Yes, Swamis live in the heart of New York City. Thankfully there is some peaceful presence in the city that never sleeps. Behind the narrow building of Integral Yoga® Institute in Greenwich Village, are beautiful studios filled with calm energy from yogis’ dedicated practice. And their living quarters make my bedroom with ensuite look like a palace!
Living in the close presence of a Swami truly opens your heart and mind in an extraordinary way. You have to be influenced by their non-judgemental nature – and you are also unlikely to skip the daily 2-3 meditations!
Do read on about my visit and to find out when this Swami will visit Melbourne to inspire you!
Travelling across the world to meet with my spiritual mentor, Swami Asokananda, was a tad scary! I’d not seen him in person for 7 years. There was no yoga course or teacher training I was attending – that would be a distraction. I wish to embrace this life, be on the path, not just drift along. And I can tell you, there’s nothing like being in the midst of so much stillness and Swami energy, to find yourself!
This is what I learnt..
Swami Asokananda starts his day at 4.45am writing a book. Yes, 4.45am every day and I’m sure that’s after making his bed! Asokananda is writing his interpretation of one of the main yogic philosophy texts. He has been doing so for years, little by little, step by step. He says this is his favourite time of day. Boy, no more excuses or saying, ‘there’s not enough time’. And for all my friends wishing to write that book or finish that novel, here’s your answer!
Monk & Director of the Institute
Straddling the antithesis of these two ‘jobs’ and without pay, would send anyone scurrying back to their daytime job without complaint! How often do we whine about our work, the conditions? I seriously don’t know how he does it. His small room is his office, meeting room, bedroom and sanctuary. The psychology of this bears some consideration, as does his amazing mindfulness.
It’s good to get out into the world every day
We went ‘walkabout’ (his Aussie term!) most afternoons. We all need perspective and connection outside our egoic mind. Holding your centre, calmness, when stepping out into the world takes some practice. I was very glad to be walking with Swami as I felt that by his side, NYC would not suck me into the craziness. It was also a great way to connect, chat and not get lost!
Know your Ayurvedic constitution
Asokananda only eats one meal a day, at lunchtime. He says that this works for his constitution as it fuels his ‘fire’. He’s done this for years. His evening meal is pranayama and prayer. He fasts one day a week whilst still practising, doing his job. Most of us think we will faint if we don’t eat every 3-4 hours! I know this is not for everyone, but it’s good to consider when your digestion works best and how this can promote cleansing of body and mind.
Music is great for the heart!
We went to see ‘Beautiful’ (about Carole King’s life), on Broadway. I think I cried most of the time! The story, the tunes, the words. Music can be a fabulous point of connection with yourself and others. ‘You’ve got a friend’ is my theme song!
He watches Game of Thrones!!!
Being one of the minority of the population who has no interest nor has ever watched an episode, I found this amazing (to say the least!) I was delighted though that he has a mutual interest with my husband. I think there may be some boys’ movie nights when Asokananda stays with us in 2019!