Kindly provided by Satyananda Yoga New Zealand
In all the challenges of the modern world, it would be fair to say, that Yoga plays a large part in keeping many of us sane. It brings a little light and balance in what can sometimes appear as darkness.
The New Zealand yoga community welcomes Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati (fondly known as Swami Satsangi) to its shores this Easter to receive the torch of light, which she brings in the form of inspiration, knowledge and simple practices rooted in ancient tradition but with benefits applicable to modern day needs.
Swami Satsangi will be the keynote speaker for a four day yoga symposium, Illuminating Life through Yoga this Easter in Nelson, South Island.
All teachers, practitioners and anyone interested in yoga are warmly encouraged to join together during this event to strengthen and inspire the wider yoga community in New Zealand.
Yoga, Meditation and Yoga Nidra classes as well as kirtan, cultural progams, chai stall and an extensive yoga shop will also be part of the event.
This recently conducted interview in India covers topics such as social upliftment and yoga vs religion.
Swami Satsangi, Peetha Dishwari (head and spiritual guide) of the Rikhiapeeth Ashram in India has dedicated herself to this establishment as a place for higher Vedic practices as well as a spiritual destination where people from across the globe come to receive inspiration, experience ashram life and selfless service.
Swami Satsangi is an eloquent speaker and truly inspirational author with deep insight into Yoga and Tantra traditions, the Vedas and Puranas.
Sivananda Math (the arm of Satyananda Yoga that cares for others) and Sivananda Ashram at Rikhia have been carefully grown and nurtured by Swami Satsangi. These institutes work to uplift the impoverished local community under the three precepts: Serve, Love, Give.
1.Please tell us more about the projects of Sivananda Math, especially the new Kanya Kitchen?
Sivananda Math named after Swami Sivananda is based on his 10-fold path;
Serve, Love. Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise, Be Good, Do Good, Be Kind, Be Compassionate.
The efforts to serve, love and give are not based on the principles of charity, as in other social service organisations, but on the Vedantic principles of unity, brotherhood and the idea that we are all connected to each other as a unified field, which is the fundamental truth of Vedanta.
Viewed in this way, all the services rendered are not charity but acts of worship, whereby both the receiver and giver are benefited and uplifted.
The aim of Sivananda Math is not to make the individual who receives dependent, but self-sufficient and capable of standing on his own feet.
After the initial stages of service to the neighbouring communities by making houses, providing rickshaws, pushcarts, cows and bullocks; sewing machines to ladies as means of livelihood, as well as seeds, fertilisers and expertise in agriculture for better crops, medical care; now Sivananda Math is focusing on the children and old people, who are the most vulnerable in our society.
The elderly of our Panchaya or county receive monthly pension from Sivananda Math, along with clothes, grains, utensils and other utility items to meet their daily need. The children apart from English and computer lessons, receive clothing, school uniforms, stationary, woollens, shoes, socks, you name it.
In addition, we aim to provide one sumptuous meal daily to over 2000 children and elderly of our Panchaya. This is quite an ambitious project, which was the sankalpa of Swami Satyananda for the upliftment of his neighbours. It is also noteworthy to mention that all services offered by Sivananda Math are free of charge.
2. Please speak on what illuminating life through yoga means? How can one do this? What will I learn and experience in the 4-day event in New Zealand?
To illumine means to shed light on something about which you are ignorant. Although we do know about life though books, study and every day experience, most of that knowledge is superficial. Fundamental aspects of life still remain a mystery to us.
Although man has landed on the moon and traversed terrains in outer space, controlling both the earth and the skies, he still has not been able to control the nature of his thoughts or the quality of his experience; the agonies and afflictions that lie in the depth of the soul are still unknown and unresolved.
It is in this respect that yoga can illumine you about your life, by illumining you about yourself and thus gaining mastery over the forces of that govern you.
The four day event will provide you an in depth exposure to the underlying philosophy of yoga and well as the practices that will lead you to the experience of light, knowledge and illumination.
3. What do you see as the most important practices and attitudes for the modern times?
The most important practice I feel for the man of today is meditation. And the most important attitude, which he should cultivate, is detachment.
4. What is a Peetha Dishwari?
Peetha means a seat of higher learning and Ishwari means a presiding Deity of that seat, so a Peetha Dishwari is one who presides over a seat of higher learning.
5. How do you stay inspired with so many duties, travelling and caring for so many people?
Once you touch your own centre you are always inspired, even if you are on a battlefield with missiles and rockets flying around you, just as they did for Arjuna in the epic Mahabharata when Lord Krishna gave him the eternal teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
6. What would you say would be the most significant difference between yoga practiced in India as compared to the Western world?
The most significant difference I would say is that in India, yoga is a lifestyle, whereas in the West it has remained on the mat.
7. Is yoga a religion? Please explain the relationship between science and yoga?
Yoga is universal.
It is concerned with the evolution of the gross nature of man, so that he may enrich the quality of his experience. It addresses the universal nature of man and not the acquired one. This universal nature experiences itself through universal qualities such as anger, greed, lust, jealousy, hatred, love, compassion and so on and so forth. It is these qualities, which overwhelms us and restrict the qualities of our experience.
Religion tells us to be good and I really do believe I want to be that, but just by telling me to be good and virtuous, I cannot become that.
What about the base nature, which I have inherited? That has to be refined and that process of refinement is accelerated and enabled through yoga.
In that sense, yoga is a science. It investigates into the nature of your self. You are the laboratory and also the scientist that is investigating into himself.
8. What is the vision for Satyananda Yoga New Zealand?
The vision of Satyananda Yoga in New Zealand and worldwide is evolution of awareness, so that one may enjoy a better quality of experience in our lives.
9. Why is mantra important?
Mantra is important because it is a very effective tool for the evolution of mind, which is based on sound frequency. It is important because it can improve you relationship with your self and thus with your environment. It can also alleviate you of stress and anxiety.
All are welcome to participate in this rare opportunity to be inspired by an authentic Master of Yoga.
- This event is open to everyone interested in learning more about yoga, ecology and how to incorporate yoga into daily life.
- No yoga experience is necessary. All you need is a willingness to learn and an open heart.
- Come to this event to experience being in the presence of a living Yogini and be motivated by her depth of inner wisdom and her knowledge of ancient traditions and modern sciences.
- During this event you will be immersed in yogic culture and you will learn more about the Satyananda Yoga Tradition.
- The programme includes lectures from Swami Satsangi based around the chosen theme Illuminating Life through Yoga, as well as early morning yoga classes, meditation & relaxation sessions, chanting, kirtan and a havan (sacred fire ceremony).
- Enjoy a traditional Maori welcome greeting, performances by Pikimai; Maori cultural group and Caitlin & Sika.
Important information and to book:
This event takes place over the Easter weekend 2011; early booking is advised for travel and accommodation. You can book via the Swami Satsangi 2011 website.