60th year reflection
i have vivid and fond memories of my 2 weeks at the ashram, May, 2022. Today i started a bead chain to which i will add one bead for every consistent attendance to my home yoga practice. Yesterday, the first day I showed up for morning yoga, all I could do was hug my knees to my chest. But it is a start!
A Place Where I Meet Myself Again, and Again and Again
The Ashram is a centre of Light where healing, growth and discovering our inner wisdom is possible and encouraged. Within a day of my arrival I am home. A spiritual community where we support the highest in each other, where we wonder what our purpose is and then do our best to live up to it. A place where I meet myself, again and again. A place where I heal, question, grow, renew, serve and then return to Calgary overflowing with Light that will reach and touch others.
One of the Ashram practices that has influenced my life is reflection. I am interested in taking it deeper and commit to a daily practice of self-inquiry nourished and inspired by Swami Radha and Swami Radhananda’s writings.
Profound gratitude to Swami Radha, Swami Radhananda and Swami Lalitananda for their commitment, dedication, vision, creativity, guidance, and for carrying and sharing the Light. And to all others who support this work.
Chanting Mantra Together
Shambala House in Calgary was opened by Swami Radha in 1982. Some of us have been a part of the Calgary Yasodhara Community right from the beginning, some have joined within a few year, others later. We felt blessed to have access to Swami Radha’s teachings in our hometown and thanks to Swami Jyotihananda’s devoted leadership for almost a decade we have persevered and flourished. Two young women are now part of our core group of teachers, and we treasure their wisdom, perspective and creativity.
Individually and as a group we are profoundly grateful for the support we have received from the Ashram, its residents and teachers. The Ashram is our spiritual home, and we continue to make the trip to the Kootenays several times a year as individuals and small groups. In the past we have made pilgrimages to the Ashram during celebrations. This year we are celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Yasodhara Ashram with a practice. We will gather on the third Sunday of the month to chant mantra together.
Special practise for the 60th year
The way I stay positive in a challenging world is by my morning practise. This year I plan on creating something unique for my morning practise.
The theme for my project is movement. My idea is to take movement learned at the ashram, like the Sun Salutation ot the Divine Light Invocation and gestures like Namaste and sense purifcation or even a favorite asana and stirch them together in such a way as to suggest communication. The movement sequence will have components of improvisation and employ a percise balletic sylabus and a little bit of fun. This practise is something I can come back to every day as it evolves. And ultimately share.
Looking over the posts so far I felt the calling to join more in this community. Having just come back from a month sojourn at the Ashram I have been feeling gratitude for the grounded peaceful space that has returned with me.
During YDC we were invited to do a practice for 30 days in one spot. Mine came to be in doing the Light invocation and following a Thich Nhat Hanh practice of bringing my inner child out to play. There was an interesting mixture of monsters in the beginning that eventually turned to play and trust. A process now that I see as the bridging of love and trust with the nervous system reprocessing difficult imprints. It was a fascinating experience of watching the mind move through images that I didn’t intentionally create. The practice I will commit to this year is 60 days of carrying on the Light practice with the inner teenager. And for a cherry on top, 60 days at the ashram will be just divine. Much love and peace to all, Che
Fire me up!
When I think about all the things I’ve learned during my time at the ashram, what stands out the most is how I’m learning to keep challenging myself – beliefs I have about myself, about how “the world works”, about what things and people and I should be and do… all those ideas that keep creating obstacles to me seeing what else there could be, or to leaving space for the Light to come in. One of the practices that has helped me most in working on overcoming these obstacles is Tapas – “turning on the heat” under those ideas and concepts, allowing the fire of wisdom to help me see more clearly. I know that, when I have a resistance to something, that’s a good indication that I’m looking in the right direction. Mantra practice has always created a bit of such a resistance to me – and so has self-compassion. So my dedication to honor this incredible accomplishment of Swami Radha, and all who have, and are following her, will be to chant one hour of mantra to compassionate Tara each week of this year.
Divine Light Invocation and Dream Analysis
The Divine Light Invocation was one of the first things I learned when I did my yoga teacher training. My teacher came from the Ashram lineage and passed it along to me. I’ve done it in many situations where I or someone I knew was in distress, and it’s always been effective in bringing resolution. The other person always feels it. Now, I do it before I teach a yoga class to open the space and request that I become a conduit for Source guidance.
I also love Swami Radha’s Dream Analysis process! There have been many occasions when a dream’s hidden meaning has come to life in a way that’s been both practical and impactful.
Sending many blessings to the Ashram, along with wishes for many more years of contribution to our human collective!
Recommitting to the practices
I got to spend some time at the Ashram this past summer and recertify for the Kundalini and Dreams Teacher Training. During this course, I got to connect with many friends–some were already close, and I got to know others better and deepen my relationship with them. What a sweet time! Another participant of the course and I are starting a dream series next week. I love going to the Ashram every summer for a few weeks to recharge, reconnect, and refocus. For this year’s 60th I will be doing sixty days of Divine Light Invocations.
My experience of the YDC 2022 is “beyond words”.
It cannot be described, it has to be lived…. Such a privileged moment to spend some introspective time with my self, to reveal more clearly myself to myself.
I have learned a lot, spending four months in the humble, conscious and luminous community that the Ashram brings together. In the wake of all my learnings, remains a feeling of immense gratitude for having being part of this very special gathering place around the Divine Light, and having also the opportunity to re-experience again.
For the 60th anniversary of the ashram — this extraordinary achievement of Radha and her ever-present and devoted lineage still active for the benefit and blessing of others—my offering will be 60 minutes of chanted mantras daily for 60 days — mantras that I have learned at the Ashram, which continue to imbue me with so much serenity and joy.
I did the YDC in 2018 and seeds planted then have continued to sprout and unfold over the last 5 years. During and since my YDC I have been continually meeting myself in a new way, most recently, with a sincere entry into mantra practice. My 60th anniversary practice will be, beginning at the Spring Equinox on March 21st, I will do the Divine Light practice once a day for sixty days, that is, until May 18th. I do this to express my gratitude for those who have kept Radha’s teachings alive.