Tag Archives: Meditation

The Wonderful, Personal Benefits of Teaching Meditation

By Bindu (Maureen) Shortt

binduIn Meditation Teacher Training, I remember Swamiji saying, “You have to KNOW more than you TEACH.” Our lineage is one of knowing through experience. As I speak the words that describe my knowing, the knowing that reaches back through the ages, I draw myself deeper into that knowing. In our amazing lineage, teaching meditation opens me to another experience of “the more.”

As the students move from meditation neophytes to experienced meditators, sitting more solidly and consciously in their own Self, I take that ride with them. Yet because I started deeper already, I end up deeper. Their journey carries me deeper. I ride the powerful current of them awakening to their own knowing, then I know more. As they become more clear, I become more clear.  With their classes week by week, I dive deeper into my inner absorption through appreciation of their process and admiration for their courage. They reflect back to me my own process of becoming a competent, confident meditator, and I mark how far I’ve come, which then becomes my jumping off point to dive even deeper.

I have moments in life of knowing that I am fully enlightened already. The catch is how to weave that inner knowing into the outside, into more and ultimately all of my life. Being a meditation teacher offers this to me as a wonderful personal benefit. As a result I now do more frequent trainings, but with a maximum of 6 students. This way the students have more time to say whatever they need to about their experiences, as well as their home efforts and challenges. More people can take the trainings because I vary the days and times. These smaller, more frequent courses are precious to me as part of my sadhana, and I look forward to riding the waves of Grace deeper within as I invite more people into the ocean of Consciousness.

As a meditation teacher, I go deeper into my own Self by leading students in the grace-infused mantra and by teaching them about the five steps to making meditation a daily routine.  By serving as the conduit of these practices and teachings for my students, that flow of Grace affects me also. In the tantra of being a meditation teacher, when I speak the words of the state of the Self, I become able to BE more of my own Self. As I am speaking the sacred words, I am imprinting them further on my own mind. As I am facilitating the students going beyond their mind, I am also facilitated in going beyond mine and into my Divinity.  What a way to serve!

ATT DTS: Just Do It! by Ruth Brown, CSYT

ruthbrown

Ruth Brown, CSYT

Once upon a time, completing an ATT program required that you do homework, and then send that homework to a Teacher Trainer for review and feedback. But now there is DTS.  I just completed the ATT 262 Treating Pain immersion, and I’m finding that the DTS calls have helped me use the “therapist” title with confidence.

For this DTS there are homework assignments followed by phone calls, and my first assignment was to give five pain treatment sessions to a single client. After our second DTS call, Matrika Gast (who serves our Board in the Publications role) heard from one of my DTS partners that I had “pain clients coming out of the woodwork.” So Matrika asked me to share my success story.

To begin to attract pain clients I found that you must become a walking, talking billboard for “what you can do for them.”  You do so gently and with care… sharing how others have benefited from what you do. To make your current yoga students aware of your pain therapy training, you can say “This therapy may be something that you and/or someone you know could use. Feel free to share this with those you know who are in pain.”

I also created a small, purse size flyer that to pass around to those whom I would talk with. The front side includes vital details about pain therapy the Svaroopa® yoga way, and back side includes a couple of testimonials from existing students/clients.

The next thing to do is list people you know … no judgments… just write. Then take that list, beginning with those you think are the least likely to be interested in what you are doing, and contact them, sharing with them what you are doing. Proceed through your list with enthusiasm and sincere caring about what you can do for them or for those they know.

With my first pain client, even though there was that tinge of anxiety, I felt assured and confident in the training I had received a week or so before. Yep — I read and reread my ATT “blue sheets” before each session, and I completed all five sessions with that client as well as my first DTS report before the first DTS call.

I so appreciated that call. While it is good to receive feedback on your sessions, it is just as informative to hear what others are doing.  Invaluable, in fact. Kusuma, our ATT DTS Mentor, gently guides us through evaluations of our sessions, encouraging where appropriate and asking us to re-think our sessions where necessary.

