May 2014

Namaste

The Integral Yoga hatha sequence ebbs and flows in a natural and graceful way allowing our innate wisdom to guide us through the postures, rather than our willpower. By surrendering rather than striving, the energy flows freely throughout our being, allowing us to find an intrinsic balance throughout each phase of every pose. When we breathe deeply and respond instinctively to movement, the mind steps aside, allowing the breath to direct the placement of the body. As the prana settles, the mind softens into witnessing and the practice evolves into meditation in motion.

 Inspiring Opportunities

Swami Ramananda is the director of the San Francisco Integral Yoga Institute with over thirty five years teaching experience and dedication to the practice of yoga. This well-loved teacher plans to visit Melbourne during January 2015. Details about the proposed programs are included at the foot this newsletter.*

Shoulderstand Workshop

Monday 28 April 5.00-5.50pm, $7

How much weight is carried on your shoulders? It is not our task to carry the weight of, or the responsibility for, anyone else. What are your burdens? What are the physiological implications of looking at them from a different perspective? Learn how to practice shoulderstand and understand why it is called the Queen of the Asanas. Explore the subtleties of this pose on an individual basis and receive personalised feedback. Whether you’re new to the pose or ready to extend and add some variations, this hands-on workshop will tailor the position to suit each individual student. To find out more, please contact me.

 Restorative Yoga in Sandringham

Sunday 18 May, 4.00-5.15pm, $20/$18 concession

Restorative yoga is the practice of certain asanas with the body fully supported by pillows, bolsters and blankets. In the supported state, yoga poses can be held for a longer time, enhancing their therapeutic benefits and helping you rest deeply and completely. Suitable for people with various conditions and especially relaxing for those in good health, new and experienced students are welcome.

Note: This session will be held at Shanthi’s home studio in Sandringham and bookings are required. Please liaise with me for the address or further details.

Silence in Sound! Group Meditation

Saturday 31 May, 10.30-11.00am, $5

Nada yoga explores the art of listening as a beautiful practice in mindfulness. Sounds and music will help you connect with an inner silence and inspire a profound, resonant meditation. Meditating in a group creates a powerful energy which deepens the experience of inner harmony. Everyone is welcome. There is no requirement to practise hatha yoga to attend this session. It is important for the body to be comfortable or the mind will stray. Seating options include chairs, stools and cushions. Please let me know if you plan to come or have any questions.

Note: ‘Discover!’ is the underlying theme of the 2014 Group Meditations. Future topics are Positive Thinking on Saturday 30 August and The Active Mind on Saturday 15 November.

Chanting in Sandringham

Sunday 8 June, 3.30-5.00pm, $15 or $25 families

Enjoyed for thousands of years in many cultures around the world, chanting is a joyful way to quiet the mind, open the heart and find your inner voice. This session will focus on beautiful, easy to follow, Sanskrit mantras that help us connect with our inner peace and joy. All are welcome and no prior chanting or yoga experience is required.

Note: This session will be held at Shanthi’s home studio in Sandringham. For the address, to book or find out more, please liaise with me.

 Headstand Workshop

Monday 9 June, 5.00-5.50pm, $7

When the head is closer to the ground than the feet, we cannot live in the clouds. Whatever we do, whatever we discover, must be well grounded and stand the test of examination. Besides the many benefits, there can be a joyful exuberance about the King of the Asanas. In this workshop you can work individually at the first, middle or later stages, ask questions, receive personalised advice and share your feedback with others. Headstand requires good balance, a strong core, and strength in the upper arms, shoulders and upper back to reduce the amount of weight being supported by the head. A steady practice of shoulderstand and dolphin is recommended as preparation. Please let me know if you are interested to attend.

 Light in the Dark-Hatha Yoga

Saturday 21 June, 9.00-10.30am, $20/$18 concession, or use your class card

Light up your life during the short hours of daylight around the winter solstice. Celebrate the light within you and rejoice in the light of others as we flow through the foundational Integral Yoga hatha sequence synchronising the flow of movement with the glow of our inner nature. We will harmonise each of the practices with verses symbolising the effulgent rays of light honouring the faiths and traditions represented on the Integral Yoga yantra. If you require further information, please contact me.

