Yoga, both physical and mental (meditation), is not a religion. Yoga is a practical science that awakens intuitive intelligence and creativity. This latent intelligence, when awakened, benefits all aspects of our life from our mental attitude, to health and vitality, and creativity. These attributes in turn infuse daily life — our relationships, sports, arts, parenting, education, and career — with the vitality that leads to success and true happiness. Cooking, dieting, starting a new business or career, and overcoming illness are activities that are demonstrably benefited by the power of yoga.
The fundamental purpose of yoga is to help people find an ever expanding horizon of happiness, and, to learn how to cope and then transcend what we normally define as suffering. No part of our lives is too small or insignificant to apply the universal principles of yoga to achieve success and fulfillment. The “proof of the pudding” is the transformed lives of its practitioners.
The classes below are just a sampling of the subjects we offer. Some are offered regularly, others occasionally.
The life we call ours is lived from inside: our reactions, perceptions, emotions, desires, impulses and will power. All that we experience as “I” spring from the life matrix centered in our central, astral nervous system which interacts with the physical body and senses through the channels, or doorways, known as the chakras.
Just as medicine works silently and unobtrusively in our body, so this internal “programming” functions largely without our conscious control and awareness. We can’t just reach in and reprogram the complex software we’ve developed over countless past lives and the current life.
This matrix is not a “thing,” it consists of energy patterns guided by a silent intelligence. It is with energy and intelligence that we can begin to change these patterns. But first we must become aware of them and then we can learn the specific energy techniques that can release the more problematical ones into a higher octave of (and more happiness inducing) functionality.
This class series will alternate analysis with specific techniques. It is designed for experienced meditators but open to all.
Topics and techniques to be explored include:
- Psychological attributes, both positive & negative, of each of the 7 chakras
- Triad healing relationship between specific chakras
- How to “open” each chakra using:
- Visualizations of colors, sounds, or shapes
- Where to direct the energy of each chakra
- Toning at the chakras to energize them
- Adding chakra meditation to your daily routine
- Chakras and Kriya Yoga
- Lower 3 chakras vs. Upper 3 chakras!
- Planetary (astrological) relationship to each chakra
- Sun sign (astrological) relationship to each chakra
Nayaswami Hriman McGilloway has been the primary teacher of chakra meditation techniques for over twenty years at Ananda in Seattle.
Knowing what is right for us, spiritually, is not so easy inasmuch as most anything we do can be spiritualized and nothing is, by nature, more spiritual than anything else!
What is right must be that which frees us from karma (and doesn’t create MORE karma). How, then, do we figure THIS out.
In this workshop with Nayaswami Nivritti Steenstra, she will share with you the nuances, techniques and stories of dharma that can inspire and help you in your daily life and in making key decisions.
We will consider such topics as:
* Introspection: using Paramhansa Yogananda’s “Psychological Chart” for self-analysis. Strong, neutral and weak aspects of my karmic chart.
* Getting Input and Feedback: how to and how NOT to seek feedback for your decision making process.
* Ego: key to karma and key to freedom! Friend or foe!
* Keys to Ego Transcendence: what is true humility? what is righeous? courageous?
* Talents: a karmic trap door or a skylight to freedom
Anyone who has been afflicted with back pain knows that the condition of the spine is of central importance to our sense of wellbeing. Yogic teachings call the spine the river of life because it is the central channel for the flow of our inner energy. A key goal of yoga is to keep that channel open and healthy for our highest good, both physically and energetically.
In this workshop, your asana practice will bring you to greater awareness of your spine and its alignment in every pose. You will also experience how alignment in Ananda Yoga transcends the physical, and is actually preceded by, mental and energetic alignment.
Harmonium Chanting for Beginners is designed for non-musicians, but open to all. This fun 2 hour workshop taught by Krishnapriya will teach you a selection of mantric chants. Instruction will focus on how to play melody and chordal accompaniment. Ability to read music is not a pre-requisite.
Krishnapriya, your instructor, is a well-known musician, playing keyboard, harmonium and Indian vina (like a sitar). She’s also a professional music teacher. Krishnapriya offers this fun-for-everyone experience of the harmonium that will inspire and teach you how to play your very own chants. We can provide you with one of our harmoniums to practice on if you preregister at least two days in advance! You will learn several simple chants during this class. We will have on hand for you, chant and harmonium books for sale, as well as the harmoniums, themselves, if you are so inspired to take one home!
“To understand karma, you must realize that thoughts are things. The very universe, in the final analysis, is comprised not of matter, but of consciousness. Matter responds far more than most people realize to the power of thought…. For will power directs energy, and energy in turn acts upon matter. Matter, indeed, is energy.” (Excerpt from Divine Will Healing,
from the Original Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda)
-What do you do during your day that is… healthful, mindful, occupying your time ‘wisely’, ‘peace-provokingly’, ‘joy-producing’?
-And how is it that we make good use of money, food, and alternative lifestyles?
-And what is it that ‘strikes a chord’, makes us ‘energetically powerful’, produces a realm of existence that is seemingly successful, balanced, and fruitful?