My second assignment was exciting because I was working on a real person with tightness, pain and cramps. The assignment helped me gain confidence in my ability to write a plan and tweak as needed in the moment, especially when my client seized up with a cramp and pain. Our training met reality in this second assignment. I was working with “real folks” who were not loosey-goosey yogis! I laughed at myself several times along the way, noting how many times I was holding my breath!!!

After the second DTS call, there were massive revelations. As slowly as I thought I was proceeding in a session, on this call I realized that I needed to move forward even more slowly…right up there with watching paint dry! With this guidance, I’ve found after several more sessions that my clients feel the difference, the shift from pain to relief.

After a couple of weeks providing pain therapy to clients who are non-yogis, I realized that I could almost repeat the Treating Pain training with a whole new perspective. The partner pairing in training with fellow-yogis can give us a false sense of movement.  On the DTS calls, it helps so much to hear that other budding therapists are working through the same issues.

Through this process, I have personally experienced some significant openings, too. How much fun to realize that the leg you were holding in Alternate Leg was REALLY not softened and released!

Taking Yoga on Vacation by Antarajna (Deborah) Mandel

antarajna

Antarajna (Debbie) Mandel

I have three levels of vacation yoga packing, depending on what type of trip I am going on. If I’m flying, I take wallet-size pictures of Swamiji, Muktananda, and Nityananda and my meditation journal; also, I wear my rudraksha beads. I set up a small puja in my room, to which I will add flowers or candy. I mostly meditate in bed and do some bed poses as well.

Level two is going on a short vacation in the car, to a relatives or the Ashram. On these vacations I bring a framed picture of Swamiji, Muktananda and Nityananda and a small Ganesha. I also pack my meditation asana and shawl, my meditation journal and The Nectar of Chanting. Again, once at my destination, I set up a puja and meditate in bed, unless there is a good chair available. At the Ashram, or any Svaroopa® yoga workshop, I use the blankets provided. Otherwise, I do what I can in bed.

The third level is when I go on vacation by car to stay somewhere for a longer period. Then I bring everything for a level 2 trip as well as my blankets. This approach has proven to be very beneficial. I am more likely to do my whole practice of pranayama, poses, and meditation as well as chanting the Sri Guru Gita.

I know that packing for yoga and meditation practice really pays off. Last summer, on a level three trip, I got up at 5:00 AM to do my practice, but I had to do some physical therapy exercises first. In the process of those exercises, I fell and broke both bones in my right wrist. I had nowhere to go at that early hour. So with ice on my broken arm, I gracefully and gratefully moved into my practice (less asana) and was able to meditate for 90 minutes, broken bones and all.

The power of yoga. I need to remind myself of this when I fall out of practice. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

New Building for Downingtown Yoga & Meditation Center

downingtown yoga bannerWe’re almost there!  Our Board of Directors has been working for almost a year to select a building, negotiate a contract, complete the property inspections and arrange financing.  We are in the final steps to get to the settlement table. Of course, nothing in real estate is final until it’s final, but we wanted you to know that we’re almost there.

Why do we need a new building, you ask? Well, for you, of course!

In our 2012 Board Retreat, we developed a 10 year plan for expanding the Ashram, as well as a succession plan for after Swamiji is gone. We announced our plans in an article, including:

[Swamiji] along with the Board, is focusing on the sustainability of her teachings… We have the house in Downingtown, plus we will likely purchase an additional building to house our public programs and provide resident housing… and guest accommodations for visiting yogis.

Our plan is to create teachers rather than to accumulate assets; it is about the sustainability of the teachings, not of the buildings. Yet we need a building in which to base the next level of meditation teachings. We had planned to accomplish this by 2014 and we are realizing that dream on time.  Especially with the tasks of the Reawakening and the Consolidation, this is a major accomplishment.

We have looked at many buildings that didn’t have the right mix of space for DYMC (Downingtown Yoga & Meditation) along with apartments for residents and guests, and this one does. The ground floor is very large, for satsangs, events and yoga classes, which we need because our current DYMC location, right next door, is bursting at the seams. The upstairs apartments in the new building are currently rented, which helps to support the building while we grow into it.  We will be renovating and moving into the building in stages, and will keep you informed every step of the way.

