The Shanti Yoga Community
Who are we?
Why are we here?
How are we to live?
A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion
are the things that renew humanity.
The Shanti Yoga Community (sangha) is based on a vision of the universal principles of peace, harmony and the spiritual unity of humankind.
Every aspect of the community, from the natural environment, location, landscaping and architectural design of Nirvana Wellness Retreat is developed to draw together the Shanti Yoga Community in the fields of education, health, contemplation and culture. In order to bring our vision to fruition, you are invited to participate. However, what you need to know is that 'sangha' is not something that some people make available and then others partake of. Sangha is a cooperative. We all own it, we all share in it, we're all responsible for it, we all benefit from it and we all belong to it. The giving and receiving goes in all directions.
Some of us in the sangha have been together with Shantiji nurturing health, evolutionary growth and shining a healing light on the shadow aspects of our mind for many years. We've been individually and collectively lit up with a sense of possibility for our world, and a yearning for more beautiful, authentic ways of being. We have been involved in a life of significant studies and practices, most rewarding conversations and meaningful connections, in a space of intelligence, love, vibrant ideas and aliveness. In answer to: 'What calls us next? What do we want to offer each other and our Shanti Yoga community that has become so precious to us? What would make our hearts sing, and the universe smile?' we realise that the future of spiritual practice is manifesting intelligence beyond awakening, and have created a culture where we can attend and enjoy ourselves, hang out with friends, old and new, in a safe and inspiring space that lets us all go as deep and as wide as our hearts and minds will allow, gently facilitated to bring out the best in each of us. You are welcome to join us.
Arise! Awake! Stop not till the goal is reached!
Perspectives for the Shanti yoga Community
How you can participate in the Shanti yoga Community:
- Feel better
- Learn more
- Belonging, volunteering and making a difference
- Live this way. Nirvana Wellness retreats
- Yoga Lifestyle: Purchase Shanti Yoga products
Free classes for Cancer patients
Shanti News - email newsletter
Brochures and handouts at the centre
Noticeboard at the centre
Shantij's books, CDs and DVDs - see shopping cart
PHILOSOPHY, SPIRITUALITY AND MEANING
Luncheon, Discourse or Spiritual Cinema and Discussion with Q&A
Health talk - 1st Monday of the month
A Course in Miracles - 2nd Monday of the month
Bhagavad Gita discourse. Everyday Vedanta and Yoga philosophy - 3rd Monday of the month
Spiritual Cinema - 4th Monday of the month
Fellowship, Dinner and Enlightened Talks - Friday nights, monthly
Retreats - see schedule
DANCE AND CULTURE
Bollywood dance classes
Bharat Natyam dance classes
Healing Forest Therapy
Touch the Earth - volunteer garden days
Green for Life - The living laboratory educational programs
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
'Sangha' is the sanskrit word which can be translated as a 'gathering in the company of the wise' or a community (of practitioners)'. It is the rational means of supporting the spiritualisation of the student with the teacher. There is both verbal and nonverbal transmission to the aspirant from the teacher. As our individual lives and economic circumstances ebb and flow, we can feel the richness of creating community together and supporting each other through the different phases of our lives. Sat sang is offered twice weekly, in the form of lecture and discussion and chanting. Do not miss the wonderful opportunity to sit in the company of Shantiji and others.
LEARN, CONNECT, THRIVE
Realising that there are common interests in sections of the community, we host a wide range of programs that inspire, engage, inform, educate, entertain, empower and promote individual and global health and harmony. Our programs and events span various levels of experience with the arts, meditation, healing, yoga and the human spiritual journey.
OUR DIFFERENCE AND COMMONALITY
People who come to our centre may have different faiths, follow different spiritual traditions, have different paths of practice and opinions, including political views. They are of different genders, different sexual orientations, and physical, perceptual and mental abilities. What we share as a community is a genuine connection to contemplative practice, a desire to lead sane, dignified, confident lives, and the aspiration to realise a more wakeful, sane society. To provide an environment in which awakening could flourish in the West, in the early 1970s, Shantiji presented the spiritual journey in the cultural context of yoga, via a personal and societal vision of awakening that is accessible to everyone, all the time, even in the midst of busy, daily life.