Chanting in Sandringham

Saturday 12 July 3.30-5.00pm, $15 or $25 families

At Guru Purnima, the full moon in July, we honour great teachers, past and present, who have brought wisdom, healing, love and light into the world. Throughout the ages, many communities have sought to realise the spirit within through music and sound vibration. Generations of ancient yogis have developed the practice of repeating certain mantras with care and concentration, to experience inner peace. We’ll include mantras from the Integral Yoga kirtan and celebrate the core understanding that ‘Truth is One, Paths are Many’. No chanting or yoga experience is required. Family and friends are especially welcome.

Note: This session will be held at Shanthi’s home studio in Sandringham. Please liaise with me for bookings, the address or further details.

Meditation Classes

Saturdays 26 July, 2 August, 9 August, 16 August, 10.45am-12.30pm

Early bird rate $100/$95 concession for all 4 sessions by 12 July

Standard rate $110/$105 concession for all 4 sessions

Single session rate $30/$28 concession

Is your mind where you want it to be? If not, it’s time to train it! Meditation helps manage stress, improve health, unlock creativity and more! Meditation is now recognised by western medicine as a major component in health and wellness. To discover which methods resonate most effectively you will learn a variety of techniques. To develop a thorough understanding of meditation and to derive the maximum benefits, you are encouraged to book for all 4 sessions however each class may be attended on a casual basis. These sessions are suitable for new students and for anyone wishing to enhance or strengthen their practice. Please contact me for bookings and further information.

 Market Day

Thursday 15 May and Saturday 17 May

The church folk will set up and hold their annual Trash and Treasure Market and no yoga classes can be held at the hall. As an alternative you are welcome to attend the Restorative Yoga class in Sandringham that weekend as detailed above.

 

May the entire universe be filled with peace, joy, love and light!

Om…Marie

 

*INSPIRING OPPORTUNITIES

Please note: The following information was compiled by Chitra Stern in conjunction with Swami Ramananda. To register your interest please click https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8VSJZCL and submit your response to Chitra by 5.00pm on Thursday 1 May.

SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED 2015 PROGRAMS (details below)

All programs are suited to students of all levels of experience, including beginners.

Melbourne

Thursday 8 January

7-9pm: Satsang – an evening program where Swami Ramananda will give a talk on Yoga, answer questions and lead a group meditation.

or

A longer evening program where Swami Ramananda will teach on a spefic topic.

Wednesday 21 or Thursday 22 January

7-9pm: Satsang – an evening program where Swami Ramananda will give a talk on Yoga, answer questions and lead a group meditation.

Retreats – residential programs at Rocklyn Ashram near Daylesford

Each retreat may be taken separately, or as two or three programs together for a longer retreat.

 Experiencing the Fullness of Integral Yoga

7pm Friday 9 January – 4pm Sunday 11 January

This weekend retreat will be a wonderful opportunity to dive in deep and expand your understanding and experience of the many different branches of Integral Yoga.

NB. Depending on student feedback, we may offer this program as a non-residential program in Melbourne, rather than a residential weekend.

 

Raja Yoga Intensive

11am Monday 12 January – 3.30pm Friday 16 January

Raja Yoga offers a comprehensive approach for purifying, strengthening, and harmonizing all aspects of the individual—social, physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. The Raja Yoga Intensive provides a unique opportunity to study Raja Yoga in depth and learn how to apply these great teachings in life.

 

Meditation and Bhakti Yoga

7pm Friday 16 January – 4pm Sunday 18 January

During this beautiful retreat we will focus on the complementary practices of meditation to calm and focus the mind, and Bhahkti Yoga to open our hearts.

DETAILS OF THE PROPOSED 2015 PROGRAMS

Please note that the program costs indicated are not finalised and are only included to give you an indication of what to expect. Price estimations are early bird prices and include shared accommodation. Private accommodation will be available at an extra cost. Discounted prices will apply for students taking more than one retreat.

 Melbourne

Venue: TBA

 Thursday 8 January (2 options)

7-9pm: Satsang – an evening program where Swami Ramananda will give a talk on Yoga, answer questions and lead a group meditation.

Cost: Suggested donation: $20

OR

7-9pm: A longer evening program where Swami Ramananda will teach on a specific topic – topics he has suggested are:

  • Healing the Dis-ease of Busy-ness
  • Stress Management and Self-mastery
  • Finding Fulfilment in an Age of Fear: 5 Practical Principles
  • When the Going Gets Tough: Yoga for Difficult Times

Cost: $40

Wednesday 21 January or Thursday 22 January

7-9pm: Satsang – an evening program where Swami Ramananda will give a talk on Yoga, answer questions and lead a group meditation.

