Brahmacharini Shobha visited 11 cities in Europe during February 2019. The programs included asana classes, meditations, yoga nidra, yoga talks and question & answer sessions. Also included were devotional songs, pujas, arati, and chanting of the Divine Names. Time was also made for selfless service. Amma’s spiritual presence was the real yoga at these programs. Our hearts’ longing for the highest beauty filled the atmosphere.
The Tour Begins
Brni Shobha’s European tour started at Hoff Herrenberg, the MA Center located in the heart of Germany. It’s an hour from Frankfurt, nestled amidst the rolling hills of the Odenwald. In February the enchanting landscape still had a beautiful covering of snow. Retreats have been taking place there since the year 2000. The center has existed since 2006.
About 70 people came from near and far to the first Amrita Yoga Retreat led by Brni Shobha. Most were from Germany. Some came from other countries such as Poland, Luxembourg and Denmark. Participants learned that Amrita Yoga reflects the essence of Amma’s teachings, namely, her simplicity and humility. Yoga is the journey back to inner stillness, the state from which every soul has grown.
Amma’s energy was at the root of all the programs. Nanna Aakard, Brni Shobha’s Europe Tour Coordinator from Denmark, joined the tour in several cities. She remarked, “I have done yoga since a child and grew up doing all the classic hatha yoga asanas–but these yoga classes even at the beginner levels are so packed with spiritual awareness, I can see I’ll be a beginner forever.”
Amirta Yoga Magic in Denmark
Brni Shobha visited Denmark on her European tour. Two 2-day retreats were conducted in the city of Aarhus and the capital of Copenhagen. A couple of months prior in October 2018, Amma visited Denmark for the very first time. Amma conducted a 2-day program in Copenhagen during her annual European tour. Around ten thousand people had the great experience of meeting Amma for the first time.
Denmark is a small country in Scandinavia, Northern Europe with about 1 million residents in Copenhagen. It was a great joy that 90 people total attended the retreats. Many experienced Amrita Yoga for the very first time.
Brni Shobha’s teachings are deep, touching and heart opening. She led the attendants through Ma-Om filled Yoga-asanas, meditation, bhajans and a Q&A session. On the last day of the retreats she conducted the Bhagavati Seva Puja. This was an inspiring and breathtaking experience for the attendants. Many had never before experienced a traditional Puja. The puja was beautiful and charged with a high level of awareness. It was very well received even by new people who had never met Amma.
(The Bhagavati Seva Puja is a traditional Kerala ritual performed right after sunset to receive blessings from the divine mother and protection from miseries.)
How does the practice of Amrita Yoga bring Amma’s teachings into our life?
The ultimate goal of yoga is Enlightenment or Self-Realization. For many of us, that is a lofty ideal that seems very abstract. Yoga asanas are a very small part of that vast knowledge of Yoga.
Amrita Yoga’s intention is to move beyond the asanas to the deeper spiritual reasons for practicing yoga. This practice brings out the hidden potential to transform old habits. You can then embark on your first steps to freedom.
From the Mat to Our Daily Lives
Amrita Yoga integrates awareness into our lives. With awareness as the goal instead of physical strength and flexibility, the practice takes on a totally different dimension.
Working through asanas, we begin to see that certain patterns of strength and weakness in our lives can be addressed first in the body.
If, for instance, the shoulders are strong but the abdomen weak, it may be possible to lift the legs into sirsasana (headstand) using the shoulder muscles but dropping the lower back. It may be fun to practice sirsasana like this. But after some time, the weakness in the abdomen will show up in other postures like navasana (boat). Because without awareness and strength in the lower abdomen, it will be almost impossible to lift the legs. Once the awareness dawns and strength follows, we discover how to work in the same way with other asanas.
Awareness and Confidence
This awareness practice from the mat extends into our daily life. Once we awaken our confident awareness practice on the mat, we no longer try to force a perfect posture. Then we can approach our lives in the same manner. We will generally be more aware and attentive. Instead of pushing to accomplish the next thing, the day unfolds mindfully. We give the right attention to people, tasks, and what’s inside our own minds.
True longing, sincerity and commitment is important. Asanas help us awaken our true potential and overcome obstacles. God’s grace constantly uplifts us and helps us on our journey. The more you go within, the subtler the mind and intellect become. The subtler the mind, the greater the devotion. Buddhi (intellect) is sharp as a razor’s edge. To live with that buddhi, we withdraw our senses and focus on our longing for God, yearning for the Absolute.
Author: Amrita Yoga
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