• Lectures 39
  • Video 8 Hours
  • Skill level all level
  • Languages English
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Course Description

An increasing number of postural yoga teachers and students are exploring the more traditional meaning of yoga practices as methods of meditation and contemplation intended to lead to Self-realization, or enlightenment, awakening to the ever peaceful, joyous center of consciousness which is one with the absolute reality. This course is designed to be an introduction to that process, to the fact that yoga really does mean "union" of the individual self with the universal Self.

What are the requirements?

  • No requirements

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Over 39 lectures and 7.5 hours of content!
  • To gain a basic understanding of what it means to say that Yoga IS meditation
  • Easily be able to perform short self-guided meditations
  • To practice meditation systematically with body, breath, conscious and unconscious mind, and beyond
  • To understand the difference between modern postural yoga and traditional yoga which is about meditation

What is the target audience?

  • Teachers and students of postural yoga who want to go a step further into the more traditional practice of yoga as meditation
  • Yoga practitioners whose first encounter with yoga has been as meditation, rather than as a physical practice
  • People who already have any kind of background in yoga and/or meditation.

Curriculum

Section 1: Introduction to What is Yoga as Meditation?
Introduction to the course
02:22
Introduction to the instructors
4 pages
About Abhyasa Ashram
3 questions
08:57

INTRODUCTION TO WHAT IS YOGA AS MEDITATION

The root meaning of Yoga Meditation lies in the meaning of the word Yoga itself, which comes from "yuj" which means "to join", to bring together the aspects of yourself that were never divided in the first place.

03:23 SATSANG YOGA AS MEDITATION

"I called it yoga meditation, because yoga actually is meditation"

In this clip Swami Jnaneshvara expands on why we call it yoga meditation, which is the yoga that has been around for thousands of years, playfully called old-fashion yoga.

05:43 YOGA HAS DIVERGED IN RECENT YEARS

Like the Robert Frost poem of two roads diverging in a wood, Yoga has diverged, gone two different directions in the past hundred years or so.

06:38 SATSANG ON YOGA AND RELIGION

"Yoga is in every religion, but yoga is not a religion"

In this clip Swami Jnaneshvara speaks about that yoga is not a "thing" that can be labeled as different kinds of yoga.

Yoga is a systematic process, it simply means you go from outer most, to outer, to a little bit inward, to more inward, and finally to the center most inward, whether you give it a name or not, if you call it a soul, if you call it God, if you call it Divine, if call it Atman, or Brahman, or Self.

Yoga Sutras Basics
5 pages
What is Yoga as Meditation?
6 questions
Section 2: The Art and Science of Systematic Practice
08:23

ART AND SCIENCE

Meditation deals with Senses, Body, breath, and Mind. There is an art in the process of observing, accepting, understanding, and training each of these various aspects of our being.

Yoga meditation is a science, providing a blueprint for the architecture of consciousness, and a roadmap to the center of consciousness.

04:16 SATSANG ON ART AND SCIENCE

Music Metaphor: a student of music learns music, studies the science, studies the masters, learns to reads music. But the student also has to put the instruments in his hands, and engage with the instrument. He will learn the mechanics and will learn how to play the instrument.

Meditation is like music; it is not a science you merely study in a books, you practice, and you will learn to play the instruments called body, breath, mind.

12:13

SYSTEMATICALLY

The systematic practice is explained, and that the preparation is the most important part of the "systematic" process of yoga.

03:43 The 8 rungs/limbs of Yoga: yamas, niyamas, asana, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi

05:33 SYSTEMATIC PRACTICE

"Yoga is a systematic process, it simply means you go from outer most, to outer, to a little bit inward, to more inward, and finally to the center most inward, whether you give it a name or not, if you call it a soul, if you call it God, if you call it Divine, if call it Atman, or Brahman, or Self."

The process starts with the body, then there is the breath, then there is the conscious mind, the levels of unconscious mind and finally something beyond that.

06:36 WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY MEDITATION?

Is it very common that after some time we come to a plateau, whether it is after a week, or months, or years, and we wonder or ask someone "what is wrong with my meditation?" More often than not we have skipped something. Something about the systematic aspect of meditation has been skipped.

  • Diet
    Exercise
    Relationship
    Or something in the systematic practice of meditation

08:21 Story of Swami Rama "Ask your mind what is wrong with your meditation?"

