Newsletter May 2011
After a year of preparations, when Swami Satsangi’s visit to New Zealand was cancelled, the Anahata team and Satyananda New Zealand community refused to give up and decided to put the yogic teachings into action with a Nurturing Positivity event. An Ashram Lifestyle preparation week started auspiciously with a Powhiri – a Maori welcome ceremony – on a full moon. Daily teachings from the Bhagavad Gita inspired our karma yoga, and afternoon satsangs with Acharya Swami Muktidharma and Australian Acharya Swami Atmamuktananda who willingly stepped in at the last minute leaving her busy centre in Victoria, Australia.
Nurturing Positivity was the biggest event in Anahata’s history, and our facilities were put to the test. Despite mists, extreme rain and limited facilities, an incredibly powerful and uplifting energy was created. With the support of a dedicated karma yogi team, it was a wonderful gathering as more than 100 people from New Zealand, Australia and around the world joined together receiving wisdom and tools to nurture positivity in their lives. Offering complementary perspectives, one participant described, “Swami Muktidharma was like the concrete blocks with Swami Atmamuktananda the cement to bind it together.” Sannyasin Kalikamurti also presented a positive approach to the management of chronic pain while Swami Kailash and Swami Karma Karuna gave practical sessions.
Between satsangs, chanting, fire ceremonies, laughing meditations, asana and pranayama classes and meditation, there was plenty of time to cosy up and meet old and new friends in the chai stall and be replenished with warm delicious food. Swami Muktidharma commented several times, “It’s an inspiration to see so many good people coming together in such a positive way.”
The grand finale was an akhanda kirtan, which Swami Atmamuktananda described as an opportunity to shake up set patterns and observe what shifts and releases. With 12 hours of non-stop chanting, it was an amazing experience of heart opening which culminated with Rudra Abhisheka. And on this final day, even the weather couldn’t resist all the positive vibrations as the mists finally lifted to reveal the spectacular Anahata views, made sweeter from being enveloped in clouds for three days.
For more photos check out our Facebook page!!
On the events and retreats side, 2010 saw a new focus on offering longer and more intensive sadhana courses for those interested in deeper practices, with various international guests leading these courses.
A new offering in 2010 was the three 1-month Intensive Explore Your Self retreats, with Swami Gyan Dharma returning to inspire us while Swamis Muktidharma and Karma Karuna were away in India. This course was an opportunity for participants to explore yogic practices at a deeper level while immersing themselves in the ashram lifestyle for an extended period of time.
Each course had a different theme. The first was “being present”, supported by the technique of Antar Mouna (inner silence) and daily chanting of the Bhagavad Gita. The second month focused on sustainability for both individuals and the environment through practices of Yoga Ecology. Sustainability was further fostered through the practice of karma yoga (action with meditative awareness) and chanting the Hanuman Chalisa, an inspiring text dedicated to victorious actions and achieving goals. This chant proved to be so popular it has become the new ongoing morning chant here at Anahata! The final course focused on achieving balance, and using yogic tools to help navigate the inevitable ups and downs of daily life.
2011 kicked off with Anahata’s Creating Change retreat led by Swami Muktidharma and Swami Gyan Dharma - a powerful team. This was a three-day workshop honouring the New Year and the process of change. This year we had record Kiwi participation: 90% of participants being from New Zealand. Together we welcomed in the New Year with kirtan and havan as the moon shone down on us.
Shortly afterwards we welcomed the next group of eager seekers for Celebration of Sound. Always a favourite, this retreat consists of five days full of mantras and music. With Swami Muktidharma leading energetic kirtans, and voice and percussion workshops by our two very talented neighbours, Caitlin and Sika, everyone was up and dancing and enjoying the acoustics of Atma Mandir. Sika treated us to a very special didgeridoo meditation on the final day – a powerful experience of sound vibrations. We were also fortunate to have another musical gem in our midst, Yoomi Sim, a young violinist from Christchurch, who brought her incredible talent to evening kirtans and played so beautifully she moved many to tears.
Each month we hold our signature week-long Introductory Explore Your Self (EYS) retreat, a fantastic introduction to yogic living. During the retreat people are introduced to basic yogic tools and get the chance to practice them along side our resident karma yogis - in fact many of the current residents initially got hooked through one of these retreats! As always, we begin these weeks by welcoming a group of warm and open hearts, and we have the pleasure of watching their progress through the week. By the end, bonds have been made and the time to leave always arrives too fast. The closing sessions are always an abundant source of inspiration; in particular our February EYS had many people in tears including both resident Swamis. Moments like these remind us we truly do live in Anahata – the heart chakra!
In between the retreats we have had many a beautiful soul walk through our gates and grace us with their presence. As people come and go, each leaves a footprint and takes a little piece of Anahata to hold in their hearts. Some have felt so moved by their time here they were inspired to write about it. Take a read through Amber Blair’s story "Hari Om" in Living Yoga for a participant’s inspiring viewpoint on the ashram lifestyle and we hope to see you here soon!
Looking forward, Anahata will continue to host workshops around New Zealand, including our annual Aio Wira Centre retreat in June, this year led by Swami Muktidharma and Swami Kailash with the theme of “Tantra Tools for Expansion”, and our annual Tauhara retreat in September.
Here at Anahata we will be hosting a celebration for Guru Poornima in mid-July, and we are planning a sadhana retreat for Navaratri in September. This is in addition to our monthly week-long Explore Your ‘Self’ Interactive retreats. After our annual closure in August, for the months of September, October, and November, Swami Gyan Dharma will again be leading our Explore Your ‘Self’ retreats with the option of staying for anywhere from 1 week up to the full 3-month retreat!
Stay tuned to our website for all the details on these and other events!