Ashtanga Yoga of the Yoga Sutras
What you'll learn
- Have an excellent understanding of the principles of traditional Ashtanga Yoga.
- Have a solid foundation in practicing historical Ashtanga Yoga.
- Ashta means "eight" and anga means "rungs" or "limbs". Ashtanga refers to the 8 rungs of Yoga as outlined in the Yoga Sutras.
- Real Ashtanga Yoga has nothing to do with the early 1900s invention of physical fitness yoga using the same name.
- The goal of Ashtanga Yoga is kaivalya, or liberation from, or transcendence of mental conditionings, not physical fitness as in modern devolutions of yoga.
- Ashtanga Yoga leads to direct experience of the eternal center of pure consciousness called Atman or Purusha.
- No specific materials are needed for the course
- Materials will be provided in the Resources throughout the course.
*******Over 7,000 students are enrolled in this course*******
Yoga is a whole life process. There is actually only one Yoga, with various aspects The most known and extremely useful aspect of this one Yoga is the eight rungs (ashta=eight, anga=rungs) outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.
The intent of this course is to provide a very practical, yet thorough overview of the systematic process of traditional Ashtanga Yoga. Our approach is essentially three-fold: First, the most essential foundation principles are introduced and explained. Second, the eight rungs (ashtanga) are each explained. Third, explanations are given on what to do with the eight rungs in conjunction with those foundation principles. This journey includes practical principles on the outcomes of the practices, and the levels of direct experience that come as a result of practicing traditional Ashtanga Yoga. The course is meant for a wide range of practitioners, including those who are new to Yoga, and those with years of experience who wish to explore the subtler, more interior aspects of Yoga. This course is a great introduction to the traditional principles and practices of Yoga before its traditional orientation was largely abandoned starting in the early 1900s.
We are passionate about these principles and practices and offer these to you from the depth of our hearts. May your Ashtanga Yoga practices bring you peace, happiness, and bliss.
In loving service,
Swami Jnaneshvara (Swami J)
Who this course is for:
- This course is for anyone with interest in Yoga
- The ideal student would have an active curiosity and a genuine interest in practicing the subtler aspect of traditional Ashtanga Yoga.
YOGA is a WHOLE LIFE process. Although each of our courses has an individual emphasis, they go hand-in-hand with the others as one process of Yoga. We presently have 11 online courses published through Udemy. Swami Jnaneshvara is the presenter, and the language is English.
Abhyasa Ashram is a place of the heart rather than a physical place. It has the feel of an internal monastery and yoga meditation center, which practices universal meditation and contemplation as taught by the ancient tradition of yogis of the cave monasteries of the Himalayas, especially as transmitted through the lineage of Swami Rama. The tradition has no name, and is not affiliated with any of the institutions or religions of the plains of India or other countries surrounding the Himalayas, although individual meditators may personally align themselves with a wide variety of religions or institutions. We may refer to the tradition as "the tradition of the Himalayan masters" or "the Himalayan tradition", but that is for the sake of convenience, and is not a style or brand name as is popular these days.
Our methods of meditation and contemplation involve systematic awareness of all levels of our being, including actions/senses, body, breath, mind, finally resting in the awareness of the Self (atman) which is one with the universal Self (brahman). Our approach is that of aspirant training, not teacher training. Our approach to training is mostly individual or group coaching, as Yoga meditation and contemplation has been traditionally taught for thousands of years. Aspirants with various degrees of experience naturally teach others within the context of their own lives and modes of service.
From the perspective of our meditation tradition, each person is perfect, pure consciousness (atman, purusha, shakti) at the core of her or his being. The entire process of yoga sadhana (meditation and contemplation practices) is to reduce the colorings of attractions, aversions, and fears that usually veil that realization (often called Self-realization). This is done by systematically receding inward through senses, body, breath, conscious and unconscious mind. The final barrier is removed through a transmission of grace, which is known as shaktipata, the bestowing of the pure consciousness of shakti. It is also known as guru kripa, grace of guru. In our tradition guru is a force field of consciousness, and is not any person, although that grace of guru can flow through a person.