01:50

11 MINUTE MEDITATION

A brief explanation on the 11 minute guided meditation practice, that is presented in the next lecture

01:01 THERE IS GREAT FLEXIBILITY IN PRACTICE

Students of Yoga Meditation have different inclinations towards the practice stages of preparation, postures, relaxation, breathing, and meditation. The times spend with each stage might be different for each person. Each of these stages work together, one leading into the next.

12:00
This is an 11 minute guided meditation. It systematically leads awareness inward through the levels of body, breath, and mind, leading to stillness and silence where consciousness comes to rest in a sense of peace, happiness, and bliss.
The Art and Science of Systematic Yoga Practice
14 questions
Section 3: Observing, Accepting, Understanding, and Training
06:41

OBSERVING

Answers the question; What do we observe?

02:06 SATSANG ON OBSERVING

"Observing is the key to everything, pay attention, pay attention, pay attention"

Story of Swami Rama "Witness Everything"

07:43
WITNESS EVERYTHING

"It took me a considerable period of time to get an idea of what that meant"

00:16 Every element that sounds like philosophy, that sounds like theory, it is not; it is practice of self-awareness. This self-awareness is of the little "s" self.

00:42 If we are observing all the aspects of ourselves that we are not, gradually we come to know who we are, or what we are.

You find the self-assessment PDF in the next lecture, and in a downloadable PDF below

YOU READ ABOUT, YOU LEARN ABOUT AND YOU OBSERVE IN YOURSELF, BUT THESE ARE NOT WHO YOU ARE!

  • Gunas: sattvas, rajas, and tamas
  • Elements: earth, water, fire, air, space
  • Chakras
  • 8 rungs of Yoga: yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi
  • 4 kinds of Avidya: confusing the temporary and eternal, impure and pure, pain and pleasure, self and not-self

WITNESS EVERYTHING!

04:02 We use the framework of Yoga to provide the elements of what we're observing

  • Four attitudes to cultivate: 1) Friendliness 2) Compassion 3) Supportiveness 4) Neutrality
  • Shraddha, virya, smritti, samadhi, prajna

06:11 You internalize them (these elements), and they become the way in which you view yourself

  • Waking, dreaming, deep sleep

06:59 It takes time, but is why they call this practice. You just keep practicing self-awareness. You practice awareness of the little "s" self, in all of the many ways in which that manifests, and gradually what's revealed is the big "s" Self, the consciousness, the pure consciousness, the Atman, the Purusha, that is behind or underneath, that is the witness to everything. Witness everything!

12 pages

The items of self-awareness listed in this paper are from the perspective of yoga as seen through the tradition of the Himalayan masters as practiced at Abhyasa Ashram. Through both mindfulness in daily life and seated contemplation and meditation, one becomes increasingly aware of each of these elements of our being. By increasing self-awareness one gradually comes to see that these are not who we really are, which leads to the realization of the witness of these, the true Self, Atman, a realization commonly called Self-realization or atma-jnana.

08:04

ACCEPTING

It means to neither pull too hard towards wants or wishes of the mind-field, nor to push away so much.Gradually this acceptance, or non-attachment expands to all levels and aspects of our being. This acceptance comes as a result of gently observing ourselves.

03:08 SATSANG ON ACCEPTING

"This acceptance does not mean approval, does not mean agreement, it means fully acknowledge and accepting that there are thought and emotion, attachments and aversions in my mind-field."

Reality is was it is, it is just the way the mind works, it has all kinds of conditionings that are stored in the mind.

04:39 Question: "Does accepting mean acknowledgement?"

05:22 Question: "Does the practice of accepting ultimately helps you accept the Center of Consciousness within when you find it?"The way it helps you find the Center of Consciousness has to do with the removal of the obstacles.

As soon as you feel any moment of dissipation (of accepting), you see that there is a quiet after that.

06:50 Question; "How does accepting relate to non-attachment?" Virtually it is one and the same.

Accepting is the acknowledging part, by acknowledging it's there then there is the possibility that something can change.

10:37

UNDERSTANDING

Understanding does not mean mere intellectual understanding. This kind of understanding from the direct observation and acceptance of the various levels of our being. It comes from examination of ourselves as if are both laboratories and interior researchers.

01:34 SATSANG ON UNDERSTANDING

Understanding is that insight that comes with observing and accepting

02:18 Parachute Metaphor

05:48 The point of understanding is; if we have explored the systematic nature of meditation, and seen it in its sense of being art and science, and it has something to do with observing, acknowledging and accepting, that whatever is going on in this being called me is just something going on, it is reality, then I really start to have the understanding.

