Lighting the Lamp of Wisdom: A Week Inside a Yoga Ashram

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The powerful combination of exercising both mind and body in the quest for spiritual enlightenment is integral to Hindu spiritual life, and the ashram is where it takes place. This guide introduces you to the typical ashram schedule as experienced in three different communities -- India, New York, and the Bahamas -- to show you what you can expect from the yoga, meditation, worship, and study that define an ashram retreat. Whether you're simply curious about this millennia-old spiritual practice, or interested in...
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Lighting the Lamp of Wisdom: A Week Inside a Yoga Ashram

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Overview

The powerful combination of exercising both mind and body in the quest for spiritual enlightenment is integral to Hindu spiritual life, and the ashram is where it takes place. This guide introduces you to the typical ashram schedule as experienced in three different communities -- India, New York, and the Bahamas -- to show you what you can expect from the yoga, meditation, worship, and study that define an ashram retreat. Whether you're simply curious about this millennia-old spiritual practice, or interested in experiencing it firsthand, this is the ideal handbook to get you started, no matter what your faith tradition. A helpful glossary of terms, a list of resources for further reading, and a directory to yoga ashrams in North America and elsewhere will enable you to set up your own visit and explore the spiritual benefits of yoga ashram life for yourself.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This installment in SkyLight Paths' "Week Inside" series opens the doors of an ashram, introducing a community of yoga practitioners as taught by venerable Indian guru Swami Sivananda. The author is himself a yoga teacher, freelance journalist and veteran of the New York Post, who offers testimony from his experience of the healing and cleansing power of yoga practice. As serious students know, yoga is the Sanskrit word for "yoke," implying discipline. The sets of postures that many Americans know as yoga are only one part of a comprehensive system of mind-body training, which Ittner outlines by explaining key concepts and activities that characterize yoga practice. Chapters explore different aspects of the disciplined life, including diet and work, making for an appropriately holistic approach. The personal frame of reference and Ittner's everyday-guy voice (with a discernible New York accent) are the greatest virtues of the book, offering you-can-do-it-too encouragement to curious beginners who don't know asana (yoga posture) from ahimsa (the principle of non-harming). These and other commonly used Sanskrit terms are defined in a helpful glossary. The reading list is a little short; there are plenty more doors offering access to this vast spiritual mine. On the whole, however, the book is a competent, friendly introduction to a complex and ancient spiritual tradition that was exotic to Americans little more than 100 years ago. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A journalist and yoga instructor, Ittner casually engages the reader in stories of his many adventures visiting yoga ashrams in both the United States and abroad, treating the reader to what feels like an enjoyable dinner conversation with a friend. He flows from topic to topic and ashram to ashram, with transitions that are sometimes so seamless that readers may forget where he has taken them, though they will feel light and relaxed from the journey. Like other titles in the "A Week Inside" series, this volume serves as a handbook for spiritual retreat. Ittner gives details about each aspect of the typical ashram day, including meditation, chanting, spiritual talks, asana (posture) classes, work, free time, and eating. He ends the book with his personal, day-to-day journal of one particular week spent in an ashram in the Bahamas. The short glossary, selected bibliography, and directory of ashrams will help those who would like to pursue the experience further. Recommended for all libraries with religious or spiritual collections.-Annette Haines, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781893361522
  • Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Series: A Week Inside Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

John Ittner is a freelance journalist and writer whose articles have appeared in Yoga Life and other publications. A longtime news editor for the New York Post, he has studied yoga and Vedanta (Hindu philosophy) for many years, at ashrams both in the United States and in India. He completed his teacher training at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in Kerala, India, and presently teaches at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction 3
1 A Place for Grace 7
2 Complete Immersion 21
3 Standing on Your Own Head 37
4 Food for Thought 57
5 Free Time at the Ashram 72
6 From Mind Control to Meditation 88
7 Work Is Worship 107
8 Seven Days in Paradise: A Journal 125
Appendix A A Directory of Ashrams 149
Appendix B Recommended Reading 153
Glossary 155
About SkyLight Paths 163
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