From 26 September – 1 October 2017, Vishwaguruji Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda blessed the people of the British Isles with his wisdom, compassion and practical guidance, during his UK Yoga Seminar Tour, with the theme: ‘Yoga for good health and more…’
The program began in Edinburgh, with an evening satsang in Mahaprabhu Deep Ashram. Local YIDL practitioners were joined by many others who had travelled from London and further abroad to welcome Swamiji back to Scotland – exactly ten years after the first ever YIDL-organized program with Vishwaguru in Scotland in 2007.
Wednesday morning gave the opportunity for a short walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens to the historical Botanic Cottage, where the group gathered together and Vishwaguruji answered questions about how to create health and harmony in our lives and in our relations with others. He then led a special meditation connecting with the peace and strength of nature; and then followed a healthy sattvic (balanced and pure) vegan lunch.
On Wednesday evening the program was again in the ashram, and the large group of participants enjoyed practicing yoga asanas and pranayama together despite the small size of the yoga room. Vishwaguruji led a deep meditation and concluded by reminding all that “tons of theory is nothing, compared with a gram of practice” – that in order to create and maintain good health, we must practice daily.
Thursday activities were held in the holy atmosphere of the Broughton St Mary’s Parish Church. Vishwaguruji led the morning session with systematic practice of asanas, pranayama and meditation. Starting with body warming exercises, followed by dynamic movements synchronized with the breath, and then traditional yoga asanas held for a longer time in stillness and using the breath to release tensions and deepen self-awareness. He emphasized the importance of taking time to go slowly in the practice, suggesting that one’s personal daily routine can include fewer techniques with an focus on “quality not quantity”.
On Thursday afternoon, Vishwaguruji and the group paid a visit to the World Peace Tree planted by him in 2010. And then the evening session included further explanation about the mind, and another deep silent meditation.
“Where is the mind? We cannot see or catch it. Unless you give up your longings, desires and attachments, your mind will be restless and you will not be in peace. It is the desires that are causing problems and killing us, not the mind. Hope is like the horizon, as fast as you run towards it, that quickly it remains just as far away. There is a proverb: ‘Hope is a walking stick from the cradle to the grave.’ The mind can only be handled through viveka – proper discernment. Search within yourself, the answers are within you, not outside.”
On Friday morning, Vishwaguruji travelled peacefully by train with a group of 20 international participants to London, to continue the Seminar over the weekend, with a Friday evening lecture, Saturday morning and evening lectures and practice, and further practice of yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation on Sunday morning.
Vishwaguruji’s main advice for creating and maintaining good health – for our body, mind and soul – is to build a strong immune system, especially through correcting the flow of prana:
“Yoga is a self-healing method. But you need to have the right practice, otherwise your health can get worse. Don’t torture your body, don’t overdo. There are simple exercises in yoga that can help in many ways and are very effective. Pranayam practice will heal many health problems and give you a long life. When our lungs are happy and healthy, our life will be happy. The lungs are supplying oxygen and energy – prana – to all organs and throughout the whole body.
What is prana? This is a big question. Prana is life, life energy. As long as prana is in the body, the soul is there. And as long as the soul is there, prana is there. Both are deeply connected. And prana is also connected with the will power. When your will power is strong, your prana remains strong and you will live a long life. Yoga exercises and pranayama strengthen our immune system and enable us to defeat disease.”
The final session of the Tour was the farewell satsang on Sunday evening in London at Swami Madhavanandaji Ashram in Queens Park. As usual for programs with Vishwaguruji, the yoga room was completely full and hearts were also full, of love and gratitude for having the great blessing of being in the presence of a true guru – one who has dedicated his life to helping, serving and guiding all souls, from the darkness of problems and ignorance to the light of knowledge within.