07:40 HOW DO I GET THE MIND TO SHUT UP?

Swami Jnaneshvara explains how the solution is not to want the mind to shut up, it is better to understanding to know how the mind operates, to allow the mind to do what is wants to do and not be disturbed by it.

18:50

TRAINING

The first part of this video starts with the question "Why train ourselves?"

02:04 Training of the senses
03:46 Training the body
04:48 Training of the breath
06:06 Train the conscious mind
07:25 Four function of mind; manas, chitta, ahamkara, and buddhi
10:21 Train the unconscious mind
11:43 Train the subconscious mind

13:07 SATSANG ON TRAINING

If I am observing, and I am accepting, and I am understanding, I can probably start to do something in training, I can make choice"

13:40 Sluice gate Metaphor from Yoga Sutras (4.3)

15:49 This kind of learning does not occur by addition, it is a different kind of learning, in meditation it is done like a sluice gate, it is to learn how to un-learn, it is to learn how to remove the obstacles .

17.21 What are you going to train? You train each of the levels of your being

I train my body
I train my breath
I train my conscious mind
I train my unconscious mind
And I train myself how to be in relationships with other human beings

18:10 COLORED (KLISHTA) AND UNCOLORED (AKLISHTA)

05:59

OBSERVING, ACCEPTING, UNDERSTANDING, AND TRAINING

Swami Jnaneshvara give a summary of how all these 4 parts of observing, accepting, understanding and training complement each other, work together, and are a process. He gives an example that if you have an ill thought about someone else, and you have paid attention, and you have accepting the nature of how the mind works, understanding is probably going to come that this is not very clear thinking. And so what you need to do? You need to train yourself.

02:36 There is some form of attitude that we can have that is OK with everybody, that is realizing that at the core of every being, that is probably purity.

03:17

ATTENTION - CONCENTRATION - MEDITATION - SAMADHI

"It is very common that this business of samadhi is very confusing, I give you a little tip; simplify it, whenever you're reading or you're listening to somebody talk about samadhi, just turn the volume down a little bit"

00:40 Simple attention leads to concentration, gradually concentration leads to unbroken concentration, which is called meditation, and meditation when it collapses into the deep absorption with that object on which you are meditating is called samadhi.

Awareness/Attention leads to concentration, which leads to meditation, which leads to samadhi!

Observing, Accepting, Understanding, and Training
19 questions
Section 4: Each of the Levels of our Being
07:09

EACH

It may seem to be unimportant to point out the word "each." But you individually study each of the parts, aspects and levels of yourself, so that you may then experience the Whole from which the parts all emerge. In a school, college or university you may enroll in a program, yet you study each of the separate subjects.

02:52 Levels in deeper meditation

03:38 SATSANG ON EACH

Each one of the levels is an individual, you don't skip the body, when you work on the mind, you do EACH.

The notion is that we are multifaceted, multilevel, multi-layered, being. And if we want to know the Center of Consciousness, by whatever name we call that, if that is what we are doing it for, then how many of the little trough in the farmers field to we need to remove?

Which part of your car may you freely ignore forever?

We have levels of our being and we ought to give attention to ALL of them

03:19

SEVEN LEVELS

This video is on AUM Mantra and the waking state, dreaming state, deep sleep state and the fourth; Turiya, with their three transition-states. Hence seven levels.

09:30

MANKUKYA UPANISHAD

The pinnacle of the wisdom and practices of the ancient sages is contained in the terse twelve verses of the Mandukya Upanishad, which outlines the philosophy and practices of the OM mantra (written as either AUM or OM). The three stages plus the fourth of Om mantra are central to Yoga Meditation.

17:04

LEVELS

To know yourself at all levels means to direct or train your attention to gradually, systematically move inward, going from outer to inner, from gross to subtle.

One explores "horizontally" and "vertically". We need not know everything there is to know about each level (horizontally). If we know that level well enough to allow it to be still, balanced, and not an obstacle, then our attention can shift to the next deeper level (vertically). In this way, we eventually move through the levels in our meditation.

04:29 SATSANG ON EACH OF THE LEVELS

All of a sudden during your quiet meditation the unconscious comes forward, which may be perceived like a bomb from way back when; this is progress, it is another level of unconscious processing.