Explore the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda through the eyes of your very own Self: outspoken, reliant upon you to step forth, besotted with only good.
Let’s attune ourselves to the use of affirmation, energization, meditation, and the Divine Mother Prayer for healing in body, mind, and soul, so that we may become a knower of our path in life, and a wayshower of the wellspring that is in each and every one of us.
Presented by Tyagi Christy Johnston, teacher and minister at Ananda. Christy is the coordinator for the Healing Prayer Council and ministry, coordinator for residents’ services at Ananda Community, counselor, Ananda staff member, and self-employed entrepreneur!
In this workshop we will consider all aspects of death & dying:
Conversations with you about your experiences
Considering the passage that is death, from a metaphysical point of view
Life’s “Final Exam”
How to deal with your grief and that profound sense of loss
Contemplating where your loved one has gone and what might be their life beyond death
Celebration of ascension and its gifts
Is your life stressed out? In crises or transition? All conditions are neutral. Our responses depend on our energy level and consciousness. Discover that there is a difference between your response and the behavior of other people or the facts of outer circumstances. Learn simple techniques to help you calmly face challenging situations, and summon forth the courage to rise to the occasion with confidence. We will use the energy centers of the chakras to help stimulate the qualities we need.
Learn simple breath techniques for getting calm instantly
Focus on the heart to awaken courage and devotion to lift us above ourselves
Expand the throat center for calmness and confidence
Focus the will at the navel center and unite self-will with the divine will at the point between the eyebrows
how_to_have_courage_medEnergize the earth center (coccyx center) to release attachment to the way things are
Energize the water element (sacral center) to release anger or resentment, flowing with the grace and wisdom to rise to new solutions
Learn to look for the grace and the lessons that lie hidden in the disciplining hand of life’s unwelcomed or unexpected challenges
Overcome life’s great obstacles: worry, fear, nervousness and anger
Use affirmations to access strength and divine courage
Our text is the popular book by Paramhansa Yogananda, How to Have Courage, Calmness and Confidence.
In this session we will explore the qualities of both physical and inner strength and stability as they apply to Hatha yoga. Through a dynamic asana practice we will focus on creating a strong and stable physical foundation for the poses, using will and intention to strengthen the flow of energy, and affirmations to focus the mind.
We will touch on how harmonizing our physical, energetic and mental strength in yoga practice is grounded in deeper yogic teachings. Throughout our practice we will attune to attributes such as steadfastness, truthfulness and self-control – inner qualities for success in yoga and life.
Nayaswamis Hriman and Padma McGilloway welcome your interest in learning about “What is Ananda?” in an open and conversational format. Subjects we can cover can include:
* What are Ananda’s core beliefs and precepts (e.g. reincarnation)?
* Tell me a bit about Paramhansa Yogananda and the others in the lineage? Who is your founder, Swami Kriyananda?
* What classes and events do you offer? What opportunities for service and participation? For support?
* Can you describe the leadership structure at Ananda?
* What about other cities and countries where Ananda might have centers or communities?
* Where does East West, Ananda Community, Living Wisdom School, and Ananda Farm fit in?
* Tell me a little about the history of Ananda Seattle? Ananda worldwide?
We will be here to meet with you and give you an overview of Ananda, and do our best to answer questions you may have. All are welcome!
Christmas brings up for many people a conflict between the innate joy of the holiday season and negative feelings regarding orthodox Christianity or the betrayal of the Christmas spirit by materialism.
In this Saturday morning class, let’s dive deeper into the true and universal “Christ (Consciousness)” that we all can partake of and celebrate. Paramhansa Yogananda described his work in the West as the “Second Coming of Christ.” By this he meant that he came to show the universality of Jesus’ life and teachings AND its relationship to Vedanta and Yoga.
In this Saturday morning class we will look at topics such as:
Was Jesus a mere mortal? The son of God?
Is the story of Christmas and Jesus’ life but a myth?
Did Jesus have a guru?
Did Jesus meditate?
What was the Star of Bethlehem?
Who were the Three Wise Men (from the “East”)?
What happened in his life between the ages of 12 and 30?
Is Jesus the only son of God?
How does he “rate” with Buddha, Krishna and others?
Is there a hell? A heaven? Eternal life?
Does the physical body receive resurrection after death?
Taught by Nayaswami Jamuna Snitkin and Ananda teacher, Suryadas Holliman, this action packed presentation will still include time for discussion and sharing.
This workshop will emphasize how the practice of yoga benefits not only the flexibility of our physical body, but that of the mind and its attitudes as well. On the physical side, we will review some basic physiology of stretching as it relates to yoga practice. Relevant to inner growth, we will discuss how qualities such as creativity, open mindedness, and receptivity to new ideas and intuition can be awakened by working with the energy of the second chakra.
Vitality is the effortless functioning of the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of self. In asana practice, we begin with the physical body and posture. Asanas allow for the best possible health by strengthening and stretching, releasing minor pains and illness, and bringing balance to our physical systems. Asanas keep our spine supple, allowing for the optimal flow of energy through the nerves to enervate organs and glands. Asanas systemically clean tissue and detoxify the body preparing it for pranayama and meditation.
