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A conversation with Swami GyanDharma on Bhakti Yoga

This is the final interview in the series I have been doing connected to my research on bhakti yoga as part of my project on the ashram’s yoga teacher training course. It was great to spend time with Swami Gyandharma and if you haven’t come across him, i highly highly recommend the courses he runs at Mandala Yoga Ashram a few times a year. These courses are rare gems of simplicity and wisdom.

Concepts

Swami Nishchalananda talks about concepts, their role in daily life but also the fact that ultimately, who we are is beyond any concept of the mind.

Teaching Yoga

Tariq Dervish, who spent some time living in the Ashram, recently brought his group of Student Yoga Teachers to the Ashram. During their stay Swami Nischchalananda gave the following satsang on the topic of 'Teaching Yoga'.

New Bee Hive at the Ashram

There is much in the media about the plight of the honey bee so it is great that the ashram can help, not as farmers focused on the potential honey yield but as an ally who respects and wants to watch and learn about these beautiful winged creatures. In turn they will pollinate our gardens and our beings, offering us the primordial sound in their Hum and a meditative presence.

Three heartfelt wishes

As part of the current ashram yoga teacher training course, the students were introduced to the Katha Upanishad. This text tells the story of the meeting between Nachiketas, a young boy who symbolises the ideal yoga student, and Lord Yama, a personification of Death, who represents the teacher. In the story Lord Yama asks Nachiketas for three boons (wishes). The ashram students were given an assignment to reflect on which three boons they would choose if given the chance by Death him/ herself.

Swami Vimuktananda

Swami Vimuktananda was released from her physical body yesterday. Although she will be greatly missed, she can now fly free in her return to the Source.

Our love and heartfelt best wishes go to her dear family, friends and her numerous students whose lives and hearts have been touched by the quality of her teaching, the depth of her sharing and her love.

Reflections on the teachings of karma yoga from the Bhagavad Gita

I realize that the attempt to draw the teachings of karma yoga into my daily life has had a significant impact in making challenging life circumstances much more bearable, and even exciting, providing material to work with on the journey of my spiritual evolution. I find the teachings empowering, as they offer very practical guidance on living more skilfully and, importantly for me, more peacefully. I feel more efficient, decisive and productive, while also more able to relax into the spaciousness created around work. I feel more detached from the drama of life and consequently more able to make better decisions.

Guru Purnima greetings

As humans, we have specific functions and capacities: the ability to think, to feel and to perceive through the senses to make sense of the world in which we live. We can also develop, or awaken the innate faculty of intuition. But in terms of spiritual awakening, a ‘faculty’ that is most important is the Guru Principle which lies in our heart space.  To access the inner Guru, we just have to remove the cobwebs of mental and emotional blockages, misguided concepts and blind beliefs.

An unspoken sense of Joy

Our minds are numbed to the Mystery of existence. This is just the way that life has designed and conditioned the human mind. This numbing may also be due to lack of contact with wise teachings which can open our eyes to new vistas of experience and understanding – that is, to our deepest potential.

Expansion in the Garden and the Self

Alongside our designated sacred spaces - our temples, mosques, churches and cathedrals - nature supports us in connecting with the Divine (or if you prefer a different label which points to the same essential mystery - the Self, Consciousness, Spirit or God). As one of my teachers would say; ‘Nature is the visible face of Spirit’ and if we open our hearts and look and listen we are shown many mysteries, lessons and metaphors for our spiritual path or sadhana.

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