Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Yoga and Martial Arts Seminar

by Nina Pulaska

[Slide show at end of article - ed.]

I consider myself extremely lucky to have met Swami Tat Sat Bharati and become his student 20 years ago – first for aikido, then also yoga. His teachings, guidance and inspiration have continued ever since (particularly in my meditation practice), even though I have lived on the other side of the world for over 7 years, so I have not been able to go and see him as often as I used to in the past.

Naturally, I was rather thrilled when I found out that Swamiji was going to run a seminar about Yoga and Martial Arts at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG). I had not seen him for 5 years at this stage and I was already planning my next trip to India, to attend the Initiates’ Follow Up seminar with Raghavendra Adiga in early October, so it was just a matter of looking at the dates and booking my flights in the way that enabled me to attend (at least partially) both retreats.

Despite having attended several trainings and seminars with Swamiji over years, I was not sure what he had in mind for the seminar at the ashram. All I suspected was that he would talk about the relationship between yoga and how its philosophy is reflected in aikido and other martial arts, as he always did in the past. However, I quickly realized that a large number of seminar participants must have had some expectations of doing both asanas and aikido during the retreat, which was not the case at all. The number of participants halved from Day 1 to Day 2 as a result, but afterwards the group seemed to be pretty stable, which I found really nice to see.

Swami Tat Sat, being Swami Tat Sat, made us experience some movements and working with a partner first, without talking too much about philosophy and why we do what we do when we practice martial arts. Only then did he begin pointing out the connection between yogic principles and martial arts, with an emphasis on ahimsa, reminding us all how important it was to:

  1. stay at the present moment at all times in order to be able to see what is presented at the front and then work together with a partner,
  2. be relaxed to maintain the correct posture and enable the prana flow through the body and work with your own and your partner’s energy field,
  3. concentrate on manipura chakra with each movement, as it gives us the required body stability and is the centre of all nadis in the pranamaya kosha, which is of paramount importance if we are to work with prana,
  4. stop talking too much (!) and overthinking each movement! Swamiji pointed out that too much talking meant not enough concentration and even quoted Swami Veda, who always used to say “silence, silence, silence”,
  5. work on improving the stability of our mind field through regular practice and concentration, as it will benefit our meditation a lot as a result,
  6. make a sankalpa to keep going. Swamiji assured us that even a short seminar like 12 days will benefit us in yoga, provided we do not find excuses not to continue the training,

But that was definitely NOT easy! Aikido, which the seminar was based on, is called “meditation in action” for a reason. Now, if we cannot really meditate while sitting quietly, how can we do it whilst in motion, with a partner, when there seems to be so much going on around us? And yet, I must admit I made an interesting observation after the first 2-3 days of the seminar. People that were totally confused on the first day and were unable to repeat the simplest movement, seemed to see more, be somewhat more coordinated and definitely more aware of what was going on just after a few classes. If only a couple of days can help improve the concentration, even if only a little, there must be a light in the tunnel indeed, and Swamiji is an incredible example of that. The way he consciously moves, his famous “stability of a rock” (control over muladhara and manipura chakras as he always says), awareness and continuous control of the movement and energy field, whilst you can physically feel his relaxation level at all times, make you realize that there is so much more to it than just the body movement and physical strength. Swamiji mentioned during the seminar that he had been fortunate enough to have been given a glimpse of true knowledge of martial arts by his Guru Swami Rama. That knowledge basically came down to training the mind in the right way; however that was to be elaborated on during the last two days of the seminar. Swamiji promised lectures to help us understand better the link between yoga philosophy and martial arts, as well as discussions about experiences made during the classes.

Unfortunately, I had to leave prior to that, so I would like to encourage other participants to share what they heard, learnt and understood from these lectures. I sometimes feel that many people from our Tradition do not realize how much knowledge and practical experience Swami Tat Sat has, and how approachable he is if someone has any question about either aikido or yoga, as he is a very private person who does not normally lecture outside his Aikido and Yoga Institute in Berlin, Germany. Therefore, I feel that sharing the experience from this rare opportunity at SRSG would definitely be to a benefit of other members of our Community.

From Alice Springs, Australia

Nina Pulaska

*Swami Tat Sat Bharati (formerly Ingo Beardi) is a direct student of Swami Rama and Swami Veda Bharati. He has practiced aikido for about 50 years and taught it for 42 years. He has practiced yoga and meditation for over 30 years and was initiated into the Himalayan Tradition by Swami Rama in 1987. I can easily say that for years (even before his Sanyasa in 2005) his whole life has been devoted to his practice and attaining samadhi, and he is by far one of the most focused and inspiring people I have met in my whole life.

I cannot thank you enough, Swamiji, for your love and guidance over all these years.

Photos by Jay Prakash Bahuguna.


Editor’s Note:

Swami Tat Sat Bharati (formerly Ingo Beardi) teaches in Berlin, Germany.  Here is a link to his website: http://www.beardi.com/  

To read an interview with Ingo Beardi: http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1412Dec/07.html

Swami Tat Sat is a mantra initiator and a member of the AHYMSIN Adhyatma Samiti, or Spiritual Committee.



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