From 12th to 18th February, the yoga capsule for respiratory ailments was conducted at Ganga Darshan. The participants came from Bihar, Maharashtra, New Delhi, West Bengal and Nepal. The classes were conducted by Swami Tyagraj and Swami Nirmalananda.
Yoga training was imparted to high-school Physical Education teachers from various districts of Bihar in three batches. The first training was conducted from 7th to 11th February for 45 participants, the second from 14th to 18th February for 40 participants (including 6 ladies) and the third from 21st to 25th February for 45 participants. The teachers attended morning APMB classes conducted by Swami Shivadhyanam. The afternoon yoga nidra and concentration classes were con ducted by Swami Kaivalyananda. Members of YYMM assisted. The teachers also wholeheartedly joined in all the ashram activities as part of their training.
From 27th February to 4th March, the yogacapsulefordigestivedisorders
was conducted at Ganga Darshan. The participants came from Bihar, New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The classes were conducted by Swami Tyagraj and Swami Kaivalyananda.
From 23rd to 28th February, Jignasu Dasharath brought a group of 15 students from Chennai to Ganga Darshan to experience ashram life.
From 19th to 25th March, the yoga capsule for arthritis and rheumatic ailments was conducted at Ganga Darshan. The participants came from Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The classes were conducted by Swami Tyagraj and Sannyasi Vasundhara.
From 9th to 19th April, the yoga capsule for total health was conducted at Ganga Darshan. The participants came from Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The classes were conducted by Swami Tyagraj, Swami Kaivalyananda and Sannyasi Vasundhara.
From 20th to 30th September, Sannyasis DevanandaandDevashribroughta group of 23 yoga teacher trainees from Atmadarshan Ashram, Bengaluru, to Ganga Darshan to experience ashram life. The group had completed one year of training. Swamiji encouraged the students for their second year of training. The asana, pranayama and yoga nidra classes were conducted by Swami Tyagraj.
From 1st to 30th October, the third Progressive Yoga Vidya Training was conducted at Ganga Darshan. It was attended by 51 participants from 27 countries.
The national participants came from Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal. Overseas participants from the following countries attended: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, Uruguay and USA.
Swami Niranjanananda guided the participants to a new level of under-standing and experience of asana and pranayama. The in-depth explanation of pratyahara was put into practice through indriya sanyam, the pratyahara of the senses, such as vision pratyahara and auditory pratyahara, and prana pratyahara, the practice of withdrawal of the pranas. He also described the four dimensions of pranayama.
This one-month Progressive Yoga Vidya Training was an outstanding experience in my life and the effects are stretching out to various levels: from gross to subtle.
Beginning with the hardware, which is the ashram itself. For me this pure environment charged with high frequency energy, the routine, the simplicity and regularity is remedy in itself for many things. To arrive at Ganga Darshan is like arriving home from a long and exhausting journey. This hardware of course has a special and unique operation system, and that is Swamiji. It is his will, vision and energy be hind everything that is happening here. During the month, many times when I saw him it came to my mind what Sri Swamiji said about Swami Sivananda: ‘seeing him was yoga itself!’
Swamiji conducted many of the hatha yoga classes and all the raja yoga classes, where he shared the secrets of yoga, explaining the difference between the vedantic and Samkhyan systems of raja yoga. The indriya pratyahara practices, the prana nidra and the prana vidya he taught us will remain with me along with the experience of chakras and pranas.
During the month my body too changed a lot; it became lighter, more flexible, stronger and more energetic, it was good to see and experience how the body and muscles can remember. At first some of the asanas were difficult or impossible for me to perform, but the following day they went surprisingly well. Simultaneously, deep physical and mental tiredness passed. On the pranic level there were up and downs in the first three weeks, but by the last week energies set into harmony which reflected on my mental state too. The mind slowly became quieter and more content, and together with the practice of danti, mental restraint, which Swamiji taught us, I realized I have to practise it more. Gradually the worries, dissipations, cravings, judgements and negative inner dialogues were replaced with joy, positivity, focus and silence. And thus October became a happy month indeed. I think such Octobers should be prolonged, and I wish everybody could have a happy October. I feel gratitude that I could be part of this wonderful experience. Om Tat Sat.
—Sannyasi Bhaktananda, Hungary
From 16th to 20th October, Kriya Yoga Yatra 1 was conducted at Ganga Darshan and was attended by 28 participants. The national participants came from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Overseas participants from the following countries attended: Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Israel, Russia, Serbia, Spain and Sweden. Swami Anandananda, Italy, and Swami Ratnashakti conducted the classes.
From 16th to 20th October, Kriya Yoga Yatra 2 was conducted at Ganga Darshan and was attended by 24 participants. The national participants came from Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Odisha. Overseas participants from the following countries attended: Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Sweden and The Netherlands. Swami Vedantananda, UK/Portugal, and Swami Yogakanti conducted the classes.