Cost: Suggested donation: $20

Retreats

Venue

Rocklyn Ashram borders the WombatStateForest near Daylesford, Victoria – it is an ideal venue as it is only 1.5 hrs drive from Melbourne CBD, offers comfortable accommodation (shared or private), a very peaceful environment and an opportunity to be in the beauty and wonder of Nature. Residential retreat programs offer the experience of being fully immersed in yogic lifestyle which can be profound, and practically, we can start the days earlier and fit more in! We have included an approximate schedule for the weekend programs, to give you an idea of what to expect each day.

At this stage we are planning for all three retreats to be residential at Rocklyn Ashram, however, if there is a strong interest in non-residential programs, we may offer the first retreat as a non-residential program in Melbourne.

Experiencing the fullness of Integral Yoga

7pm Friday 9 January – 4pm Sunday 11 January

For most Western students of Yoga, our main experience of Yoga is with the practices of Hatha Yoga—Yoga postures, breathing practices and deep relaxation. What we may not know about, or may not have had so much experience in, are all the other branches of Yoga that can add extraordinary depth to our practice and to the experiences we are already having with Hatha Yoga.

This weekend retreat will be a wonderful opportunity to dive in deep and expand your understanding and experience of Yoga by joining Swami Ramananda, one of Integral Yoga’s most senior and well-loved teachers as he introduces the many branches that make up the fullness of Integral Yoga.

During this retreat, you will explore (through, lectures, discussion and practical experiences):

  • Hatha Yoga—enjoy a classic Integral Yoga Hatha class on Saturday and Sunday, explore the principles of yogic diet and learn about some of the cleansing practices in Yoga
  • Raja Yoga—Swami Ramananda will introduce the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga, from the classic yogic text, the Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali, including the ethical foundations of Yoga and the basics of meditation practice
  • Bhakti Yoga—the path of love: Experience how we can open our hearts and experience the Divine through the practices of Bhakti Yoga including chanting, gratitude and service
  • Karma Yoga—the path of action: Learn how all our daily activities can be Yoga as we explore service to others and mindfulness in daily life
  • Jnana Yoga—the path of knowledge: Swami Ramananda will introduce us to Jnana Yoga, the deep study, and ultimately the personal experience of, our inner nature, as we ask the question, “Who am I?”
  • Japa Yoga—experience the benefits of sounds vibration as we learn and practice mantra repetition

You will also experience daily meditation, deep relaxation, delicious vegetarian meals and time to be in the healing energy of Nature. Before dinner on Saturday, the Ashram offers the (optional) opportunity to observe or participate in a traditional yogic fire ceremony with mantra chanting, dedicated to peace, prosperity, health and happiness for all people and the environment.

 Estimated early bird price (paid by 30 June 2014): $350, inclusive of shared accommodation and meals.

 

Raja Yoga Intensive

11am Monday January 12—3.30pm Friday January 16, 2015

Life is an opportunity to grow in awareness and compassion, to unfold our potential, and to realise our true nature, and the science of Raja Yoga provides a clear guidebook for this journey. It offers a comprehensive approach for purifying, strengthening, and harmonising all aspects of the individual—social, physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. It shows us the way to maintain our equanimity during times of difficulty and, ultimately, how to experience the Supreme Peace within.

The Raja Yoga Intensive provides a unique opportunity to study Raja Yoga in depth and learn how to apply these great teachings in life. Through lectures, discussion and practical exercise, we will dive deep into The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the classical text on Raja Yoga.

Join Swami Ramananda as he shares his four decades of experience of Raja Yoga. Topics covered will include:

  • Yoga philosophy: The yogic perspective on the mystery and mastery of the mind
  • Yoga psychology: Practice and non-attachment
  • The 8 limbs of Yoga: The classic steps to experiencing our true nature
  • Yama and niyama: The ethical foundations of Yoga
  • The four keys to keeping our peace: Friendliness, compassion, delight and disregard
  • Hatha Yoga and meditation: Guidance on designing and maintaining a regular practice
  • Overcoming obstacles: How can we deal with the classic challenges to practice

You will also experience daily meditation, Hatha Yoga, deep relaxation, delicious vegetarian meals and time to be in the healing energy of nature.  This program is designed to be beneficial both for those new to the teachings of Raja Yoga, as well as for experienced practitioners.   Take the plunge and join us for this rare opportunity to immerse yourself in these ancient and powerful teachings—they truly have the power to transform your life!

