The Theory Underlying the Himalayan Institute

The approach to yoga taught at the Himalayan Institute is based on the teachings and practices presented by Swami Rama and the 5,000 year—old tradition from which he came.

The Himalayan Institute approach to yoga is noted for its practical and pragmatic approach. The Institute was founded more than 30 years ago by Swami Rama, and is guided today by Swami Rama's successor and spiritual head of the Institute, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Ph.D. The Himalayan Institute remains true to its original mission: to link East and West, spirituality and science, and ancient wisdom and modern technology. In fulfilling its mission, the Himalayan Institute can help every man develop a healthy body, a clear mind, and a joyful spirit, bringing a qualitative change within and without.

These teachings form the foundation for the classes and programs that are presented by the Himalayan Institute today under the leadership of Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.

Swami Rama described his approach to yoga as a holistic path. He presented the teachings of yoga in three levels. All levels reflect the yogic belief that body, mind, and spirit are interconnected.

The first level of teaching at the Himalayan Institute reflects the practices of traditional yoga texts and teachings. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali form the main text for these practices. This level emphasizes the eight limbs of raja yoga. Hatha yoga, pranayama, concentration, meditation, selfless service, and the principles of diet and nutrition are all important on this first level. These practices form approximately 90 percent of Swami Rama's teachings.

The second level of Swami Rama's teachings draws its inspiration from the ancient sacred teachings of the Upanishads. These texts emphasize the divinity that resides within each man. Realization of this sacred truth leads one to love and embrace all of humanity. As Swami Rama said, "Before we attempt to experience God we must connect ourselves with other human hearts. You are already divine. To experience that, first you have to become human. The magnetism of the human within will pull God toward us, and the divinity within us will awaken spontaneously. This results in the union of the individual self with the Supreme Self."4

The third and highest level of Swami Rama's teachings was imparted through silence. This level of teaching confirmed what the student had already learned and experienced. At this level of understanding, the individual self merges into union with the infinite in what is known as Saundaryalahari—"The Wave of Beauty and Bliss."

While Swami Rama's teachings are founded on a wide range of ancient metaphysical knowledge, the hallmark of the Himalayan Institute is its practicality. Swami Rama believed that the surest route to self-realization is the path of selfless service, a path that the Himalayan Institute continues to encourage today.

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