In his satsang, Swami Niranjanananda emphasized the importance of maintaining a constant connection to positivity. Sadhana should aim at strengthening positivity in one’s day-to-day life.
From 4th to 10th November, the Hatha Yoga Yatra 1 (Shatkarma Intensive) was con ducted at Ganga Darshan for 47 participants.
The national participants came from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Overseas participants from the following countries attended: Brazil, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Serbia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Uruguay and USA. Swami Shivadhyanam conducted the morning classes.
From 4th to 10th November, the Hatha Yoga Yatra 2 (Asana and Pranayama In tensive) was conducted at Ganga Darshan for 23 participants. The national participants came from Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra and West Bengal. Overseas participants from the following countries attended: Argentina, Bulgaria, Ireland, Italy, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and Uruguay. Swami Vedantananda, UK/Portugal, conducted the morning classes and the afternoon sessions of pratyahara for both groups of Hatha Yoga Yatra 1 and 2.
From 16th to 20th October, a group of 13 aspirants visited Ganga Darshan. Some participated in the Kriya Yoga Yatra 1 training and others came to experience ashram life. Their hatha yoga sessions were conducted by Swami Prembhava and the raja yoga sessions by Swami Upasana.
From 25th to 30th November, a group of 50 judicial trainees came to Ganga Darshan for ashram life and yoga training. The trainees wholeheartedly joined in the ashram activities, Sundarkand chanting and evening sadhana. The hatha yoga and raja yoga classes were conducted by Swami Kaivalyananda and Swami Tyagraj.
It is a tremendous experience to practise yoga at Bihar School of Yoga. After the practice I feel great peace and tranquillity in my mind. I also feel better physically. I am indebted to Bihar School of Yoga as well as our teachers who made us learn the art of yogic life. The judicial officers who participated in this five-day course also reported similar experiences. I hope that the entire justice delivery system of Bihar will be benefited by the contribution of Bihar School of Yoga
—Nawneet Kumar Pandey, Director Bihar Judicial Academy
The days which I have availed in Bihar Yoga School is a life-changing moment. I have not only learnt yoga, pranayama, asana, but also karma yoga. It will give me a defined new meaning for myself and the work which I am doing. The experience is definitely going to serve myself and society. Lots of thanks for augmenting and awakening me.
—Binay Shanker, DY Director Bihar Judicial Academy
For the first time in my life I felt that yoga is a way of life, it is an art of living. I will try to follow it in my daily routine. The timetable in the ashram is awesome. Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to come to this ashram.
—Divya Amal, Civil Judge, Patna
From 11th to 15th December, the Yoga Chakra program was conducted at Ganga Darshan. Swami Niranjanananda spoke on the yoga chakra and the two branches of raja yoga and bhakti yoga which complement each other. With great clarity he explained how raja yoga is meant to manage the buddhi and manas aspects of the mind, while bhakti yoga channels and purifies the chitta and ahamkara aspects. The practice of antar mouna is a part of raja yoga, while the practice of antar darshan develops the feeling of love. Swamiji said that bhakti is nothing else but absolute love.
The morning hatha yoga classes were conducted by Sannyasi Vijayashakti who gave a deeper under standing to the practices of pawanmuktasana 1, 2 and 3. The yoga nidra sessions were conducted by Swami Prembhava who introduced one of the original yoga nidra of Sri Swami Satyananda.
Participants from the following 20 countries attended: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Romania, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, UK, Uruguay and USA.
I fully enjoyed the discourses of Swamiji on the interrelation of raja yoga and bhakti yoga. Whatever he talks about is always given a new, more complex, broad, and updated perspective and understanding.
Swamiji does not just pronounce words, he literally takes us back in time to their place and full range of experience, as if he was a witness to the events he describes, as if he was a contemporary of the people he mentions. He transmits to us his live vision and makes us witnesses too. That is the amazing capacity of a seer; he removes the veils and limitations of time and space and makes us see, feel, understand the wisdom or vidya.
—Sannyasi Darshanananda, Bulgaria
Swamiji spoke of raja yoga and bhakti yoga as two foundation pillars that can be used – one to help us understand and manage the mind and its expressions and one to understand and manage the ego/chitta and its expressions of bhava, feeling. Only then can we create a balanced, harmonious and useful expression in our lives.
Swamiji gave simple, clear steps to take up now, and begin that journey. Not to get caught up in our past, but to sow the positive seeds, and give them time, nourishment and encouragement to grow in the future. He encouraged us, not with force or pushing but with that steady, open clarity of the present reality that gives us the strength to take another step. Thank you Swamiji.
—Swami Yogajyoti, Ireland
How to manage our mind and emotions? How to manage the ego? These are the biggest questions in life. During this Yoga Chakra series Swamiji gave us the theory, the systematic practical application and approach of raja yoga and bhakti yoga as supportive systems of each other to manage and transform our mind, emotions and ego.