Believing that there is a global community of people committed to actively creating a more compassionate and enlightened world, together with her encounter with the Western world, and based upon the specific wisdom imparted from Vedanta, Yoga and Buddhism, as a resource for individual and cultural virtue, Shantiji set out to create a place in the world in which enlightened world citizens can lead meditative lives of bravery, gentleness and intelligence, where they act with responsibility and delight in caring for one another.
The Shanti Yoga view is that every human being has wholesomeness, warmth and intelligence as their fundamental nature. This nature can be cultivated through the wisdom practices of yoga and meditation and it can be further developed in daily life, so that it radiates out to family, friends, community and society. Through the Shanti Yoga practices we cultivate the capacity to be fully open to our experience, and the ability to respond to everyday life situations with greater clarity and respect.
Whilst, during the course of our lives, the wholesomeness can easily become covered over by doubt, cynicism, fear and egotism, the journey of becoming fully human means seeing through those habitual patterns and waking up to our natural intelligence.
It takes kindness to ourselves and others, and courage to wake up, when we are so deeply asleep. However, when we do, we discover the world to be naturally sacred, wholesome and full of interest and beauty. We begin to clearly see and acknowledge the wholeness and wisdom of others, and to feel compassion to help them in myriad ways.
Inspiring enlightened society, the Shanti Yoga community exists to support for those who aspire to follow this path. Members feel part of a connected community devoted to a way of life worth spreading and the pursuit of their unique 'one wish to change the world'.
The Shanti Yoga community is a diverse group of engaged and committed people from around the world who provide vital support for our work. The Shanti Yoga Health Institute provides unique, educational programs and living experiences that support forward-thinking leaders of all ages to tap into their inherent creativity, compassion and wisdom in order to affect positive transformation in individuals, families, communities and the world. This enables newer students to meet Shantiji earlier on the path than has generally been possible. For older students, it provides us the opportunity to study directly under Shantiji.
The initiatives are inspired by the perspectives of Shanti Gowans who says: "Healthy and sustainable transformation of outer structures begins with the discovery of natural inner resources and capacities of individuals to be of service. However, with the current trend of encouraging the 'me generation' we may have welcomed the age of selfishness. People born in the 1970s, 80s and 90s are said to be the first group of people to believe that the needs of the individual should come first. They are oblivious to a world that places duty before self. However, nothing stands still. The answer is simple, yet profound. The truth about change is that there are no fixed answers. One time this might feel appropriate, another time it may not. To go with the flow, you may need to go against the grain. Just be still and present with each experience. Only when we make peace with ourselves can we hope to make peace with and in the world.
We must reach within first, in order to embrace humanity. Generosity is the key to infinite abundance. When we value and share the natural, inner wealth of peace, love, happiness and wisdom, we can experience true and lasting prosperity.
Our conversations, deep dialogue and learning best practices supports taking us to explore those questions that stir the heart, towards mutual understanding beyond polarisation, balance between economy and ecology, learning to be both rational and spiritual, cultivating more positive relationships, and a life of with flex and flow, compassionate connection and authentic action in a chaotically evolving world.
- One World. The future is based upon the opposite of war, which is creation.
- Respect the life and dignity of every living being without discrimination or prejudice.
- Reject violence in all of its forms and towards all beings.
- Resolve conflict with grace and graciousness.
- Reconcile differences and pursue harmony.
- Support freedom of expression and cultural diversity.
During this time of unprecedented, evolutionary change, many people find themselves alone with their questions and challenges. With traditional religion no longer fulfilling spiritual needs, scientific materialism presenting soulless, exploitative, competitive explanations, and not finding respite from current relationships, people today need an expanded community of others to share the journey with.
