Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Week in Mamallapuram

After Tiruvannamalai, I decided to pay a visit to Mamallapuram, on the southeast coast. Since I had to stay in the area to go once more to Bangalore I thought that it would be nice to spend a few days there.

My expectations were quite low. I thought that no beach between Chennai and Pondicherry would be clean enough to take a nice swim but luckily I was wrong.
Sunday, September 26, 2010

Climbing Mount Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai

One of my lazy mornings in Tiruvannamalai I decided to walk towards the Arunachaleswar Temple to visit it for the first time, but when I was almost there an Indian guy crossed my way and told me that the temple was closed but he could show me the way to the Virupaksha Cave in the Mount Arunachala (this cave has been venerated since more than 700 years ago because it was used by the saint Virupaksha and because Ramana Maharshi lived in it for 16 years from 1899 to 1916).

The Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi Ashram in Tiruvannamalai

The Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi Ashram in Tiruvannamalai

The Sri Ramanasramam, in Tiruvannamalai, is the ashram of one of India's greatest saints, Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, also known as the Sage of Arunachala. His main teaching was the practice of Self-enquiry, answering questions such as "Who am I?" as a means to remove ignorance and discover the true Self.

Discovering the Ramana Maharshi Ashram in Tiruvannamalai

After six days in Pondicherry, it was time to leave my nice room with sea view at the Park Guest House and continue with my journey to Tiruvannamalai. The decision was not that difficult; when I went to the reception to pay I said "maybe I will stay another couple of days" and they answered, "No, you can't."

Yoga Dance Performance at SVYASA in Bangalore

During my stay at the SVYASA Yoga University in Bangalore, I was able to be present at the celebration of the 25 years (I think) of the University. For two days they had a special program with some shows. The first day they had some sketches prepared by some of the students. They were a bit funny cause they had only one day to prepare.
Friday, September 10, 2010

Discovering Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville


Finally, after three weeks in Bangalore, I've made a move. At the end of my last day at the Atma Darshan Yogashram, I took a night bus to Pondicherry, a French colony in India. The bus left at 10 pm and we were supposed to arrive at 6 am but not surprisingly something happened with the bus and we arrived at 8 am instead.

Atma Darshan Yoga Ashram in Bangalore, India

Atma Darshan Yoga Ashram in Bangalore, India

Atma Darshan Yogashram is a small and beautiful yoga ashram in Bangalore. It's a branch of the Bihar School of Yoga, a very well known and respected ashram in Bihar founded by Swami Satyananada Saraswati. Bihar School of Yoga is also famous for its great collection of yoga books, like one of my favorites, "Taming the Kundalini," so you can find all the BSY books at this ashram.

Mantra Chanting for Health, Wealth and More

During my stay at the Atma Darshan Yogashram, an ashram in Bangalore branch of the Bihar School of Yoga, I realized that they focus a lot on mantra chanting. Every day at 5.30 am we would gather to recite the "Mahamrityunjaya Mantra" eleven times, the "Gayatri Mantra" eleven times and the "thirty-two Names of Durga" three times.
Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Yoga Instructor Course (YIC) at SVYASA

SVYASA Yoga University Bangalore

SVYASA, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana is a University that has been created following the ideals of education from Swami Vivekananda. I found the website surfing the web. The program seemed interesting so I decided to follow the one month Yoga Instructor Course (YIC).
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

India, I am back!

Finally, I am back! Four years ago, after my first visit to India, I promised myself that I will come back.... and now, here I am! I arrived in India just a week ago and I can barely control my excitement for all the things that I have planned to do but also for all those things that I haven't planned at all.
Thursday, July 29, 2010

1000 Km walking meditation to Santiago de Compostela

1000 Km walking meditation to Santiago de Compostela using the "Via de la Plata" route.

One year ago a good Italian friend told me "Hey, I'm going to walk to Santiago de Compostela!". "Really" I said. "Awesome! I would love to do it too". I immediately reminded the book from Paulo Coelho, "El peregrino de Compostela" ("The Pilgrimage" in English) that I had read many years before. I actually don't remember anything about the book except for a thought that came to my mind... "Wow, does this really exist? I would love to do a pilgrimage trip like this".

Via de la Plata Itinerary

It's unbelievable all the things that you can see just by walking 39 days (38 days + 1 day off) from Sevilla to Santiago de Compostela, so I wrote this post to be able to remind me at least of some of those things. Below is the exact itinerary that I followed (not necessarily as indicated in the guide books).

Via de la Plata FAQs - Camino de Compostela: What to bring and more tips

Via de la Plata FAQs: What to bring and more tips for your pilgrimage trip to Saint James the Compostela (Santiago de Compostela) using the "Via de la Plata" route.
Monday, July 26, 2010

Living with the Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama

"Living with the Himalayan Masters" reminded me of Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi. It is also the autobiography of a great Indian yogi, Swami Rama of the Himalayas, but written in a very different style.

