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CONNECTING WITH A MASTER
Dear Yoga friends!
Currently, we are using Selvarajan Yesudian's affirmations during meditation. Several Yoga students asked me how I met this Master. So, I'll share with you! (I wrote this nearly 30 years ago for English 401 at UNH) :)
CONNECTING WITH A MASTER:
Switzerland, summer 1988: I am standing in the front room of the Yoga school. I feel my heart beating in the sudden quiet of the room. The smell of incense calms me after my fast walk. I hear the whisper of people in the huge classroom as I peek through the door. How will I ever find a place to sit with Bianca and Daniela, my daughters? It is so crowded here, Yoga mat beside Yoga mat, the distance of a hand width apart.
As I hear light footsteps approaching, I turn around. An Indian man with white hair and dark skin enters the room. He is dressed in white, and wears a large shawl embroidered with Indian ornaments draped over his shoulders. His fine and majestic movements make his appearance charismatic. His eyes are soft and sparkling, as a gentle smile lights up his face. And, as if he has read my mind, he waves with his hand, telling me to come with him into the room. "Kommen Sie! Kommen Sie!" (Come, come) ... "But where?" I think. He whispers to two ladies in the first row to move their mats and make some space for me and invites Bianca and Daniela to sit right in front of him. I feel embarrassed, because I have heard that nobody is allowed to sit right in front, but now we do and a whisper travels through the room.
As soon as I have arranged my mat, the chimes sound with a high pitch. Selvarajan Yesudian starts his class:
"Gerade sitzen!" (sit straight). I feel my spine lengthening.
"Kurze Selbstversenkung!" (go inward). I draw my attention inward.
"Bewusst Ruhe erleben!" (experience calmness). His strong but warm voice vibrates in me. A wave of stillness and peacefulness spreads through the room. As we feel the quiet entering our hearts, he delivers a short lecture: "Correct breathing is most important for life! With conscious yogic breathing we let go of anger and tensions, physically, mentally, and emotionally, in our family, and in our professional life. We exhale any negativity!"
As he talks, the rays of the sun falling through the branches of a huge beech tree create bright shifting patterns on his shawl. I feel myself and hear my classmates breathing deeper.
From now on, we receive the teachings of Selvarajan Yesudian every morning in his Yoga school in Ponte Tresa at Lake Logano. After his morning lecture, he continues each day with Pranayama (breathing techniques), after which I feel refreshed. Asanas (Yoga poses) follow, which are simple but sometimes challenging. After or in each Asana he says - or rather he sings an affirmation:
"I am flexible in body and spirit."
"My power of resistance is growing from moment to moment."
"I manifest strength in my body and spirit."
"I emanate peace here and now."
There is a melody in his voice which brings a warm and intense vibration into our bodies. His presence seems to make everybody awake but at the same time soft, relaxed, and concentrated. In a balancing pose he says:
"I am present in here and now - my presence in the body awakens beauty, strength and health. " or "I am stable in body and spirit."
As he talks us through, our minds become calm and focused. There is no single thought about the outside world. He inspires every student to perform the Asanas and Pranayama with concentration physically and mentally. "Feeling connected within, you will go out into the world with inner strength and confidence!" he tells us.
After each Yoga class he is available for questions from the audience for one hour. It always amazes me how often he answers my questions without being asked. He does read the mind. But how? Yesudian explains the truth of Yoga and life: "As you connect inside, you are one with your surroundings - you will deepen your awareness - and you feel, smell, and taste the slightest differences in your environment."
In the following two weeks I learn about Yesudian. He had lived in the city of Madras in India. By his fifteenth birthday he had suffered almost every major disease, which had made him thin and weak. He was only skin and bones, his chest narrow and flat. Even his father, a famous and wealthy physician, tried every means known to medicine, but barely succeeded. His mother was the sweetest, gentlest mother in the world. In a sense, his parents were overprotective with him. Fortunately, he was still sent to school. However, he was excused from sports and was only allowed to observe his happy and healthy school companions. Often, he ran away, wandering through the forests in search of Yogi settlements, but his efforts were fruitless. Since he liked to read, he found books about spiritual teachings: Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. With the newly discovered books he secretly practiced everything with enthusiasm. But one time, after overexerting himself he collapsed, feeling weak and miserable. He gave up hope.
On an autumn evening he ran away and came to a mango grove a few miles from the city. There he found the Hatha Yoga master he had searched for a long time. After watching the group of young men performing their exercises, he approached the master, who accepted him as a student. Two months later his father hardly recognized him. Yesudian walked straight now, his shoulders were growing broader every day. After a year his arms and legs had almost doubled in size. From then on, he was never sick again.
After the death of this father, he traveled to a distant city to visit his master. Yesudian told him that he had received an inner call to prepare for a long journey to Europe. With spiritual support and encouragement, he soon came to Europe. In Budapest, where he studied sports medicine, he recognized Elisabeth Haich as his adoptive mother from a former lifetime in Egypt. They connected and from now on taught meditation and Hatha Yoga, gave lectures, and hosted spiritual retreats. In Winter 1948, Yesudian received a powerful blessing from Swami Vivikananda during an intense vision. Now he knew that he had to continue his work of service. He was able to escape from the Russian invasion of Budapest together with Elisabeth Haich. In Zuerich, Switzerland, they were invited to teach their wisdom. Soon, the Yoga classes grew so rapidly, that schools were built in Zuerich, Berne, St. Gallen, Lucerne, and Ponte Tresa.
Until 1996, Selvarajan Yesudian served as a spiritual leader for thousands of people. He gave them encouragement and confidence on their path, but he always refused to be called a guru. His complete presence made him a true Master. Selvarajan Yesudian has set an example for many of us!
Over the following years, I continued to visit his school in Zuerich and Ponte Tresa and could deepen my experience. In his last letter on Christmas he wrote: "Even though the doors of the Yoga school are closing, the doors of the hearts remain open, and the message continues to flow in spirit."
Being an ocean away, I still feel his spirit vividly within my Yoga teaching and my daily life. As I keep the doors of my heart open, I will practice my presence and let the message continue to flow.
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Thank you so much for your interest in learning more about the benefits of Yoga & Ayurveda. ~ Hannelore