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Not Yet There, Not Yet

by Solmaz Dabiri

I was first introduced to Swami Rama when I was on a yoga teacher training course in Nepal in 2016, with a yoga school from Rishikesh. Some of Swami Rama’s books were on the ‘recommended read’ list.

The purpose of taking the course was that practicing yoga at gyms with different teachers with varying degrees of experience, knowledge and approach wasn’t very satisfactory, and I wanted to learn it properly.  I had no concept of what the course might entail, and the science and philosophy of yoga opened an unexpected and wonderful new window for me, and I knew I wanted to continue learning.

In November that year I went to Rishikesh for the first time for a further course of teacher training and fell in love with the place.  I don’t follow any religion or political philosophy or ideology, or personalities of any colour and creed, my mind is too independently wired for that, but as I continued reading Swami Rama, it made sense to me. And apart from the fact that the writing style was eloquent, the message was clear and precise. I was convinced.

I believe I was a seeker even as a child, and in my teens, but work and life got in the way, and when I much belatedly set off on the path, I knew it won’t be quick or easy.  My many attempts at meditating failed, mainly because my over active mind that never stops throwing up obstacles, but also for lack of discipline.  I couldn’t fight my mind, so I decided to work on discipline.

Even before I decided to spend some time in Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG), Swami Rama had become a presence, and I thought there must be an ashram with his name on it, and there was, right in Rishikesh. I had never stayed at an ashram before, so I had no idea what to expect.

The gated grounds with rows of cabins (villas) surrounded by beautiful flowers of all kinds, some reminding me of my childhood, some unknown to me, was quiet and peaceful.  In the evenings the scent of sun-caressed flowers, bushes and trees, and specially an avalanche of jasmines was overwhelming. It was a heavenly atmosphere, maintained by the old Sikh gardener who was out every day with his men in the heat of the day diligently tending the gardens.

The daily programme was perfect for my purpose, getting up at 04:30 in the morning with the birds’ songs and starting a full day.   The classes were very well planned; yoga, meditation, pranayama and more, ending with the evening prayer, my absolute favourite, with the angelic voices of Geeta and others. The classes continued over the weekend, which suited me well.

I had been informed before going there that the initial stay would be for 2 weeks. But as I sat for meditation two hours a day I soon realised that it wouldn’t be enough to get me into a discipline. For a while it seemed that I won’t be able to continue my stay.  I pleaded with Swami Rama, ‘please... please, please, don’t turn me away from your door’.  He did not. And I stayed long enough to learn self-discipline.

Since my return home, I haven’t missed a single day of getting up early in the morning and sitting for meditation, no matter how I feel, and despite the fact that I’ve been busy with guests, including children. I can’t say I’m meditating, I’m not there yet, but I’m determined and I’m trying. And every time I feel a bit down-hearted, I remember Swami Rama’s smiling face and I hear his words, ‘……..some people come to me…….. practice, practice, practice’.



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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