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Yoga & You: Shugendo Yoga: The American Yoga System of Healing and Spiritual Awakening by Max Holton – Part 1

December 6, 2010

When one thinks of “yoga system” what comes to mind? For many here in the west it is a healthy lifestyle of eating right, classes of stretching, possibly intertwined with Hindu spirituality and having a guru. But truly yoga is more. The word yoga comes from Sanskrit and is often interpreted to mean “to yoke or join” with the Divine. Simply put it is a vehicle for the individual soul to steadily progress toward union of the God-soul; a merger for two to become one. Typically when one thinks of yoga they think of systems emerging from India as old as civilization itself, but “yoga” is in all cultures albeit called by different terms. It is put into practice slightly differently, but always with the same goals in mind. Traditionally one concludes that a yoga system, from India, has stretching exercises with cool interpretations of the Sanskrit, includes chants and kirtans, spiritual teachers called a guru, and highly fit- traditionally female here in the west- persons in tight fitting clothes doing what seem like impossible poses for the average American. Often these “traditions” have become commercial in limiting most yoga schools today here in the west to merely exercise-related approaches, and then only practiced regularly by the deeply committed practitioner. But what if there was a yoga system for the everyday common man and woman that were simple, adaptive, and effective in healing? One that had influences of “Old India”, but also incorporated Traditional Chinese Medicine, holistic healing theory, knowledge of western medicine, and yet was spiritual and not religious? What if this yoga was purely American; a new system of the blending of the old traditions? A melting pot of traditions used to reach new awareness and transdimensionality?  If such a thing existed, and it does, then it would be Shugendo Yoga

Born out of the mind and implementation of a registered nurse with over 25 years experience in critical care, rehabilitation, and teaching; Christopher Bashaw combined traditional healing practices and theories from around the world.  Bashaw, a New Hampshire native, created Shugendo Yoga in hopes of promoting a practice where the individual actively participates in his or her own healing process. By combining practices used in tai chi, martial arts, yoga and fitness training with the understanding of spiritual concepts Shugendo Yoga has taken flight. Bashaw states;  “The Shugendo Yoga classes are a mix of gentle exercises – a unification of gentle stretching, ancient energy cultivation exercises, self healing techniques and meditation accompanied by gentle breathing and relaxation techniques. It is designed as a spiritual aid to enhance all belief systems as well as a potent self-healing modality for the body, mind and spirit.”


Max Holton is a Shugendo Yoga practitioner and freelance writer in the New England area.

Shugendo Yoga is the “lightning path” of yoga practice for healing and spiritual development. Shugendo Yoga Instructor Certification begins in Providence. RI, April 2011. The only North American training currently scheduled. Those interested in Training or Certification visit or contact Bashaw or Wilmott to bring an introduction workshop of Shugendo Yoga to their school or organization.

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