This interview was taken at Yashodhara Ashram in British Columbia, Canada on the beautiful Kootenay Lake.
(Some sections have been edited for grammar.)
Candess: When I hear you talk, it sounds like what’s happening is that you are keeping the truth of what Swami Radha had in terms of living out what she taught, to truly keep living it and not have a separation.
Swami Samayanda: Yes, and no matter what the changes are that happen, there is that very solid core that cannot change, because that is what an Ashram is. It is the center of one teacher’s teachings and we are all committed to that. To what she gave us and in our gratitude, that is what we give back. These have to be applied to what is happening in the world. Our focus now is to be carbon neutral by 2013. We are not cut off from the world. Our sustainability, how do we care for our forests? Our development, Yashodhara Heights, three cabins that we built are all extremely green. We are very much in tune with what is happening with the world and what the concerns are in the world, and bringing them right in to our community, right here. We are always asking. We can go back to her teachings and it is all there. Carbon neutral, it is all there. Sustainability, it is all there. We say, “I am sustained by Divine Light, I am sustained by the teachings.” So how do we bring that out then, into the actual physical place we work and to the people who come.
Candess: That is exciting. The more I hear about this, I am so grateful I am here. My connection with the Spokane Radha House has been mostly through Yoga for Health and Healing and the Dream Yoga. There are a lot of forms of yoga other than the physical. Can you tell me more about yoga?
Swami Samayanda: It is interesting in the West, we have taken one yoga practice out of the entire yogic system and we call it yoga. It’s basically Hatha Yoga. It’s working with the body. It is mainstream. When you say the word yoga, everybody thinks of a studio and doing postures and that kind of thing. Yoga, actually if you look at the original sutras, the yoga sutras by Patanjali; asanas are a very tiny, tiny, part of the yogic system. Their original intent is to prepare the body to be still for meditation and other yogic practices. I see that changing in the West, where a lot of people were just interested in the physical part of it. More and more I hear people say, I know there is more. What more is there? There has got to be more to this. There are probably about 39 kinds of yoga, of which Hatha is just one. What Swami Radha brought back were several that we work with here.
We work with Dream Yoga, which is the interpretation, learning to interpret our own dream messages. We work with Kundalini Yoga which is the study of, really of how we use energy, how we express ourselves, the choices we make and how that comes out in our speech, in our behavior, in our thoughts. We also work with the Yoga of Light and our primary way of doing that is through the standing practice of doing the Divine Light Invocation. We focus on Mantra Yoga, which is the yoga of chanting, sound, vibration. We work with Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga is the basis actually of our Ashram which is the yoga of action. Work is service. It is different than just volunteering. We actually do the yoga and ask ourselves what we are learning from it. What is the work teaching us? It is not just doing the work, getting the work done itself, its what we are learning in that process.
(next . . . Part 3)