At the Shanti Yoga health Institute we encourage you to come together in an extended family to talk about some of the topics we table, such as health, spirituality, mindful parenting, quality relationships, evolutionary change, environmental actions, emotional wellbeing, helpful perspectives on ageing, death and dying, or whatever you find of interest. This is a wonderful way to make new friends and to learn from one another.
The following programs are ongoing and open to all. No previous experience necessary to attend.
FEEL BETTER: GROUP PRACTICE SESSIONS
The first step is by attending classes. Group practice is one of our most basic and most important community activities. Each session is an opportunity to experience the power and joy of coming together, however briefly, as a community of practitioners. Group practice not only encourages our individual practice but also supports others in their practice and helps build a thriving, practice community. Check out our timetable page for ongoing opportunities for group practice and group sitting.
LEARN MORE: PROGRAMS
Have you come to an increasing realisation that the life you are living is somehow not the one for you? Or when the meaning that urges you to wake up in the morning with energy has deserted you? These times in our lives are rich with enticements. They beckon us to step out of the habitualised and sometimes paralysing life we have built and called our own, and into the mystery that resounds with longing and demands an authentic relationship with the world around us and the aroused feelings within us. If you are hearing a calling from within that is demanding your attention, we have an invitation for you.
Programs, workshops, retreats, training courses and various offerings are all heightened opportunities to discover the value of community practice, build community and spiritual relationships and study while deepening one's own understanding and experience. Check out our calendar and newsletter for these.
CELEBRATE: COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS, OUTINGS AND SOCIAL GATHERINGS
The Shanti Yoga community comes together in many ways - to practice, to learn, to serve others, and to celebrate. By joining spiritual practice with the practicalities, challenges and joys of everyday life, we aspire to create a society that expresses the dignity of human experience. Learn more about Shanti Yoga celebrations and social gatherings from our calendar and newsletters. Outings are more spontaneous, so if you're a close member, you'll have your finger on the pulse.
BELONGING AND VOLUNTEERING: MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Volunteering and kitchen sink dharma at the Shanti Yoga Centre provides you the opportunity to practice karma yoga, the yoga of action. This forms the foundation of spiritual life. It is a great way to develop an authentic experience of non-attachment, via the art of selfless giving, get involved, make a difference to your own wellbeing and benefit others. We can probably find an outlet for whatever your skill or knack. Email our volunteer coordinator with your thoughts about how you can plug in if you're interested in being listed for open, ongoing positions. We also always have stand alone projects that need to be done as well.
LIVE THIS WAY: NIRVANA WELLNESS RETREATS.
Go to Retreats website
YOGA LIFESTYLE: PURCHASE SHANTI YOGA PRODUCTS
We hold the awareness that climate, which is key to our survival on the planet is shifting greatly. In attempting to find ways to move forward on a more ecologically sustainable path, we choose our vendors and products more carefully, buying less from countries and manufacturers that haven't as yet developed an eco-conscious and humanistic culture, and more from places where they pride themselves on the way they treat the earth and the people on it. If we know that animals are harmed in the manufacture of a product, we don't buy it. We on-goingly work on a values for a yoga lifestyle, and every decision we now make is more determined by these factors than ever before. The long and short of this is we have our own 'cottage/farm' industry, making green/eco friendly products, which are exclusive, beautiful, life enhancing, spiritual, unique, difficult to source, local, and if supplied from outside Australia, they meet the requirements of using no child labour and follow all local (for them) environmental and labour laws.
As Australians, we are first worlders, consuming more than our share of energy and other world resources, our taxes support a prison system and a military budget and we might be seen to be wasteful as a nation. However, while we realise that we have a long way to go, we believe that we are taking steps in the right direction. We welcome your feedback and any comments and suggestions you may have for us in this regard and encourage your to support and patronage in our store online and/or in person.
