The teacher trainees for the months of December 2016 have arrived at Rishikul Yogshala. The beginning of yet another session dedicated to love, peace, and harmony with yoga was marked with the ritual fire ceremony. Everyone present offered handful of potpourris—fragrant dry petals and milled herbs—in the name of the deity, and threw these in the fire in togetherness as the priest chanted slokas from the Vedas in a melodious tone. The yoga family of Rishikul Yogshala came out of the hall, purified from within by the fire ceremony.
Later in the day at the orientation program, our teachers addressed the class of December 2016, introducing the notion of “yoga” as universal harmony—the profound idea with which they are to engage deeply in the days to come.
Shri Bipin Baloni, one the chief yoga teachers who would be leading the class for this month, spoke of Indian religious culture and how the philosophy of yoga is fundamental to it. Narrating the tale of Lord Vishnu, who in the Hindu pantheon is known as the Eternal Preserver, Bipin Ji introduced the idea of the almighty creator being worshipped in multiple forms, embodying different attributes of creation. This idea of a singular, all-embracing divinity is central to yogic practice.
The class was given a taste of the rich performance art of Indian tradition with a Bharatnatyam dance presentation by one of the former student. Based upon the glory of Lord Vishnu’s third incarnation on earth- the Vamana, this dance feature is an awe-inspiring one and to be understood in relation to yoga later during the progression of the course.
The day came to a close with the venerated faculty member, Swami Atma’s address to the group. Atma Ji emphasized upon the guru-shishya (master-pupil) relationship and the gurukul (school of education) tradition of ancient India. He welcomed everybody to learn in peace and harmony, and encouraged to uphold a child-like, inquisitive but wholeheartedly receptive mind throughout the learning period.