I met Amma in 2010 in Dublin, Ireland, my home town. My whole life changed from that moment onwards. Within a year I was on a plane to India for six months to begin my two-year career break from my job as a Primary School teacher. For these six months, I intended to spend just two weeks with Amma at her ashram in Amritapuri. However, this quickly changed to six months.
In December 2011, I arrived at the ashram and began with a 4-Day Intensive Amrita Yoga retreat, which opened me up to a whole new way of practicing yoga. Through deep awareness in every asana using my breath & the beautiful mantras MA (meaning Divine Love) and OM (meaning Divine Light), I could cultivate a connection to that true divinity that lies within.
I quickly noticed that Amrita Yoga is different than anything I had experienced in the west. I had been pushing my body into asanas and flip flopping around the mat without any awareness. I wasn’t aware of the true meaning of this practice and had not been practicing to bring about the silence and taste of our true selves.
After the 4-Day Intensive, I signed up for the 2-Week Immersion Program, starting just a day or two later. I was going through quite a process within, and this course was really transformative. To be able to practice yoga at such a deep level, in the presence of a Master, was a gift that I will always cherish. My practice changed and I began to bring this awareness into my daily life.
I spent most of those two years with Amma and so much changed inside of me. As I continued to practice Amrita Yoga, my connection to Amma has strengthened. I became stronger, and old patterns began to fall away.
Then, it was time to go back to the west. I had mixed feelings about leaving Amma and a fear that all I had learned would be forgotten as I entered back to my life in Ireland. The transition has had its challenges. I can truly say, however, that without Amma, the IAM (Integrated Amrita Meditation) Technique and my daily Amrita Yoga practice, I would not have been able to settle back with such ease and grace.
In August 2014, I was able to travel back to the ashram. I met some of the Amrita Yoga teachers and assistants and my memories of the previous 2-Week Immersion Program came flooding back. This was exactly what I was looking for. I was excited to again be immersed in ashram life, beginning with archana (chanting the 1000 names of the Divine Mother) in the Kali temple before the sun rises, a powerful practice which brings prosperity to the family and peace to the world. Also as part of the retreat, we participated in a two-hour yoga asana class embodying Amma’s teachings in the morning, an uplifting satsanga (yoga talks) from one of the disciples or devotees, and seva – time to serve selflessly forgetting the self and showing compassion to others. In the afternoon, we could spend time with Amma to integrate the morning, and then finally another yoga asana class in the afternoon followed by a deep meditation. Pure bliss!
I began this 2-Week Immersion for the second time, knowing that each time I take a retreat with Amrita Yoga, it is so different. I found this time I was going even deeper into poses, feeling different parts of my body and a deep sense of knowing where I should be on my mat. Old stories which have lived in my body for so long finally came to the surface, so I could let go and release them. This could only happen because of the deep knowledge of our teachers and assistants who were true instruments of Amma. They held such precision and integrity in every part.
As I go onwards and back to my life in the west, I am different again. I have shed another load. Amrita Yoga has been the tool to aid me in this process and continues to do so. Practicing Amrita Yoga opens us up to Divine Love. It brings us to deep silence and a true change occurs. Thank you Amma.
Amma says: “Only in the depth of pure silence can we hear God’s voice. God is compassion. He is waiting at the door of every heart. He is an uninvited guest everywhere, because whether you call Him or not, He is there. Whether you are a believer or a nonbeliever, He is within you uninvited.”
Some statements from students of the 2-Week Immersion Program:
‘Amrita Yoga is so unique in that it really does incorporate Amma’s teachings.’ – Mahita Bingham
‘The schedule was fantastic and helped structure my whole day.’ – Cody Reding
‘The asana combined with the breathing and mantra was a really wonderful and joyful experience.’ – Yogini
‘I especially enjoyed the satsanga. Every single satsanga gave wonderful, new insights and precious details about Amma’s infinite wisdom and compassion.’ – Julia
Author: Vandana Cantrell