A year ago at the end of January 2020, I left Bihar School of Yoga. I spent 93 days learning yoga and ashram lifestyle with students from all over the world in the Yogic Studies. This time completely changed my life and my attitude to everything.
I had been dreaming about this spiritual journey for two years. I remember the moment when I finally reached Munger. When I saw the green gates of BSY, my heart was trembling in anticipation of something big and genuine. As I knew later, many of my classmates had felt the same!
I was wondering, would the inner transformations change the world around me after the course. Surprisingly, the world has changed by itself. It might sound strange but for me the lock-down year has become a year when I have been learning to be closer to people. Ashram life, karma yoga and Swamiji’s satsangs have cultivated the idea of serving, loving and giving. Moreover, I feel how it is changing my relationships with family, friends and people who practise yoga with me here in Russia.
I miss the ashram and the chance to take a gasp of its blissful air again. All this year I have been telling stories about my ashram life experience, so many Russians are waiting for a chance to get in touch with a real yogic lifestyle and to see the Bihar School of Yoga with their own eyes.
The pandemic has become a challenge and an examination of our ability to apply all the knowledge, techniques and experiences we received in the ashram, even in the fickle flow of life. I asked my classmates by email how the ashram life had helped solve the difficulties of this year 2020.
One year after the Yogic Studies course, I feel like my perception of life has changed a lot. The moments are a mix of positive things and challenges. Good news or an event comes with a challenge, and the challenge ends with good news or a positive event. I feel like I have to be always focused to manage the things I have to face and adapt to. At the same time, I am more able to identify the qualities that I have to develop and it is starting to be easier to manage my emotions and to remain optimistic. The challenges bring less problems and many solutions or different ways to manage them do appear. I am more patient, self-confident. I feel like I am becoming more faithful in something. Even if it is hard sometimes, I am grateful to experience all these things. This course brought me more than I expected.
BSY has changed me and my life. I continued the mantra japa practice I learnt in the ashram. It has been more than a year that I have been regularly practising japa. It has changed me dramatically. I used to be short-tempered but now I am calm, and I am working on developing patience. Life’s ups and downs don’t disturb me as much. I am able to stay much more aware. I am more balanced in my approach to life, and have clarity of thought, more positivity, inner peace and happiness. The japa practice has simplified me and my life! All this would not have been possible without the stay in BSY, which changed my perspectives and my lifestyle completely. And for the better!
The changes I see in myself and the way I perceive things has totally changed. Now I feel like I can differentiate between what is needed and what are my desires, yet I am still in a learning phase. It is interesting to know what saves time and helps in bringing myself close to my own nature. Swamiji used to say that life itself is a process where learning never stops. I try to make that process beautiful in whatever I do. Secondly, earlier I was ignorant of what I was doing which seriously was building many karmas. Now I feel like I should have a purpose and faith in everything that I do. It feels that my perceptions are born again blessed with Swamiji’s blessings.
2020 was a very difficult and challenging year for me. I have lost many close family members and a few acquaintances. The corona year was not at all easy or pleasant. When I look back I find that my studies at BSY were actually a training for this year. For a whole year I have continuously done my raja yoga practice every evening without a gap. Thanks to God and BSY for teaching me raja yoga for without it I would have been crushed in this ‘jail time’.
After a year, my joy and happiness has increased for no reason. I am a happy person. I enjoy and love doing the basic work like washing clothes, vessels, cleaning, shopping for vegetables. I am able to connect it to breath awareness too. The list of things and food items which used to give me comfort is reduced, and I am happy with whatever is available. Sundarkand chanting has become part of my bhakti sadhana and it gives me immense power to deal with circumstances. I experience the continuous blessings of Guru. I am more flexible mentally to adapt to circumstances.