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My Experience of Isha Inner Engineering Retreat

Inner Engineering program was created by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the founder of Isha Foundation. The word Sadhguru as explained by Jaggi Vasudev means uneducated Guru, the one who became Guru from inner experience. I participated Inner Engineering program at Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore in 2014. Here I try to capture my experience and thoughts about the program.

My State of Mind before attending Inner Engineering
I was a spiritually inclined person right from childhood having read Bhagavad Gita and tried out Yoga in High School.  I won’t say that I am fully passionate about Enlightenment but was always fascinated about it. At the time in 2014, Even though I had a good job and decent personal life, I was really suffering internally. My mind was full of negativity and worries about my future.  I did not enjoy the work and was looking for a way out. Constant negative thoughts an self doubts were depressing me. I had done Reiki Level 1 course couple of months back and was practicing Reiki daily. I had started to wonder if Reiki was amplifying my issues. I tried few counseling sessions as well to understand what’s going on. I had seen few youtube videos of Sadhguru which talked about Inner Engineering program, so I  decided to attend this. My thinking was I have nothing to lose by attending this and hopefully I will get some benefits so let’s try it out.

Claims
The program claims multiple benefits like Stress-free living, Better Health, Mental clarity and Enhanced Perception. It also claims to be a scientific approach for Inner wellbeing based on the ancient Indian practice of Yoga. (Source: http://ishayoga.org)

Place
Isha Yoga Center is located about 30 km from the in Coimbatore city center. There are regular buses from Gandhipuram area in Coimbatore to Isha Yoga Center. Without knowing how far the place is, I took an auto from Bus stop to the place and regretted badly as the auto took ages(Took Around 2 hours!) to reach the place. I reached there at night around 9 PM and was provided a nice room to stay. I did not had dinner so they were kind enough to point me to the place in Ashram where they serve free food. The place also has the DhyanaLinga Temple which is a great place for Meditation.

Program
The Program was spread over 3 days with healthy mix of talks teaching fundamental concepts, Yog Asans(Physical postures and exercises like Surya Namaskar), Physical and Mental awareness games and most importantly the Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya. The teachers were very nice and helpful answering our queries and helping with the nitty gritties of the process. All the participants were provided name tags and the interesting thing was they randomly placed the tags around the place at the start of each session so that people sit with different people and get to know them.

The crux of the program is about the teaching and transmission of Yogic Kriya called as Shambhavi Mahamudra. We were taught Asanas like Patangasan, Shishupalasan, cat stretch, Surya Namaskar etc.in the first two days. Before doing the Kriya it was recommended to do these warmup exercises to prepare the body for Shambhavi. Shambhavi Mahamudra is a 21 minute process consisting of multiple steps including Pranayam, Om chanting, fast breathing etc. Over 3 days we were taught individual steps separately and then on the final day it came together as the complete Kriya.
Kriya is an action performed to change internal energy system of the body. There are multiple bodies in a Human system like Physical, Mental and Energy bodies. Changes in Energy body can change the physical and mental bodies helping in fixing things and maintain balance.
We were repeatedly warned not to try teach others outside about the Kriya and only qualified teachers can teach it. Also apart from the procedure of the steps to be performed there is an element of Spiritual Transmission for the Kriya to be effective. We were played an audio tape of Sadhguru for transmission of Shambhavi Mahamudra. We were informed that a special environment was created there for safe transmission of this teaching and it can be dangerous if not learned from the right sources and done incorrectly. The steps were fairly simple and anybody could do them without much difficulty.

During the process of Transmission I could hear many people crying, laughing or going crazy. I personally didn’t have any special experience apart from typical excitement. We were asked to perform the Kriya 2 times a day for 50 days and then continuing the practice once everyday.

Food
The Food was the best part of the program. We were served with wholesome and delicious Vegetarian food. It was a delight to eat the food everytime. And the smile of the Volunteers serving the food made it even better. Before eating the food there was a practice of chanting a Upanishad hymn of Sahanavavatu. Sadhguru mentions that waiting a while and chanting when the food is in front of you instead of grabbing it immediately can greatly increase spiritual awareness.

After Inner Engineering
I was determined to practice the Shambhavi daily and followed the process everyday twice for initial 50 days. For the initial one week I did not notice much change but after that I suddenly noticed that my mind had cleared and the constant worries disappeared. The negativity had dissolved and I was free from the mental baggage. I could stop my counselling sessions continue with my job in much better mental state. I have been practicing this for about 3 years now, though the frequency is reduced to 2 to 3 days a week. I can see much better balance in my mind and calmness. But I have noticed that the passion has disappeared and I do the practice just for the sake of doing it and I don’t seem to be making any progress anymore. I need to bring some passion and alternate practices for any Spiritual progress. Due to the stillness in mind the habits I follow seem to reinforce strongly and it is not very easy to get out of it. I have got into habits of consumption for example like checking news websites every 5 to 10 minutes. This has made me susceptible to distractions and reducing productivity of my work. I am not sure if I can blame Shambhavi for this as ultimately we need to chose our habits carefully. I would suggest people to focus on creation instead of consumption habits as I have noticed that Creation is incredibly more liberating. One of the good things about folks at Isha is they don’t hound you asking to bring more people into the program like some of the other organizations do. I would still personally recommend everyone to try the Inner Engineering program and experience the benefits themselves.

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