Yoga at its core means the connection with that which does not change, with pure consciousness, with everything that is beyond what you perceive or cognize, with the ‘other’, with the ‘not this’, with what is truly internal, with what some call one’s true nature, with what others call the Divine.
That shala was a mental image 15 years ago, put to paper, planned out, and constructed. It was built for people to be in, to engage in practices that have been done for centuries. In line with what these ancient teachings recommend such a shala is a place of peace yet vitality, supportive and serene, to allow you to go within, to aid you in the transformation of consciousness. This space, this shala, has a purpose. Not built to double-up as some event space in a hotel with yoga on its menu. The opposite of that. To offer the experience to learn, practice, and delve deeper into yourself in a unique space dedicated to change, for you, for people, to be here, with the necessary hospitality infrastructure.
The mind left to its own devices is lazy, fickle and follows the path of least resistance. Buddhi, genuine and sincere effort, intelligent, and understanding, requires a degree of effort where there is no room for a lazy mind.
When you say you’ll do something then do it. When you express a sentiment then mean it. When you promise faithfulness and loyalty then be it.
There are many perspectives and opinions to answer such a question. But how many of them truly satisfy our deep yearn to understand? We can also ask it in a few different ways: what’s life about? why was I born? is this all it is? am I supposed to be doing something here?
a greater understanding of how people behave, the nature of this world as out of balance, its place as a tricky learning ground of a variety of experiences can strengthen, not replace, your empathy.
The practice of the ancient hathayoga humming breath “Bhramari” has been recommended for hundreds of years that when done repeatedly and correctly produces “an indescribable blissful experience that fills the mind”. Similar to the practice of repeating the sound of Om on an exhale, it is a wonderful practice that delivers many benefits.
Sri O. P. Tiwari gives a simple and clear explanation of the purpose of pranayama and its relationship with the mind. It is through breath control that the negative effects of the mind can be overcome.
We can eat all the healthy, nourishing food but if we are in a job that we don’t like, no amount of organic kale will bring wholeness to our wellbeing. If we are in a job we love, and then go home to a toxic relationship, our wellbeing is compromised and affects all areas of our life. I invite you to take a look at these 5 pillars and see what may need some attention, change or perhaps reinventing.
The moments before dawn are my golden time. In that space before the sun rises, in the stillness, I can feel the earth taking a deep sigh as the day magically begins to unfold. Sitting in nature, feeling the nourishing sensation of my breath brings me immediately back to my source.
How fascinating it is that the human heart, the muscular mega-pump that delivers oxygenated blood around our bodies and the center of our circulatory systems, is also the center of our emotions. Its emotional capacity is vast, from the ability to feel love, compassion and to care very deeply, to sadness, pain, anger and even hate.
Nabs Hadi sings his poem On the Path of Spiritual Love at Samahita Retreat new years eve party 2018-19. Sang in Kurdish.
The power of thought - Paul Dallaghan responds to a question of whether our thoughts influence others without delving into new age interpretations
According to Ayurveda, sattva is the quality of nature that contains balance, peace, harmony, purity and clarity. It is one of the three subtle qualities or ‘gunas’ that exist in all of nature. Anthea's blog gives 5 tips on how to cultivate a satvic state for a healthier, happier and balanced life.
What's Happening at Samahita - Buddha statue
Dave was there, always present: dinners shared, music, stories, laughter, precious full moon fires on the beach…slowly rebuilding my trust in the goodness of the human heart. It's interesting to look back and reflect on the defining part that some people subtly and naturally play in our lives.
Sri O. P. Tiwari explains how it is not a matter of saying one food is bad and another good but how we differentiate between food that supports practice and food that does not support it as described in the Hatha Pradipika.
You’re committed, ambitious and competitive. Dedicated to your practice, getting up every morning without fail or taking those 3 classes in a row at the studio. All is well and your friends comment on how much improvement you’ve made until one day you’ve hurt your knee, wrist, lower back and shoulder! Maybe its time to calm things down and reflect on the true motive behind your effort.
