Autonomous Solidarity Stays
Everyone can stay at Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir, from a few days to five months a year. Here is some useful information for your stay.
Reception and Volunteering
The budget of Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir is huge, considering the number. The revenues that the organization manages to generally represent around 85% of this budget. Without the enormous faith that characterizes Ramchandra, the organization would sometimes be in trouble. Thus, over the years, the ashram has been forced to sell all of its current organic vegetable production in order to buy non-organic vegetables in larger quantities to be able to feed everyone.
This means that any visit, whether for a few days or several months, is subject to a financial exchange, whatever its purpose.
Full Board Rate
Full board includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The cuisine is vegetarian, made from organic ashram products (vegetables, cereals, fruit, and yogurt) … or purchased. Dal – lentils, bhat – rice, green legumes, potatoes and other vegetables (sometimes mushrooms or paneer – homemade cheese), chapatis and raw yogurt from the farm … make up the meals.
The rooms are simple, preferably with an internal bathroom, when possible, otherwise with a bathroom on the landing.
Hot water is only solar. You have to know how to wait for the right time!
Here are the prices for full board:
Ashrams in Kathmandu and Terai: € 18 per day.
For a stay of more than 75 days: 9 € per day
Gulmi (hermitage in the Himalayas): 23 € per day
Gulmi, during a stay of more than 75 days: 14 € per day
The meals offered to visitors are cooked separately – when there are enough of them.
Spices are less present … but the dishes often seem very spicy, especially if you’re not used to it. You can ask the kitchen to avoid spicing up hot peppers. It will remain spicy (ginger, turmeric, Timur, etc.) but much more digestible for our unaccustomed stomachs.
Yogurt, made with raw and organic milk from the morning milking is THE way to soften the spices and take full advantage of the dishes. I know a lot of people in the West avoid dairy products that are known to be indigestible today.
A naturopath, now deceased, well known in her time, treated people with raw dairy products. She explained that there is EVERYTHING in milk so that it can be easily digested … and that each and everyone can enjoy its original benefits. It is sterilization and ultra-high temperature which destroys what allows its digestion and which makes it a poison.
In fact, many Westerners, who had a hard time digesting dairy products and dared to use ashram yogurt, shared with me that they had not encountered any of the known digestion problems when they were in France. There is a wisdom in Nature that is lost when you handle the products … even that makes them harmful. So don’t hesitate to combine yogurt with Nepalese dishes. Their flavor will only be better.
Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir
Life at the Ashram
An ashram is a place where one stays with simplicity, occasionally or regularly. It is a place where you can spend time, away from the usual distractions and hectic everyday life, a place that facilitates introspection and the assimilation of your experiences, to progress and grow internally.
Here, the goal is not to seek material comfort but to lead a simple life, centered on interiority. All activities and everyday moments are one way to achieve this.
Therefore, the accommodation is basic and modest. They may not meet your expectations compared to a standard hotel. Rest assured that everyone will do their utmost to make your stay happy. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.
Many things happen during the day. You are invited to participate as much as you wish. The residents of the ashram have a well-defined program throughout the day, either at school or in the various departments.
You are encouraged to participate in the activities of the ashram. It’s a great way to integrate into the big family: meet people, contribute, share and learn new things.
All your skills are welcome! You can :
give lessons or intervene in classes, at school,
offer individual lessons or group workshops,
propose and lead activities during the democratic day on Friday, at school,
train some young people in your area of expertise,
helping in the garden, preparing meals and cooking,
help with plumbing, carpentry, electricity, computers, or any other skill, etc.
Do not hesitate to do with the responsible people in the ashram.
The Spiritual Activities
Every morning, a general course, including pranayama (breathing exercises), asana (postures), meditation and relaxation, is open to everyone. It is suitable for all levels and all ages, from beginners to experienced practitioners. If you have special health needs, please inform the teachers who will advise you.
October to March: 7 am to 7:30 am to 8 am to 8:30 am.
April to September: 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.
The schedule is to be agreed with the professor.
Two to four evenings a week, except Saturdays, Ramchandra offers a meditation session. It is preceded by a commented and explained reading in English, French and Nepalese, as necessary, drawn from the teachings of Sri Aurobindo or The Mother.
The meeting continues with a time of silent meditation, and ends with the chanting of mantras.
Kirtan – Chanting of Mantras
The other evenings, except Saturdays, the children invite you to the Kirtans. These are mantras chanted and repeated. They have a positive effect on the vibratory level, both internally and on the environment and the world.
If you are new to singing, or if you do not want to sing, you can just be present, relax and feel the sounds and subtle effects of the vibration, without involving your intellect.
Sadhana is the daily spiritual discipline for knowing oneself more deeply and for discovering the riches of Being in oneself.
SAYM is a children’s ashram. Here, you will not find, as in traditional ashrams, an organization around rituals, spiritual practices, workshops and courses.
However, your stay among the SAYM can be the occasion of an intense sadhana, around the clock, in the spirit of integral yoga as it was shared and taught by Sri Aurobindo and Mother, and as it is practiced in ashrams, like Ramchandra.
All life is yoga! All of life is yoga!
This is what has guided the residents of the ashram since April 24, 1993, when the Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir was created.
Integral yoga is a path to self-knowledge, a way of life, far beyond the practice of hatha yoga (asana) or meditation (dhyana): all the activities of daily life can become your yoga!
Here is what is practiced throughout the day:
Karma yoga is the yoga of selfless service and action.
It consists in not doing for oneself, nor for others, but to offer totally to the Divine … to the Mother … each of our actions. He invites us to act without waiting for recognition or congratulations, without taking care of the fruits or the result. He invites us to give ourselves totally, without restraint, without calculation, by offering the best of ourselves, the best of what we can do.
It involves being consciously engaged and present in every action. Each of our gifts, in this spirit, contributes to the evolution of humanity and the world.
The Seva is the service to the community. In the spirit of karma yoga, it is an invitation to offer yourself and give yourself where it is needed, with ease.
Meditation is a time of inner silence, more or less long, to breathe the Divine in oneself, to offer its action to come, or simply to rest inside.
At the ashram, there are many times of small meditations: when getting up, to thank the new day and offer yourself completely … before each work or meeting, before school, before eating, and before to get behind the wheel. There is also a little time to meditate before sleeping, to thank for all that has been given to live during the day.
Mantras are the repetition of small prayers in Sanskrit, sung or not. If you don’t know one, ask to meet Ramchandra so he can teach you one specific to you.
The Japa is the repetition of the name of God … who has a thousand according to languages and traditions.
Gratitude is a deep thankfulness, repeated for each experience, situation or event that happens to us, whether joyful or suffering, suffering is an opportunity to remember what is precious and essential in life!
The Nepalese are people of great modesty. Expressing your feelings is hardly done. Do not be surprised if no « thank you » responds to your gesture or your word. Look into the eyes, listen to the heart, and you will hear the gratitude.
If you need to trade or ask for certain things, don’t hesitate.
You will surely find someone to listen to you and answer you among the adults of the ashram, or among those who regularly stay here.
Ramchandra is still very busy, however, do not hesitate to ask if you would like to meet him.
© Abel Millot — © Les Enfants de Ram — © Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir — © Auronepal Travel & Trek — Janvier 2020