At Abhyasa Ashram the word "Yoga" is used in its traditional meaning, rather than the revisionist meaning of Yoga as merely a gymnastic or physical fitness program. Yoga means “union" of the individual consciousness and universal consciousness, Atman and Brahman, Jivatman and Paramatman, as well as Shiva and Shakti. It is pure consciousness (Purusha) standing alone from primal manifestation (Prakriti).
Yoga is traditionally taught, practiced and learned through close relationships in a community of noble friends, known as kalyana-mitra. Guru is a stream of knowledge of direct experience which, though it may operate through a person, is itself not a person. While some participants in ashram activities have a theistic (god) orientation and others a non-theistic orientation, we virtually all intuit that there is only one, nondual (advaita), absolute reality even though it may appear to be dualistic.
Our purpose is to share with people who have an interest in the principles and practices of the Himalayan masters, including traditional Yoga Meditation, Vedanta, and internal, meditative Tantra. Our community of meditation and contemplation is devoted to serving those who deeply long for the direct experience of union with the eternal, pure center of consciousness, the bliss of being that is one with the absolute reality, as the wave who seeks to remember it is one with the ocean. One word for that union is "Yoga."
The word "Abhyasa" means "practices." Abhyasa is purposefully choosing to do that which leads to "sthitau," which is a stable, steady, undisturbed inner calmness or tranquility. Abhyasa is one of the twin foundations of Yoga, along with Vairagya, the mental stance of non-attachment (Yoga Sutras 1.12-1.16). The root of the word Ashram is "shrama," which means "effort" or "striving." The hermitage, home, or training center of a swami or other person serving people in their efforts towards inner peace and awakening of consciousness is often called an Ashram. Thus, our community of meditation, contemplation and learning is known as Abhyasa Ashram. More than any physical location, it is really a place of the heart, an inner sanctuary of silence. Thus, the ideal ashram is your own home.
In loving Service,
Swami Jnaneshvara (Swamiji, Swami J, Baba)
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati was born in 1948 in Ohio, USA, spent most of his youth in Florida, and later lived in several other states, including California, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Texas. His education includes a BS in Management from Florida State University and an MA in Consciousness, with emphasis in Transpersonal Psychology from John F. Kennedy University, in California. He previously worked in advertising, retail store management, counseling and psychiatric social work. He was never married and has no children.
Spontaneously practicing meditation and other yogic practices from early childhood, Swami Jnaneshvara has been a student of the Himalayan Tradition of yoga meditation since 1986 when initiated in meditation by Swami Rama (10 years to the day prior to Swami Rama leaving the body). Several months later he met Pandit Usharbudh Arya, through whom supplemental training was given from time to time during the next few years. Swami Jnaneshvara was given novice monastic initiation in 1990, was ordained as a monk (swami) of the Himalayan tradition and the order of Shankaracharya in 1993 by Swami Rama, and was given one of the highest yogic initiations of direct experience in 1996, with final teachings and instructions being imparted shortly before Swami Rama left the body in November, 1996.
In 1998 and 1999 Swami Jnaneshvara received training, practices and grace from the venerated sage Naga Swami Hanuman Giri at the cave hermitages in the high Himalayas beyond Badrinath and Mana (He left the body in 2002). In 1999, initiation as Dandi Swami (a most honorific swami initiation in the Shankara tradition, in which a Danda, or staff is bestowed) was given at the bank of the Ganges in Haridwar, India by a highly revered Acharya (teacher) of Dandi Swamis, Acharya Dandi Swami Indradev Ashram. In 2000, the sage Vratti Baba of Kalimath, Himalayas passed on his initiatory transmissions at the time of his dropping the body (Vratti Baba was a long time friend and spiritual brother of Swami Rama). Swami Jnaneshvara has also been invited to be initiated as Mahamandaleshwar, said to be one of the highest leadership posts within the swami orders. The invitation has been respectfully declined so as to remain focused on the service work at hand.
From 1996-2012 Swami Jnaneshvara fascilitated month-long retreats at Swami Rama's Rishikesh, India ashram. Currently he resides at his Abhyasa Ashram in Florida USA, with far less travel than previous years. He has a significant presence in spreading traditional Yoga practices through internet, while serving a small number of visitors to the ashram.