“My friend who had suggested this place was very cryptic with me. I was going to come for a week and she said, “No, just… you know, try staying for a month”. Now I know why she said that!
People are friendly here and even though there is a structure, there is also a lot of freedom here to do what you want, to read, to study, to attend class or not. I liked that. It was very appealing to me.
Why did I come here? That answer is always changing. I guess originally I came here just to have some time to explore myself. I was working in a corporate job and it was full on, 12 hours a day, and so there was no time to sit and contemplate, to examine my life. That was one aspect. The other aspect of why I came was yoga. You could say that my curiosity for spirituality was really triggered with yoga, by that meditative state you can really get in to in some yoga classes. So I guess I originally came to practice yoga and go deeper within myself.
I have a lot more clarity about life and myself since I came. In a way I came searching for the right answers but I didn’t really know what questions to ask. Over the years, I have read many books about traditional practices but each of them seemed too far out there for me, like it was all on some pseudo-psychic realm, like magic or something that didn’t apply to my daily life. What this place did, more than anything, was simplify existence. It presented those big questions about the world in such a human way, that I was very quickly able to relate to it. In the lectures with Whitney, everything became very obvious, very simple. I am clearer about who I am and about what I am here to do in the larger context of humanity. There are so many layers of confusion that pile up over the years due to our lives and the modern culture that we live in, but this with this system, I am able to sift through that and get back to my true humanity.
I would recommend Shri Kali strongly for whoever asks. When I go back home I probably won’t talk to anyone about this school unless I am asked and if I feel like that person is asking the right questions. If it seems like they want to learn about themselves, then I would tell them about it. This is a school about life. Shi Kali is not just a yoga school or really about the teacher training. There are a million and one places you can go to get your certificate and learn about the āsanas or just the physical practices but to learn to be a true yogi, you need this type of atmosphere. My wife “to be” and I, plan on coming back here many times because we think it is an amazing foundation to build life on. Someday I would like to teach my kids as well and bring them here.
I love the unstructured atmosphere of this school because it is structured enough. You know which hour a class is at for the most part and that is enough. Teachers never tell you that you have to be at this class unless you have to complete your hours and then that is a Yoga Alliance criterion.
Divine Initiation and the lectures that Whitney gives are my favorite here. There is so much information at each lecture. I am actually going back and compiling my notes now and expanding it in to a big document because Whitney references so many historical figures that there is so much to learn. From there, you can understand Bhagavan’s book, Divine Initiation better. I read the books here as my morning puja to get these ideas in my head before I do anything else. I like waking up that way.
If I could study in more depth something here, it would be quantum physics because in the modern culture, in many ways, physics and science are seen as the Ultimate Truth. The scientists are all considered truth seekers and seen as though they have the facts. Science is the cutting edge of human thought and knowledge in the modern context. Even though in many quantum physics circles the connection with Eastern religion and traditional systems has already been established long ago, it would be nice to know more. If you want to talk to anyone outside of this ashram and they don’t have any traditional practices or relationship to a traditional system but instead they are just living their lives, to them they see science as their way to understand the world. So we could bring what we learn here together with what they know of physics or science as a way to relate to them. This brings the traditional metaphysical sciences in to the modern world, so that people can more easily relate.
Yoga has changed for me in the fact that it has become so much more than just a physical practice. I see now the relation to the internal systems like the prāṇa system. What is happening within the āsanas in yoga, I have such a much richer understanding of: now I see each of my cells as a living breathing entity. I love the focus on the internal realities versus the external realities like whether or not you can go in to full dhanurāsana or not. This doesn’t matter. It’s about relaxing and letting your prāṇa flow. Someone will actually get way more benefits by just fully relaxing in to where they really are rather than someone who can do a full āsana but isn’t relaxed.
Tantra is not just about sex. It is not about sex at all. It’s about life. When you have a Tantric understanding of something, then you really go in to the Essence of something and I didn’t know about that at all. When I googled Tantra, all this stuff came up about sex. My fiancé was worried since I was coming to a Tantric ashram, so I emailed my friend who suggested this place to me and asked her if there was going to be a bunch of massive orgies and she assured me that there was not. I learned that there is Tantra in many religions and cultures around the world like Tantric Buddhism, for example. That was mind opening for me. I will continue on with my Tantric studies because now I am so peaked.
I love the people that you meet here from all different backgrounds. There are so many special people that come through this place. Everyone here is so nice and you can really connect with one another. Just the fact that people are here and they have stayed and are curious and are asking these questions says something about them. Most people extend their stay because they find something they can relate to here. Because we are always talking here about acting and relating from your true nature, your interactions here are so beautiful. You become more than friends. You open up about so many things even your friends and family back home may not know about you because there is this culture of being open and honest with ourselves.”
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