
  AHYMSIN newsletter, Issue - April 2012  

News from Taiwan

by Joanna Siauw

Dear Carolyn,

How are you? Saying hi from Taipei, Taiwan.

We had a wonderful chance to present our tradition this week. This opportunity comes in excellent timing as we are launching our promotion for the May event, which is the first TTP in Taiwan! 

Tinyu was supposed to make the presentation, since among us all, she knows best about our tradition and she herself is a very good presentation of our tradition. Unfortunately, she had another prior arrangement, and we thought this would be a good opportunity to promote the May event, so I then was blessed with this task.

Thank you so very much in providing information to help me prepare the background introduction of Swami Rama, Swami Veda and our tradition. Swami Ritavan provided the guidance by asking me to allow my heart to speak. 

This presentation was a special event of Bhodiyoga, a yoga studio with two locations in Taipei City. The event was titled “Journey to Happiness – the 5 yoga traditions in India”, and we are one of the five traditions that were invited to present. The other four included Ananda Maga, represented by Di Di Ananda Gunamtra and senior yoga teacher Mr. Zhao; Shivananda, represented by senior yoga teacher Ms. Tien; Ashtanga Vinyeasa, represented by Mr. Alex Wang who is also an anesthetist; and Kaivalyadhama, presented by Megan and James of Bhodiyoga. 

We were the second one to present, right after the beautiful opening by Di Di Ananda Gunamtra of the Ananda Maga tradition. She introduced a mantra and invited everyone to sing with her. The mantra was Baba Nam Kavalam, translated as “love all there is”. While singing with everyone, my heart started to beat fast and strong from being nervous; and for most of her sharing, I could hear nothing but my blood rushing in my veins and my heart pounding like a war drum. Partially because I’ve decided to begin my presentation with a short meditation, so that I may invite our lineage to do the talking. However, I am not a skillful meditator myself, how am I going to ‘meditate’ under such an occasion?

Nervous as I was, the time eventually came for me to take the spot. I sat and greeted everybody, and started – nervously – to explain why I was there instead of Tinyu Chen. Before I started talking nonsense, I stopped and remembered that I was going to start my session with a short meditation. So I took a deep breath and said that before I began my introduction, I would like to invite everyone to join me for a short meditation, as we always do in our tradition. To my surprise, everyone was so happy to hear that and they immediately adjusted their posture. It seemed as if our lineage already spread the word that I was going to do so, and everyone was waiting for me to say the word. And so we meditated together, with some simple guidance in relaxation. It was not a job well done, as I was not very relaxed myself. My heart was at my throat, and my face was burning with heat. But, for a short period of time, all the sounds went quiet. The busy traffic outside of the studio went silent. The humming noise of the electrical appliances turned mute. I heard my own voice flowing in the space and entering all corners. And I felt the silence from people around me. It was so amazing that I really wished to go on instead of opening my mouth to speak. For that short period of time, I think people there already know what our tradition is. However, my agitation came back and so I gradually guided all out of the meditative state and began my introduction. 

Of course I invited everybody to always practice that short meditation during their busy daily lives, and to join us for the full moon meditation, as well as our event in May.

The event was quite successful. We all enjoyed the experience shared by each speaker.  More and more people in the yoga field in Taiwan are turning their attention from only asana to include yoga philosophy, as well as spiritual pursuit. 

I was especially impressed by Alex of the Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition. He is an anesthetist with some background in physical therapy. The host explained that Ashtanga tradition was invited because people have negative impression on this tradition. Since there is always two sides to one coin, it would only be fair for this tradition to speak for itself. Alex has practiced Ashtanga for 6 years now, and he loves it very much. He explained that many people who suffer from practicing Ashtanga do so mainly because they attempt to practice postures that their bodies are not yet ready for. Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is very specific about their progression in movements. One cannot move on to the next movement until the teacher thinks you’re ready for it. And most people when they see people doing advanced movements, they tend to think they could do those and do it.

He also shares that the eight limbs of Ashtanga: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and Samadhi would come to you if you practice with persistence. He said that he was not a vegetarian when he started practicing yoga. As he progressed, he became unable to eat meat products. His breathing became calm and even and smooth; and he practiced cleaning every day so naturally as if he was born with the methods. He knew one day he would reach the ultimate Samadhi.

Isn’t this beautiful? A person simply shared his own experience and the words carried so much power and love. This is just beautiful. I hope I had achieved the same.

These are some photos that a lady was kind enough to help me take them. Hope you’ll be able to feel the loving feeling in that classroom through the photos.

In loving service,
Joanna Siauw
March 24th, 2012
Taipei, Taiwan

Editor’s Note:

The May TTP in Taiwan:

14th - 25th May 2012, TTP in Taiwan, Level 1, with Swami Ritavan, Stoma Parker, and Ashutosh Sharma.  Contact:  [email protected]

The Taiwan Himalayan Yoga Meditation Association is an AHYMSIN affiliate.  We invite you to visit http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/hymt_taiwan/archive?l=a&page=2 

To read Swami Veda’s writing about the Himalayan Tradition, please see http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Himalayan-Tradition/what-is-the-himalayan-tradition-for-yoga-meditation.html

For more about the Eightfold Path, we recommend that you read The Royal Path by Swami Rama. It is available from The Meditation Center's online bookstore that ships nationally and internationally http://www.themeditationcenter.org/jnana/index.php In Europe, please see http://www.yogaineurope.eu/store/books/catalog/5/.  In India, inquire at http://www.ahymsin.org/main/index.php/Contact-Us/Book-and-DVD-Orders.html    It is also available through Amazon.com as a book or Kindle Edition.

“The yoga described by Patañjali in his Yoga Sūtras is Raja Yoga, the royal path.  It encompasses the teachings of all the different paths and because of the variety of methods it includes can be practiced by people of varying backgrounds and temperaments.  It concerns itself with three dimensions or realms – the physical, mental and spiritual.  Through the methods of Raja Yoga one achieves mastery of all three realms and is thus led to full realization of the Self.  Raja Yoga is a systematic and scientific discipline that does not impose unquestioning faith but encourages healthy discrimination. Certain methods are prescribed and the benefits derived from these methods are also described.  It can, therefore, be scientifically verified by anyone who accepts the prescribed method as a hypothesis to be tested by his own experience. Raja Yoga is also called the Eightfold Path.  These eight steps trace a systematic path of regulation and control from the gross (the physical body) to the subtler (the senses), and lastly to the subtlest manifestations of the mind. The eight steps are Yama, the restraints of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-possessiveness; Niyama, the observances of cleanliness, contentment, practices that bring about perfection, study of the scriptures, and surrender to the ultimate reality; Asana, meditative postures and postures which ensure physical well-being; Pranayama, control of the vital energy that sustains body and mind or science of breathing; Pratyahara, withdrawal and control of the senses; Dharana, concentration; Dhyana, meditation; and Samadhi, the superconscious state or fourth state which transcends waking, dreaming, and sleeping and in which man becomes one with the Divine Self and transcends all imperfections and limitations.” – Swami Rama, Lectures on Yoga