Computer Metaphor - Who am I in the computer metaphor? I am the electricity, I am the Center of Consciousness.

It is all about remove the obstacles, on each of the levels, both conscious mind and unconscious mind. Then all of the parts will start to work together.

Manas, chitta, ahamkara and buddhi (the four functions of mind) working together

Swami Rama says: "OK, Mind you want to have that cub, you can have it... go ahead and steal it, but i am not going to let you use the hand" = training

The parts start to work together, they integrate.

15:30 BEING

"We are Beings." Yet paradoxically, who we truly are is none of these "beings"

Lotus flower metaphor

08:51

KOSHAS OR SHEATH

We humans are like a lamp that has five lampshades over our light. Each of the lampshades is a different color and density. As the light shines through the lampshades, it is progressively changed in color and nature. It is a bitter-sweet coloring. On the one hand, the shades provide the individualized beauty of each lamp. Yet, the lampshades also obscure the pure light. The Yoga path of Self-realization is one of progressively moving inward, through each of those lampshades, so as to experience the purity at the eternal center of consciousness, while at the same time allowing that purity to animate through our individuality. These five levels are called koshas, which literally means sheaths.

08:14 ANIMATION ON KOSHAS

A short animation on the five koshas

04:06

IS ONE OF THE LEVELS THE OUTSIDE WORLD?

In terms of the relationship with the external world the suggestion is, the starting point is called Ahimsa

"Himsa" meas harming, hurting, or damaging
"A" means "no"
Ahimsa means refrain from hurting, harming, and injuring.

Start with this at home, with the person(s) who are closes to you, and being willing to run the experiment to observe and accept and acknowledge and come to understand and train myself.
You can choose one and make an agreement with yourself "that I will do absolutely nothing that will have the effect of harming this person."

03:29 Satya = truthfulness; that what is going on inside me and what is going on outside of me are in alignment

08:00

SO HUM

Meditation on Soham mantra is a central mantra practice of Yoga Meditation. Soham is a universal mantra as it relates to the breath, and everybody breaths. SoHum is a Sanskrit word that means "I am that," or "I am that I am."

04:26

SO HAM MANTRA

This video explains the practice offered in the next lecture.

Soham Mantra
30:42
Each of the Levels of our Being
8 questions
Section 5: Coordination and Integration
10:48

COORDINATE

To train these aspects of ourselves to coordinate, rather than to compete with one another is a very useful thing to do. This practice of coordinating is dome both at meditation time, as well as, in daily life by the student of yoga meditation.

02:32 Reduce the competition among desires.

03:55 INTEGRATE

At each of the levels of our being, allow the various aspects to work together, like the fingers of a hand.
The force of this integration is then turned inward with full determination = sankalpa shakti. People speak of wanting to awaken kundalini shakti, the spiritual evergy. However, the first form of shakti to emerge is not kundalini shakti which brings enlightenment or Self-realization, but sankalpa shakti, which is the energy of determination.

06:51 SATSANG ON COORDINATE AND INTEGRATE

"The body, the breath, the conscious mind, the active unconscious mind, and the latent unconscious (the place of the seeds of the habit patterns) can all work together When they are all working together we find equanimity."

07:24 Analogy of the tumblers in a lock. When the key go into the lock, all tumblers are aligned, and the lock turns very smoothly.

9.33 We are multilevel beings, we have many aspects to ourselves and if we want to get all of those parts line up, then we have to work with each one independently and we have to work with them together in life, in practice, and then beautiful almost imaginable thing happens; THE LOCK OPENS, THE DOOR OPENS to the Center of Consciousness.

09:46

MEDITATION; A UNIVERSAL PROCESS

This animation shows you the whole systematic meditation, which is a universal process that includes working with the body, breath, mind to go beyond all these levels to dive the Center of Consciousness, which is of the nature of peace, happiness, and bliss.

Soham and Gazing/Trataka
09:00
Coordinating and Integrating
6 questions
Section 6: Aspects of Ourselves
14:29

ASPECTS

There are various aspects of ourselves within each of the levels of our being.

