Back to the Origin of Yoga II

by Little student of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Tradition

Back to the Origin of Yoga Part II, December 9-12, 2016; Baan Phu Waan, Sampran Thailand. With Stoma Parker, Ashutosh Sharma and Peter Fabian.

Thailand has received another wonderful opportunity in December 2016 to feel the presence of Himalayan Master’s spirit and hear the perennial wisdom from the ancient sages. After three years, Stoma Parker finally made a return to this land of smiles. He was, as usual, accompanied by one of his most beloved Guru-brothers, Ashutosh Sharma. Adding to the blessings was the presence of Peter Fabian who made his first visit to Thailand in 10 years.

The title of the seminar “Back to the Origin of Yoga Part II” symbolized the vastness of yogic wisdom that could not be understood in just one workshop, and I hope there will be many more Back to the Origin of Yoga workshop series in Thailand in the future.  Additionally, it was to remind people that they need to make their way back to the source, to the origin of their own beings, to their own essential nature which had been long forgotten.

We had about 100 attendants at the workshop, the highest number since the retreat in 2012 when Swami Veda Bharati made his last visit (in physical form) to Thailand. To have the three teachers with different strengths and expertise created a perfect combination. The most beautiful thing was that while the teachings from each teacher touched upon different subjects and topics, they are all aimed at showing people how to develop awareness, which is the basic foundation absolutely required for any form of spiritual practice.

Peter worked with people on the body level, but the impact was not merely limited to awareness of the body. He skillfully introduced people to deep philosophical aspects of yoga whenever occasion arose. For instance, he made us move certain parts of the body that were not so easy for some of us to even be aware that we could feel and work with them. When he saw that many of us could not do it because we simply do not know how to communicate with certain parts of our bodies, he made an interesting remark “inefficient communication with your own body parts reflected ineffective communication with other people, especially those in close relationship with us. This led to some unpleasant issues in life”.

Peter encouraged us to use experiences from working with our own bodies to look into some relationship issues that need to be aware of and accepted, before one can devise an effective strategy to deal with them. He also taught us very effective ways to sit and breathe properly for meditation practice. This reminded me of how serious Swami Veda Bharati was when coming to sitting and breathing correctly.

Ashutosh never failed to touch the hearts of the people with his gentleness, reflected in his look, voice and choice of words. I never attended a workshop with him where he did not make at least one person cry. To me, those who cried actually had gone through some healing process inside, a good beginning to start exploring into their own inner selves to become more grounded in lives. Ashutosh never gave in to temptation and outside pressure to please or impress the crowd with advanced yoga techniques or posters. The true value of yoga is to make our lives more simple and joyful and to accept ourselves as we are (at any particular stage), which is prerequisite for further self-development.

Ashutosh’s approach to yoga is quite unique. It is both intense (especially concentration on breath flow and mental condition) and relaxing at the same time; a very effective way to balance the two opposite energies (solar/lunar, masculine/feminine) which exist in everything. It is a very effective way to lead people to go inside, as he terms it “opening your own inner eyes in order to really see and feel yourself at all levels”. People depend too much on external factors, objects, and relationship, but one cannot be truly happy until he/she knows him/herself at all levels.  Ashutosh used Hatha yoga practice as a mean to plant the seed of self-reliance, a seed of a happy and joyful life, a seed of wisdom.  At the same time, he used Hatha yoga to prepare for good and balance pranic flow that would eventually lead to the awakening of Kundalini energy.
Stomaji challenged people to choose to live their lives anchored in love, rather than in fear.  Non-violence, the very first principle of Raja yoga, is the effective tool here to reduce fear and increase love simultaneously. He stressed the importance of emotional purification, silence practice, deep reflection, internal dialogues, and keeping spiritual diary. These practices and exercises greatly help one in mediation practice, without them, a true and highest level of wisdom cannot reveal itself to us. Without the wisdom revealed in deep stage of meditation, we cannot awake and be truly free.

Perhaps, Guru-disciple relationship is the most important element in one’s own spiritual journey and this is the corner stone in the tradition of Himalayan Masters. Guru-disciple relationship means so many things. It is the vehicle by which the perennial stream of knowledge and wisdom can flow through thousands of generations; not only thousands but endless generations. It is a source of inspiration that will keep disciples on the path during the time of darkness and difficulties. It provides an impetus for disciples to carry on the practices with determination and persistence. It makes sincere disciples willing to reduce their prides and egos, the most destructive obstacles on the spiritual path. It plants the seed of selflessness in the hearts of disciples. It is a fire burning all impurities in disciples. Without it, no one can really succeed. It must be remembered though that Guru is not a person. In the highest and truest sense, Guru is the primordial consciousness and energy that has no beginning and ending. Mantra initiation is the link between Guru and disciple. Stomaji talked so clearly and beautifully about Guru-disciple relationship from his own experiences with both Swami Rama and Swami Veda Bharati.

About 10 people have requested for Mantra initiation. I believe that one day, all of them will realize how lucky they are, although that may not take place in this lifetime. The departure of (physical form of) Swami Veda Bharati in July 2015 seemed to bring dramatic change within Himalayan Yoga Meditation Tradition. However, I realized how much it helped each of his disciples to grow and evolve to the next step. We all need to learn to communicate with him in silence, which is what he had tried so hard to teach us and encouraged us to do. Eventually, the job of all Gurus is to introduce us to “Guru within”.

In January 2017, Thailand will enjoy the presence of Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati; another outstanding teacher who will help us deepen our understanding of Yoga from the angle of Divine Feminine versus Divine Masculine as well as what it means to have relationship with Guru. I feel truly privileged to be part of this great tradition.

— Little student of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Tradition



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