"The understanding of this has really helped me put things into perspective. Having been anxious and holding onto previous experiences and jobs that haven't gone as planned, and having also struggled with finding self-worth as a full-time mum."
Sri O. P. Tiwari explains the difference between attachment and dependency and the differences between friendship and compassion.
My experience on a 30 day noble silence / Vipassana meditation course in Herefordshire, England
Watch all that Samahita has to offer. This incredible video by the very talented Gray Bashew imbues the full meaning and feeling of the Samahita experience. We invite you to take another look to remind yourselves, and share with others, just what it is that keeps us all coming back.
Akasha moon fire nights on the beach A unique time to share, sing and enjoy nature under the cool of night with the touch of sand on the feet and the sea in the background
Over the month of August a wonderful group of people came to study on our Centered Yoga: Education in Yoga 200 hour teacher training program. It is a month immersed in practice, study and deep discussions, unravelling yoga and life. But it is also a personal and transforming journey that goes beyond practice and into inner experience, the space yoga aims to touch.
During philosophy class this July Tiwariji emphasized the importance of making space each day to practice and talked about how to practice ‘nicely’ according to the yoga texts, specifically the Hatha Pradipika, which in the first chapter delves into 6 obstacles and 6 ways to have success in yoga. These tips can still apply today for those of us trying to successfully integrate yogic practices into our modern-day lives.
Nabs Hadi and Gray Bashew perform a unique blend of human beats and Sanskrit / Arabesque chants during the Samahita 15th year anniversary celebrations.
Our 15th Anniversary was celebrated with a fantastic party including live performance from Jack Harrison, Nabs and Gill. An awesome show from our delightful Thai staff not to mention a live fire show on the beach.
"Congratulations Samahita - 15 years of excellence is a superb record. Paul Dallaghan's cutting edge teaching is delivered with compassion and humor, ably supported by a team of fine teachers who enable the student to overcome hurdles with skill and gentle care. No doubt Sri Tiwari will also be a great experience. Here like minded students from around the globe share experiences around the dinner table and create a bonding atmosphere so each retreat is memorable. Importantly whether 30 yrs. or 80 yrs. of age or somewhere in between the student leaves inspired to continue along their yoga path. There is no greater compliment."
“Samahita is a home for my soul. Coming here, whether before as a student or now as a teacher, I always feel like my soul is resting but that I’m also growing and developing. It’s a life changing experience for myself and especially my soul.” ~ Ara, Assistant General Manager & Yoga Teacher
Back in 2006 when I was 26 years old traveling in India and thinking about where life would take me next I had a conversation with a yoga teacher (of whom there were plenty). He recommended traveling to Thailand to take Paul Dallaghan’s one month Training course. Paul who? At that point I had no plans to become a yoga teacher but the thought of spending a couple of months in Thailand learning even more about yoga was appealing. So I applied for the course whilst still in India and received an acceptance email shortly thereafter.
From the Archives 2012: Sri O. P. Tiwari sharing insights and Yoga philosophy discussing Unity in Diversity and the basic purpose of Yoga.
Life is constantly changing. This was something as a child I found really difficult to accept or understand. Fortunately years of teaching in primary schools taught me the value of this constant change, spending a year or two guiding, inspiring and instructing young children and then setting them free and watching them fly. I am constantly blown away by stories of where life has led them and feel so privileged to have been a part of their journey.
Energy is something which exist within us all. From humble insects to the greatest tree, to the tallest mountain on one side of the world to a vast lake on the other. It emanates from our rainforests, our oceans and every last inch of our world. That same energy exists within ourselves, we share the same energy, therefore we are ALL ONE.
From the Archives: O. P. Tiwari explains the difference between Ahimsa (non-violence) and Love
Death, disease, old age, friends leaving, jobs lost. People change, situations change. ALL the time. Everything is temporary. Everything, including life itself. Which can be really hard to accept. Some struggle to handle even the smallest changes in life. Why is that? Because the mind is a bit tricky and has a way of controlling us, if we let it. If allowed, the mind will happily spin out on thoughts of fear and worry about life and all that could happen. Poor me, life is so hard, what if, why me etc. etc.
