"Meditation is that light of the mind which lights the way for action, and without that light there is no love."
One of the missions of the Yoga Mitra Mandal is to organize seminars with outstanding teachers in Yoga. These seminars introduce teachings that are more subtle and difficult to access without the guidance of accomplished adepts.
Seminars deepen our understanding of Yoga. The seminars have introduced participants to outstanding teachers who both teach and embody the wisdom of yoga. Participants have learnt new practices and gained a deeper understanding of yoga from participating in these seminars. In the recent years, we have hosted the following seminars:
Swami Maheshananda Saraswati: Healing of the Mind, Body and Spirit. September 26-28, 2014
In a powerful series, Swami Mahesh spoke about the yogic perspective on the science of healing. We learnt the both the theoretical and practical aspects of techniques which can help us to promote emotional, mental and physical health. In his lucid teachings, Swamiji once again taught us the connection between body, breath, prana, mind and spirit. Chakra healing provides a methodology to explore different levels of consciousness; Pranic healing techniques help us experience the body-mind connection; Emotional healing helps restore balance of the emotions and restore psychological balance. Combining theory with practice, Swami Mahesh once again left us rejuvenated and energized.
Swami Maheshananda Sarawati: Yoga Beyond the Mat. November 2-4, 2012
We continued our spiritual journey, going beyond the practices of Asana and Pranayama and into major philosophies which are the underpinning of all yoga practice. We learnt the key elements of Tantra, a gentle science of energy (much misunderstood in East and West). We also received a primer into the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, the great sage who codified yoga practices. Swami Mahesh provided more insight into emotional healing, the topic of last year's seminar. A combination of theory and practice, this was an enlightening weekend of learning how to develop our practice to reach deeper into mind and spirit.
Swami Maheshananda: Emotional Well Being, Part 2, December 2011
We were fortunate to have a quick repeat visit by Swami Mahesh, to continue the work on managing our emotions, and to receive his spiritual insights in a yogic understanding of our emotions, and how we can understand them, manage them and put them to work to further our goals in life.
In three powerful sessions, we learnt, in his own words, to "connect with some of the wonderful yoga practices that can help us to deal with our emotions in a positive way and see the Light which actually pervades that energy." Combined meditation, mantra, kirtan with practical ideas, it was a seminar which provided many new perspectives and ideas to help manage this often turbulent and troublesome part of our lives.
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Swami Maheshananda: Emotional Well Being, October 2011
In a magical weekend which we will all remember for a long time, Swami Mahesh introduced the topic of emotional well being and the management of emotions. Despite our best intentions, emotions do take over sometimes, and lead us into actions and speech which, on reflection, are inappropriate or damaging. Swamiji provided a full yogic perspective on this challenging topic. Going from an exploration of the “home” of the emotions, we experienced the yogic practices, as well as ideas from other spiritual traditions which can assist us in this journey. We practiced together, chanted together, sang together, interacted with Swamiji and each other and created strong vibrations which many of us feel long after the event is over. We left with a strong sense of community, and a sense of peace, joyousness and calm. We look forward to exploring this topic in future sessions.
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Swami Maheshananda: Deepening Yoga Practice, September 2010
In a two-session event, Swami Mahesh taught the techniques of deepening yoga practice by integrating asana with mudra and bandha practices, moving systematically from the gross to subtle layers of being. We practiced the advanced technique of Hamsa Dhyana to energize all dimensions, and for better body/mind coordination and improved mental clarity and focus.
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Swami Maheshananda: Energizing Body, Mind and Spirit, April 2010
Focusing on Prana Vidya – the science of energy – we made a systematic journey starting with the five levels of energy manifestation, thru identifying chakra points and culminating in advanced meditation practices of Prana Nidra and Chakra Dharana. We experienced an amazing blend of theory and practical yoga techniques.
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Swami Dharmakeerti: In Search of Illumination, 2009
In a spellbinding seminar series, Swami Dharmakeerthi expounded on the forces which propel and aid in the spiritual journey. Delving into Indian mythology with its rich tapestry of symbolic stories and characters, she opened our minds to the intricacies of the spiritual path, and the techniques by which we remain true to the goal of spiritual enlightenment.
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Swami Maheshananda: Bringing Yoga Home, 2009
In this two part series, Swamiji taught us the practical aspects of building a regular practice, along with its sound theoretical foundations. We learnt how to manage stress and how to bring yoga into daily life. Swamiji introduced the basics of Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara and Dharana in theory and practice. Also included was the demonstration of Surya namaskara (Sun salutation).
