Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Tools for Meditation: Mudras

Your body is a subtle and powerful antenna that is continually receiving energy and also transmitting it. Mantra, mudra and mandala are three types of powerful spiritual tools that assist you in purifying your physical, mental and psychic bodies.

With regular practice, these methods sharpen and expand your spiritual wisdom. They help you to restore balance within the microcosm and bring it into harmony with the macrocosm. They support your meditation practice and aid you in finding inner peace.

* Mantra: auditory tool, sound vibration
* Mudra: hand position, sealing the psychic energies
* Mandala/ yantra: visual tool; mystical diagram

I'm preparing on Friday, 7pm, at the College of Psychic Studies. It is the second of three talks entitled "Tools for Meditation: Mantra, Mudra and Mandala". This one will be on mudras and promises to be quite interesting. If you are in London, I hope you will attend.

More tomorrow ....

Sunday, 20 June 2010


Loving greetings on this auspicious Midsummer’s weekend

I’ve just returned from a few days in Dorset at the Midsummer Festival that was organised by the Independent Network.

I’d like to say a special “thanks” to Bhavani, who drove me down and back. I always enjoy the drive to Dorset. Soon after leaving London, you come to the awe-inspiring Salisbury Plains. One can imagine why it was a holy place in ancient times. The view and feeling of spaciousness is still exciting today, especially when you come over the hill and see Stonehenge before you. This Friday, the road was packed with people going to the Solstice celebrations – but the view was still great!

The Yoga Festival was laid back and relaxing – a nice place to chat with old friends and yoga colleagues – and a fine place to meet new ones. Thanks to Ellen Lee, who is the new Chair of the Independent Yoga Network – and to Peter Yates, who has just gotten up to give her the seat. The look of effortless that allowed everything to run so smoothly made it obvious how much loving attention had been put into organising things beforehand. The organisers were able to sit back and chat with the rest of us.

On Saturday, I gave a “Power of Breath” workshop to a group of mainly yoga teachers. This is my favourite type of class – I always enjoy the dialogue involved.

Today: Sunday, I’m back in London – and just getting ready to go out to teach part of a Teachers’ Training Course philosophy module. Topic of the day: The Three Bodies and how they all relate to the practice of Hatha Yoga – which always seems to spark a good amount of thought and discussion among the soon-to-be teachers.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Picture from Auroville

Silke just sent me this picture that I was taken in Auroville in January. Our group get to spend a few days there as part of our Shakti Siva pilgrimage

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Sanskrit word “ahamkara” has quite a different meaning from the concept of “ego” in Western psychology. Ahamkara is your sense of self, your “I-ness”, your persona and sense of being a separate entity. Through surrender, you can develop the ability to react from a place beyond your individual ego; this means that you are often able to touch others on a far deeper level. You would be as much incapable of taking unfair advantage of them as you would let them take advantage of you.

To make spiritual progress, it is important empower and purify your sense of self, but only up to a point. You must cultivate a strong sense of self-worth before you can transcend it.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

May-June OM-page


May 25, 2010 by Swami Saradananda

Blessed Self,

This month, along with the students in the "Yama-Niyama e-course", I've been working with the principle of "ishwara-pranidhana", which is usually translated as "self-surrender" or "surrender to the Lord". This is a hard one for many modern yogis, who don't seem inclined to surrender to anyone or any teaching.

You may feel that you do not relate to the concept of "God" — or that you do not really know who or what God is — or even whether God really exists. You may (understandably) be loath to commit to doing things that you don't understand, even though they have been advocated by both ancient scriptures and modern yoga teachers.

If this is your situation, it might be helpful to envision Patanjali's final niyama as the steps you take towards letting go of your self-imposed limitations.

Begin by looking at how your world is very much created by your thoughts. Tell yourself that you are weak, and you will find yourself lacking sufficient strength. Or if you focus on an emotional experience, such as grief, it begins to form an integral part of your personality. See how you mould your character by your thoughts. The more you hold on to negativity, the more it controls you.

Remember, it is only the thought that you are not free keeps you from being free.

with best wishes for great success in your sadhana
Swami Saradananda
Blessed Self

December 11, 2009 by Swami Saradananda

Perhaps this holiday season is the perfect time to begin to integrate “aparigraha” into your daily life. Patanjali’s fifth “yama” (ethical principles of relating to the world around you) is usually translated as non-greed or detachment to material objects. Aparigraha can also be viewed as going against the principles of western consumerism. It connotes the ability to be happy without excessive possessions, i.e. living simply without a surplus of possessions, sharing what you have, not judging others by their material possessions, and not believing that what you own is tantamount to who you are.

"Simple living and high thinking".
~ Swami Sivananda

Before you get caught up in the social whirl of the holiday season, remind yourself that the purpose of yoga practice is to free yourself from the bonds of your mind. Why not begin to integrate the practice of aparigraha into your daily life by living more simply. You might also be interested in the Yoga Sutra e-course that I’ve developed – if so, see the right-hand panel.

Maybe you could try celebrating this season with a “Buy Nothing ChrismaHanuKwanzakah” - or delight your friends and family with gifts that try to make the world a better place. Help communities and individuals in developing countries to receive the essentials they need to change their lives. Your gifts will be much appreciated both here and by families around the world.

ActionAid's Gifts in Action: www.giftsinaction.org.uk
World Vision Alternative Gifts: www.greatgifts.org
Global Giving Circle: www.globalgivingcircle.org
Or my own favourite charity: www.GangaPremHospice.org

I’ll be in India; mid-Dec to mid-Feb.

My thoughts and prayers are with you for a joyous holiday season – and a new year filled with sublime learning experiences.

With best wishes, Swami Saradananda

"When you are free of greed, you gain the understanding of the purpose of life".
~ Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 2.39

September 1, 2009 by Swami Saradananda

Loving greetings and welcome back from summer.

I’ve had an unusually high number of people asking me where and when I’m going to be teaching in London. If you can have a look at the calendar, you’ll notice that I’ve got some satsangs planned and a 2-month course at the College of Psychic Studies. My schedule for this autumn is especially limited as I have several writing projects in progress + I’m trying to get ready for the Shakti-Siva pilgrimage to South India.

If you are interested in studying with me, I would suggest that you book yourself onto the Yoga Sutra e-course.

I hope to spend most of November in New York. Please contact me if you would like to arrange some programmes – either in New York or nearby.

This year’s pilgrimage is already fully booked, but I’m starting to organize a retreat in South India for next year.