If you’re thinking about going to India this year to further your spiritual journey, then read this beautiful review. It is inspiring and uplifting, while giving a great overview of the trip.
This year’s Anahata Yoga Retreat’s ‘India Retreat’ runs 29 Sept – 25 Oct 2017, from Kolkata
An experience of Ashram in India, specifically a Satyananda Yoga Ashram is an essential component of experience, if you desire to have a full yogic experience and understanding of the spiritual element in your life. Without this experience of the ‘Spiritual’ from the perspective of connecting with the Mother source (‘Ma’) and the Divine element (Shiva/Shakti), one is left feeling like something fundamental is missing from the Yogic Life.
I have been fortunate to travel with Anahata Yoga ‘India Retreat’ (New Zealand) now on two occasions to visit both Rikhia and Munger Ashrams, to not only experience the ‘Ashram life’, but to participate in Seva, to attend yoga course/s, to imbibe the vibration and essence of festival and yogic ritual in all its fullness, to feel centred and grounded, to cultivate the power of stillness with the deep vibration of mantra and ceremony and much more.
On arrival at your hotel in Kolkata you are received with warmth and loving openness, and let to feel that all your needs will be taken care of with respect. And most importantly to begin to embrace the ‘India experience’ knowing that someone is ‘looking out for you’, will organise your hotel stay, your transport to and from the train station and to the ashram, to help you with your luggage, on and off the train and at the end of the trip to return back to Kolkata and your hotel once more. All is communicated clearly and respectfully and you feel able to have the best experience of each moment of your journey, without worrying about the small details. This was my experience with the Anahata team and those persons who chose to join us. And this was only the beginning…
Upon reaching Ashram, we were again received with openness and kindness and directed toward ‘settling in’. it was good to know where to receive food and to be escorted to our room, to know that someone was there to answer any questions, and to make our stay as effortless as possible. We were offered not only the experience of Ashram, but the opportunity to imbibe yogic teachings from an authentic and ancient source. Receiving yogic instruction from a teacher/s who have not only embraced the yogic path and its principles deeply and passionately, but embody the attitude and reverence that these teachings instil.
This is particularly important to me, to be able to directly receive such teachings in their ‘appropriate’ timing and setting and to gradually learn to imbibe these principles myself and to pass on to others. In other words, we come to Ashram to put into practice our ‘Sadhana’ and to strengthen that resolve so that we may also be an ‘instrument’ and representative of this tradition and yogic path.
On each visit to the Ashram I had the privilege to attend either of two courses with Swami Karma Karuna. The first being a course on the Chakra System and the second on the subject of Prana Vidya. Both courses are integral to the yogic system of Tantra and promote the tenet of “liberation of the mind from the physical constraints and limitations of the body”. Practising Asana while specifically focussing on the energy centres (Chakra) of the body was deeply relaxing and releasing of deep physical tensions, while directing me to ground and centre my mind in each experience of the practice. Given that I was practising this in the early morning ashram environment heightened the experience, and my awareness was much sharper in the focus of my body and breath in each physical posture/position. This was also an ideal way to prepare for the day ahead. We also practised ‘Trataka’ on each Chakra or energy centre (one Chakra focus per day) in the afternoon meditation session. The effect was to still the energies of the mind and quieten the impact of the senses on the body/mind, thus helping me to slow down consciously for the second half of the day and be more efficient and ‘mindful’ in my tasks.
The course ‘Prana Vidya’ was a deeply powerful exploration of the channelling and mental direction of Pranas through specific energy channels in the body (‘Nadi’s). Again this resulted in an increase of awareness in each moment in time and the ability/opportunity to become aware of the internal contractions and ‘blockages’ in the physical/pranic bodies and to release them via the experience of the breath and direct focus of mental energy. Coupled with the practice of Yoga Nidra, this left me feeling re-energised and able to have a greater ability to respond to what lay ahead.
In summary, both these courses were ideal in the setting of Ashram because they provided a vehicle for me to be fully present and aware in each given moment, thus intensifying the ashram experience and providing the opportunity for me to assess ‘where I was at’. I heartedly recommend that if you visit the ashram do think about participating in either or both of these courses, your experience will be the ‘deeper and richer’ for it!
You may like to make your own trip to India, to a Satyananda Yoga Ashram with Swami Karma Karuna and her team and you will be assured of a genuine and respectful yogic experience. Do try it!!
With prem and ananda,
Sannyasi Savita Saraswati
For more details on our guided India retreats, click here
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