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Swami Dharmakeerti: Devi Mahatmyam, 2008
Swami Dharmakeerti led us on a fascinating journey deep into the "Devi Mahatmyam" (Glory of the Goddess), the primary text which describes in stories and rhythmic poetry, the manifestations of primordial energy. It is at once a spell binding tale of the varied forms of feminine energy (Devi, or being of light) and a symbolic description of conquest of our own internal enemies, the obstacles to spiritual development.
Swami Maheshananda: Yogic Wisdom of the Ages, 2008
In this seminar series, Swami Maheshananda spoke about his experiences leading a group of mountaineers in the Himalayan mountains of India. He then gave us an introduction to Tantra, an ancient science dealing with many practical systems for speeding human evolution. He also gave insightful talks on Dharana, Pratyahara and Kundalini Yoga.
Shankardev: Kundalini Yoga-Tantra - Forging a Relationship With The Forces of Light 2007
In this workshop, Swami Shankardev elaborated on the theory and practical understanding of the following techniques 1) Kundalini shakti 2) Chakra system 3) Sankalpa (intention) 4) Mantra 5) Sadhana 6) Symbol 7) Breath and Prana 8) Internal luminous forces 9)Teacher and Student Relationship. The event culminated with a Havan and the screening of the film "The Heart of Yoga."
Mantra Raj; Mantra Yoga 2007
Sanyasi Mantra Raj taught several sessions on Mantra Yoga; captivating his students with the powerful vibrations of timeless chants of the Gayatri and other mantra. He also led sessions of meditation techniques and Ajapa Japa, was a guest speaker at the Teacher Training program at All people Yoga Studio, and initiated select students into advanced techniques of Kriya yoga. He also introduced advanced students to the extraordinary vibrations of 'Durga Shaptasati'.
Dharmakeerti: The Ramayana and Rama Yantra 2006
In this workshop Swami Dharmakirti elaborated on the story of the Ramayana revealing the esoteric, yogic and spiritual dimension of the symbols associated with it. The seminar ended with the creation of a Yantra and with Swami Dharmakirti guiding participants with a meditation to explore one's inner Self and discover the relevance of this universal epic.
Mantra Raj; Kriya Yoga Series 2005
Swami Mantra Raj initiated several long time yoga students into Kriya Yoga.
Vivekanananda: Evolving Our Personalities with Yoga 2005
Dr Rishi Vivekanananda systematically introduced the concept of Yoga as a tool to help us evolve our personalites through the three gunas and six chakras. He drew on his experience both as a Psychiatrist and a Rishi in describing these subtle inner forces. After providing a strong grounding in the philosophy and theory, Dr. Rishi Vivekananda did a Yoga Nidra involving rotation of consciousness through the chakras. Participants were provided indepth clarification by way of Satsang.
Shankardev: Prana, Pranayama and Meditation 2004
Dr Swami Shankardev Saraswati's visit drew together a group of committed practitioners who enriched the study sessions with their attentiveness, enthusiasm and receptivity. Shankardev introduced several subtle Kriyas (internal actions) to develop the awareness of the flow of Prana in the mind body system. These Kriyas also increase the practitioner's ability to generate, conserve and utilize the vital life force (prana) in an effective manner. He also held Satsangs, performed a Havan and lead a Kirtan.
Dharmakeerti: Patanjali Yoga Sutras 2003
Patanjali was an Indian sage who authored the "Yoga Sutras." The Yoga Sutras are considered a foundational text in the tradition of Yoga. In the seminar over a space of 5 days, Dharmakeerti provided an overview of the Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Dharmakeerti used the text to illustrate the ethical basis of yoga in yamas and niyamas and provided an insight into the ultimate aim of yoga which is samadhi.
Shankardev: Guru Shishya Tradition and the Significance of Lineage 2003
Shankardev spelt out the role of Guru in Yoga and the significance of lineage. Shankardev elaborated on his personal journey with Yoga and provided glimpses of his relationship with his Guru. He ended the workshop by sharing some images from a recent visit to the Satyananda Ashram, Monghyr and Rikhia.
Dharmakeerti: Chakras, Mandalas and Yantras 2002
Swami Dharmakeerti elaborated on the seven charkas. She peppered her discussion with short stories from the Eastern Enlightenment tradition.
Shankardev: Yoga Psychology and Philosophy 2002
In this workshop, Shankardev introduced some of the key ideas that form the basis of Yoga psychology viz. the five koshas, prana and the 24 elements of the mind.
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