02:15 Aspects of the Senses Level
04:06 Aspects of the Body
05:34 Aspects of the Breath Level
07:19 Aspects of the Conscious Mind Level
08:56 Aspects of the Unconscious Mind Level
10:26 Aspects of the Latent (Subconscious) Mind Level
11:48 Aspects of Center of Consciousness

Ourselves
07:15
Om Practice - 30 Minutes
01:24
OM practice
30:02
25 pages

Yoga Nidra means Yogic Sleep. It is a state of conscious Deep Sleep. In Meditation, you remain in the Waking state of consciousness, and gently focus the mind, while allowing thought patterns, emotions, sensations, and images to arise and go on. However, in Yoga Nidra, you leave the Waking state, go past the Dreaming state, and go to Deep Sleep, yet remain awake. While Yoga Nidra is a state that is very relaxing, it is also used by Yogis to purify the Samskaras, the deep impressions that are the driving force behind Karma.

Yoga Nidra is a companion practice to meditation. This article is here so that you will be familiar with how Meditation and Yoga Nidra—while separate—work together. This article and links to the Yoga Nidra CD practice are here: http://swamij.com/yoga-nidra.htm (This Yoga Nidra CD has been the most popular in the world for 10 years or more.)

Aspects of Ourselves
10 questions
Section 7: Dwell in Direct Experience of the Center of Consciousness
08:03

This animation will show you the apparent paradox of non-dual Consciousness and practice. How do they go together? If there is only one formless non-dual consciousness, why should you do practice? Consciousness is all there is! But as long as the attachment is there to the appearing manifestations that seem to exist within the formless non-dual Consciousness there appears to be a path to follow and practices to do.

07:20

DWELL

A good starting place, as a goal, is to seek even one second of direct experience of the Absolute Reality at our Center of Consciousness. That second of direct experience is then allowed to expand. Eventually one comes to dwell in that Absolute Reality 24 hours per day. every days, permanently. Ultimately, this is the goal of yoga meditation.

01:49 SATSANG ON DWELL

"Dwell means live there... most of the time"

02:41 We increasingly at one level or an other are aware of this Center of Consciousness, of this purety, equanimity, calmness, peace of mind

02:57 The choice of the word dwell... in the direct experience of that, if we dwell in That, then it doesn't matter what we are doing outside.

The awareness is mostly always there... this is part of the training... we are becoming a master of ourselves

03:58 DIRECT EXPERIENCE

In the oral tradition of yoga, it is said that you should not believe anything you are told, or what is written in books. However, it is also suggested that the student does not reject either. Seek your own direct experience, not merely belief.

05:16 CENTER OF CONSCIOUSNESS

The phrase "Center of Consciousness" simply means that core of our being which we each intuit as being our deepest true nature.

06:44 ANIMATION OF KOSHAS

01:19

30 MEDITATION

Explanation to the 30 minute meditation presented in the next lecture.

30-Minute Guided Meditation
30:59
Dwell in the Direct Experience of the Center of Consciousness
6 questions
01:13:36

YOGA SUTRAS 1.1-1.5

Yoga Sutras is a 196 verses... and the whole science of meditation is summarized in these first 4/5 sutras.

00:00:28 Yoga Sutra 1.1 Atha yoga anushasanam
Now, after having done prior preparation through life and other practices, the study and practice of Yoga begins.
Read more: http://swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10104.htm#1.1

00:00:35 Atha, translates as now. Atha has a particular implication, it implies that before you do this you have done something else. It means you are prepared to do yoga.

00:11:29 Question: Are there setbacks sometimes?
Answer: Of course...so what! It is predictable, it is mentioned in the yoga sutras (1.30-.1.32....read more: http://swamij.com/yoga-sutras-13032.htm#1.30

00:12:47 Yoga Sutra 1.2 is the most succinct definition of self-realization
Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah
Yoga is the control (nirodhah, regulation, channeling, mastery, integration, coordination, stilling, quieting, setting aside) of the modifications (gross and subtle thought patterns) of the mind field.
Read more: http://swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10104.htm#1.2

00:13:10 Nirodhah= is a difficult word, it is an incredible word. Gradually over time the meaning will get richer and richer. It doesn't mean mere repression. There is no single word that translate nirodhah.

00:15:20 Four functions of mind, manas, chitta, ahamkara and buddhi
Integration between these four function is one of the aspects of nirodhah

00:20:55 Question: "Is a part of integration listening to your conscience?

00:22:49 Question: "Is there a preferable age to start yoga?

00:32:47 Yoga Sutra 1.3 Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam
Then the Seer abides in Itself, resting in its own True Nature, which is called Self-realization.
Read more on: http://swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10104.htm#1.3

00:39:15 Question: "Can you also get these glimpses in daily life?"

