Jnana Yoga: The Yoga of Contemplation
What you'll learn
- Practice the profound depths of Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of Contemplation
- Jnana means "knowing" at the deepest level, not just intellectual thinking.
- Practice jnana or knowing all day long, 24/7, for the greatest insights of inner joy.
- The pinnacle of knowing is experience in the ever-present center of consciousness.
- Jnana yoga is a systematic journey inward, like climbing a ladder to the top of an infinite tree.
- The ideal student has some understanding of Yoga beyond the physical
- There are no quantifiable prerequisites
- Curiosity with an attitude of willingness to play
*******Over 5,000 students are enrolled in this course*******
Pondering, reflecting, contemplating on the nature of our personality, soul, and spirit is one of the most important aspects of traditional Yoga. Please don't overlook this essential part of your Yoga practices. This course will lead you through the levels of contemplation, from the basics to the most advanced contemplations as practiced by the ancient sages.
Yoga is a whole life process. The Contemplation of Jnana Yoga is one of the most advanced practices of Yoga. The reflective process of contemplation utilizes the word-forming habit of the mind in a directed way, so as to transcend not only body and breath, but most importantly, to go beyond the mind to the realization in direct experience the True Self, the Atman, or Center of Consciousness.
A Suggestion: Our descriptions of traditional Yoga tend to be thorough, broad, and deep. This can lead you to think this is complicated, and that it's going to take a great deal of study like in a college class. But the suggestion is to take it easy; watch the presentations leisurely, like you might watch a movie while sitting on a comfortable chair or couch. Just absorb it, take it in. Don't worry about memorizing. It will gently sink in, and you can practice the principles in daily life. Go back later and look again at the presentations, whether all of them or a few. Terminology, principles, and practices will gently become familiar.
This course first outlines the preparatory practices, leading one to start the process of contemplation. The course then guides you in the preliminary practices of contemplation through the processes of positive inquiry of Internal Dialogue. Finally, you will be taught the traditional contemplations, the "great" contemplations known as Mahavakyas, which have traditionally be practiced primarily by those monks living lives of renunciation in remote places like the cave monasteries of the high Himalayas.
Who this course is for:
- Long time practitioners of any aspect of Yoga
- Yoga coaches, teachers, and therapists
- Anyone curious about the subtleties of traditional 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.