In language whose sincerity is so strong as to overcome fears of a commercial pitch, reader Jenny Hederstrom has written to Frommers.com about her recent experience in traveling to India to attend a school teaching Agama Yoga. We are reprinting it here, in its entirety, and would be grateful for comments.
"My name is Jenny Hederstrom and I am from Sweden.
I would really like to recommend the first level intensive course at Agama Yoga school in Rishikesh India.
The Agama Yoga school is situated in Ram Jhoola, the more quiet and genuine spiritual part of Rishikesh. Here people are more focused in their search for spirituality and the area is full of people travelling through India searching for some kind of spiritual or yogic experience.
The Agama hall is located in one of the ashrams (though separate and completely independent from it). It is a big hall where the walls are full of photos portraying famous gurus and yogis, Indian deities and influential thinkers such as Einstein. This can symbolically describe what Agama stands for and what kind of yoga school it is. The experience of doing their month long first level intensive course is one of deep knowledge and respect for ancient teachings. They base their teachings on traditional Tantra texts and enlightened gurus, which they combine with western/modern/alive thinkers and science. Agama is yoga from the foundation, from the source of the tradition, at the same time as it acknowledges the modern world we live in, and they are keen on explaining how knowledge that is several centuries old can be backed up and understood in a modern context.
Agama changed my life, it opened my eyes to a world previously unknown to me. It transcends yoga as we know it in the west, a form of physical exercise, the course introduces you into yoga as a lifestyle, as an understanding of the world, as an explanation of our existence, as the true nature and purpose of our being. If one truly wants to know what yoga is about and wants to completely change the direction of their lives, I can with a worm heart recommend the Agama first level intensive course. Even if one has never practised yoga and do not have any spiritual aspiration, this course will help to evaluate ones life. You will be given tools to create both physical and mental health, along with developing true happiness.
The month long course is a combination of traditional hatha classes (two every day) and evening lectures on various yogic topics. It is possible to attend drop in classes for Rs 600/day or join the full month course at any time during the month (then you will just continue when the
first level starts again). We learn 24 asanas (yoga posture) through out the month, with a focus on understanding the seven chakras (energy points in the body) and how energy flows in the body while holding the asana. The school is open from mid September to mid May every year. The teachers in the school are all experienced and Agama taught, so even if you have different people leading the hatha practise the content and knowledge will be the same. The evening lectures are always taught by the most senior and experienced teachers, being deeply inspiring and knowledgable.
Agama exists in other parts of the world as well, the main centre is located on Koh Phangan in south Thailand, which is also to recommend. The teaching is exactly the same, and most teachers travel back and forth between the two schools. The main difference is the environment and the size of the school. Here in India the school is smaller and more intimate, good for those who seek a more family like environment.
The full address of the school is:
Agama Yoga Rishikesh
Gaddi Hall, Swargashram
Ram Jhoola, Rishikesh
I hope that this email can convince you to write something about Agama in your tour guide books or on your website. It would make me truly happy if more people got the opportunity to have the Agama experience. "