- Ayurvedic Herbal Medicines
- Body and Soul Vegan Meals
- Nirvana Breakfasts
- Nirvana Chai
- Nirvana Spring Water
- Love your Skin Moisturiser
- Oral hygiene package - Whitening toothpaste, Gum Powder, Tongue Cleaner
- Natural cleansing: Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner
- Inner Peace Publications
- Wearable Art and Shanti yoga gear
- One World Productions
Go to Online shop
We present specific activities, clarify issues, answer questions, explain new programs through our email newsletters, on the white board, through pamphlets distributed during classes and on the website.
BE INFORMED: SHANTI EMAIL NEWSLETTER
Shanti Yoga enews is a community forum for news and views from Shanti Yoga. It presents people's individual points of view and takes no position itself on the content and views expressed. Our editors welcome a wide range of contributions and perspectives and seek to encourage inclusive and insightful dialogue that is helpful to the development of the Shanti Yoga community as a whole. Therefore, in keeping with the principles of mindful and compassionate speech, while welcoming critical observations, we work to keep this site free from material that could be harmful to specific individuals or groups, either within the Shanti Yoga community or beyond. Any complaints about published material should be raised directly with the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org
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SHANTIJI'S BOOKS, CDS and DVDs - see shopping cart
DARSHAN: PHILOSOPHY, SPIRITUALITY, MEANING
Contemporary and classical (vedanta, buddhist and yogic)
Following a communal, home cooked, Ayurvedic vegetarian lunch (from $12 @ 12.15-1.15pm, Mondays),
Monday afternoon programs are a community spiritual meetings for Shanti Yoga members, friends, and are open to the public. No fee (donations gratefully accepted). Please join us.
Every Monday afternoon, from 1.15-2pm, during school terms and when Shantiji is in town.
Lunch and Learn: Ayurvedic Health Talk
On the first Monday of the month, 1.15-2pm, during school terms and when Shantiji is in town.
A Course in Miracles
Lessons from 'A Course in Miracles' on the second Monday of the month, 1.15-2pm, during school terms and when Shantiji is in town.
Bhagavad Gita discourse with Shantiji
The Bhagavad Gita is a practical, spiritual handbook for self realisation and daily life that teaches you how to be creative and confident in every circumstance. It describes two paths in life: an beneficial path that leads to fulfilment and a destructive path that leads to sorrow. These classes provide you the unique opportunity to deepen your spiritual practice and live your best life. No previous Gita preparation is necessary.
3rd Monday of the month, during school terms 1.15-2pm
Enjoy provocative, inspiring, enlightening, entertaining, profound, the best in artfully-told, award winning documentaries and films in the genre of spiritual cinema. Time permitting, this then becomes the platform for our spiritual discussions. No fee. Drop in to the centre on the fourth Monday of the month. Program starts at 1.15pm - no reservation necessary!
Fellowship, Dinner, Enlightened Talks and Learn to Meditate
The program commences with a short, guided meditation led by Shantiji, followed by her inspiring discussion, as she shares the eternal wisdom of the mystics, explores the mysteries of existence, and the unity of humanity that reveals our essential oneness, question and answers and then an absolutely delicious, vegetarian buffet dinner. Friday evenings, monthly or thereabouts. See dates below. Booking essential for catering purposes.
Friday evening 6.30-9.30pm. $35
Chanting and Meditation
At a deeper level, our problems stem from a loss of connection with the infinite source that sustains us all. The solution is simple; reconnect. Chanting is sound vibration leading to spiritual evolution. It clears the head, heart, lungs and purifies the channels, re-structuring the entire pranic flow to illuminate the subtle layers of the mind which leads to liberation. Tuesdays 8.15-9pm.
