Living the Vidya of Yoga
By Sn. Gyanmitra
In 2015, Swami Niranjan offered the first Progressive Yoga Vidya Training course at Bihar School of Yoga, Munger. In 2013, during the celebration both of the 50 year Golden Jubilee of Bihar School of Yoga, and the World Yoga Convention, Swamiji had announced that “The first chapter of yoga propagation is over; yoga teachers, yoga centres and yoga practitioners can be found everywhere today. Now the second chapter begins, which is focussed on consolidation of yoga and better application of yoga, with sincerity, seriousness and commitment.”
October 2016 saw the second month-long Progressive Yoga Vidya Training conducted in Munger. Its purpose was to bring forth an understanding of the tradition of yoga, to make effort to move beyond yoga as a practice to yoga sadhana, and to live the true vidya or knowledge of yoga. Participants came from all across the world, many of whom had been practicing and teaching Satyananda Yoga for many years or decades.
Swami Niranjan personally conducted most of the sessions across the entire month, with two hour morning classes, afternoon satsangs, and other ashram programs including Navaratri and Diwali. Swamiji showed an astounding ability to unravel previously ‘known’ practices and concepts, and repackage them from an entirely new and much deeper perspective, that could be understood and assimilated by all. Practices such as Pawanmuktasana 1, 2, and 3, Surya Namaskara and Bhramari revealed entirely new layers of awareness and experience under Swamiji’s careful guidance.
The most valuable learning from the month was the gift of happiness, manah prasad. Swamiji outlined how every branch of yoga has its own specific aims and aspirations, with a clear path of progression. Many Hatha Yoga teachers have studied the 8-fold path of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga, but with no understanding or application of its progression. The majority of yoga practitioners focus only on a limited selection of asana, with few practicing the yamas and niyamas, the very basis of this system.
What is less known is that every branch of yoga has its own yamas and niyamas. The Raja Yoga path is intended to be followed after the attainment of Hatha Yoga, which has its set of own yamas and niyamas. Preceding all of this is the lifestyle yamas and niyamas, which Swamiji is now exposing.
Swamiji reinforced there must always be effort to connect with the positivity, and to develop awareness and understanding through happiness, the first of the lifestyle yamas. If, after many years of yoga and meditation practice, there has been no change in your attitude, behaviour, perception, personality or nature, and no ability to guide your speech, understanding and interactions, that is not yoga.
Maintaining happiness and positivity, as an ongoing state and mood of the mind, nurtures our spiritual growth and development. Only then can we hope to fulfil the aims and aspirations of Hatha Yoga, and then only move into Raja Yoga from a basis of happiness, once established in a non-reactive mind.
All efforts of yoga and ashram lifestyle are to move us from tamasic to sattwic, to the positive expressions in life, and our inherent goodness. Ashram provides the samskaras which destroy the weeds of the mind, and cultivate the flowers in life. Pure sattwic connection brings true happiness and fulfilment.
Rocklyn Ashram provides the opportunity to understand and experience the vidya, tradition and parampara of yoga, which is upheld in a way that is unique in Australia. Sincere practitioners and teachers are invited to spend time at Rocklyn to connect with that which is positive, uplifting and inspiring, and to uncover the very best qualities in life.
“Tradition is the continuation of vidya, the continuation of knowledge, it is the continuation of a sankalpa and an aspiration. Some people connect with it half a percent and that fulfils them, some people connect ten percent and feel fulfilled, some people connect fifty percent and are fulfilled. Some people connect one hundred percent and yet crave for more. They are the ones who become the instruments to ensure the flow of vidya.” – Swami Niranjanananda
Rocklyn Yoga Ashram, operated by Yoga Association of Victoria Inc. as an autonomous entity,
remains committed to the tradition of Satyananda Yoga and continues the teachings under
the banner of Satyananda Yoga by arrangement with the IYFM.