From 2nd to 11th January, Swami Anandananda from Italy conducted a kriya yoga course for 27 participants from Italy and 33 from Spain. Swami Muktidhyanam assisted with the translation.
The participants were able to fully immerse themselves in the practices as they had been well prepared throughout the year in weekend seminars in Italy and Spain.
On 6th January, Swami Niranjan initiated 16 aspirants into mantra and 12 into jignasu sannyasa.
From 2nd to 29th March, the Yoga Instructor’s Course was organized at Ganga Darshan. Ten women and twenty men participated in the course. They came from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Tripura and Nepal. Swami Taponidhi and Swami Shivadhyanam conducted the classes of asana, pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation; they were assisted by sannyasis Atmarpan, Satchidananda and Vasundhara.
As the certificates were given to the new instructors, Swamiji spoke on the two components of yoga: practice or abhyasa, and lifestyle. To learn the yoga practices a competent teacher is required, not a guru. For lifestyle, when one wants to further improve one’s personality, behaviour and interaction, then a guru is necessary. The yamas and niyamas are not part of yoga practice but play a role in the yogic lifestyle.
From 4th to 31st August, the Yoga Instructor’s Course was conducted at Ganga Darshan and was attended by 57 participants. They came from Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Nepal. Between the 26 ladies and 31 males who participated, the age ranged from 18 to 64 years.
Teachers of the course were Swami Upasana, sannyasis Nimaichaitanya and Priyadhara. Swami Niranjanananda conducted some asana classes and gave satsang at many occasions. He spoke on the tradition, purpose and aim of yoga.
From 20th to 28th September, Sannyasi Harimaya brought a group of 29 TTC students from Bangalore to Ganga Darshan after completion of their one-year course. They spent one week at the ashram to experience ashram life. They met Swamiji for satsang and had APMB classes conducted by Sannyasi Vijayashakti and yoga nidra classes by Swami Yogamaya.
From 1st to 30th October, the first Progressive Training Level 1 was conducted at Ganga Darshan. The course was attended by 38 ladies and 20 males who have been associated with the Bihar School of Yoga for many years.
Swami Niranjanananda conducted asana and pranayama classes and study sessions on the Yoga Chakra and Yoga Chakra 2. He emphasized the need to deepen one’s understanding and experience of the aims set out by yoga, and thus become a true sadhaka. In the practical classes, Swamiji introduced a novel way to access the depth inherent in each yoga practice, and in the study sessions, Swamiji made the ancient wisdom of yoga relevant to the day-to-day life of the participants. He explained the need to practise yamas and niyamas, not only those of raja yoga but of other branches of yoga as well.
For one week, Swami Yogakanti conducted Tattwa Shuddhi classes comprising of theory and practice. Swamiji introduced the practice of Tattwa Shuddhi 2, in which the practitioner discovers and purifies the subtler tattwas mentioned in the ancient spiritual traditions.
The month-long training was an overwhelming beginning to the second chapter of yoga which will take yoga from practice to sadhana. In his last talk Swamiji exhorted the participants to maintain their connection with the yoga vidya and to continue on their yogic journey with seriousness, sincerity and commitment.
The international group consisted of participants from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Nepal, New Zealand, Serbia, Sweden, The Netherlands, Uruguay and the USA. Participants from the following Indian states were attending: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
This progressive training was so complete I have no words to describe it nor the gratitude and the happiness that I feel. I never imagined that Swamiji would conduct the entire training. I had never had the opportunity to learn directly from Swamiji since my first visit and experience of the ashram in 1998. For me it is like a dream come true.
The classes were intense but balanced; asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha taught and experienced in a much deeper way, deeper than I used to practise at home. This has given a new understanding and a new experience. I have learnt a lot; about everything, from the different theoretical topics on yoga, the history of yoga, the branches of yoga, and about myself too. I will do my best to work for the Satyananda Yoga tradition in my country and in myself.
—Sannyasi Sankalpa, Argentina
Two things have been highlighted for me in the progressive training with Swamiji: purity and vidya. Purity on all levels, starting with the shatkarmas for the gross physical dimensions, pawanmuktasana for the different doshas, and strengthening and toning asanas for muscles and joints. Our awareness was refined from the physical movements to colour, symbol and sound.