ARTS and CULTURE
Bharat Natyam - traditional Indian culture and dance
Bollywood - contemporary Indian dance classes
Bharat Natyam & Bollywood - 5 week term dates for 2013
Term 1: Jan 24, 31, Feb 7,14,21
Term2: Feb 28, March7,14,21,28
Term 3: April 18,25, May 2,9,16
Term 4: May 23, 30, June 6,13,20
Term 5: July 11, 18, 25, Aug 1, 8
Term 6: Aug 15, 22, 29, Sept 5, 12
Term 7: Oct 10, 17, 24, 31, Nov 7
Term 8: Nov 14, 21, 28, Dec 5, 12
Go to Bollywood Australia website
Dance Dialogues - Summer. Friday 8 Feb 7.30pm TDC
Cinderella Friday Friday 19 April 7.30pm Playhouse
Giselle Friday 21 Jun 7.30pm Playhouse
Elegance Friday 2 Aug 7.30pm Playhouse
Dance Dialogues - Spring Friday 30 Aug 7.30pm TDC
The Nutcracker Friday 20 Dec. 7.30pm Playhouse
Healing Forest Therapy
The world is becoming increasingly polluted, over populated and facing global challenges like never before.
People in the world will face death by malnutrition, hunger, poisoning and war. To resolve this we must heal the mind, heal the land, awaken the dreamer and change the dream.
Divine, awakened being exists as the basic stream of all life. Reminding ourselves of this invites this reality into our mindstream. We relate once again to our human decency and potential for good.
The eco mind arises from changing the way we think (the idea of lack) to enable us to live in the world we want, and bring forth an environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling human presence on the planet as a guiding principle of our times. We can make a start to restore nature where we live, work and play and consider organic farming.
May human activity the world over turn towards harmony and wisom with all other residents of the planet. Let us come together to find ways to ameliorate, moderate and restore what we have damaged.
Forest Therapy is simply immersing yourself in a natural wooded environment. It is an effective relaxation and stress management technique. While it may seem obvious that trading the confines of a human-made urban setting for the natural surroundings among which we evolved would produce immediate positive health effects, there have been plenty of studies that have definitively quantified the healing effects of spending time in nature.. These effects include improved cognitive abilities, lowered stress hormone levels, lowered blood pressure and increased immune and anti-cancer cell activity.
Science also has no shortage of distinct theories to offer as to why forest therapy is effective. They include:
- Aromatherapy: Research suggests that breathing in antimicrobial airborne volatile organic compounds that trees produce, called phytoncides, stimulates the immune system, resulting in increased levels of cancer-fighting natural killer cells.
- Better air quality: Trees purify and oxygenate the air, and if you're surrounded by them on all sides, you're likely farther away from sources of air pollution than if you were in an urban area.
- Less noise pollution: Similarly, if you're in a natural area, you're likely to be farther away from loud industrial noises, traffic, crowds, etc. than you would be in a city. Constant noise is stimulating to the adrenals and senses and can leave you stressed and cognitively depleted.
- Aesthetics: We've all (I hope) had the experience of feeling powerfully drawn to the beauty of nature and research has shown that simply looking at pictures of nature can produce cognitive benefits. It may be that the colour green vibrates on a relaxation-inducing frequency. Another possibility is that looking at the fractals i.e. geometric forms containing patterns that repeat as the form is magnified found widely in nature, also bring us pleasure.
But the simple fact is that if we are separated from our natural environment (or destroy it), our health suffers, no matter how hard we work at optimising our diets and exercise routines. More nature = better health.
The Fee is $150 per person for one day, from 10am-4pm.
Dates for 2013: as per scheduled retreats. Bookings essential.
No accommodation, no formal program. Lunch is provided.
Nirvana Wellness retreat is the setting for a living laboratory that provides integrated, leading edge examples of community design, land stewardship, eco-literacy and sustainable living that are grounded in reality, are replicable, in a remarkable spacious and natural setting.
The substantial increase in bird and native wildlife population on our 70 hectare land over the last 7 years is a stark reminder that human alterations/restorations of the landscape can have a beneficial impact, if it is planned and implemented well. We are committed to preserving the area's natural beauty, cultivating a conservation ethic, and sustaining nature in the midst of development, so important for healthy, future generations.
Artificial fertilisers, chemical pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are harming not only our health, but that of the environment. Wherever you are, the most practical approach is to create a truly balanced ecosystem that emulates a natural ecosystem, with an abundance of robust flowers, trees and shrubs that will enable you to reap a rich, healthy reward of fresh, tasty vegetables and fruit. When you are a gardener of the heart, gardening can be both easy and enjoyable as it is germinated and cultivated in the garden of experience and based on working with nature.