It has given me hope and inspiration. Hope that it is actually possible for the ego to evolve, not to be eradicated, but to evolve from tamasic expressions of ego to rajasic and to sattwic. Sattwisazing of the ego was a nice expression Swamiji used. I have hope that it is possible to transform negative emotions into positive. We are not our mind, nor our emotions, not even the expressions of our ego but we can become what we think and what we feel.
I received the inspiration to continue to look honestly at myself and to work in changing the ego, mind and emotional expressions. The impressions I will carry with we are the beautiful examples and images Swamiji gave; the one of the greater mind, mahat – as the sun and the sun being reflected in the little raindrops; and the ladder with ahamkara and chitta as the two poles and buddhi and manas the interconnecting steps of the ladder. There were a lot of concepts that will require reflection, digestion and sinking in until the next Yoga Chakra series which I am eagerly looking forward to.
—Swami Maitreyi, Colombia
From 18th to 23rd December, the Raja Yoga Yatra 1 was attended by 61 participants from Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands and USA. The national participants came from Bihar, Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
Swami Anandananda, Italy, conducted the morning classes, emphasizing the difference between the dynamic hatha yogasana and the meditative raja yogasana.
From 18th to 23rd December, the Raja Yoga Yatra 1 was attended by 28 participants from Austria, Belgium, Colombia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands. The national participants came from Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.
Swami Niranjanananda conducted the morning classes where he guided the participants into the deeper aspects of pranayama using yogasana to help in this process.
In his satsang to both groups, Swami Niranjanananda developed the concept of pratyahara and defined the functions of manas, buddhi, chitta and ahamkara. Based on classical scriptures he led the participants through the experience of the three pratyahara practices for manas, buddhi and prana.
The Raja Yoga Yatra 1 was indeed a big first step in understanding the value of raja yoga in sadhana and in the application of yoga in life. The morning class gave us an experience of the inner dimensions of yoga practice and allowed us to feel that there was so much more to yoga than the physical aspect of it.
The afternoon satsangs with Swamiji opened a universe of wisdom – ancient and at the same time modern, accessible, applicable. Again and again we were given practices, instruments, examples of how to purify, how to observe, how to analyse, how to improve and progress. Moreover, we were shown how to deal with our mind, something of the highest value in today’s age of stress, confusion and over-burden.
We have been truly blessed to be given knowledge that not just teaches us, but frees and empowers us. A knowledge so powerful that if we can only apply a small part of it in our lives, we will realize our human potential.
Attending Raja Yoga Yatra 1 was an inspiration and hope that in the age of materialism and strong sensorial input, there are still chances to progress spiritually.
Our gratitude and pranam goes to Swamiji for preserving the values of yoga and tirelessly serving humanity.
—Sannyasi Namratashakti, Bulgaria
There was one thought during the course, which was very present in my mind – how huge the gap is between intellectually knowing and actually, properly doing something, especially a yogic practice.
Swamiji broke the ‘big words’, which have lost content by being repeated and overused, into little pieces. He zoomed into a familiar picture and all of a sudden worlds appeared! – details and pieces to help us make sense of the bigger picture and the words we have been repeating.
In this expansion of practice, in the dissection and depth of theory space was created for us to realize our limitations and obstacles, but also our condition, present state and options, so that a more realistic approach to sadhana could be developed. Swamiji gave us a real perspective and real tools, but also hope and motivation to move on, no matter where we stand. So, hopefully, we will get to bridge the gap between words and correct actions and attitudes.
—Sannyasi Shraddhamani, Austria
The most profound teaching and the sankalpa I will take with me and cherish for life is the possibility of willingly withdrawing prana from one’s negativity. We’ve all heard so many times, “Do not feed the black wolf/dog if you want the white one to win.“ But when the black wolf is charging at you, how to disconnect? There must be prior training and that is what we got.
If we can keep this vidya within for our entire life, then we have the (magic) formula for transforming ourselves completely.
So, you see, it was far from an ordinary yoga course or training. It was receiving vidya-prasad from times immemorial.
—Swami Omgyanam, Serbia
Steady wisdom from Swamiji,
Support and upliftment,
The invitation and ease
To withdraw prana from negativity;
So much given and
So much gratefully received.
I feel blessed, inspired and encouraged
To take this wisdom with me
And use it in my life.
—Sannyasi Yogadhara, Ireland
From 1st November 2017 to 28th January 2018, the Yoga Lifestyle Experience was conducted for the second time at Ganga Darshan. The nine participants, between 22 and 62 years of age, came from Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland.
The Yoga Lifestyle Experience is a training which focuses on bhakti, jnana and karma yoga, and the development of a yoga lifestyle.
The classes were conducted by Swami Kaivalyananda, Swami Prembhava and Sannyasi Sitamurti.