Gurukula – a year in the ashram
What is Gurukula?
The 29th of June marked the beginning of Gurukula at Yogi Hari’s Ashram, a one-year course for qualified disciples of Shri Yogi Hari. This unique opportunity offers an intense time to immerse in Sampoorna Yoga. Sampoorna Yoga is the intelligent integration of the six main systems of Yoga – Hatha, Raja, Karma, Bhakti, Gyan, and Nada Yoga.
For the first three weeks of the program, the Gurukula students participated in the Sampoorna Yoga Advanced Teacher Certification Course (ATCC). This proved a beneficial way to review important knowledge and to make sure everyone had the same base for the lectures and practices to follow during the year.
A Day in the Life at the Ashram
Ashram life means following a disciplined schedule, living a life of moderation and sharing this experience in a community of like-minded individuals. The day begins at 6:00 a.m. with Satsang, following the structure of meditation, chanting, and a lecture by Shri Yogi Hari. Hatha Yoga Class comes next, waking up the body and releasing tension from sitting during Satsang. At 10:00 a.m. breakfast is ready, time to enjoy homemade Kitcheri or tasty oatmeal with fruits from the garden. Afterward, everybody is involved in Karma Yoga (selfless service). This might be cleaning the house, working in the garden, improving the ashram or whatever project is needed for the day. After Karma Yoga, students have time for self-study, followed by a delicious, vegetarian dinner. To finish the day everybody comes together for an evening Satsang.
Hatha Yoga Studies
The first 7 weeks have passed and so far we have been reviewing, practicing and teaching Hatha Yoga. We are using Shri Yogi Hari’s DVD series, Yoga at Home with Yogi Hari as a model to refine our teaching. We started with the Level 1 Beginners Class, Open Class and Intermediate Level 1 Class, now moving on to Intermediate Level 2 and the Advanced Level 1 classes. After studying the video, we practice teaching a class to our fellow students. We exchange feedback and constructive criticism which helps us to improve our personal teaching style, how to give corrections and to become more aware of our own postures and practice. We also enjoy the positive effects of daily Hatha Yoga practice, sometimes twice a day.
Exploring the Bhagavad Gita
During the lectures, the main subject of our program is the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most famous scriptures of the Hindu religion. This complete manual for enlightenment is one of the most referenced and cherished texts in history and contains essential knowledge on many aspects of life. To really understand the deeper meaning of the sometimes abstract verses, an enlightened Guru is necessary to explain their relevance to us in our daily lives. The Guru is able to shed light on such questions as the true nature of this world and reality, what is our duty and how to do it effectively.
To put the Bhagavad Gita in its proper context, we are involved in watching the Mahabharat film. This 90-hour movie describes the account of events which led up to the Divine teachings of the Gita. During our daily Satsangs, Shri Yogi Hari reads passages from the Gita and offers us insight into the deep knowledge presented out in the scripture.
Nada Yoga – Tuning Up the Chakras
Learning music as Nada Yoga (the science of Divine vibration) is a major part of the Gurukula program. Shri Yogi Hari contains an ocean of knowledge to relay to his students and disciples. This year spent in residence at his ashram is the ideal time for students to study, to practice, and to improve their understanding of Nada Yoga. Chanting is an important component of Satsang each day, and students also practice during their self-study time. In addition to learning to chant, students are involved in learning how to play classical Indian instruments such as harmonium and tabla.
In the coming days, you will have the chance to read some of the personal experiences of the disciples who are enjoying this unique opportunity of living in the Ashram for one year.