I'm a freelance writer and yogi living in Tepoztlan, Mexico where I'm running www.casadelcorazon.mx with my girlfriend. You can keep up with my other writing on www.bollocks2thewellingtons.com/
Published January 23rd 2015
Meditate your way into ultimate bliss
In Mazunte you can see the sun rise and set over the sea, it's quite profound.
It was here that I chose to take a three month yoga and meditation teacher training course with the Hridaya yoga school.
It was only last year that Sahaja and his partner Antoanetta decided to make their school here independent from Agama and begin teaching their own syllabus.
I had studied with Agama in Rishikesh, India, as well as Thailand but it was the teachings and approach of Sahaja that really inspired me to take my practice deeper and commit to a TTC.
Now they have three modules, each lasting a month and each delving deeper into yogic techniques sourced primarily from Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the essential classical yoga texts.
The school takes inspiration from a number of different traditions but the main guru is Ramana Maharshi. This teacher of Advaita Vedanta, or Hindu non-duality, lived in India until his death in 1950 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest sages of the subcontinent.
His self-inquiry meditation method is the foundation of the school and the monthly 10 day meditation retreats are the best opportunity to practice.
These retreats are led by Sahajananda or another senior teacher and consist of around 6 hours a day of meditation, two hours of hatha yoga and 2-3 hours of lectures.
I've done several meditation retreats with other traditions but when I started the Hridaya technique it was like I had never properly meditated before.
It is a really powerful retreat that covers the philosophy of one-ness, surrender, love, the witness attitude and death among other things.
There is also one 17 day retreat a year which goes into more depth on certain topics and the 49 day Prathyabhijna retreat which includes 39 days in seclusion to simulate being in a cave.
The school has a kitchen offering a vegan breakfast and dinner for those who sign up in advance while lunch is only served during retreat. The meals are incredibly varied (except breakfast which remains the same delicious mix of amaranth seeds, fresh fruit and banana oat milk). For dinner I've lost count of the number of amazing dishes that I've had here and don't think I've ever had the same thing twice. This is a testament to the efforts of the volunteer staff here.
The whole school is run by a "Karma Yogi" scheme which means that in exchange for accommodation, food and classes everything that happens here is maintained by people who are committed in a beautiful way to the philosophy of living with an open heart and practicing yoga.
There are four halls in the school, Viveka is the first one as you come up the stairs opposite the kitchen and was where Module 1 was being taught when I was at the school.
Anugraha is the large hall where the TTC was based and where the whole school gathers for morning meditation at 7AM each day.
Down the hill near the camping area and the compost toilets are the Nitya and Tapas Halls. Nitya was being used for Module 2, Kirtan and workshops while the Tapas Hall is a small room used for practice of a particular asana. When I was at the school there was a schoolwide tapas of headstand every day.
The school is based around the plaza here where people sit around eating breakfast and enjoying the view of the sunset in the evening. There are also terraces outside Anugraha Hall and Viveka Hall which offer more solitary spots.
Often, the evenings would see events happening such as a movie night, belly dancing classes or salsa depending who was at the school at the time. A regular feature, though was the Kirtan or Bhajans every Saturday. This devotional singing practice is something that I really love and it was particularly powerful during my time at the school.
Outings & community
As part of the TTC we had a trip to a local waterfalls where we had a beautiful time in the nature and we also went to the La Escobilla beach where turtles come and lay their eggs on the beach.
The school makes an effort to be part of the local community and during the Mazunte Jazz Festival had a yoga class on the football field as well as offering a dance troupe and a kirtan in the local hall.
The Teacher Training course was a life-changing three months that I still haven't fully come to terms with. I would fully recommend getting involved with the school and maybe you will also be inspired to take this leap into spirituality.