This inteview was conducted at the Yashodhara Ashram in British Columbia, Canada on the beautiful Kootenay Lake.This is part 3 of 3 parts.
(Some sections have been edited for grammar.)
Candess: When you are talking about that, some of the yogas like the Divine Light Invocation is one of the tools I have been using here and there are so many tools. It has been incredible. What is one of your favorite tools?
Swami Samayananda: For me, one of my favorites is Mantra. I have had a mantra practice since early 1980s. I also do my practice with a harmonium, which I like. There is that whole practice of having an instrument. I tend to be restless by nature so it gives my hands something to do. Also, singing has been a big part of my life. To be able to channel all of that into the mantra and to have a practice like that that doesn’t get old, it just keeps getting deeper and deeper and it feels to me like a dear friend. It is where I go each day and it offers me tremendous support.
Candess: I love the Satsang. The chanting and the mantra is so beautiful. I have a book coming out in January that is called 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: The Gift of Pain. What way would you say that one of the Yoga practices would be helpful in self-healing?
Swami Samayananda: Swami Radha wrote a book called The Yoga of Healing. In it, there are several chapters. Some I remember are working with the Light. It is a small book and at the end of each chapter it has four practices you can do. The first one is on the Light and the Divine Light Invocation is one practice. There is also a section on breath. We know that connection with breath and our own healing and when we get anxious, the breath shortens, shortens, and shortens. That is not healthy for the body. Working with breath is healthy and calming for the body. Also, Hatha Yoga, especially when it I approached from more than the physical. What is my body saying to me as I am going into the pose and doing the pose. Mantra, absolutely for sure. Especially the Hari Om mantra is a healing mantra. Using mantra is healing as well. Relaxation is very healing. Those are a few.
Candess: That is great! One of the reasons I came her is to rest. I had been pushing myself too hard. We had a whole day on learning to rest. I learned so many tools that I would not have known before. It’s been very helpful.
If someone wanted to go on retreat here, what would be the best way for them to find out about the programs?
Swami Samayananda: The best way would be to go to our website and just take a look at what we offer. There is a whole range from weekend workshops to 3 day retreats, 4 day retreats, 10 day retreats like you are on now, to our 3 month Yoga Development Course. There is just about something for everybody. Our basic retreats really introduce people to the practices we offer here, Swami Radha’s teachings. There are some specific ones, like we have one coming up called the Inner Life of Asanas which is a way of going deeper with the Hatha Yoga practice. We had one this summer not too long ago called Facing Change, Exploring Options, so there are lots of different ways for people to come and be here. People can also come on private retreat and join with us for a couple hours in Karma Yoga so they feel connected in the community. The rest of the times, they can enjoy the prayer rooms. It is beautiful as you said. The trails, the lake, the Temple, the library are all available for people when they are here.
Candess: I went to the Temple the other night and I could just feel Swami Radha there. I thought, this must be her favorite place.
Swami Samayananda: – It is.
Candess: It was so clear to me. It was so beautiful there.
Swami Samayananda: – She said when she died, that is where she would go.
Candess: I have another guide that I work with and I was connecting with this guide, but Swami Radha was right there, so I thought OKAY!
Is there anything else that would be helpful for people to know about being a Swami or your life path or being here at the Ashram.
Swami Samayananda: I think one thing that is important for people to know about coming here is it is a time of renewing, learning some practices, some tools as you said to take away. There is no dogma in yoga. There is not doctrine. It is not a religion. I think it is really important. We are an Ashram; it is a spiritual community, so we have people who come who are Buddhist, who are Christian, who practice in the Jewish faith, Muslims, and people who have no particular tradition that they follow but are open to that spiritual dimension and they just want to take a step further. I think that is often a relief.
When people come, we do have imagery around. Imagery and symbolism whether we know it or not is very important to us. We live it anyway and symbols are there simply as a symbol that is reflecting some in ourselves so sometimes for some people, and part because of our Christian Judaic background in the West, images can be a little off-putting; but they are so beautiful and the have so much to say to us if we open them up and take them apart. I think the biggest thing is it is a beautiful place to be, to heal, to renew, to gain perspective and then take what is meaningful back out; bridge it back out to your life, back home, family, friends, work, whatever. Often people will come back and get a little bit more and take it back, back and forth. That is what I did for years.
Candess: That is wonderful! It took me probably to day eight until I started feeling myself again, so it was such a wonderful place to renew and relax. Thank you so much.
Swami Samayananda: Namaste
The end. . .
When I was taking classes in Meditation and Healing at the Church of the Divine Man many years ago, they taught about “matching” other people’s energy. An example is, if you are around someone who is angry, you may match him or her and become angry. When you are around someone peaceful, you can match him or her and become peaceful. I have been teaching this in my counseling practice for years and helped clients understand they can change how they feel by becoming aware and making choices.
I remember reading a study in one of my books (which I will find to update this blog) that had three plants. One plant was the control and the plant was watered without any variables. The second plant was watered with water where someone who was very happy and positive held the water for a period of time and the third plant was watered with water that was held for a period of time by someone who was clinically depressed. Of course, the result was the plant watered by the person who was happy grew the most; the control the second and the plant watered by the person who was depressed had stunted growth.
Physics has taught us that everything is energy, including humans, and it makes sense we affect each other in subtle and powerful ways. When I feel blue, a little grumpy, I will put on a CD by someone like Wayne Dyer to raise my mood, to shift my energy. Conversely, when I binge on music from my childhood, such as listening to Sunday Morning Coming Down, I have to pick myself up off the floor!
What inspired me to write this blog is I have been promoting a program called Habit of Attraction developed by Robert Evans. I have put it on FB, Twitter, Launchpad, sent emails and have become excited and energized about this. This morning I thought I may have gone overboard with promotion and sat to figure out what it is about this that “hooks” me.
I became acquainted with Robert when I was in the Next Top Spiritual Author contest. In that program I set up my free membership website, which has become a success for my book 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: The Gift of Pain. Later, I took his Habit of Attraction course and exceeded my financial goal for the year. Currently, I am in the Write Your Mini-book in 7 Days Course and plan to launch my Less is More: Slowing Down in an Over-stimulating World book before the end of the year.
What happens is I get energized and match his energy when I am in programs with him. I see that his working with others who also are spreading messages of love, light, and abundance also energizes him. In his programs, I have been honored to be on phone calls with people I admire like Neale Donald Walsh, the author of Conversations with God and with James Twyman who I admire for this work as a Peace Troubadour.
My focus in my work for years has been to empower others to access their Essence, to realize who they truly are and to manifest their dreams in their lives. This is the work I see Robert Evans doing and I am focused, energized, and motivated by his work. That’s my answer. That is why I am doing this promotion. Now, if you wonder, yes, I have connected with him in an affiliate program. This is one way I can stay connected to this powerful, manifesting energy.
Please take some time to think about who energizes you.
Who helps you become your better Self. Who leads the way and makes it easier for you to excel and manifest your dreams. Think about who it is that drains your energy and leaves you feeling bad about yourself. Sometimes we can’t change who we are around, but we can use those who are motivating and inspiring to bring us back into balance.