• Sanatan - Sergio Pavlov

YOGA as a Spiritual Path with a Living Tradition

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

I was 26 y.o. when i attended a Yoga Class for the first time, 28 when i attended my first Weekend Yoga Retreat, 29 when i started visiting International Krishna Consciousness Movement ashrams & read Bhagavad Gita, 31 when i joined first Yoga Retreat in India, 32 when i attended my first Yoga Teacher Training in India & 10-day Silent Vipassana Meditation Retreat, 33 when i met my Spiritual Teacher & when i left everything behind to join an ashram training in India.

when i was 33, i had 10 years of corporate background & 2 years of successful Business Project, but my inner thirst was so strong that i had to stop my worldly affairs, relationship, business & follow my Heart & Path. Eventhough many of my partners, friends & Family though i was going nuts & committing a huge mistake, i was sure that that was my Life calling me & i had to follow. I did 5 trips to India sometimes staying several months in search of experiences, spiritual teachers, i was remembering. But that was not enough. It was not easy to take the decision to quit everything and go to the ashram, it took me a month or so of reflection. We get so attached to our jobs, environments, duties, expectations, illusions that often is difficult to step back & see that to make changes. So I said goodbye to my attachments & arrived to Bihar School Of Yoga to be part of Sannyasa Training program in 2012.

Of course i was thinking at that time that by starting a new stage in my life i would find immediate Peace & Harmony but the ashram experience taught me that all Peace & all Troubles were within myself. Eventhough i was in the place i wanted to be, Spiritual Ashram, with other people from all over the World seeking same Peace as myself, monk residents of the ashram, other visitors sometimes thousands in number, i quickly found out that if my Mind was not at Peace that Turbulence was with me everywhere. I realised that i had to undergo a Mental Purification & let go of the past conditioning.

The ashram routine we were exposed to during the training was tough, we had to wake up at 4-5am and had a strict regular routine throughout the day. Activities were scheduled at regular times. We would start the day with a self Yoga practice or sometimes group Yoga class, morning collective Mantra Chanting, followed by breakfast and than duties the whole day till Kirtan after dinner finishing around 6:30-7pm. Than we would be asked to leave to our buildings & rooms & remain silent.

From time to time, me and other people we would be sent to a twin ashram called Rikhia where Swami Satyananda performed his Sadhana and went into Mahasamadhi. That ashram was a Heart Opener, as there we would be fully performing Karma Yoga & Seva - selfless service. Sometimes we would be getting up at 3:30am & going to bed at 12pm. The routine there was tougher than in Munger ashram as there was a lot of work to do. Everyone was busy & sometimes we would be added Yogic Trainings mixed into this schedule. So i remember that i was often so tired that i used to see Yogic Practice as a Medicine & relief to all my Agony & motivation to improve. I was doing my best. The routine required doing many tasks unknown to me as cleaning toilets, working in the kitchen or book editing department, cleaning rooms & buildings or setting up events, working in construction department often with people from very different culture & background. At the end all of this was a very learning process to find the way to get things done in the most harmonious & efficient way & move smoothly through out the days. Some days were smoother others were tougher.

Sometimes, after performing Karma Yoga or Seva duties i would become aware of a very blissful state, noticing Mental Peace without having to do any breathing or meditation practice. That was the Power of Discipline & Karma Yoga. I am very grateful to have been through those experiences as usually Yoga is seen as physical practices, breath work or meditation but rarely as Meditation in Action or bringing Yoga into each & every action, allowing it to be a purification process, a process of self-observation & understanding One's own Mind, own's own Strengths, Weakness, Ambitions & Needs. That is how Yoga was taught in Bihar School of Yoga Ashrams, as a self-discipline, as an individual path of exploring how we can become more aware of our minds in daily Life & how we can improve our Minds, our thoughts, speech & actions. They called it the Integration of Head (Intellect), Heart (Emotions) & Hands (Actions), inspired by Swami Sivananda - the Sadguru of this Living Tradition.

Every evening there would be a Kirtan or collective mantra chanting to release the tension of the day, to connect with the Divine & to experience Joy through that. Than the Sunset would happen at that time & later we would usually leave to our rooms in silence & complete the day with reading, or doing laundry, maybe making notes into our Spiritual Diaries or doing some meditation, of course from time to time there were people gathering in someone's room for a "party" yes).

We would have only Sunday afternoons as a free time, i remember that we had around a month without free time & that was amazing to see of what we humans are able to do, we can do so much more than we think, our Minds hold so much Potential, we can do whatever we propose ourselves we just have to believe in Ourselves & in our Strengths, that was my second biggest lesson there.

Another priceless lesson i learnt is having a new type of relationship, the One with the Spiritual Guru, it's a different relationship from all other relationships. Spiritual Guru is an evolved human being, a medium for high vibrational Spiritual Energy, a living example of awareness, purity, self-restraint, focus, positivity, truthfulness, sincerity, responsibility, selflessness, compassion, Faith, commitment, seriousity & Source of Infinite Inspiration & Wisdom. Swami Niranjan spoke to me only few times in person, we never maintained a conversation, but still i feel a connection & i want to keep this connection for a lifetime. Eventhough i went though hardships during my ashram experience, i know i needed them that I had too much Ego & was not even aware of it. i still remember the day i left the ashram, i was in mixed feelings happy & sad, but after leaving the ashram i experienced blissful states for months, i used to be so Peaceful & i used to see human problems as nothing compared to what we lived in the ashram. Definitely, there has been before & after Ashram in my Life.

This year Swami Niranjan kindly granted me a spiritual name after my request, and my spiritual name is Sanatan - the Eternal. I am so grateful & feel responsability for it, as i have to develop the spiritual qualities.

I would highly recommend anyone interested in Yoga as a Lifestyle, Spirituality, or simply for experiencing a Living tradition or ashram stay to visit it. You would get an unforgettable experience. You can visit the ashram's website for more information: www.biharyoga.net

Giving away here a free 50 min Yoga Session, hope you enjoy it & leave me a feedback. Stay tuned to new launches as i am working on launching Courses Online for You.