AmirFacilitator of Awareness Through the Body retreat
When my wife and I arrived in Auroville from Israel about 11 years ago we were most interested in alternative education that helps children tune it to their inner selves. We had been in business before coming to India – me in insurance and she in advertising. We did some travelling and went to yoga camps. In Israel we had been exploring different disciplines to help us awaken to our wider selves as well. After that we developed the need to go somewhere where we can explore more. We closed that chapter in our lives, I sold my business, she left the company she was working for. We came to India not knowing about Auroville and without exact plans about where we would go and what we would do. We followed our spiritual quest spontaneously for three years. Through the people we were meeting we kept hearing about Auroville and kept seeing books by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
After three years on this path my wife got pregnant and we knew we didn’t want to raise children in India, we hadn’t seen a place where a community of like minded parents with children were willing to raise their kids in an alternative way… Just as we were ready to return to Israel and hopefully apply the spiritual knowledge gained in our environment, we came to Auroville out of curiosity. We told the entry service about our ideas of alternative education and they were really excited. I met the local teachers and the founders of Awareness Through the Body – Aloka and Joan. I saw them working with the kids and I thought that was exactly what I had been dreaming about. I realized that ATB is a very rich box of tools that can give each child what it individually needs. ATB incorporates elements of hatha yoga – asana and pranayama, Alexander technique, rock climbing, dance, martial arts. However it is all bound together by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s integral yoga. ATB always refers to the different planes of existence that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother talk about.
What we are trying to achieve through ATB is to expand awareness through the use of the body by cultivating an attitude of the inner witness… I guess the purpose of any mind-body discipline is to come consciously to a point of watching yourself, to learn to act from that perspective at all times. The three fundamental things that we work on are concentration, attention and relaxation. If you want to put it in one sentence it is about becoming more present.
I believe that when you become more present in the smallest of tasks such as the way you walk towards your car or put your car keys in, everything else changes as well, the whole universe changes… Inner change always creates outer change as well. It brings harmony and a willingness within humanity to unite, it accelerates the human evolution process. When we understand that we are not an end product but that we are here in order to progress, in order to facilitate a certain evolution process, then everything changes and we become much more useful instruments in that process. We stop simply running after random impressions and influences and we find the center, the connection with a more universal way of being. This inevitably leads us to the unfolding of the larger potentiality inside us.