We have a great set of three Art of Living courses coming to Austin in the next few weeks. Loosely speaking, I’d say we have one course each with attention on the body, the breath, and the mind. But that’s very loosely speaking. Read on.
The first course is Sahaj Samadhi Meditation, a mantra-based meditation technique. Sahaj means natural or effortless; Samadhi means transcendence. Back when I was initiated into Sahaj meditation in 2004, my first meditation was like nothing I had ever done before. I came out of it in a state of wonder not knowing what hit me or how long I was gone. The experience was very deep, and I fell in love with meditation.
From Swami Venkatesananda’s translation of the ancient Indian scripture Vasistha’s Yoga, here are Vasistha’s words on meditation:
The self is not realized by any means other than meditation. If one is able to meditate even for thirteen seconds, even if one is ignorant, one attains the merit of giving away a cow in charity. If one does so for one hundred and one seconds, the merit is that of performing a sacred rite. If the duration is twelve minutes, the merit is a thousandfold. If the duration is a day, one dwells in the highest realm. This is the supreme yoga, this is the supreme kriya.
The Sahaj Samadhi course gives you a 20-minute practice that you can do twice daily. For those who already have a Sudarshan Kriya practice, Sahaj is the perfect complement. Sudarshan Kriya does deep cleansing and puts you at the threshold of meditation; Sahaj Samadhi takes you into a deep dive of stillness in meditation.
Dates: 28-30 March.
Info / Register: Sahaj Samadhi Meditation
The second course we have is Sri Sri Yoga, a holistic system of asanas (postures), along with pranayamas (breathing techniques) and meditation. From this course you will get a sequence of asanas to practice at home daily. The course will teach the basics of the ancient healing science of Ayurveda. Based on its principles, participants are guided to identify their own body type. The yoga sequence is then customized to suit each participant’s individual body type. The course also explores the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Sri Sri Yoga instructor Shriram Sarvotham has not missed a day of yoga since he started his practice 23 years ago. Shriram was in Austin last weekend for a brief lecture on Sri Sri Yoga. Some snippets from his talk:
[On asanas] Each asana is like a note of music. When you arrange different notes in a specific sequence, you get a melody. Different sequences give different melodies; using the same notes, you can have a melancholy tune, or an upbeat one. Similarly, having a right sequence of asanas is very important to get the most harmonizing benefits from yoga. Sri Sri Yoga gives you a great sequence.
Q: What postures will help with hormonal headaches? Any inverted postures that direct blood to the brain?
A: Aches and pains commonly have a root cause that may be elsewhere in the body. For instance, the five most common causes of lower back pain have nothing to do with the lower back. From a recent study, the most common cause was found to be obesity; the back is simply not strong enough to support the weight of an overweight belly! The second cause was stress. No amount of back exercises will help such cases. That’s why we recommend a well-rounded sequence of postures that covers all parts of the body, with emphasis also on pranayamas and meditations. That way the root cause gets addressed, rather than the symptom.
For those who have the intention of doing yoga but have not had the training or a specific sequence of postures to do at home, this is perfect for you. I haven’t done Sri Sri Yoga myself, so I will be taking this course this April.
Dates: First two weekends of april (Fri, Sat, Sun)
Info / Register: Sri Sri Yoga
Last and our most beloved is the Art of Living Course! Our very own teacher Arvind is now back from India. Loaded with knowledge and thought-provoking questions to ponder and share, with yoga and pranayamas preparing the system for the deep cleansing of Sudarshan Kriya, and much more… Words can’t do this course justice. Just do it, if you haven’t already. If you have, repeat it for a donation of your choice.
You can go back to some experiences shared from the February course on this blog.
Dates: March 24-29
Info / Register: Art of Living Course
For the curious, my own daily practice consists of yoga asanas (postures), Sudarshan Kriya (breathing) and Sahaj Samadhi (meditation). Step by step we go from the grosser levels of existence to the subtler.