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"It is well to give when asked but it is better to give unasked, through understanding. "

- Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American intellectual

Ashram Living

By Jean Ann Rodrigues on 05 October 2017

Recently I had one of the biggest gifts of spending some time at the Satyananda Ashram in Greece. During my stay I participated in two programs, lived the ashram life and of course was challenged with so much material arising…

Lets chat about why someone would visit an ashram?

There are many reasons as to why to visit an ashram in terms of participating in programs, living the ashram life and most importantly to open yourself up to learning more about you. When you are in an environment where there is so much energy being manifested, unconscious baggage is likely to come to the front and can take any form, whether this is a feeling, a memory or an emotion.

In yoga the term ‘samskaras’ is used to describe impressions that are unconscious to us and usually run our lives. Therefore when we are in such a cleansing space, these samskaras tend to arise. We are all born with samskaras and not all samskaras are negative as they give us the tenacious energy that we need to move through life. The ashram apart from the high-energy vortex created, is often a space where we are continuously challenged. For example, during my stay at the Greek ashram, they would sometimes switch the water off early or there would not be hot water at all, this would bring about reactions is all of us. The key however was to be mindful of what reactions were created and what baggage would come up. By being challenged, this helps bring to light many of our samskaras and how our personality reacts in these situations.

The ashram serves as a place of challenge so that we can learn more about different parts of our personality and how to connect more to our heart by using patience, courage and presence that lies within us. The ashram says to us, how do you manage situations in life? And this is a perfect space to be able to explore that. In fact, it is a huge opportunity to be able to get on top of life rather than life getting on top of you. You learn about your internal ways of working, how you manage your life and how to interact with people when challenges are occurring.

ashram life
Two concepts you can start living based on ashram principles…

1. Embrace Karma yoga

Karma yoga is a branch of yoga and focuses on actions done with awareness. You allow yourself to move through basic activities, however the focus is on your reactions while doing the activities. For example, during my stay in the ashram we did large amounts of karma yoga ranging from kitchen duty, bathroom cleaning, garden work and more.  I remember when I got bathroom duty; my mind went straight to “no way, that is the worst!” There was my first reaction. So what karma yoga is inviting us to do is to grow from our limitations and mental thought patterns that often stir up mental baggage. Rather, this is an opportunity to develop our concentration on the task at hand, watch our reactions of the mind and not feed into the reactions that are coming up. So next time you have to do house work or chores, embrace the attitude of karma yoga, which includes action with awareness!

2. Develop awareness

Drawing on the point of Karma yoga, awareness is the key to yoga. Yoga is different from exercise by the fact that awareness is focused on. If you can become aware in every moment, you will be practicing yoga. For example, if you go for a swim and pay attention to your breath, every movement being done, that is yoga. There is no yoga if there is no awareness. Awareness is vital in helping us develop our consciousness as we begin to see our reactions, mental patterns, attachments and behaviour. We begin to learn more about ourselves. So the first thing you can do is start by being aware for a few minutes first. Be aware of how you eat, drive or walk for example. How long can you hold your awareness on what you are doing?

As part of developing a yogic lifestyle and bringing what you have learnt from the ashram back into your everyday life, the key lies in allowing yourself the time to experience, explore and most importantly surrender to what comes up during the process. As we start growing in our self-awareness and develop into higher planes, we have to be able to manage our baggage. It does not mean to suppress what is there or beating yourself up, but rather allowing what is there to surface, experience the emotions and give yourself permission to connect to your inner wisdom through listening to your awareness and fine tuning your mental attitude. This is a process and I am here to continue to serve you on your path of development and growth. So please contact me on jean@lightupwithin.com and connect to the happiness and joy that lies within!

Sending love, light and awareness always!


About the author

Jean Ann Rodrigues

Holistic coach

Jean was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and has been blessed with a variety of masters that have entered her life and illuminated a path of wisdom in front of her. Jean has her degree in business,…  Read full bio