Yoga was already becoming many things to many people over two decades ago when a group of us formed the Traditional Yoga Association. Our dream was to ground ourselves in the ancient philosophy and ethics of Yoga and explore how these can be expressed today as we live our lives in busy urban environments, where it is so easy to become estranged from meaning
Our inspirations are Swami Sivananda, the Himalayan sage of the last century who almost single-handedly created the means for ancient teachings to be presented to modern minds, and one of his leading disciples, Swami Venkatesananda. Swami Sivananda would himself say of his disciple, Swami Venkatesananda, ‘… he is the crest jewel of my mission’ ~ a prophetic statement about Swamiji who traversed the globe with Swami Sivananda’s message of, ‘serve, love, give…’
Fundamental to this teaching was that life, rich with meaning, is an expression of Yoga, of our oneness with each other. Thus both these great modern sages held fast to the principle that joy and happiness are not dependent on what we do for ourselves, but rather on what we do for each other. They taught us to orient ourselves towards the weakest and the poorest and affirm to ourselves, ‘tat tvam asi’ ~ I am that. To this end, while setting up classes and teachers’ courses we also created The Mukti Project, to raise funds for and awareness of, those whose lives are lived without what many of us take for granted: a home, an education, a loving environment.
Swami Ambikananda the principal founder and Chairperson. A Yoga practitioner and teacher for over forty years, she is dedicated to continuing the message of her guru: that the human heart can be satisfied by nothing less than the Divine. She has translated and had published several original Yoga Sanskrit texts into English and is the originator of the TYA Teachers Course.
Uddhava Samman is a founding Trustee responsible for the day-to-day running of the TYA. A dedicated Yoga practitioner and teacher, he brings to his teaching and work at the TYA his sincere and tireless spirit of service to Yoga. His speciality is teaching the vulnerable and disabled and for this Uddhava was selected as one of the ‘Berkshire Lockdown Physical Activity Heroes 2020’ by the charity ‘Get Berkshire Active’.
Manisha Wilmette Brown, a founding Trustee of the TYA, edits the TYA’s publications and provides quality assurance for the TYA’s courses. She is currently writing about how Yoga can help us meet the full spectrum of challenges highlighted by Covid-19 and climate change.
Penny Hitchings-Jones became a Trustee of the TYA in 2002 after completing the Yoga Teachers Training Course and is a valuable member of the administrative team.
Hema Patel has been a Yoga teacher since 2002. She taught Pregnancy Yoga and Mother and Baby classes for many years and is now including classes for the elderly in her work.
Isabel Sanz Zurdo is a graduate of the Traditional Yoga Association’s Yoga Teachers Training Course in the UK, and founded the Asociación de Yoga Tradicional España, www.yogatradicional.es/
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