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International Day of Yoga 2019 with Amma

"Anything done with awareness is Yoga"- Amma

Every year, Amma’s North American tour is blessed with the special chance to celebrate International Day of Yoga. This year participants attending Amma’s Santa Fe retreat were treated to a special yoga session with Amma on the Summer Solstice of June 21st. The program was held on the indigenous land of Pojoaque Pueblo.

On the first day of the retreat, people of all ages and yoga experience participated in Amrita Yoga. The class was led by Amrita Yoga teachers from Amma’s ashram in India alongside Amma. While all were requested to clear the chairs, Amma remarked that anything done with awareness is yoga. ‘Chair moving yoga’ went off without a hitch, moving on to more traditional asanas.

The practice began with deep breathing and “running in place” to generate heat and energy. Slow running picked up to a jogging pace, and ended in an intense sprint. Amma also participated by quickly moving her arms from her seated posture. After warmups, the group was led through about 15 minutes of yoga asanas, including the silent chanting of the sacred mantras MA and OM synchronized with the breath and movement.

“Yoga is not just physical movement, like going to the gym and exercising,” Amma explained. “Rather, it is yet another way to know God — the infinite power we truly are. Yoga is meditation. Just like meditation, performing yoga with awareness will help us go deeper and deeper into our own Inner Self. If physical exercises are like swimming on the surface of the ocean, proper yoga practices are like diving deep into the ocean. The experience has a totally different dimension to it. The difference is like a caged bird versus a bird flying in the sky, enjoying the vast expanse.”

The hall was transformed into a yogashala (abode of yoga) as participants were guided through a series of simple asanas that focused on breathing, awareness and with heart-centered intention. Many children also shared the stage with Amma to demonstrate the various asanas. At the end of the session, Amma asked everyone to forget all their worries and laugh, creating a blissful moment of unity and happiness.