The Living Laboratory is an ideal field trip for students of all ages and offers public education programs in the areas listed below. Experience a different approach to gardening - a more caring, nurtural approach, for the sake of the earth, your children and grandchildren. Rooted in the ancient principles from the Vedas, you commune with the beauty and spiritual side of nature, and yourself.
The Living Laboratory Experiential, Educational Workshop Series
- Be inspired, educated and empowered through the living experience and environment of our living laboratory
- Discover a renewed respect in how to live in better harmony with the land
- Explore the connection between people and nature, sustainable living and ecological processes that foster personal and community living.
- Investigate how the interaction between the natural environment and built environments shape the land and us.
- Participate in hands-on methods of small scale, organic, vegetable gardening
- Discover a community of plants, animals, weather, water, soil and people, all sharing the land
- Plant for pollinators - the birds, bees and butterflies
- Planning for storage crops, four season harvest and fruit and nut forest
- Cultivating native plants, orchards, tree and shrub care.
- Starting seeds indoors (with lights)
- Explore the basics of companion planting
- Building healthy soil and sustainable horticulture. Making compost, mulch and vermiculture
- Organic pest and weed control: the necessities of summer maintenance
- Wildlife and the chook pen
- Green sacred spaces
- Walk our trails
- Participate in fun, educational activities
- Join us at workshops, such as art in nature, meditation, yoga
- Work and play with us as we conduct our studies and environmental research and restore nature where we live, work and play.
Touch the Earth - work program for volunteers
A special welcome and invitation is extended to volunteers who have an inclination and are able to join us to touch the earth for a 4-hour work day where we undertake a wide variety of small projects, long term fire mitigation, deferred maintenance, landscaping, weeding and overall cleanup, cleaning, organising and transforming the outdoor area into a contemplative garden. We need a small contingent of willing-to-do whatever people.
On Contemplative Garden Days (during our silent meditation retreats), we practice while we work together. The practice begins with walking meditation and ends with mindful sitting.
The Permaculture Project has been designed by Jean. The plan provides a blueprint from which together we construct a permaculture garden that replicates the ecological functions of nature. This include the relationship between the utilisation of native plants in green spaces, ponds and natural water filtration, the removal of weeds and toxins, provide habitat for wildlife together with landscaping.
Each year volunteers joyfully donate many hours to the Living Laboratory at Nirvana, helping us accomplish our habitat restoration and gardening projects. The Shanti Yoga Community at Nirvana invites you to join us for a little time on Sundays. We are made of interstellar dust, ultimately.
MATERIALS TO BRING:
- Gardening gloves
- Gardening tools for weeding and pulling plants out by their roots
- Stacks of newspapers and cardboard for preventing re-growth and weeds in some garden beds
- Saw for cutting larger plants and small trees
Dates - 2013
If you cannot make these specific dates but would like to join in, let us know and we can consider your availability.
Please plan to get online 15 minutes before the scheduled time to give you some time to test your setup.
Make sure that you close all programs including e-mail programs and other programs such as Skype and MSN that use the internet.
The best internet connection arises from a faster upload speed, i.e. high-speed broadband connection, with high download rates. Also recommended a wired connection and external speakers.
To ask a question, using the chat window, please type your name, city/country and centre and then ask the question. Do this during the question period. Questions will be selected and read to everyone.
When question time is offered, you can use a microphone and /or camera. Please type that you have equipment and that you want to ask a question. The facilitators will indicate when it is your turn. Activate your equipment by turning on the camera icon. Please speak directly into the microphone, and leave a gap before you begin speaking. Release the talk button when you have finished speaking. After your question is answered, the facilitator will turn off your mic and camera.
On line course packages
- Power Point Presentation
- Assessment Critea and Definitions
- Session Plans
- Learner's guide, downloadable in PDF format
- Learner's Workbook
- Evidence Document