How does a Traditional Ashram Work?
The entire operation of a traditional ashram is based on the Vedic texts, the four paths of classical yoga, in addition to the practices of kundalini and hatha yoga and the eight steps in the Yoga Sutras. These are the different components of ashrams, from its foundations and organization to daily activities and practices.
Although each school has a teaching method and a particular character, the spiritual retreat centers in its most authentic version originally from India are places where takes place daily sadhana, a spiritual practice, and incorporation of the integral wisdom of yoga for aligning with the universal consciousness.
Principles and Rules
Ashrams are places of silence, asceticism and learning. Within its ethics and principles of yoga, it begins with ahimsa, which is love and integration. Other principles are followed as discipline such as austerity, material simplicity, chastity and humility seeking to alleviate the most basic being. Everything is aimed at the health of the body, the harmony of the mind and lift of the spirit. Each element must be Satwic to lead towards wisdom and balance and every dimension of life becomes conscious.
It is the main practice of karma yoga. Through selfless service such as cooking or cleaning, you make a contribution to the community and learn to live from the perspective of giving to others. Karma yoga is to act without attachment to the fruits of your actions, putting the heart to all and transcend the ego.
Study, Courses and Conferences
The intellectual path is part of Jnana yoga. Through experience, analysis of your mind and study of the scriptures, you move towards transcendence. It is usual to have talks with teachers and spend study time where deepens Svadyaya (self) and talk about the philosophy of yoga.
Asanas, Pranayama and Kriyas
These are the appearances of the best known traditions, often practiced only by their physical and mental benefits. By strengthening the body and breath control with daily postures and exercises, you raise expansion of prana kundalini which facilitates harmony of mind and spirit development. Kriyas purify your body and your energy channels. They are the practices of hatha and raja yoga.
It is the central practice of yoga. It is usually the first practice of the day, repeated in the afternoon, especially in a group. It includes other steps of yoga such as concentration, recollection of the senses, meditation and finally Samadhi or enlightenment.
Songs and Ceremonies
They are part of bhakti yoga or devotional love. The songs raise the frequency of vibrations and make you connect with higher states of consciousness. They transcend the ego through delivery and love.
Food in the ashrams has Satwic character like all the vibrations that surround the spiritual life. This means that it is a diet that provides energy related to harmony and balance. It's a vegetarian diet which is nutritious, natural and easily digestible.
The most common in the ashrams is to have equally shared communal bathrooms and bedrooms. In some places, the accommodation is of one or two people in a room. The group experiences austerity and respect in the coexistence as an essential part of education.
Ashrams are usually located in a secluded place to facilitate disconnection and surrounded by nature. Contact with natural environment favor increased vital energy and harmony. They are very simple and clean, with a decor that facilitates spiritual wisdom and harmony. Traditional ashrams are very frugal, so they have only the basics. Some have images or symbols. For absolute concentration on yoga learning, ashrams are the best places.