Sometimes it pays to just sit and think.
Other times you need to talk.
And finally you may need to consult reference sources.
Eventually you ought to understand what you are doing.
YOGA SADHANA COURSE BASIC GUIDELINES
If you want to progress in your sadhana (spiritual path) there are some basic rules you should establish for yourself.
STUDY Try to establish the habit of reading books of spiritual merit. They may come from any religious/philosophical background. Aim for at least a few minutes every day at a time convenient for you.
PRACTICE Try to incorporate all the elements of yoga in your life. Moral disciplines, personal habits, physical exercises, and practices leading to meditation are all important.
SATSANG Meeting with other like-minded travellers is supportive and informative Being able to discuss concepts and personal issues with sympathetic fellows is invaluable.
ACCEPT A TEACHER, or a GURU Having a teacher you can trust and who you think can further your progress is essential. A Guru is someone who can guide you along your path and towards your ultimate destination.
LIVE IN THE `REAL` WORLD As a `householder` you have your duties to family, community, job and the world. Accept these as a priviledge and source of joy and inspiration. Do not set yourself apart from the world you live in.
Sadhana describes the path we take through life towards realisation of the ultimate source (God, Divine, Universal Spirit etc). We have the choice of taking the easy way, avoiding challenges which can open our way, to the extent of making no progress on that path. We may think of trying to reach a mountain peak. There are many paths, and possibilities. At times we may need to step off the path, or even seem to go backwards. Rest assured that any progress made is never wasted. Like learning to swim the skills/progress you have made will reawaken when needed.
SADHANA COURSE OF STUDY AND PRACTICE :
This course is designed to give the aspirant an introduction to yoga in its widest sense – physical, mental, and spiritual.
Personal practice and study using the information published in this course, from other teachers, by direct experience and experimentation, and through other published works both ancient and modern will be required.
At the end of this course it would be expected that the aspirant would be equipped and prepared to consider going on –
to become a `serious` student of yoga theory and practise,
or to take yoga teacher training,
or to consider the traditional sadhana of spiritual seeking as a shisya or chela (disciple) of a true guru and through initiation, adoption of the rules of renunciation etc appropriate to their position in life.
Although the course topics are designed to cover a two year study period, (approx the equivalent of 120 hours classroom contact), this is very flexible and open ended. Ultimately it will be up to the individual to set their own agenda and timetable. The course is NOT designed to be a quick pre-teaching course allowing entry to teacher training through another organisation. For those considering yoga teaching in connection with this course it would be advisable to consider a vocational teaching qualification which would provide the necessary qualification for insurance and private or local authority employment. Professional advice is advised. Alternatives include City and Guild 7302 and 7407 in conjunction with a college of Further Education, or organisational courses such as the Diploma course of the British Wheel of Yoga, Sivananda Yoga Centre or the Bihar School of Yoga etc..
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Yoga was never designed to be a set body of knowledge needed to become a teacher etc. Traditionally the guru assessed the level of progress of the shishya and advised him/her accordingly. In this modern age of western obsession with paper qualifications, as an alternative, a student of this course who has been judged to have reached a satisfactory level of competence and understanding of the principles of yoga will be awarded a recognition of study appropriate to the needs of the student. This would not normally be considered for at least one year from the time of commencement of study. The recognition of spiritual aspirants will be considered according to their chosen sadhana.
METHODS OF STUDY
Students will be expected to:
fulfill regular home practice of asana and other techniques listed in Patanjalis astanga yoga (eight limbs). This may be with the guidance of a regular class teacher of yoga, by 1-1 tuition, or by attendance at workshops, residential courses etc.
maintain a regular yoga diary of aspects of life beyond the mundane.
create a folder or other body of notes, cuttings etc expanding on the various topics listed in the syllabus. Foundation notes for this can be seen on the website www.yoga-sadhana.org
reading, viewing or listening to spiritual scripts such as the Gitas and Upanishads etc (see reading list) and recording their own reactions
adoption of tapas (austerities) for prescribed periods of time/place
undertake pilgrimage at least once
practice meditation techniques and to comment on their effects
adopt a `yoga` life style to as great a degree as possible and to live by the ethics of yoga
An open mind and an open heart
A sacred space for practise (this does not have to be large or even the same space every day, but simply the realisation that by establishing the concept of sacred space you are making the first step to withdrawal)
Mat, rug or cloth which NOONE else is allowed to use. This really is your sacred space.
Access to a computer (Sorry but for distance learning which some may be considering this is a necessity nowadays).
Time, and this will determine the length of the course.
Paper and writing materials. These are the personal tools of your study.
Some books. The Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads are essential. Before buying a particular translation look at several in bookshops and libraries; some may be more attractive/understandable to you than others, For other books etc keep an eye open in 2nd hand book shops, sales and remainder shops. In my opinion if you get just one good idea from a book it has been a good investment. Personal advice will be given to students when appropriate.
FEES AND OTHER COSTS
Yoga should never be sold. Those were the words of my guru. I am happy to charge you to teach you exercises and point you towards factual study using books etc. But for true help with your sadhana I would be breaking my undertaking at my initiation if I were to put a value on what I can offer you. You have two alternatives:
Give me a donation according to the value you place on my help (which is just as likely to go in the same direction as choice number 2.
Or send me a donation for a tree planting / forest conservation organisation.
After my initiation I had a dream where through my efforts in this life I was able to bring about the reforestation of a complete mountain side somewhere in the world. I can`t do it alone – with your help we could.
Very limited equipment.
Recording materials etc
CONTACT ME FOR MORE DETAILS
YOGA SADHANA – The Path of Yoga
Notes on the subjects listed below can be found in The Library. The subjects also form the basis of weekly class teaching, although these are subject to variation in sequence, and may be replaced at times by other subjects.
For anyone interested in distance learning using this course I suggest you contact me with an idea of your aims and intentions. Normally I will suggest that you take one topic at a time, read about it, research other sources of information, try to apply them to your life where appropriate and then report back to me with your own observations, thoughts and any problems which you may wish to discuss in more detail.
NB Not all of these topic notes will be found in the notes of the 6 term course taught in active classes.
Introduction: Sadhana – The Path of Yoga
Finding the Spirit of Yoga
Creating your Sacred Space
Our Personal Environment
You are what you eat
Habits, Routines and Rituals
Learning to Love
Stretching into Asana
Breathing for Pranayama
Relaxation and Yoga Nidra
Autogenic and Progressive Relaxation
Pratyahara: Using the Mind, Sense Withdrawal
Visualisation for Relaxation
Soham and the Breath
Sound in Yoga
Development of Yoga Through Time
Yoga and Hinduism
Your yoga anatomy
Bandhas and Mudras
Kriya - dhauti, neti, trataka, nauli, kapala bhati
The seven systems of Indian philosphy
Hindu deities - Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva et al
Concepts of Ishta devata and the guru tradition
Modern teachers of international repute
Students would be expected to maintain a diary/ scrapbook of their practical and spiritual yoga experience supported by photographs & other evidence of application.