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Amrita Yoga

Amrita Yoga

The Amrita Yoga experience may only be described as true yoga. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskritam root yuj which means to unite, to join, to connect. Amrita Yoga embodies the divine words of Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita as per the four yogas: Bhakti, Jnana, Raja and Karma. Within Amma’s powerful, yet gentle, embrace, we, as students, were treated to a wholesome experience like no other. Privileged and blessed, I bow at Amma’s louts feet and thank Amma for this glimpse of true Union.

The short 4-day course that I attended was packed with activities. The schedule of the day included 4-5 hours of Raja yoga (asanas and dhyana, or meditation), 2 hours Karma Yoga (different seva, or selfless service, for everyone), 1.5 hrs of Satsang or spiritual talk (Jnana Yoga) plus possibly another couple of hours of either Bhagavad Gita lectures, Sanskritam classes or Amma’s Satsang and at least 2-3 hours of Bhakti Yoga (1 hr of archana in the morning plus 1.5 hours of bhajans, or devotional songs in the evening). Since the yoga courses all take place during normal ashram activities, there is the possibility of darshan on the designated days, plus pujas or homas that one might feel inclined to attend.

The Raja yoga classes were taught by two teachers, Brahmacharini Shobhana and Dayalou. It was the first time those two teachers run this course together, and they truly blossomed in each other’s presence and energy. Students received a synergistic compatibility on the teaching level but also on the spiritual and energetic level. As Shiva and Shakti, consciousness and creative energy, they revealed an approach to asana practice that overflowed with ahimsa (non-violence), meditation in action and a sincere sense of spirituality. With frequent quotes from Amma, we were blessed by the Divine Mother’s presence within and without, physical (Amma was a only a few hundred meters away giving darshan in the Hall) and spiritual (Amma permanently resides in our hearts, if we invite Her). We were privileged to experience not only sound practical information on asanas and the led meditation, but glimpses of our teachers’ own profound and longterm personal practice. There was also an interweaving of the Satsangs within the practice itself. Messages of one of the lectures ‘the role of the Guru in chiseling our ego’ found themselves embedded in the students’ efforts to tackle numerous asanas of various levels of difficulty and touched us deeply.

As an Iyengar yoga practitioner, I felt at home with the alignment details in all the asanas. At the same time, Amma’s words, ‘meditation in action’ resonated strongly within my heart. It was as if, all of a sudden, it all made sense - made possible by Her presence! All the books I read, all my practice through the years, all the classes and retreats I ever attended, were missing this vital aspect – the presence of the Divine Mother. It is the missing link in today’s world, where asana practice is the only aspect of yoga practiced in the west, and everything else is non-existent. Teachers take responsibility for nothing other than the physical prowess and the superficial effects of their students’ “yoga” practice. But, by the grace of Amma, Amrita Yoga practice is true yoga, as instructed by Lord Krishna.

The course is highly recommended for a myriad of reasons. As a seasoned yoga practitioner, at Amrita Yoga I experienced an invariably wholesome approach to yoga. One may attend asana classes, pranayama classes, meditation classes – but what about all of the above, plus much more, in one class? Plus all of these, in the pure atmosphere of Amma’s physical presence, who is constantly gracing all those around Her, where chanting and devotional singing are allowing our heart to open and our soul to transcend? Even if only for the serenity that a non-violent yoga practice reveals, all yoga practitioners should try Amrita Yoga at Amritapuri. The path to moksha, or liberation, in the presence of a Living Master is a blessed one.