Solheimar, Iceland

Solheimar, Iceland
Solheimar Ecovillage in Iceland

Earthaven Ecovillage

Earthaven Ecovillage
Earthaven Ecovillage in Black Mountain, NC

Yogaville, Satchidananda Ashram

Yogaville, Satchidananda Ashram
Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sixty Days Until Yogaville

"Truth is One, Paths are Many” – Sri Swami Satchidananda

In just less than 60 days, my girlfriend Emily and I will begin our one-month residential Yoga teacher training program at the Satchidananda Ashram (a.k.a. Yogaville) located at the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in Buckingham, Virginia. From October 16th until November 13th of 2011, she and I will be camping on the outskirts of this eco-spiritual community while learning to live the yogic lifestyle. Yoga is no longer just a hobby, it is a lifestyle; one that is all-encompassing, health-oriented, and sustainable.

1. Yoga is all-encompassing and touches every aspect of one’s life:

“Yoga” as it is known in the West, the physical movements and postures of the body, is only one aspect of the yogic lifestyle. This limb is called Asana and is merely one limb of the eight-limbed Path of Yoga, as described in the Yoga Sutras, which were written over 2000 years ago. Life in the Ashram will not only expand our Asana practice, but will also explore the other seven limbs, which include concentration (Dharana), meditation (Dhyana), moral restraints toward others (Yama), moral restraints toward oneself (Niyama), breathing exercises (Pranayama), mastery of the senses (Pratyahara) and oneness or unity (Samadhi), by bringing them to the forefront of our consciousness. Days begin at 6:00 am and end at 9:00 pm 6 days a week with Sundays off.

Here is our daily schedule:

6:00 Meditation
7:00 Hatha Yoga
8:30 Breakfast
9:30-11:30 Morning Program

PM 12-12:30 Meditation at LOTUS shrine
12:45 Lunch
1:30-2:00 Free time
2:00-3:00 Study
3:00-6:00 Afternoon Program
6:00-6:30 Meditation or deep relaxation
6:30 Dinner
7:30-9:00 Evening Program
10:00 Lights out – Silence until after morning Hatha Yoga class

2. Yoga revolves around the physical, mental and spiritual health of an individual:

Not only does yoga help prevent disease, but it places the yogi on the other side of the spectrum, making them feel even better than healthy. The diet is all vegetarian, so I will remove meat, fish, eggs and dairy from my diet and consume three meals a day of fresh vegetables grown in the ten acre organic farm on the property. Our sleep cycles will be more tied to natural rythms of the sun and moon and passing of the season. Our exposure to technology and electromagnetic waves will be greatly reduced. Being surrounded by like-minded people all giving much attention to their own bodies and minds will cultivate creativity and contentment.

3. Yoga is a form of sustainability through voluntary simplicity:

Our existence will be simple, which already reminds me of a stay in a self-sustaining eco-village. Unlike some other eco-villages that are bound by the desire to simply co-exist harmoniously on the physical/material plane with the Earth, Ashrams and yoga communities are cohered on the spiritual plane based around the teachings or ideas of a guru/master/spiritual leader. In the case of Yogaville, this community revolves around Sri Swami Satchidananda, who founded the Integral Yoga Institute of Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville in 1980. Yogaville is an inter-faith institute, as evidenced by the diverse array of religious symbols displayed over the doors of the main temple shrine (Light of Truth Universal Shrine L.O.T.U.S.) Therefore, although this village has a spiritual cohesion, which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or failures of intentional communities, it has no dogmatic requirements or prosthelytizing beyond the general guidelines of the ashram necessary for the national certification process to become a knowledgeable yoga instructor. This is not a religious community; it is a spiritual community. Some people confuse Yoga as a religion, however it is but one of the many paths to the inevitable realization of unity and bliss.


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  2. Days begin at 6:00 am and end at 9:00 pm 6 days a week with Sundays off.Cahul