Advanced Yoga Practices
Note: For the Original
Internet Lessons with additions,
For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books,
Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.
Group Practice (Audio)
February 25, 2010
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: What is the benefit of practicing in groups? I have been to many
"spiritual gatherings" over the years, and most of the time there has been a
sense of shared communion and energy. But I never really understood what
this was. Can you clarify it?
is the old Biblical saying, "When several are gathered in my name, I am
there also." This does not have to be taken as a sectarian religious
statement. Any kind of spiritual gathering or gathering for a higher purpose
will produce a noticeable beneficial effect for the participants, and even
for those who may not be physically present at the gathering. It is a clear
sign of our inner connectedness in spirit. It is similar to how all the
limbs of yoga are naturally connected within each person. If one limb is
awakened, all the other limbs are stimulated,
and we notice. Likewise, if a group of
individuals is engaged in spiritual practice
together, everyone in the group will be
uplifted in a larger proportion, as will everyone in the vicinity,
been recognized in all the
spiritual traditions around the world
since the beginning of human civilization. In fact, the benefits of
group consciousness are largely responsible for
human civilization. Where
such cooperative mutual upliftment has been missing, savagery has been the
result. We are all sharing in a journey,
and the underlying dynamic of that journey is our evolution as a species to
higher stages of consciousness.
Of course, we are each in it for ourselves. But that does not change the
fact that our individual progress is inextricably tied to the whole,
is the whole, and vise versa.
As we have said from time to
time, "The One
is the many, and the many are the One."
Therefore, anything we can do to
enhance group consciousness is going to be a benefit to both ourselves and
the shared destiny
of all humanity.
comes to spiritual evolution, we know we can accelerate our individual
progress by engaging in effective daily spiritual practices at home. When we
bring powerful practices like deep meditation into a group setting, the
results can be amplified and radiated far beyond the physical location of
the group. What we are finding in the age of the internet is that groups of
meditators who are widely dispersed around the world can have a similar
effect when the meditation time is coordinated with the intention for "group
practice." It can be argued that this
effect is greater than a localized group, due to the large numbers of people
who can participate simultaneously everywhere. It is happening naturally
already as practitioners in
many countries sit down
morning and evening, following the clock in waves
of cultivated pure bliss consciousness traveling around the world every
of how group practice happens, there can be no doubt that periodically
joining a group meditation is beneficial to each of us,
and the world community as a whole. The positive influence of abiding inner
silence cultivated in deep meditation touches everyone everywhere, with
results that accumulate over time. So whether we are mediating
at home, occasionally
or worldwide internet group, or all of
these, the effects will be reaching far and wide.
particulars on group meditations were covered way back in
Lesson 37. At that time we were talking mainly about local gatherings,
and it is suggested to review the lesson on
various aspects of group meditation practice.
Most important to know is that if you can't find an AYP deep meditation
group in your area, you can start one very easily. There is assistance
available for that in the AYP Support
early days of AYP, there have been
developments in the growing community of
practitioners that have led to many
refinements in practice and experiences. We are
getting collectively better at it. Along with this has come the development
of large-scale weekly internet-coordinated global group practice sessions.
These occur several times each weekend, and include deep meditation and
a systematic practice of releasing intentions in stillness in the form of
specific words or phrases (sutras),
which leads to positive influences flowing outward from within omnipresent
pure bliss consciousness (see Lesson 150). This
accelerates our inner purification and opening, and also produces
purifying effects in the
environment, both nearby and instantly at great distances. We call this
influence from samyama practice stillness
in action. Traditionally in yoga, these
effects are called siddhis.
samyama can be performed when there is a common cause that deep meditation
practitioners wish to join together on. For example, if a friend is ill,
their name can be used in group samyama practice, and beneficial healing
energy will automatically be coming their way.
If it is openly received, the
results can be amazing.
general benefit to all, core samyama practice (our standard list of sutras)
can be performed right after group meditation. This can be followed by any
targeted samyama that is agreed upon by the group. In the AYP global group
meditation program, targeted samyama is being used for healing assistance
through many practitioners around the world in a coordinated way each week.
Information about this program, which is open to all, can be found on the
form of group practice is the retreat, where practitioners withdraw from
regular daily activities and responsibilities for a few days or weeks
to engage in an accelerated program of practice.
Basic guidelines on retreats will be provided in the next lesson.
who would like to increase inspiration and knowledge, assist others, and
enhance spiritual progress beyond daily practices at home, structured group
meditations and retreats can be very helpful.
is in you.
Related Lessons Topic Path
Discuss this Lesson in the AYP Plus Support Forum
discussion on group practice and retreats, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga Book,
and AYP Plus.