DID SRI RAMANA MAHARISHI ADVOCATE YOGA PRACTICES?









Shameem Akhtar



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Sri Ramana Maharishi (December 30, 1879- April 15, 1950), the saint from Arunachalam in South India, believed a spiritual life needed intense, disciplined and continuous awareness. Though he believed the highest goal of man, self-realisation, could be achieved effortlessly, he advised yogic practices to those who needed to harness the mind. However, since his advice was individualized, modified to accommodate the spiritual stage of each devotee, it occasionally gave contradictory signals. Ramana himself had bypassed all the struggles and hurdles usual to this path, having had a powerful metaphysical experience in his seventeenth year. This metamorphosed him overnight from a gawky teenager who was indifferent to studies into a much-loved saint. He did not have to hunt through scriptures to unravel the code of the divine. In Tamil, the language of the state of Tamil Nadu, where he was born he was referred to with awe as the padikkadha medhai , the illiterate scholar. Similarly, he not only picked up other southern languages with ease, could understand and read English newspapers, had a powerful grasp over Sanskrit but could also quote extensively from Vedantic treatises on Indian philosophy like Vivekachudamani, Yoga Vashishtha and Bhagavad Gita to make a nuanced philosophical point.



Shameem Akhtar: a certified yoga shiromani with the internationally-acclaimed Sivananda Yoga Centre, Kerala (headquartered in Canada), she is also a certified yoga acharya (advanced level in teacher's training in hatha yoga) with them. (Both courses are set in ashram atmosphere with yoga training and practice extending from pre-dawn till night-fall). She has done the Sadhana Intensive course (also with the Sivananda Institute, at its Uttarkashi branch) which includes nine hours of yoga daily (with the majority of this focused on pranayama or breathing practices). She is also a certified yoga teacher with the Chennai-based Asana Andiappan Institute for yoga and naturopathy, and a certified yoga shiromani and yoga acharya with the Chennai-based Shiva Yoga Institute. She is also certified practitioner, trainer and master trainer in Neurolinguistic Programming (the latest buzzword internationally in mindpower training) with the US based American Federation of NLP, and was trained by the founder himself, Dr William Horton.







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