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The Australian Sangha

by Nina Pulaska

Namaste all! There has been a lot of work put into forming a stable Australian Himalayan Yoga Tradition community over the years. There are dozens of Australians who have visited India and one or both of the HYT ashrams, with several initiates living on this oldest continent in the world.

I have had a pleasure to be a part of the Australian sangha since the beginning of 2010, when a small group of sadhakas from South Australia and New South Wales organized the 1st weekend workshop in Adelaide.

The aim was to begin to network and conduct some practice teaching, as some of us had already participated in the TTP and needed the teaching hours. This was soon followed by another half-day workshop in Sydney in May 2010.

As the HYT network became somewhat more established, in particular in Adelaide, where Daniel Jalba was running regular meditation classes at Flinders University, it was decided that we would like to invite a more senior teacher to come to Australia. After months of preparations, we had the immense pleasure to host Swami Ritavan in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney in April 2011. Swamiji ran a weekend workshop with yoga-nidra as the main theme in each of the cities. All the seminars proved to be a great success.

As a direct result of Swamiji’s visit, we started regular monthly meetings, usually around Full Moon, in both Adelaide and Sydney. We met to meditate together in small groups, as well as to share personal practice experiences and discuss practical aspects of yoga philosophy as we understood it at the time. Unfortunately, this initiative became dormant at the end of 2012 due to the teachers and those organizing the meetings moving around the country with work. Yet, the sangha spirit was not gone, and the base network structure remained, awaiting reinstatement when the time was right… and this occurred at the beginning of last year.

Once again, South Australia became a hub for HYT activities and events. Vani Shukla organized in May 2018 a half-day seminar with John Sellinger, who lives and works at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) for most of the year. This time, the main idea of the workshop was to reunite people who were already connected to HYT, as well as to introduce our Tradition to those new to yoga. The event proved to be another success! The seminar clearly showed that there are many people genuinely searching for a systematic yoga path, more in-depth teachings and meditative experiences.

The next sangha gathering for initiates took place in Adelaide in December 2018 and was a very nice experience, which made us realize that we could finally see how the HYT community in Australia was steadily growing in numbers.

In January 2019, a Yoga Sutras study group was formed under kind mentoring of Randall Krause from the USA. The focus of the online meetings has been to study yoga philosophy and to discuss practical aspects of its application in daily life. As this is meant to be an ongoing initiative, any sadhaka from Australia and Asia-Pacific region, who would like to commit to the self-development and regular study, is welcome to join.

There are also several things happening in our Australian sangha at present, as well as a few events planned for 2019:

  1. Regular yoga classes in Adelaide run by Vani Shukla;
  2. Regular yoga classes in Perth run by Susan Barbour
  3. A day yoga seminar with John Sellinger and Vani Shukla in Adelaide on Saturday 30th March;
  4. Next initiates sangha in Adelaide, planned for mid-May;
  5. An ongoing Australia-wide Yoga Sutra study group with monthly online meetings (flexible dates TBA);
  6. Group trips to India (including stay at SRSG) organized twice a year (April and October);
  7. A silence retreat in the Himalayas (Tarkeshwar) planned for beginning of October.

As we continue to work on establishing HYT presence and building a stable community in Australia, we would love to hear from you! If you have been initiated into the Tradition or are a genuine seeker (and you obviously are if you are on this newsletter mailing list), feel free to contact me or any of the teachers, to connect with us! Please also get in touch if you would like to enquire about any of the ongoing or planned activities.

Thinking of the near future, we are looking to organize more sangha gatherings and seminars, both on the local and Australia-wide levels, including silence retreats. We would love to host Swami Ritavan again (he has expressed interest in returning to Australia) and invite other senior teachers; even run a TTP (teacher training program) down the line. All this depends on us, the Australian sangha, and how much we want to make this happen, so show your support and become a part of our HYT community!

OM, Shantih

Contact me on GMAIL at "australianHYT" (thanks! I.E. reorganize the part in quotes to make an email address)

or (+61) 433 231 213

Nina Pulaska
Adelaide, South Australia

February 2019



The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation

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