“We believe that it is to make the yoga the ideal of human life that India rises today; by the yoga she will get the strength to realise her freedom, unity and greatness, by the yoga she will keep the strength to preserve it.” (Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 8, p. 24)
Sri Aurobindo Society is a recognised member institution of the Indian Yoga Association, a premiere institution working for the advancement of Yoga and its applications.
IYA aims to bring together all yoga traditions and work as a self-regulatory body to facilitate activities of its member institutions. It provides extensive research facilities to carry out fundamental and clinical research and organises conferences and seminars on a variety of themes to promote the knowledge of this ancient science. IYA provides accreditation to Yoga institutions based on high standards of excellence. It continues to work on imparting various courses for dissemination of research and application of Yoga to various fields of life.
SAFIC, as the specialised unit of the Sri Aurobindo Society focusing on Indian Culture, organises and conducts regular yoga classes (asana and pranayama). These hour-long classes have been going on since November 26, 2018. SAFIC team member, Ranjana Swain is a certified yoga teacher conducts these classes. The classes are held six days a week, – three days in the morning, three days in the evening in order to cater to interested participants with different schedules. Generally, 20-25 participants from the local community as well as visitors to Pondicherry and Ashram attend these classes.
Feedback from the participants attending SAFIC Yogasana and Pranayama classes
SAFIC also organises specialised Mantra Yoga workshops, as well as mantra chanting sessions as part of its various other workshops and courses. The importance of Mantra Yoga lies in the fact that it helps improve all human activities, as mantra connects us with the whole life.
In our workshops and mantra chanting sessions, the aim is to help participants understand the nature of the mind, and the importance of concentration, attention and memory. The participants are introduced to the power of Mantra and the practice of Mantra yoga. There is also a session on the primal sounds, the beeja-akshara-s, which are at the basis of all Mantras.
Participants are also introduced to the art of listening to the pure sounds without any distortion or mind’s interpretation, which is the secret of success in the practice of Mantra Yoga. Omkara-sadhana, practice of mantras for the purification of different chakras or energy centers, and other collective chanting sessions are also included.
SAFIC has designed three academic courses to highlight some specific applications of Yoga. These courses are a combination of theory and practical aspects of Yoga.
Not many people, including those in its land of origin, fully comprehend what the word ‘Yoga’ actually means, or all that it encompasses. This intensive course sheds light on the deeper meaning of Yoga, and its historical, philosophical and psychological context.
Learners will also learn about the various branches of Yoga and the relevance of Yoga for modern times. Given the increasing popularity of Hathayoga – a path of yoga which includes asanas and pranayama as two key components – the course goes deeper into the study of Hathayoga. While sufficient philosophical background is provided, the emphasis is also on giving learners a more practical view of this particular yogic tradition. Brief introduction is also included on the topics of Mantra Yoga, Tantric Yoga and Chakras – which is sufficient for a beginner student of yoga.
The material covered in this course will serve as the necessary theoretical background for anyone who wishes to begin yoga practice, particularly asana and pranayama. Such a curious learner will become reasonably familiar with the appropriate terminology and concepts as a result of going through this course. We strongly recommend that the learner must begin personal practice under the direct teaching and supervision of an expert yoga master.
Eligibility: This course is open to all who have a general interest in or even a slight exposure to yoga and/or any other system of holistic well-being. A learner who is keen on gaining a deeper knowledge of the meaning of yoga, some of its main branches or systems and the relevance of yoga for modern times will benefit greatly from this course. It will also be of great help to those who are interested in starting or deepening their personal yoga practice.
Prison can have far reaching implications on an individual’s psychological and overall physical working. One of the purposes of prison is rehabilitation which should enable the prisoner to use the time of isolation from the outside world in an efficient and life changing way. Unfortunately, most prisons lack adequate programmes that offer the inmates opportunities to engage in meaningful activities that would enable them to change their lives, both on physical and mental level. Prisoners rarely receive feedback and guidance from trained and experienced staff that could facilitate their self-advancement and self-improvement.
SAFIC has designed a special programme which focuses on the transformational and rehabilitative value of Yoga. It provides a complete foundation for teachers and educators who want to conduct yoga interventions in prison settings. In order to efficiently introduce yoga practice in this kind of environment and with a lasting effect, one must be not only familiarized with Yoga teachings (both theory and practice), but also what must be studied and understood in depth is the prison environment itself, prisoners’ living conditions and the problems that they face. For this reason, the content of the programme includes following components:
Eligibility: Yoga teachers and educators who want to conduct yoga interventions in prison settings.
This course provides a full program for Yoga teachers and educators who want to conduct yoga interventions among children with special needs. Material included in the course focuses mainly on the following special needs children:
Given that the range of challenges faced by special needs children is very wide, it is crucial that teachers and caretakers are not only familiar with the proper teaching approaches but also have a good understanding of each child’s experience and challenge on the physical, emotional and mental levels. They must also have the empathy needed to create a safe and friendly space for each individual child to progress.
It is important to remember that children with special needs have the same feelings and emotions as anyone else. Stress, anxiety, fear and anger are typical feelings that all children might experience. Special needs children, however, exhibit some specific responses to stress which include: difficulty with communication, sleep problems, obsessive compulsive or repetitive behaviours and difficulty self-regulating physical and emotional states with body awareness. Such children because of their inability to communicate their feelings might respond to stress in inappropriate ways, and because of the difficulty to regulate their emotions cannot identify and control the level and intensity of their emotional reaction.
Yoga is a movement therapy that not only builds strength, flexibility and balance but also teaches how to quiet and focus the mind which improves one’s capacity to perceive and interact with the world. Yogic breathing techniques calm the mind and the body by developing self-awareness. Yoga practitioners not only stretch the body but also their imagination. And since yoga is non-competitive, it helps to create a sense of community within the group and thus develop more self-esteem and a sense of belonging.
In addition to being a refresher for the Yoga teachers on topics such as the importance of Yoga for healthy living, this course also introduces them to the foundations of Integral Yoga. The major component of the course covers topics related to:
Eligibility: Yoga teachers and educators who want to design and conduct yoga interventions for children with special needs.
Please contact SAFIC if you wish to know any of our Yoga related projects and wish to collaborate and participate.