Although Swami Rama was considered a great yogi from his early childhood, he writes in a very humble way. Whenever he tells a story he shows how immature, egotistic or arrogant he was and how his master, with a very loving touch, helped him to overcome his weaknesses.
Saturday, July 24, 2010

Raja Yoga and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Lecture by Swami Rama

I don't know if this happens to you too, but sometimes I just waste hours and hours surfing the net for something to be discovered, not knowing exactly what I'm looking for.

Luckily sometimes I do find some hidden jewels on the web and then I feel like sharing them with others.

I found these videos probably like a year ago. They are from a lecture given by Swami Rama of the Himalayas about the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Raja Yoga path.

85 videos in total!! hours and hours of video. Believe me, these are just priceless, I feel really fortunate to be able to watch these teachings.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

9 Wim Hof Quotes for Yogis: The Iceman Words of Wisdom

Wim Hof Quotes

I still have fresh in my mind all those nice morning and evening talks with Wim Hof, aka the Iceman, at his country house in Poland. It was an epic week learning about the cold and listening to his words of wisdom.

Now, let me share with you nine of my favorite “Wim Hof quotes” that I picked up from our daily conversations. #7 is only for yogis ;-)
Sunday, May 9, 2010

Meeting a Real Yogi: Wim Hof, aka the Iceman

Meeting the Iceman: Wim Hof

A couple of years ago I watched a video of Wim Hof, The Iceman, running a half marathon in Lapland, Finland.  It was -26 degrees Celcius and he was barefoot, wearing only shorts and a small-cap. I was very impressed by his ability to use his mind to withstand such cold temperatures.
Monday, May 3, 2010

Learning the Heart Sutra at Kopan Monastery, Nepal

Kopan Monastery
If there was only one teaching that I had to choose from the Tibetan Buddhism tradition that would be the Heart Sutra.

During my stay at Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal I asked one of the Buddhist monks that I would like somebody to teach me how to recite the Heart Sutra like the monks do, although this was not part of the regular program.

He put me in contact with one of the Tantra School Monks and soon I started to learn the Heart Sutra together with my roommate from Estonia.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Art of Expressing Ourselves Honestly: Bruce Lee Lost Interview

I think Bruce Lee was a real artist and I don't say this just because he was an actor but also because of his approach to martial arts and life in general.

When I was a kid I only knew him through a few of his films but after watching this famous "Bruce Lee 1971 Lost Interview" I realized that he had a lot more to offer, he was a real philosopher.

He constantly asked himself "how can I express myself totally, completely and honestly, without lying to myself." And that was what Bruce Lee was trying to teach his students and his audience, the art of expressing ourselves honestly using martial arts and his films as means of expression.

The instant millionaire, by Mark Fisher

I just loved this book!! is so small, just about 150 pages long, so easy to read but still filled with so many inspiring words and ideas to help us change our beliefs so we can become millionaires, and although the book talks about money the principles shared here by the author can help us achieve any kind of dreams. 

Become Authentic Through Meditation - The Buddhist Way

Photo of Sogyal Rimpoche
Sogyal Rimpoche

I practice meditation following the Raja Yoga path. I love it, it fits with my character and personality. However, I do like to explore other forms of meditations like those from the Buddhist tradition. 

In this video Sogyal Rimpoche, a famous Buddhist monk and the author of "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying," explains in a very simple way what meditation really is.
Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Root Institute in Bodhgaya

Root Institute in Bodhgaya

If you are on a spiritual trip in India you should definitively visit the Root Institute, a Buddhist meditation center in Bodhgaya. Bodhgaya is one of the holiest cities in India where prince Siddharta Gautama sat in meditation under the Bodhi tree until he reached enlightenment and became The Buddha.
Monday, April 12, 2010

One Month Meditation Course at Kopan Monastery in Nepal [Review]

One Month Meditation Course Nepal

Four years ago I had the opportunity to do the one-month meditation course at Kopan, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal.  It is also known as the November course because it runs every year from November till December. It was really an amazing experience, basically, a dream made true.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda

Autobiography of a Yogi, a book that changes people's lives, is a classic among the spiritual books of the world. It's one of those books that you can read again and again and always discover something new.

Every spiritual seeker, regardless of their path, seems to have at one point or another come across this book.

The Bhagavad Gita: Best English Translation [with or w/o commentary]

The Bhagavad Gita. What is this book about?

(updated in 2022) As a devoted student of the Gita, here is my selection of the best Bhagavad Gita translations in English, with and without commentary, for beginners or serious students. 

But first, I'll give you a brief introduction explaining what is the Bhagavad Gita and what is its message. This sacred book has literally changed my life. Who knows, it might do the same for you.
Monday, April 5, 2010

Taming the Kundalini: Book by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Taming the Kundalini Book by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

The book "Taming the Kundalini" is a collection of letters written by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, a disciple of Swami Sivananda, to one of his female disciples, a yogini.

These letters are actually detailed instructions given to his disciple in order to guide her in her sadhana (spiritual practices) and to transform her into a real yogi. The letters include instructions on hatha yoga, meditation, and much more.