Spiritual Awakening: My time at Yogaville

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Yogaville is a place where people come together from many faiths and backgrounds to study and practice the principles of Integral Yoga founded by His Holiness Sri Swami Satchidananda in 1979.  H.H. Satchidananda (Sri Gurudev) one of the most revered Yoga masters of all times. He was/and still is known to many as an apostle of peace, always seeing the same light in all beings.  His creed was “Truth is One, Paths are Many”.  With this he created many faith gatherings and was invited all over the world not limited by religions or organizations to share his message of spiritual oneness.

“Truth is always the same.  Whoever ponders it will get the same answer.  Bhudda got it.  Patanjali got it. Jesus got it.  Mohammed got it.  The answer is the same, but the method of working it out may vary this way or that.”

Sri Swami Satchidananda

In 1986 he completed and opened the Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (also known as LOTUS Shrine).  It is a unique shrine built in the shape of a lotus, with an altar for all the world faiths dedicated to the light of all faiths and to world peace.  It is an International symbol that even through diversity we are still one, “Truth is One, Paths are Many”.  In 2014, a second LOTUS was opened in the birth place of Sri Gurudev.

He was honoured for is many public services, one being the Juliet Hollister Interfaith Award presented at the United Nations.  His teachings have been followed and passed down at Yogaville over the years through many devotees.  I had the honour of learning from his good friend and disciple Swami Ashokananda and another devoted follower Padamsri.  Learning from them was an honour. Watching them teach from their hearts and their own yogic experience was a true blessing.

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Not only did we have great teachers, the staff teachers were the icing on the cake!  A beautiful addition, in both knowledge and support. Taking time out of their free time to help us study or even be there for emotional support.  Watching the staff teachers, Swami Ashokanada and Padmasri lead a true example of service in action was a life changing thing to witness for me.  It made me so much more eager to continue my teachings and be of service however and whenever I can.

It was wonderful being in a safe environment for our bodies to detox, physically and emotionally. Eating very clean and delicious vegetarian and vegan food that was prepared for us all day, some of the food even coming from the Yogaville farm.  We also had the wonderful support of each other.  I will be forever grateful for the sharing that took place. So much courage to open your heart to others.  How beautiful it was to have a group of people together and to be so open, honest and supportive of one another on our journey to finding our true nature, which is peace. Yogaville is such a magical place!

Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the James River, filled with the beautiful spirit of our Sri Gurudev and his devotees.  I felt welcomed in with opened arms and immediately at home when I set foot inside the Ashram. During our training there we were taught to live the Yogic life. It is hard to put into words my spiritual experience that came with these learnings, but know that I feel fuller, lighter,  more awake and ready to continue on my path of love, light and service. I had many break throughs in my practice, from mediation, to asanas that I thought I had mastered, to the true joys of pranayama.  I learned so much everyday about myself and my practice.  I feel blessed to have had this opportunity and am overwhelmed with joy to continue my service as a teacher and student of Yoga.

During my IYTT graduation time I was given a spiritual name, Premajyoti, by Swami Asokananda. Such an honour to receive such a beautiful name from him. Here is what Swamiji wrote me as to why he gave me this name; “the Divine Love didn’t quite capture all your beautiful qualities; neither did the Divine Light. But Premajyoti, a combination of the two, almost describes your soul.”

 I hope to share with my students these qualities of my name Premajyoti, divine love and divine light, in my Integral Hatha Yoga classes.  Inspiring my students to enjoy their practice and allowing the practice to be a wonderful tool to find their inner light as my teachers have done for me.

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Many thanks to all that have supported me on this path.

“Let us not fight for peace, but let us find peace within ourselves first…The future of the whole world is in our hands.”

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Sri Swami Satchidananda, 1969 Woodstock Musica Festival

Om shanti shanti shanti

Premajyoti

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