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Yoga & You April 2010 – International Teachers & updates

April 5, 2010

Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya

Nina and I were truly privileged to meet with and interview Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya on the 28th March during his visit to Cape Town. Swami Chaitanya is a highly esteemed disciple of Amma or Sri Mata Amritanandamayi, fondly known as the hugging saint of India.

The foundation is known as Embracing the World and extends to almost all corners of the globe. It has been the selfless compassion and endearing love that Amma has for humanity that has led Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya and the foundation to offer various humanitarian activities to uplift and inspire much needed communities. Embracing the World is a non profit,  non governmental organization that has funded numerous charitable endeavours throughout the world from India, Europe, United States and Africa.

As a youngster Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya deliberately avoided encounters and discussions that dealt with spirituality due to an admittedly doubtful belief that certain spiritual leaders were not sincere. How ironic, that in his quest to avoid spirituality, he met with Amma, by sheer fate, and from the very first meeting, his life was changed forever. His life became that of being spiritual and spreading this loving spirituality to selflessly follow Amma and selflessly serve the poor, the hungry, the destitute, the sick, the needy and those in search of being loved. He has not looked back and after 23 years from that first profound meeting with Amma, Br. Shubamrita Chaitanya, continues to spread the love and the incredible work of Amma- a truly inspirational being and a living saint.

It was an honour to be in his presence and I thank God that in this age of sadness and violence there are people like Amma and Shubamrita Chaitanya that, against all odds, persevere to provide compassion, love and aid to so many around the world. May we continue to be blessed with such beings in our presence.

With Gratitude and Love,

Juanita.

www.amma.org/index.html

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Jivamukti Yoga – visit by Sharon Ganon and David Life – by Cherryl Duncan.

Sharon and David first arrived in Cape Town after being in 30 cities prior to their arrival as part of their world tour since October 2009.

I took them along the scenic route home over Chapman’s peak so they could see our beautiful Cape Town, but all David could talk about was the schedule and what they’d be teaching over the next coming week of their stay in South Africa. This is not to say that David and Sharon are oblivious to beauty or nature, but rather it is testament to their dedication to teaching and delivery of their message of ‘Enlightenment through compassion for all beings’.

I had many excursions planned during their stay as I thought they’d want to see Cape Town and Johannesburg, but they stopped me at every turn, wanting only to rest and to teach. They are so passionate and feel so strongly about changing the world that they continue to express that travel does not mean vacation time for them. Sharon and David teach the Jivamukti Yoga Method all over the world. It speaks to a truth inherent in all people and those that awaken to this truth, are transformed forever.

After two full days of teaching, Sharon and David were off to Johannesburg where they taught for another 3 days. They were both amazed at the Jivamukti community that welcomed them and said they had no idea the community was even alive, and not only alive, but well.

The workshops were well received in both cities with many people signing up for more workshops than originally booked for. I have received and continue to receive countless emails for thanks. It was such a pleasure to share my beloved teachers with the people of SA, (Let’s not forget the Durbanites that flew in for the event), and most exciting, Sharon and David have expressed support of the work we are doing at Living Yoga to continue to grow Jivamukti and to spread their message. Watch this space for a burgeoning Jivamukti South Africa.

I did however manage, on their last day of rest to take them to the Velgevonden Game Reserve where they got to go on a Game drive and spend the night. They both loved it and were particularly taken by the massive herd of Zebra we encountered. It was so nice to see these two incredibly hard working Yogis finally relax before they flew off to Nairobi the next day to continue teaching, inspiring and changing the world.

www.jivamuktiyoga.com

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Hari Kaur Khalsa – by Jai

Hari Kaur Khalsa is quite a magical and prayerful being who connects people and brings abundance to whatever she touches. She did a fabulous workshop on Celestial Communication for our Kundalini yoga students and our literacy learners at St. Joseph’s Adult Education Programme, www.stjosephsaep.co.za. We made a Celestial Communication DVD with Hari on meditations with movement that you can do along with Hari. This will be available on the website from next month onwards. The Betty’s Bay retreat was amazing. The response was incredible. We had 5 Kundalini yoga teachers there and everyone was impressed by her talent and her huge heart. She did Celestials and mala making. Hari’s visit was a precious gift. Wahe Guru.

