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sannyasi pragyadhara

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Sannyasi Pragyadhara

Director and Educator Pure Yoga

Yoga Education Programme Director Kawai Purapura Retreat Centre 

Pragyadhara  means 'The flow of wisdom.’ Flow is dynamic, fluid, innovative and adaptable. Wisdom is inner knowing, an awakened intuition that is forged through a synthesis of experience, knowledge, understanding and love. My name was given to me by my guru swami Niranjanananda Saraswati and its meaning represents a lifelong aspiration.

​Qualifications and Recognition

  • Lead Trainer and Senior teacher, RYS, E-RYT® 500, YACEP®Kawai Continuing Education Provider, Yoga Alliance, U.S.

  • 3 year residential immersion, Sannyasa Training, Sannyas Peeth, Ganga Darshan, Bihar School of Yoga, India, 2012 - 2015.

  • Certificate - Training and Assessment, TAFE, Australia, 2011

  • Diploma in Satyananda Yoga Training, Yoga Academy Australia, 2009

  • Masters in Yoga Psychology, Bihar Yoga Bharti, Ganga Darshan, 2005

  • B.A./B.ED.  Diploma of Secondary Teaching, Waikato University, 1996.

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my story

How I came to Yoga

 

When I was diagnosed with glandular fever I knew I had to reassess my lifestyle, habits, relationship to exercise and many other aspects of my life.  It was here that my mother introduced me to a local yoga teacher who was an initiated Swami of the Satyananda lineage. Her clarity, guidance and mentorship and repertoire of classical based holistic practices were endless and I soon found myself building a steady home practice to continue what I was getting from the classes.

Connecting to the source - Satyananda Yoga Tradition

I first went to the ashram in India in the year 2000 to attend a special programme that was happening.  It was called a Yagna. I had no idea what a Yagna was or what to expect.

After receiving mantra initiation from Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati I realised how important the role of guru is in a spiritual seeker's life. A guru is a special person, an evolved soul, who has already walked the spiritual path we are all travelling and helps us navigate our evolutionary path when we make the effort. 

In the ashram yoga practices were built upon and extended into other forms like karma yoga, bhakti and jnana yoga. There was a yoga for every facet of human expression and I got to pick and choose which ones to implement whenever I needed to come back to centre and balance and ground myself.  Reaching this point was very empowering and elevated my enthusiasm towards committing further to the yogic process. 

I draw on the inspiration of my guru as a constant reminder of how to walk the path, to flow with life, to embrace the journey of yoga with sincerity and commitment. In this relationship I feel strengthened and motivated to continue daily sadhana.

Ashram Life

I lived at the Bihar School of Yoga for five years and have been going there regularly over the last 19 years.  The Bihar school of yoga conducts trainings and courses in an ashram environment, a place where the precepts and teachings of yoga to be lived.  In this way the yogic teachings are imbibed and become part of how you think and behave naturally. It is the perfect environment in which to apply yoga from moment to moment.  Living alongside others walking the path brings out your strengths, exposes your weaknesses and fine tunes your awareness. Ashram life is vibrant, dynamic, challenging and inwardly expansive.  The positive friction it generates catalyzes your inner growth and without this element my yoga would be incomplete. I go every year for about a month to immerse in the simplicity of ashram life.  To let go of all the external roles and responsibilities in order to spend time absorbing the teachings, engaging in selfless service through karma yoga and attending programs and courses to maintain my connection with the lineage, my guru and the teachings.

Stepping into teaching

Was a natural outcome of five years of steady self practice and undergoing residential training in India at the Bihar School of yoga.  With such a broad exposure to a wide range of practices there is always something to offer students from those looking to de-stress, find balance or transform their lives.

What excites me most about yoga

Towards the expansion of human consciousness yoga has contributed immensely and as Swami Satyananda stated it will become the culture of tomorrow.  A world in which the principles, practices and philosophy of yoga are embraced will help to spread the light of positive, creative living and this lifestyle approach is what is needed to bring balance and harmony into our lives.

Core Practices

I honour the Satyananda Yoga Tradition in my teachings as it is a great source of inspiration for me.

The following summary is from the Satyananda Yoga Teachers' Association Website:

What is the satyananda system of yoga

The Satyananda system of yoga emerged directly from thousands of years of yoga tradition in India. In the twentieth century the essence of this tradition was conveyed and adapted for the times through the life’s work of Swami Sivananda Saraswati and Swami Satyananda Saraswati along with that of other great yogis. 

What is the essence of this tradition?

The Satyananda System of Yoga is more than any practice. It is about cultivating self understanding that enables a more complete and creative way of living. It draws on the wisdom, teachings and classic texts of Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and others. Hundreds of books have been written in the tradition on various aspects of yoga, often as commentaries on the classic texts. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, for example, is one of the most utilized textbooks in yoga teacher training across multiple yoga schools throughout the world.

