Abhyasa Ashram is a place of the heart rather than a physical structure. We practice universal meditation as taught by the ancient tradition of yogis of the cave monasteries of the Himalayas, especially as transmitted through the lineage of Swami Rama. Our emphasis is on Antar (inner) yoga, rather than Bahir (outer) yoga. Swami Rama: "The central teaching of Yoga is that man's true nature is divine, perfect, and infinite." The tradition has no name, and is not affiliated with any of the institutions or religions of the plains of India or other countries surrounding the Himalayas, although individual meditators may personally align themselves with a wide variety of religions or institutions. We may refer to the tradition as "the tradition of the Himalayan masters" or "the Himalayan tradition", but that is for the sake of convenience, and is not a style or brand name as is popular these days.
Our methods of meditation and contemplation involve systematic awareness of all levels of our being, including actions/senses, body, breath, mind, finally resting in the awareness of the Self (atman) which is one with the universal Self (brahman). At Abhyasa Ashram we wish for aspirant learning, not teacher training, although many of our friends are registered as teachers through Yoga Alliance. Our approach to training is mostly individual mentoring, as Yoga meditation and contemplation has been traditionally taught for thousands of years.
The basic principles and practices of Yoga (Meditation and Contemplation) can be learned in a few minutes, but the refinement of understanding and practices becomes subtle only with considerable months and years of effort. For this reason, the people of our ashram community enjoy being together in a spirit of friendship to learn and practice.
From the perspective of our meditation tradition, each person is perfect, pure consciousness (atman, purusha, shakti) at the core of her or his being. The entire process of yoga sadhana (meditation and contemplation practices) is to reduce the colorings of attractions, aversions, fears, and false identities that usually veil that realization (often called Self-realization). This is done by systematically receding inward through senses, body, breath, conscious and unconscious mind. The final barrier is removed through a transmission of grace, which is known as shaktipata, the bestowing of the pure consciousness of shakti. It is also known as guru kripa, grace of guru. In our tradition guru is a force field of consciousness, and is not any person, although that grace of guru can flow through a person.
At Abhyasa Ashram the word "Yoga" is used in its traditional meaning, rather than the revisionist meaning of Yoga as merely a gymnastic or physical fitness program. Yoga means “union” of the individual consciousness and universal consciousness, Atman and Brahman, Jivatman and Paramatman, as well as Shiva and Shakti. It is pure consciousness (Purusha) standing alone from primal manifestation (Prakriti).
Yoga is traditionally taught, practiced and learned through close relationships in a community of noble friends, sometimes known as kalyana-mitra. Guru is a stream of knowledge of direct experience which, though it may operate through a person, is itself not a person. While some participants in ashram activities have a theistic (god) orientation and others a non-theistic orientation, we virtually all intuit that there is only one, nondual (advaita), absolute reality even though it may appear to be dualistic.
Our purpose is to share with people who have an interest in the principles and practices of the Himalayan masters, including traditional Yoga Meditation, Vedanta, and internal, meditative Tantra. Our community of meditation and contemplation is devoted to serving those who deeply long for the direct experience of union with the eternal, pure center of consciousness, the bliss of being that is one with the absolute reality, as the wave who seeks to remember it is one with the ocean. One word for that union is "Yoga."
The word "Abhyasa" means "practices." Abhyasa is purposefully choosing to do that which leads to "sthitau," which is a stable, steady, undisturbed inner calmness or tranquility. Abhyasa is one of the twin foundations of Yoga, along with Vairagya, the mental stance of non-attachment (Yoga Sutras 1.12-1.16). The root of the word Ashram is "shrama," which means "effort" or "striving." The hermitage, home, or training center of a swami or other person practicing and serving others on their journey is often called an Ashram. Thus, our community of meditation, contemplation and learning is known as Abhyasa Ashram. It is a place of the heart, an inner sanctuary of silence, rather than a physical location or building. Teaching and learning happens in a spirit of friendship of community and conversation, most often called satsang.
Our ashram is a small community of sincere and loving people, who live in many cities, states, and countries around the world. If you would like to see what we're doing, please take a look at the calendar (linked in the left column) or contact me through the "Contact Us" button if you have questions. Take a look at the ashram website, or my personal website on principles and practices, which are linked just below. You may find the video site to be especially beneficial. Many of our activities are online. Join us/me if you would like to learn and practice.
May your meditations today bring you peace, happiness, and bliss.