00:40:32 Question: "Is the observer the same as the seer?"

00:45:50 Question: "Does the seer provide the power?"

00:48: Question: "So the electricity is without identity?"

00:53:58 Yoga Sutra 1.4 Vritti sarupyam itaratra
At other times, when one is not in Self-realization, the Seer appears to take on the form of the modifications of the mind field, taking on the identity of those thought patterns.
Read more: http://swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10104.htm#1.4

01:04:34 Yoga Sutra 1.5 Vrittayah pancatayah klishta aklishta
Those gross and subtle thought patterns (vrittis) fall into five varieties, of which some are colored (klishta) and others are uncolored (aklishta).
Read more: http://swamij.com/yoga-sutras-10511.htm#1.5

01:08:53 Question: "Can you say something about "clouding over?"

End
00:25

Instructor Biography

Abhyasa Ashram , Traditional Yoga of the Himalayan Masters

Abhyasa Ashram is a monastery and yoga meditation center which practices universal meditation 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). At Abhyasa Ashram we have 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.

In loving Service,

Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati (Swamiji, Swami J)

Instructor Biography

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.

Instructor Biography

Within a week after meeting Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati in March, 2009 she knew that she had finally found the one person that understood what she was longing for her whole life, and who was able to guide her to realize her longing. She had met Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati in Rishikesh – India, in his three week intensive meditation retreat at Sadhana Mandir Ashram (founded by Swami Rama; Swami Jnaneshvara‘s teacher). The result was that after that week she told him she was going the leave everything behind to knock on his door in Florida as soon as possible. Within 6 weeks after returning from India she was on a plane to Fort Walton Beach, Florida, US to knock on the door of Abhyasa Ashram, founded by Swami Jnaneshvara.

Since early childhood she intuitively felt the presence of something beyond duality. Growing up in a world that didn’t seem to acknowledge this, she hid the longing to understand this feeling in her heart, just waiting for the right time to be expressed and pursued. At 17 years, she made her the first attempts to express this intuitive knowing of something beyond duality at the Art Academy. Here she laid the foundation of many principles, later to be understood yogic and tantric principles. When she heard, or more accurately assimilated the word Yoga for the first time, at 21 years of age, she knew she found a better way of deepening her understanding of the longing living in her heart. After first learning and teaching the merely preliminary steps of Yoga, she got to know a teacher that introduced her to the non-dual teaching of Vedanta; the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita at the age of 23. She started to teach Raja Yoga and Vedanta including Hatha Yoga two years after that. This teacher was not able to provide her a way of living she (without yet knowing it existed) longed for. Full of reverence and gratitude she still loves this teacher, as the teachings were pure and a foundation from which she later could receive the teachings of Swamiji. Somehow at that time the mind did not yet know of the existence of the path of renunciation. The mind was waiting for this introduction (to the phenomenon of renunciation) until she met Swamiji, which took another year. Within meeting Swamiji everything became very clear, and with joy she understood that the path of renounciation was the path she was for longing for, for many years.

On March 15 she was initiated as a novice swami, and on November 13 2012 she took sannsaya at the banks of the Ganges, this diksha was given to her by Swami Jnaneshvara… she now carries the name Swami Ma Tripurashakti Bharati

Swami Ma Tripurashakti Bharati or Ma Tri (pronounced “ Ma Tree“) travels around in the world between different places that are all one Home, to practice, serve, and share the teaching she received from Swamiji, the teaching of the Himalayan Tradition that are given to us by Swami Rama, that embrace the teachings of Yoga, Vedanta and Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra.

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    • Jennifer Pitt

    Good technical. Clear and engaging programme

    This course is well documented and easy to understand the videos where practical and helpful and where an asset to the learning experience

    • Marijke

    I am striving to go into my obstacles and look for getting rid of it

    Your course may help me to follow this endeavour

    • Francisco

    The best explanation I´ve ever heard about meditation and Yoga sutras

    Clear, simple and complex at the same time. Excellent!! Thank you for sharing, SJ!!!

    • Ajay Sachdeva

    Excellent

    Helped me tremendously in taking my meditation and my understanding of the 'road-map' to a higher level. Highly recommended for all serious aspirants of this path.

    • Ravish.sinha@gmail.com

    very good course

    It is very good course by extremely good speaker that too free.... My respect to speaker..

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