 Estimated early bird price (paid by 30 June 2014): $750, inclusive of shared accommodation and meals

 

Meditation – Finding True Peace of Mind & Bhakti Yoga

The Power of Love for Spiritual Growth and Transformation

7pm Friday January 16—4pm Sunday January 18, 2015

The many different practices and paths in Yoga are really different roads leading to the same goal – experiencing our full potential and realizing our True Nature.  During this beautiful retreat we will focus on the complementary practices of meditation, to clam and focus the mind, and Bhakti Yoga, to open our heart to love and our connectedness with ourselves, each other, the world around us and the Divine.  The program will be divided into two intermingling components:

1.         Meditation – Finding true peace of mind
Experienced meditators will have time to immerse themselves in their experience of meditation. For beginners to meditation and those wanting a refresher, Swami Ramananda will:
Introduce some fundamental principles of Yoga philosophy and offer a strong foundation in the basics of meditation

·         Teach a number of meditation techniques, including mantra repetition, breath awareness and witness consciousness

·         Discuss how to prepare for meditation physically and mentally and how to personalise our practice.

Step by step, through discussion and explanation with periods of practice, we will:
·         Learn how to gather the many strands of attention fully into the present moment

·         Discover how meditation can relieve and prevent stress and help us make conscious choices instead of falling into habitual reactions

·         Learn how we can establish a solid root in a practice that can lead us to deep peace and to sources of inner light and wisdom that can profoundly transform our lives.

2.         Bhakti Yoga – The Power of Love for Spiritual Growth and Transformation
The movement of love through the heart is a profound experience—a powerful element of human life and an important part of the spiritual path. Through discussion and experience of classic Bhakti Yoga practices, we will explore how love can help us rise above challenges and access the wellspring of our inner strength and joy.

During the program we will:
·         Experience the heat-opening practice of kirtan (yogic chanting)
·         Explore the yogic approach to concepts like faith, surrender and devotion, and the potent nature of commitment
·         Observe or participate in (instructions given!) a brief puja—a sacred ceremony from the Yoga tradition, performed by Swami Ramananda and used to invoke the presence of Divine Consciousness, to help us open our hearts and experience that Divinity within ourselves, and to seek guidance or blessings.
You will also experience daily meditation, deep relaxation, delicious vegetarian meals and time to be in the healing energy of Nature. Before dinner on Saturday, the Ashram offers the (optional) opportunity to observe or participate in a traditional yogic fire ceremony with mantra chanting, dedicated to peace, prosperity, health and happiness for all people and the environment.
 

Estimated early bird price (paid by 30 June 2014): $350, inclusive of shared accommodation and meals

 Approximate weekend program schedule:

 Friday

6.30 – 7pm – Arrive, registration

7.30 – 8: Welcome and overview of Ashram guidelines and program logistics

8-9: Introductory session with Swami Ramananda

Saturday

6am – Wake up

6.30 – Meditation and Hatha Yoga

8.30 – Breakfast

9.45 – 11.45 – Morning session with Swami Ramananda

12 – Meditation

12.45 – Lunch

2.15 – 4.30 – Afternoon session with Swami Ramananda

5 – Optional Fire Ceremony

6.30 – Dinner

7.30 – 9 – Kirtan (chanting)

Sunday

6am – Wake up

6.30 – Meditation and Hatha Yoga

8.30 – Breakfast

9.45 – 11.45 – Morning session with Swami Ramananda

12 – Meditation

12.45 – Lunch

2.15 – 4 – Afternoon session with Swami Ramananda and program close

 

 About Swami Ramananda

Swami Ramananda is the President of the Integral Yoga Institute in San Francisco and a greatly respected senior teacher in the Integral Yoga tradition, who has been practicing Yoga for over 35 years. Ramananda offers practical methods of integrating the timeless teachings and practices of Yoga into daily life, and transforming the painful aspects of human experience into steps toward realizing our full potential.

He leads beginner, intermediate and advanced level Yoga teacher training programs in San Francisco, and offers a variety of programs in many locations in the U.S., Europe and South America. Ramananda trains Yoga teachers to bring Yoga into corporate, hospital and medical settings and has taught mind/body wellness programs in many locations. He is a founding board member of the Yoga Alliance, a national registry that supports and promotes Yoga teachers as professionals. His warmth, wisdom and sense of humour have endeared him to many.

For more insight into Swami Ramananda and his teachings, you can visit his blog

http://integralyogasf.org/category/blog/

 

or see him on Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y3-Weh0J-Q

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z9ZxmA_8u0\

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