Teacher Trainings will not be held in this location, as the Desmond offers a better experience for groups needing full service for YTT, retreats, etc. This building is intended for setting the Shakti, in a location that Swamiji feels very strongly about, and will be dedicated to creating community in the form of residents and guests, drawing from local community and Shishyas worldwide. Our local community is growing, as is our online following both nationally and internationally. There is a hunger for the deeper teachings, which is the way Swamiji serves both you and the greater yoga community, who thirst for that “something more” that we Svaroopis experience and understand.

In order for us to carry out Swamiji’s vision, and the vision of the organization going forward, we need this additional space. A space of our own that can hold the Shakti she pours into it. We are so thrilled to be able to provide our community with this space to grow. It is YOU who is making this possible, and it is for YOU that Swamiji, your Board of Directors, and all of the Trainers, staff and sevites serve.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h

Taking My Yoga & Meditation Practice on Vacation By Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Marlene Gast

Marlene Gast

In June, I took time off from running my Svaroopa® yoga studio and teaching to complete a manuscript that I’ve been working on for a decade. It got started the same summer that I landed on the Svaroopa® yoga and meditation path at Core Opening with Swamiji. Now, more interested in writing about experiences in Svaroopa® yoga and meditation, I feel the weight of that unfinished writing project; it’s like a bag full of yarn and the half-knitted sweater. If it were just a bag of yarn, I could donate it to a thrift store for a real knitter to complete. But the yarn is in my own body and mind, so I need to finish the writing to move forward more freely.

So for my five-day vacation on a Wyoming ranch with my writing group, I packed my meditation asana and shawl, two foam yoga blocks and one Triple Alert Timer. They turned out to be essential items in so many ways. My bunkhouse room was tiny with two cot-size beds and a sink. I chose one bed for sleeping and the other as a “meditation platform,” where I stacked bed pillows for a Sukhasana seat against one wall. In the space between the twin beds, the bedside table held the meditation card with photos of Swamiji and Swami Muktananda, and the floor in front provided just enough room for my blocks and the practice of Lunge.

Every morning this set-up gave me a sweetly soothing foundation for bed yoga followed by meditation.  That start to each day served as a grounding, opening, integrating retreat within my vacation. Besides the task of trying to finish a writing project, joining my writing group for these five days was like being in a family reunion — lots of shared history, affection and, well, “other stuff.”  At meals, japa was a special blessing as I listened to streams of conversation about ways to eat, ways to sleep, reasons to write, multitudes of approaches for dissolving writer’s block etc. etc. At times I was reminded of the biblical Tower of Babel, as though everyone at the table held forth in a different language. Om Namah Shivaya repeated silently, with sweet pauses in between the repetitions of mantra, kept me in sight of the One Reality within, a beautiful place to rest in silence, even while a chorus of competing recommendations for solving a multitude of personal problems filled my ears. When I allowed myself to settle into Self, it was even possible to respond cheerfully to “stuff” that did get close to pushing my various buttons. Yes, I was grateful to have packed my props, and continued my practices throughout vacation. The only buttons that got pushed were the buttons on my trusty timer.

During quiet hours in my little room with my notebooks, I made headway on my project, and took breaks on my “practice bed” for Ujjayi Pranayama, pillows under my knees.  I didn’t finish the manuscript, but I made respectable headway. Soon it will be done, I believe.  In the meantime, vacationing with this writing in the cradle of my Svaroopa® yoga and meditation practices has given me a new perspective on this project. I’m looking at the work to complete it as tapas — clearing up a “moldy oldie” — so there’s less baggage on the road ahead.

Taglines (Installment #5)

Svaroopa® Yoga: Sutra Based Yoga

flowerSvaroopa® yoga is based in the principles of Consciousness expounded in the sutras. Athletic yoga styles, the sages explain, are preparation for an eventual inner awakening, but Svaroopa® yoga gives you the inner awakening, because it is saturated by the river of ever-flowing Grace.

