Swami Umapuriji in New Zealand
Swami Umapuriji's presence in New Zealand has been a breath of fresh air, as she shared her knowledge and gave guidance to teachers, students and other participants in workshops, classes and in satsangs over the period from 10 to 21 February in and around the capital city of Wellington, and 22 February to 1 March in Auckland.
One of the many highlights of Swami Umapuri's visit to Wellington, was the blessed evening of Mahashivaratri, celebrated on 18 February. In the afternoon, Swami Umapuriji was present for part of a celebration at the Wellington Indian Association's Gita Mandir.
In the evening, a celebration was held at Sri Mahaprabhu Deep Ashram, during which we shared a Zoom link with Australian YIDL members and were blessed by Vishwaguruji connecting and giving his darshan.
On Sunday, a group travelled north of Wellington, to Sri Devpuriji Ashram in Raumati Beach, on the Kapiti Coast, and gathered with more guests at a wonderful evening programme followed by a delicious meal.
The programme included practical sessions and lectures on maintaining a healthy back and spine, workshops focusing on the Hatha Yoga Kriyas, and traditional cleansing techniques, including guiding the group through the practice of Shank Prakshalan.
Swami Umapuri's knowledge of food properties and practical expertise in cooking for health, enjoyment and well-being was evident throughout, and a vegetarian cooking workshop, culminating in a delicious shared meal, was greatly enjoyed.
Swamiji Umapuriji's joy of life, her personal discipline, practical wisdom, and devotion to Vishwaguruji shone brightly during her time with us and she has been an inspiration to all teachers, devotees and students who have come into contact with her.
Swami Umapuriji arrived in Auckland on Wednesday 22 February following her visit to Wellington. She ran numerous yoga and meditation classes at the Auckland Yoga in Daily Life Ashram, including some with the particular theme of Yoga for Back, Neck and Joints, which were well attended and enjoyed by students and devotees of Vishwaguruji, Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Sri Swami Maheshwaranda and Yoga in Daily Life.
Swami Umapuriji is an exceptional teacher of the Yoga in Daily Life System and generously shared her broad and extensive knowledge and experience built over 30 plus years, for which we were very grateful.
Uplifting satsangs were held on most nights, with the singing of bhajans, their translation and detailed explanation, followed by Arati (prayer chanting) to close.
Swami Umapuriji shared some of her personal spiritual experiences and stories of her time with Vishwaguruji and Holy Guruji, which were most touching and inspiring to those who were fortunate to attend. Readings from the book, Lila Amrit were also discussed.
Satsangs were followed by a vegetarian dinner and provided the opportunity for people to spend more time with Swami Umapuriji and the Yoga in Daily Life community. And as part of the program, Swami Umapuriji conducted a workshop on Vegetarian Cooking.
Other activities with Swami Umapuri included sight-seeing around the Auckland area:
– visit to the Sai Baba Temple
– picnic at French Bay
– visit to North Shore
From the North Shore Harbour Bridge, a large statue of Nandi the sacred bull of Shiva can be seen in the water. There are many beaches in the North Shore area, with beautiful scenic views of bays where one bay follows after the other – Cheltenham Beach, Takapuna, Browns Bay and Long Bay Beach.
A light-filled evening satsang was held at Kawai Purapura Retreat Centre in Albany. After the opening ceremony and blessing from Matua, the master carver on site and an elder of his Māori Community, Swami Umapuriji led kirtan (chanting), sharing her experiences of the need for a guru (spiritual master) and mantra and letting the people relax and recharge their energy with Yoga Nidra.
Satsang with beautiful songs from people and cultures around the world delighted the participants. They ranged from sacred songs with a very long tradition, to self-composed and modern ones. This helped open the heart of participants and love filled the evening.
Swami Umapuriji was also kindly invited to family meals in the homes of local bhaktas (devotees).
Swami Umapuriji was farewelled on Wednesday 1 March when she departed for Australia and the practitioners and friends of Yoga in Daily Life in New Zealand look forward to her next return.
In the meantime, we will, as Swami Umapuriji would often say at the end of a class: "practise, practise and practise". We were blessed to have you, Swami Umapuriji, and give thanks to Vishwaguruji for this wonderful opportunity.