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International Yoga Day 2018 at Agama - Be Part of the Sangha

8 Jun

I already envision it: it’s a beautiful day, the morning is fresh, the Agama Yoga starts filling up in the early hours, and rest of the world gathers along and unites forces to celebrate International Yoga Day (IYD) on June 21st.

The UN General Assembly adopted resolution 69/131 on 11 December 2014 commemorating 21 June as International Yoga Day, aiming to raise awareness worldwide of the benefits Yoga. On this day, Yoga events around the world are open and free to everybody.

June 21st also happens to be Summer Solstice, marking a transition, or a hiatus (auspicious moments yogis love to meditate in!)

The practice of Yoga traces back to 5,000 years ago, if not more, and in that time it has evolved, grown, and developed, branching out into a myriad of styles practiced all over the world, whereas it used to traditionally be a private practice involving a sacred bond between a student and his guru. Yoga is Sanskrit for ‘divine union’, and so this is what we focus on celebrating on IYD! This day is a day to drop all ideas about competition and differences, to really celebrate and embrace union.

To celebrate the joy of Yoga, the gift of living, and the opportunity to share these practices together no matter what our backgrounds are.

At Agama, we have celebrated this day along with the rest of the world since 2015. Every year, we make the event bigger, inviting more schools, more teachers, more Agama Partners, more members of the Thai community, and more friends  to come and join us in offering our gifts to everyone who wishes to be a part of this amazing day.

We really value the Thai community joining us on this day. Most of our interactions are with other travelers, and our overall engagement with the Thai community unfortunately tends to generally limit itself to interactions with waiters in restaurants and shopkeepers and such. The language barrier is often an issue. So we are happy that we will have some English-speaking Thai friends and Agama partners present at the vendor’s market on this day! And to help overcome this language barrier, we are happy to be sharing more information there too about KPT language school, where you can enjoy good quality Thai language classes, and get a long-term educational visa to save you the hassle of constant visa runs which are usually inevitable if you would like to stay longer on the island and aren’t running a business here.

Yoga connects people in a special way. Being part of a Yoga sangha (Sanskrit for spiritual community) supports us to sustain our sadhana (spiritual practice) and provides the space to share our experiences. Here at Agama, we like to keep our community alive through sharing practice and supporting each other in many of the issues that can arise. Srithanu has become a spiritual hub throughout the years, with many Yoga schools, meditation centers, alternative healing methods, and other conscious activities bubbling up. We are so excited to bring these all together on IYD,  uniting the Srithanu spiritual community.

We all share a yearning for a sense of belonging, for a sense of togetherness. As a community, we can grow together. Don’t be shy. Come and join us, and allow yourself to be enchanted by the magic.Talk to people. Ask questions. Create connections. Community starts with yourself, with your attitude in the way you live your life and connect with others. Being a part of a community can really bring some colour into your life. A network of people from all kinds of backgrounds coming together with a similar vision can be very powerful. It helps us to create more mutual understanding, as we break down and surpass illusory barriers, connect, and not to forget: HAVE FUN!

A few highlights to share from the past two celebrations of IYD at Agama:

2016: June 21st fell on a Tuesday, and everyone was invited celebrate a day of Union. For the first time in history, Agama Yoga hosted Koh Phangan's top Yoga centers: Orion Healing Center (Detox & Yoga), Koh Phangan, Samma Karuna, Gaia, Yogashala, Agama Healing Center on the campus for this celebration. Each school gave its own ‘signature’ Yoga class. Our friends from the Phanganist.com Sharon Phanganist also joined in the celebration, and here we also share some of the beautiful photographs they took. In addition to a day filled with asana practice, Agama also offered two guided meditations, celebrated Bhakti Yoga with an evening bhajans, presented a special satsang by Swami Vivekananda Saraswati on ‘what is Yoga?’ and hosted the grand opening party of Agama's new vegan and vegetarian restaurant, Evolution Yogi Cafe (now called Organic Love Wholefood Kitchen).

2017: This time, the 21st fell on a Wednesday, and was again a big success! The day started with an early morning meditation, and was followed by a variety of Yoga classes in Enlightenment Hall, including Hatha Yoga led by Munisha from Agama Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga with Eva Zikis from Pranayama Garden, Nidra Yoga with Astreah from the Agama Healing Center, a Shiva Meditation led by Agama Yoga Teacher Keith, Medicine Tantra Yoga with Sophia La Pastina, Dynamic Hatha Yoga with Ben from Orion Healing Center, all-day outdoor Aerial Yoga by ULU Yoga, and a devotional bhajans by the Agama Yoga bhajans crew. Many sponsors contributed to making this day happen last year: Yoga Journal Thailand, HappyCow Vegan Guide, Phanganist.com, Evolution Yogi Cafe, Lomprayah Catamaran, Ganesha Incense, and Moonlight Cinema.

This year, IYD will take place on a Thursday. A more detailed schedule will follow soon, but to already warm you up a little bit: a morning meditation, dynamic Hatha Yoga (Agama style), Nidra Yoga (AHC), Tantra Medicina (Sophia La Pastina), Orion Healing Center Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga (Samma Karuna), Santosa Yoga (Nadya), Hatha Flow (Skye), Vinyasa Flow (Stuart), Kalari (Adam), Capoeira (Skye), Bhajans, Thai food workshops, vendor village (food, clothes, promotional booths, and more), a satsang with Swami Vivekananda Saraswati, all day Kids Yoga & children’s activities, and last but not least, the traditional yearly ‘how long can you hold it?’ asana challenge. We have also partnered up with some new sponsors, among others (also soon to be further announced) Siam Healing, and Over the Moon Cafe.

For more information, visit the website and stay tuned for more updates on the IYD 2018 Facebook event. Looking forward to see you there!

With Love,
Aldona

 

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