Swami Gyan Dharma
Trained in India, Swami Gyan Dharma has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 40 years. His connection with Mandala Yoga Ashram goes all the way back to before the Ashram even existed.
He was in India with our founder, Swami Nishchalananda, at Swami Satyananda’s Ashram in Bihar, where both received extensive training in the practices and techniques of yoga under the direct guidance of their guru.
Swami Gyan Dharma lived with Satyananda for 10 profoundly transformative years, during which time he imbibed the heart-essence of the yoga tradition and, more importantly, realised the inner meaning of that tradition in the depths of his own being.
Since leaving India over 35 years ago he has been based in Europe while teaching all over the world, sharing the profound wisdom of yoga through a wide range of courses. He has been a regular teacher here at the Ashram for the past 10 years.
The Practice Of Presence
The essence of his teaching consists in pointing the way into the present moment and the reality of who we are. In his hands, the various practices and techniques of yoga become simple tools through which we can learn to be present with our own mind, our thoughts and feelings, and whatever is happening in our lives.
One of his core practices and a central element in many of the courses he teaches is mantra yoga, where mantras and chants are used as anchors with which to stay centred in the present moment.
Inspired from a very young age by the question ‘who am I, really?’, he initially sought answers in Western psychology, but found its teachings incomplete. Then, aged 22, he happened upon a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, which set him on the path to which he has dedicated his life, and which has answered his deepest question.
40 years on, every evening he chants a chapter from the Gita in its original Sanskrit – although now it is not the philosophical content that engages him, but the simple, direct and paradoxical way that chanting has of bringing the mind into stillness and silence.