Written by Wendy Richards
Gurudev Shri Amritji, Yogi Amrit Desai, is recognized as one of the greatest emissaries of India’s ancient yogic heritage. He arrived in America in the 1960s. Since 1966, his main focus has been to provide in-depth spiritual teachings and the practice of authentic yoga. His teachings have been refined into what is now known as The Integrative Amrit Method, I AM Yoga, which includes Amrit Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Quantum Breath Meditation, and Yoga Therapy. He is the recipient of numerous awards, titles, and honorary degrees and has participated in numerous international seminars and conferences.
At the Universal Consciousness Festival 2016, September 9 – 11, in Estes Park, Colorado, participants were able to attend several sessions with Gurudev Shri Amritji. In each session, as he presented yogic concepts, he made note of similarities to Daoist concepts. For example, in yoga practices, Prana is the Sanskrit word for life force or life energy or original life force. In Daoism and martial arts practices, life force or life energy would be referred to as Qi (Chi). The goal of both practices is to cultivate Prana or Qi for better health and wellness. He also talked about how both practices use meditation with the goal to reach or find stillness.
In a session on Yoga Nidra, a type of meditation also called yoga sleep, Amritji explained Yoga Nidra as providing a way to “return to the oneness that we are (God, Dao, authentic self).” He also says, “Human beings create their own suffering…engaging in solving problems that are not the problems…using vital life forces to solve things that do not need to be solved.” Yoga Nidra is about the brain reaching a similar state to sleep where “past and future disappear.” In this state, the mind is able to release blockages in the way of being the authentic self. In Daoism, Amritji explained, this might be compared to “a state of integration beyond the monkey mind, a super conscious state of oneness.” In Yoga Nidra, one can begin the practice with, for example, an intention, prayer, affirmation, or dream — similar to what might be referred to as “turning it over to God” or “letting Qi solve it” or “giving it up to the universe”. Toward the end of the session, Amritji gave participants a “taste” of Yoga Nidra with a guided meditation. Those in attendance reported various experiences, for example, a release of a blockage or connection where previously disconnected.
In another session, Amritiji introduced the secret of Quantum Breath Meditation. He explained that humans have mental, emotional, and/or physical blockages that keep them from living their authentic lives. Humans have “ego-minds” that cause stress-producing thoughts, feelings, and emotions. In Quantum Breath Meditation, breath work is used to reach a place of stillness where the body’s autonomic nervous system can do its job of healing, balancing, and restoring. Toward the end of this session, Amritji gave a demonstration of this technique. He sat very quietly and entered this state of breathing. Those in attendance reported various experiences, including, for example, that Amritji’s breath seemed to become part of the entire room rather than being only in his body.
Below slide show is the yoga performance of Amritji’s student Lexi Arti Rabin.
Participants at the Universal Consciousness Festival 2016 were introduced to, in a brief way, the extraordinary gifts of Gurudev Shri Amritji. He has numerous books and CDs available. There are more than 8,000 yoga and Yoga Nidra teachers trained in the I AM Yoga system teaching in more than 45 countries around the world. Gurudev Shri Amritji currently resides at the Amrit Yoga Institute in Salt Springs, Florida. www.amrityoga.org
About the Author: Wendy Carter Richards is a practitioner of Tai Chi in St. Louis, Missouri. She has studied and practiced since 2007 and currently teaches the Yang 24 form at a local school district as part of adult education. She is studying Wudang Tai Chi and particularly enjoys sword forms. Prior to discovering Tai Chi, she practiced yoga for over 15 years. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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