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International Day of Yoga at SRSG

by Tarinee Awasthi

At Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG), the International Day of Yoga has been celebrated for four years now, in the spirit which Swami Veda Bharati enjoined in his message in 2015, the first year it was observed across the world.

In that message, Swamiji drew upon texts associated with ‘classical’ Yoga, Ayurveda, Virasaivas, as well as the Buddhist tradition to emphasize the ‘interior’ essence of Yoga, and wished all practitioners success in the Yoga described in these texts: ‘samadhi’, ‘moksa-pravartaka’, ‘His corporal sense decorporalised;/His will stilled in will-less-ness;/His eye held in fixity;/His sight blotted;/His lashes unblinking;/His consciousness steady…’

Reflecting the structure of Swamiji’s message, the programme on 21st June, 2018 began with Guru-puja—homage offered unto the lineage and the Guru-spirit, and two minutes’ silence, whose profundity was shared by more than two hundred people present in the Meditation Hall. This was followed by a brief discussion on the history and objectives of Yoga. Swami Ritavan Bharati, who was traveling at the time, had sent a message on the occasion which was read out. He began with an invocation of the Guru-spirit, to be reflected upon as we were gathered in the ‘sacred space’ that SRSG is. In a similar tenor, he reminded us that in the saintly world, the real riches are a mind and heart transformed by ascesis, tapas, spiritual practice. He exhorted all practitioners to reaffirm their resolve and faith. This day, then, becomes one of marking and reaffirming a quest which spans and exceeds a mere lifetime. Once again, the meditation hall resonated with the profundity of a moment’s silence, as Swamiji instructed it should.

The teachers of SRSG then led everyone gathered through practical aspects of Yoga. Ramprakash led the section on Joints & Glands and simple asanas, while Udayan, Shailesh, and Niranjan, young students from the Ashram community demonstrated as he instructed. Following a short break, Swami Veda Bharati’s interview with Doordarshan in 2015, on the occasion of Yoga Day, was played. Among other things,

Swamiji had said,

‘Among the 177 countries which accepted World Yoga Day, there are Muslim countries, Zoroastrian countries, Jewish countries, speaking several languages. They can all be connected through Yoga. In this way, you can imagine, if two billion men and women sit at a fixed time, calming the mind, shifting consciousness into the breath through this path, what would be the state of peace in the world at that time! This is World Yoga Day.’ [translated from Hindi]

The ‘spiritual core’ of Yoga, then, may be our only way out of this strife-ridden world; by inculcating peace and love as real forces, and not mere sentiments, Yoga contains the potential for real, sustainable peace in the international, transnational community.

There was a further focus on practical dimensions as Gita-ji led the group through stretching, diaphragmatic breathing, and relaxation, and then guided them through a 30 minute group meditation.

It is hoped that this exposure to the practical aspects of preparation for meditation and the practice of meditation will lead to those participants who haven’t had prior exposure to take it up more seriously, regularly, and consistently.

Post-lunch, the participants had the opportunity to view ‘Yoga: An Ancient Vision of Life’, a documentary exploring the multifarious expressions of Yoga in a contemporary context which also included Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama.

The emphasis on the internal, rigorous, spiritual aspects of Yoga, combined with practical sessions and the articulation of the relationship between this and its transformative potential on a larger scale allowed for Yoga to be viewed in its holistic splendour, and was a small step under the guidance of Swami Ritavan Bharati, in the spirit of what Swami Veda said three years ago.



The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation

Purification of Thoughts     Dhyana    Mindfulness
Japa     Dharana     Shavasana
Breath Awareness     Qualified Preceptor
Guru Disciple Relationship     Unbroken Lineage
Yoga Nidra     Silence Retreats     Full Moon Meditation

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