Wherever you are in life, yoga is capable of playing a role. Whether you are recovering from illness, seeking health and wellbeing, looking to manage stress, looking to make a fresh start in the way you live, or seeking to go deep into exploring and understanding life’s deeper mysteries, including knowing yourself, the Satyananda System of Yoga is designed to support you as you take up the challenges and opportunities of this journey.

Core practices of Satyananda Yoga

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is an effective and simple meditation practice which is performed lying down. This creates deep relaxation and allows the mind and body to release accumulated tension in a profound way.

Pawanmuktasana series 1, 2 and 3

These three series of asanas (postures), ranging from a systematic progression of joint movements through to dynamic energy practices, are at the heart of the Satyananda System of Yoga. They form a foundation based on increased awareness and understanding of the body, energy and mind, increased flexibility and strength and improved general health. They are accessible to most people and with time, the classic asanas also become more accessible.

Pranayama

Many yoga schools are hesitant in teaching pranayama, where the breath is utilized to regulate energy. The Satyananda System conveys these practices systematically, according to the needs of the individual, beginning with the simplest practices that, within a short time, create effects that can be felt in the body and mind. These practices include abdominal breathing, which can induce profound relaxation, full yogic breathing which utilizes the entire capacity of the breath, and Nadi Shodhana, known as alternate nostril breathing, which creates balance in body and mind. Pranayama is grounded in thousands of years of tradition and this is made systematically available through the Satyananda System of Yoga.

Meditation practices

There are a number of meditation practices that have been taken directly from the texts of the ancient yoga tradition and made accessible to the general population. These include Kaya Sthairyam, awareness of body stillness, Antar Mouna, (Inner Silence), a practice that works with the mind in order to understand and manage it and Ajapajapa, the constant repetition of mantra with breath awareness. 

I first went to the ashram in India in the year 2000 to attend a special programme that was happening.  It was called a Yagna. I had no idea what a Yagna was or what to expect.

After receiving mantra initiation from Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati I realised how important the role of guru is in a spiritual seeker's life. A guru is a special person, an evolved soul, who has already walked the spiritual path we are all travelling and helps us navigate our evolutionary path when we make the effort. 

In the ashram yoga practices were built upon and extended into other forms like karma yoga, bhakti and jnana yoga. There was a yoga for every facet of human expression and I got to pick and choose which ones to implement whenever I needed to come back to centre and balance and ground myself.  Reaching this point was very empowering and elevated my enthusiasm towards committing further to the yogic process. 

I draw on the inspiration of my guru as a constant reminder of how to walk the path, to flow with life, to embrace the journey of yoga with sincerity and commitment. In this relationship I feel strengthened and motivated to continue daily sadhana.

Inspirers

Swami Sivananda Saraswati: 1887-1963

Swami Sivananda Saraswati was born in Tamil Nadu in 1887. After serving as a medical doctor in Malaysia, he renounced his practice to live in Rishikesh, India. He traveled extensively throughout India, inspiring people to practice yoga and lead a divine life. In 1936 he founded the Divine Life Society, the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy in 1945, the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in 1948 and the Sivananda Eye Hospital in 1957. During his lifetime, he authored over 200 books and guided thousands in their pursuit of spiritual life.

Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati: 1923-2009

Swami Satyananda was an early disciple of Swami Sivananda Saraswati, of Rishikesh. After leaving his guru's ashram, he taught yoga globally for twenty years, with the mission of making yoga practices available to all. Swami Satyananda reintroduced the ancient techniques of Tantric Yoga to the Western World, as well as to the people of his native India.

​Over the course of his lifetime, he authored over 80 books on yoga and spiritual life. In 1984, he founded Sivananda Math, a social and charitable institution that creates sustainable living in some of the most neglected communities in India. In 1988, he retired from public life to live at Rikhiapeeth Ashram in Jharkand, India. His spiritual guidance and teachings inspired thousands worldwide.

Paramahamsa Niranjanananda Saraswati: 1960-

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati was born in Madhya Pradesh, India in 1960 and is the successor of Paramahamsa Satyananda. At the age of 4, he joined the Bihar School of Yoga under the guidance of Swami Satyananda. In 1971, he traveled worldwide for the next 11 years. In 1983, he returned to India and was appointed the head of the Bihar School of Yoga.

Since then, he has been based in India, guiding the development of activities at Ganga Darshan, Sivananda Math and the Yoga Research Foundation. In 1994, he founded Bihar Yoga Bharati, an institute for advanced studies in the yogic sciences. He has authored over 20 yoga texts and provides spiritual guidance to aspirants around the world.

Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati: 1953-

Swami Satyasangananda (Satsangi) was born in 1953 in West Bengal, India. From the age of 22 she experienced a series of inner awakenings which led her to her guru, Swami Satyananda Saraswati. From 1981, she traveled ceaselessly with Swami Satyananda in India and overseas, becoming established as a scholar with deep insight into the yogic and tantric traditions as well as modern science and philosophy. The establishment of Sivananda Math in Rikhia is her creation and mission. She guides all its activities, working tirelessly to uplift underprivileged areas. She embodies compassion with clear reason and is the foundation of her guru’s vision.

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