A couple of things should happen when you practice asana. You should enjoy it, as it can both challenge and reward you, and it should support you, and not wear you down. Depending where you are at in practice, it can help cultivate an overall integrated experience on the level of breath and mind.
An auspicious event. It happens only once every 144 years. Of the four sites Allahabad is the largest. It is held here every 12 years. On the occasion of the twelfth of these it becomes the Maha. But this is determined more by astrological alignments than a multiple of years. January 2001 saw the largest gathering of humans in one location for one particular event, ever.
As I was about to write this introduction I found my mind drift to many of the great wonders and benefits my life has received in these many years in yoga. I happened to just go to Daphne Tse’s pledge site and play her new song, which she sang with us back in July and will again this Christmas. It always stirs my heart. Similar for me is the great music of Jack Harrison, a good Irishman who I have been happy to be part of his music journey out there.
The answer to this is something that evolves over time, with one’s development, as the experiences and insight grows and changes. In the beginning I can’t say why I practiced other than I liked it. I remember saying to myself “this is the most intelligent form of exercise I have ever done”.
Consider yoga as just a word, or term, for the process of being internally connected, a light to look at oneself, separate to outside study. One might ask, “what supports such a process?” Hence the many approaches within yoga and spiritual paths in general. My point is that yoga is a term for that, “internal focus and connection”, just as gravity is a term for a certain exerted external force.
Personally I think life is beautiful and great. An underlying understanding from many philosophies is that life is full of suffering. Which it is, especially if you really look at all we go through. However, how do you approach this? I realize the temporariness of life. I am personally going through the difficulties and challenges of life. Yet somehow, everyday, I feel great and very upbeat, from deep within.
This is the beauty of the yoga method and why it is still available today to those interested in looking within. On the surface it goes through popular shifts but at its core it answers the perennial question still haunting mankind: to know thyself. So let practice evolve and change but aim to understand the teachings. Don’t be attached to the techniques nor the teacher, but connect with the teachings.
Paul Dallaghan’s Interview for Inner Peace Conference in Amsterdam: "I was sent away at 16 on my own to work and live on a farm in rural France. Much time was spent in nature, either working or quietly alone. Without me realizing it was a key meditative time. That was the first key transformation for me with a few later key shifts occurring so it is now lived on a daily level."
There is a big difference between something that is clean and something that is pure. If you were to hold out both hands and have a flower placed in each hand, one being plastic and totally clean, the other being real but with some dirt still on it, could you tell the difference? You can tell just by feeling. Automatically you know which is artificial and which is natural. You know instinctively because it is your essential nature.
Since the dawn of time the refined mind has understood that one’s behaviour, actions, speak loudest about the character of an individual. We are taught growing up that “talk is cheap” and “actions speak louder than words”. It is the actualization of this through our systems where satya lies for us.
Pratyahara is taught and discussed in many texts on yoga and related philosophies. A thorough presentation of the topic would require much reference, a lot more than is necessary for this article. So without getting too academic and caught up in all the texts let me attempt to offer a simple and workable understanding of it.
“I will not hurt you.” Is this a promise you are willing to keep or at least try? Could you extend it beyond your family and friends to all members of society? To all animals and insects? Not just in action but through what you say? To totally taking care of your actions so that even a seemingly non-hurtful one is done mindfully so there is no indirect hurt? To watching all thoughts that bring up negative and hurtful images and feelings within?
One of the more discussed and misunderstood topics in yoga, the common belief is that it is celibacy, a complete abstinence from sexual activity. But this is only part of the picture. “Brahma” is the Ultimate Reality, the Creator. “Char” is to move. Literally then the move to the ultimate reality or more practically put, ways or methodology to be used for self realization.
The essence of it is a lack of, or at least a reduction in, selfish behavior. The mental attitude is not one of “what am I going to get, what can I get or I really want that”, but rather no interest to acquire and keep. There is a stronger urge to give and share, use things as needed and be willing to let them go when done.