In a satsang Swamiji said that the Mrityunjaya Shiva is a symbol for vidya. He is sitting surrounded by waters – vidya, two pots next to him are filled with water; one pot is pouring water over his head and from one pot water is flowing out forward. For me Swamiji is that. He holds vidya and makes sure it remains pure, he is bathing in vidya and he also pours it out to us. I feel very blessed that I could be part of this progressive training and I am very happy that instead of receiving a certificate we made a contract with Swamiji to imbibe vidya in our lives.
—Sannyasi Gyanmudra, Germany
For me this training is a life changing experience. It gave me a clear focus and understanding. I learnt a lot of new deeper elements of the practices and the whole subject of yoga. I feel like traveling by airplane being able to cover a very long way in a short time.
—Sannyasi Radha, Bulgaria
Swamiji has transmitted a profound sense of respect towards the vidya that has been guarded and offered in this tradition. This has made it very clear what a great responsibility has been entrusted to us as recipients and aspirants. This responsibility is both personal in regard to our understanding, efforts, sadhana and lifestyle; and far beyond personal interest, it is connected to the vision and mission of our gurus and the needs of sincere aspirants in today’s society.
I may only express deep gratitude to Swamiji for giving us so much in this progressive training and I hope to be able to make myself progressively worthy of it!
—Sannyasi Mantrashakti, Colombia
Yoga is an immense ocean of knowledge and wisdom, and we are truly blessed to be on this path. Although we are at the beginning of the very beginning, the beauty is that it is a lifelong process and there will always be many new things to imbibe and apply. The important thing is to be open to the process and to keep on making the effort.
—Sannyasi Mudita, Bulgaria
There are many things that I realized and understood during this training, but I think the most important is the greatness and truthfulness of the tradition which I belong to and to maintain the original and true teachings with sincerity, commitment and seriousness.
My heart is full of hope. When I go back I will have to face difficulties and negativities, but I know that I have all the tools I need to overcome them and live a happy and positive life.
—Swami Arun Kiran, Italy
This training was a deep, beautiful and enriching experience and a wonderful opportunity. The classes with Swamiji were a unique experience; a combination of knowledge, wisdom, inspiration, care, clear direction and compassion, and given with a lot of humour. The classes have inspired me to make more effort in my own sadhana, to work on myself, to have my own experience, to become a better student and disciple before I transfer it to my teaching. The classes and study sessions with Swamiji have reminded me once more how rich, beautiful and complete our tradition is. Nothing else is required. With love, gratitude and appreciation.
—Swami Savikalpananda, Greece
I feel that I am on the right path and I am very happy that I follow Satyananda Yoga – this unique and great tradition. The course helped us to reconnect with the source, the guru and the teachings. The morning classes helped us to realize how much more we need to work with our bodies and prana and gave us a new direction for hatha yoga sadhana as per the goals of yoga.
Swamiji gave us so much knowledge, wisdom, energy and love. He is our inspiration and we will continue the path of yoga with strength and motivation. Our Swamiji is one, who is in the state of sthita prajna! Whenever he appears he radiates light and joy. This can be easily seen in the glowing eyes of the people being in his presence. I thank Guruji for this very special time and teachings he gave us!
—Swami Yoga Gnana, Bulgaria
Swamiji, I am much indebted to you for imparting the essence of the most valuable vidya in a simple and practical form and inspiring me to live my life accordingly. Thank you very much once again for providing your most valuable time and also kindly allowing Shambhavi to be a part of it. October 2015 happened to be the fastest and the best month in my life.
—Sannyasi Premananda, Nepal
The Progressive Training has created the feeling of connection to vidya; of being linked to the rich understanding, through the teaching and lifestyle, handed down, lived and expressed by the masters of this tradition. We were also given the classification of the greater purpose: by making the effort, going step by step, we gain the understanding of how to manage the body, mind and emotions. Swamiji taught us how to build. He explained the importance of a foundation and how to build it.
Swamiji reflects what he teaches, he brings yoga alive and he brings not only their teachings but Sri Swamiji and Swami Sivananda themselves alive.
—Swami Yogajyoti, Ireland
From 1st to 7th November, the Yoga Chakra Series III was conducted by Swami Niranjanananda. In the morning APMB class, Swamiji showed how to deepen the experience of yoga through the simple practices of pawanmuktasana.
In the afternoon Swamiji spoke on jnana yoga which is the process of strengthening one’s wisdom. In detail he described the seven bhumikas, levels, of jnana yoga, the effort that needs to be made in the first three levels and the attainments experienced in the last four.
Over 85 participants took part in a truly novel approach to this often misunderstood branch of yoga.
The following international group was represented: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Channel Island, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA. The national participants represented the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and West Bengal.