Hanuman Academy Is Revolutionizing The Way Yoga Is Transmitted In The West
By Ashley Shires
Hanuman Academy is truly revolutionizing the way yoga is transmitted in the West. The have recently opened enrollment for two in-depth trainings with Anand Mehrotra, an amazing opportunity to immerse in the deeper teachings of yoga.
I was thrilled to meet up with co-founder and director of Hanuman Academy, Dayna Seraye, at a local coffee shop in Boulder, Colorado, where she also helps to direct the Hanuman Yoga Festival. Her adorable labradoodle waited right beside the door while we talked about her inspiration for the Hanuman Academy over chai and coffee.
Can you tell us a little about your goals for the online gatherings?
Everything we’re doing with Hanuman Academy reaches the deeper elements of practice. We feel like yogis in the West are ready for a greater understanding of the science of yoga. It’s about self-realization: realizing our infinite potential of being. We love asana, vinyasa, but we also believe that yogis in the West are ready for the next level, for the other limbs of yoga, a more expansive understanding. Studying with Anand Mehrotra in India for me, was incredibly impactful. I’m passionate about transformation, and I felt I was missing something in the way yoga was offered in the West. I wanted to experience the true depth of the yogic teachings, and studying with Anand helped me to drop into that.
When did you first meet Anand?
We met at Hanuman Festival - he taught there the first four years, from 2011 - 2014. I had a transformative experience in his class, and I intuitively knew that I wanted to study with him, that I wanted to bring a group to India. The thing about Anand is that he’s very accessible - he speaks to the Western mind. In March, 2016, we took our first Hanuman Adventure group to Anand’s Sattva Retreat Center in Rishikesh. He led many satsangs (question and answer sessions), and we got to receive his wisdom transmissions.
Is that when you filmed the first course with him?
Yes, we filmed Level One, The Path to Radical Self Mastery, about mastering the mind. The way Anand transmits wisdom is incredibly potent. When I first went to india and filmed the program and spent time there, I experienced a paradigm shift, that there is a totally different way to live. In the West, we think we have to achieve; we are very ambitious, stress-driven. There is a lot of force and effort. Through Anand’s teachings, I dropped into an understanding that we can let grace stream through us and allow that consciousness, that divine intelligence, to guide us into what wants to be created through us. It is a way more joyful and easeful approach.
How did that experience impact you on your return to the States?
I had a dramatic experience, realizing that the year before I went to India, being a part of producing the Hanuman Festival had been incredibly stressful, overwhelming. I had felt depleted, just exhausted. And then after coming home from India, I realized that I don’t have to do stress. It’s a choice. I can approach any situation from my center, anchored in a sense of grace, of peace, allowing the energy to stream through me. I went into the next Hanuman Festival that June, and I felt like I was on a magic carpet ride of grace. It was a dramatic shift for me - a high intensity experience the year before, and the year after, I stayed relaxed and calm.
You returned to India this year, to film Level Two with Anand, Mastering the Energy. Can you tell us about the course?
The Level Two course is divided into seven chapters, and each chapter is based on a Chakra. The chapter includes a Wisdom Talk and an Embodiment Practice; Anand gives an understanding of what the evolutionary role of each chakra is, what the gift of each chakra is and what happens when it is undeveloped, or out of balance. He also gives lifestyle practices. The Embodiment Practices are powerful as they get into the subconscious, to cleanse and clear us of stuck energy and limiting beliefs. They also increase our vitality, giving us a prana-rich environment and optimal energy to meet the demands of life. He offers us an understanding of energetic intelligence. By cultivating our own energetic vitality, then negative energy or someone else’s stress can’t deplete us.
These teachings seem particularly important in these divisive times.
For Western yogis, there is a lot going on; life is overwhelming, stressful - this is not a joke. We face incredible environmental crisis, political crisis, social crisis. The Path to Radical Self Mastery gives us the ability to walk into these challenging situations and make a contribution and positive impact. We actually show up - not competitively, but collaboratively, each doing our part to make a difference and be the change we wish to see in the world. For me, there is an understanding that life actually can be effortless, where we are supported by nature, the energy of nature, natural intelligence. Anand teaches that we can get into the flow of nature instead of resisting and trying to control everything.
And you offer guided adventures to Rishikesh to experience these teachings, too.
We are going back to India March 8 - 18, 2019 for our 3rd Hanuman Adventure to Rishikesh. We’ll stay at the Sattva Retreat Center, practice yoga everyday, go on excursions to temples, to the Ganges, attend ceremonies. Anand will lead wisdom transmissions and we'll also get to experience the teaching of other masters in the area. We’ll immerse in the consciousness that’s held in India that supports the unfolding of our deeper soul truth.
Join Hanuman Academy's Path to Self Mastery HERE.