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Swami Kamalavidya and Swami Muktidharma

Swami Kamalavidya from Johannesburg’s Satyananda Ashram hosted Swami Muktidharma from India while he was visiting South Africa. The YAA team caught up with both of them when they visited Cape Town in March. From the start of the interview it was impressively seen that children and childrens’ yoga play a big part in these two sincere and heartfelt swamis.

Swami Muktidharma has worked very closely with the late Swami Satyananda as well as Swami Niranjan to start the Children’s Yoga Movement (CYM) in India. The idea behind this project is to teach kids yoga and then for them to go back to their communities to teach their peers, friends, school mates and family members so that in the end, the children become teachers and start running the movement themselves, coming up with new ways and means to transform society. The belief is that childrens’ minds are like sponges, they can grasp and soak up information and concepts very easily which they can then share and spread with others – this will lead to transformation, positive transformation in the future. We need to look after our kids as they are the future.

The idea of the CYM is being adopted in SA with Swami Kamalavidya working in Johannesburg and Chaitanyananda and Sangeeta heading up the Cape Town branch. Swami Muktidharma with all his traveling has become aware of the different challenges that the children in Africa face, many have gone through extremely traumatic situations and acquired many negative samskaras (impressions). But he strongly believes that the philosophy behind yoga can be used in positive manner to heal the wounds and help grow each individual. The movement aims to empower children so that children can grow into confident, healthy and happy young adults.

Swami Kamalavidya started working with and teaching yoga to Child Line victims three years ago and has been a steady force in these peoples lives ever since. By being a consistent face and being there regularly for these kids, she has managed to build up trust and a space that is safe for them to explore their feelings and to grow into strong and confident young adults, overcoming what ever tragedies they have had to face over the course of their life. She says “by going to India regularly and visiting the Satyananda Ashram in Rikia I have learnt how to work with, uplift and help these kids.”

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Swami Suddhananda’s visit to South Africa March 2010 – by John

We were recently privileged to have Swamiji pay us a visit in South Africa. This is Swamiji’s second visit here. Arriving in Johannesburg on the 4th of March he took Lenasia Johannesburg’s Indian community by storm, with 200 attendees attending the first night. Thereafter giving another talk in central Johannesburg on the 5th, around 50 people attended, and many inquired about the camps on Self-Knowledge before Swamiji flew to Cape Town.

In the Cape Swamiji was given the tour of the Peninsula, shown the magnificent views, and drove around Table Mountain, where he was well received by the dolphins.

Swamiji gave three wonderful days of talks on the subject of ‘Being in love with yourself.’ in a private home where there was an average of 30 to 40 people each day. His talks were very well received, with many people returning each day asking some insightful questions during the Q&A sessions. It is so wonderful to hear Swamiji answer peoples questions, because when Swamiji answers, he really talks thoroughly on each question, and always reveals some wonderful anecdotes from the scriptures and legends of India through which he is able to bring total clarity and understanding of the subject. He then visited the Ananada Kutir Ashram in Cape Town established by Swami Venkateshananda, where we were unusually spoilt with some of the most beautiful chanting by Swamiji.

Swamiji then drove to Plettenberg Bay where a large gathering of people heard him talk at the inauguration of a multi denominational meditation space at the Satchitananda Center.

Swamiji had everyone in fits of laughter as the evening rains held off, and everyone enjoyed his free spirited discussion on the importance of Self-Knowledge.

Returning to Johannesburg Swamiji then drove to Gabarone Botswana where he enjoyed the spectacular array of wildlife in the Okavango Delta, and gave a talk on Ramayana in Gabarone to a large group, before returning by road to Johannesburg. Swamiji then flew to Australia.

We all loved hearing Swamiji talk on Self Knowledge and all are looking forward to his next visit.

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