Svaroopa® Yoga: The Best Comes First

flower4Yoga’s promise is that you will experience the Bliss of your own Beingness. Svaroopa® yoga delivers on that promise from your very first class, creating an inner opening that gives you your own Self: from the first, in the middle, to the last, and all at the same time.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Yoga for Seekers

flower3Svaroopa® yoga is for those who are seeking something that they cannot name. They don’t know exactly what it is they’re looking for. Here is where you begin the path to finding it, the path to your own Divine Self, the path of Grace.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Opening the Doorway Within

flower2Svaroopa® yoga jump-starts your inner evolution, leading to the discovery of who you really are. Grace begins the process, supports you along the way and completes your life’s purpose – the inner revelation of your own Svaroopa, your own Divine Beingness, your Self.

Svaroopa® Yoga: The Yoga of Grace

flower5Others talk about Kundalini; Svaroopa® yoga delivers. Our poses are based in Grace, reliably providing the inner awakening that puts you on course for the highest purpose of human life. No more guessing, no more hoping, no more despair. You can live in the knowing of your own Divinity.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Alignment with Grace

Tail to top, we create the inner opening, inviting Grace to reveal your Divine Self. Svaroopa® yoga gives you the inner alignment you’ve craved all your life, the synchronizing of your individuality with your inherent Divinity.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Melting the Layers

Svaroopa® yoga is going to make you shine. As soon as you decompress your spine, the Grace melts your carefully constructed shell and opens up profound inner experiences. Melt in the glow of consciousness, which is the flow of Grace,                      through Svaroopa® yoga.

YTT Level 4 Reflections by Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Level 4 grads 2

May 2014 Level 4 Grads

Level 4 is unique — a culmination of 50 days (700 hours) of immersion training in the protocols of teaching this yoga. Just four years ago, my Level 4 propelled me to a whole series of “firsts” — taking Meditation Teacher Training, travelling to India with Swami Nirmalananda and then opening my own studio after returning. Yes, YTT 4 is both a finale and a commencement of even greater things to come! There is always more and MORE…

Ruth Brown CSYT, teaching in Columbus GA, likened YTT 4 to Yoga Mudra, saying that it is “the big seal at the end of this 50 days of training. Without forcing or straining, YTT 4 was sealing our practice into every cell of our body. Beginning with Foundations, we made our way through the gauntlet of classes and DTS. We have experienced every emotion possible as we followed the map to and through YTT 4. With joy, fear, doubt and pride and even with gracefulness to clumsiness we have navigated the course set out to us…. Now that we are properly sealed to prevent leakage, we go out into the world!”

Completing YTT 4 last May, Kathy Gardner in NC says, “YTT Level 4 brought everything I learned in earlier levels together, and made sense of all my previous trainings. Connections are clear through the continuum of trainings from Foundations on. It felt as though all other poses and trainings made us ready to experience the Classical Poses, Vinyasa sequences, and Twists & Seated poses of Level 4. It was clear to me that Swami Nirmalananda has the enlightenment to create the Svaroopa® yoga pose protocols and the teacher training to create the unfolding abilities in our bodies to experience the Level 4 poses. I recognized the necessity of significant lower spinal release, the ultimate wonderful preparation, as well as the abdominals work to move into those beautiful Level 4 poses.

“The day we had our graduation I felt surprise; I never thought I’d get that far. Yet the training to become a full-fledged Certified Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher just kept moving forward. Right now I’m in good place, with classes going well and students I love. It’s a soft place, and I’m even enjoying DTS! Sending in my plans for the Classical Theme, I felt a sense of confidence, as though I got it! Of course, they may need fix-ups. But unlike in DTS Level 2 creating these plans did not tighten my tailbone! My favorite pose now is Trikonasana, which is fun to include in my daily practice a couple of times per week. A stiff knee has always given me trouble. But in this pose the changes going on in my knee are soft and pleasant. I wonder, where is this change going to take me? In fact, even though I’m in a beautiful, soft place right now, what will be my unfolding possibilities for spreading Svaroopa® yoga into the world?”

Now all properly sealed, as Ruth says, our YTT Level 4 grads go forth to spread Svaroopa® yoga with our deep, heartfelt congratulations for all that they have achieved and contributed already — and for all that they will continue to experience and to offer. May the bliss that illuminated their faces on graduation day continue to open their students, loved ones and everyone they will touch to bliss and the experience of their own Divinity.