In this Yogasana we will explore the impact of posture on the digestive tract, the respiratory system, the mind and the nervous system. You will experience a healing quiet as we use asana, breath, relaxation and meditation to balance body, prana (energy), senses and mind. You will also learn how to use prana to direct healing and increase vitality and health.
We don’t often pay attention to our breath in day-to-day activities, yet physiologically every cell in the body depends on appropriate inhalation and exhalation for optimum performance and health. In sanskrit, the word for breath is prana. It means both physical breath and the life force or subtle energy in our bodies. More subtly still, it represents the universal, intelligent energy permeating all creation.
Throughout our practice we will tune into using the breath to enhance the physiological benefits of the postures and to gain awareness and control over the more subtle energy, which in turn helps us control our mind and emotions.
Swami Kriyananda wrote: “No good end is ever reached without devotion. No true success is achieved unless the heart’s feelings are involved. Will power itself is a combination of energy and feeling, directed toward fulfillment. Devotion is no sentiment: It is the deep longing to commune with, and know, the only Reality there is.”
In this workshop we will explore how the practice of asana, pranayama, and meditation can help us awaken the heart qualities of gratitude, surrender and devotion, tuning into using our practice as a dynamic self-offering of our spinal energies to the spiritual eye, the seat of higher consciousness at the point between the eyebrows.
Our stress response keeps us alive; our physical response to a real threat helps save us from danger. More often though, stress is a reaction to perceived rather than real danger. When this perception is so pervasive that we are constantly poised to avert danger, the stress response becomes chronic. Many health practitioners agree that this state of chronic stress causes over 90% of disease. Yoga can intervene to bring us out of chronic stress and back to a normal stress response and a life of health and peace.
In this workshop we will experience the effects of yoga on calming the central nervous system. We will gain techniques for altering our reactive patterns, shifting from chronic stress with sporadic periods of peace toward a life grounded in peace and calmness with a healthy response to real threats.
The ability to concentrate inner energy is central to success in meditation. In this workshop we will explore Ananda yoga techniques that help us overcome major obstacles to concentration: physical or mental tensions that block our energy; lack of awareness and control of energy; and energy that is dissipated by outward attachments, thoughts and emotions.
Our practice will include Yogananda’s Energization Exercises and yoga postures with emphasis on releasing energy blockages and relaxing body and mind. We will practice various pranayama (breathing exercises) to heighten awareness of energy and to concentrate it inwardly as further preparation for our ending meditation.
Look for these classes offered through the year.
Superconscious Living Presented by Krysta Gibson or Michelle Marshall. This foundational course shows us the practical value of positive attitudes. It is “hands-on” and provides weekly exercises in the “art of living” by which we can test and accelerate our progress toward true happiness. Learn how to transform challenges in marriage, home, parenting, relationships, money or career into priceless opportunities for self-understanding and expansion of sympathy to find a greater and lasting satisfaction.
Love Without Fear: How to Have Healthy Relationships Presented by Nayaswami Jamuna Snitkin. Relationships are a source of high expectation, but all too often end in crushing disappointment. What is going on? We will explore the spiritual meaning of relationships of all kinds. Discover the principles of courageous engagement, and understand the inner changes that bring deep fulfillment and joy.
Practicing the Presence of God Separating our meditation practice from our daily life simply doesn’t work! All of the joy that we have ever sought lies in our souls. Why should we ignore it during a large slice of our waking lives? That inner connection needs to be consciously nourished and strengthened. Join Nayaswamis Jamuna and Susan as we find inspiration in the example of the Great Ones, and discover time-tested ways to nurture a dynamic inner connection with God.
Looking to the Saints Swami Kriyananda says, “The true custodians of religion are the saints.” The saints are those who have walked much farther on the path to ultimate fulfillment than most. Thus, they alone – not books or dogmas – can show us how to change our lives and uplift our consciousness into ever-greater happiness and success. The saints draw our attention to God. We will walk with St. John of the Cross (spiritual director of Teresa of Avila), Brother Lawrence (author of the spiritual classic, Practicing the Presence of God), Clare of Assisi (“spiritual sister” of St. Francis), Giri Bala (the “non-eating saint” whose life is described in Autobiography of a Yogi), and Master Mahasaya (a disciple of the great 19th-century saint Sri Ramakrishna, chronicled in the Autobiography).
Spiritual Parenting Presented by Nayaswami Padma McGilloway & Tyagi Chandi Holliman.We all want our children to be happy and successful. Education for life, as taught in the Ananda Living Wisdom Schools, employs proven methods that help children achieve these goals. You will discover proven applications for using these skills as a parent. We’ll encourage discussion to tailor the information to each participant’s needs.
Scriptures of East and West From time to time, we offer classes in the yoga teachings of the Bible, and on the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras (of Patanjali). Taught by Nayaswami Hriman, these may be offered at either location: East West Bookshop, or, Ananda Meditation Temple.