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History of a passion,
the Artistic Yoga ®
Swamini Lakshmi

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History of a passion, the Artistic Yoga™
By Swamini Lakshmi


Artistic Yoga ™ is a yoga method for the modern person whose emphasis is on exploring and commanding the spirit. In order to avoid confusion, one must understand what we mean when we speak of “spirit” and “spiritual”.

Swami Maitreyananda the creator and inventor of Artistic Yoga, teach: the spirit is the result of impulses and motivations that generate emotions and feelings. An emotion is a spontaneous, and uncontrollable internal state that is accompanied by subjective feelings and a physical reaction. The “emotion” is, in itself, the cause of gestures, expressions, and immediate actions.

“Spirit” is also defined as the individual’s Noetic plane at the Maitreyananda Yoga. This signifies that the spirit is made up of emotions, feelings, and passions. The word noetic comes from the term “nous”, which means breeze: it implies an energetic component. We consider spirit to be something different than the soul. The confusion between “spirit” and “soul” has generated many misunderstandings in the yoga world, resulting in confusion between “spiritual” and “religious”. Spirituality is not necessarily religion, and religion is not necessarily spirituality. For example, Art is a spiritual discipline that is certainly not a religion. Yoga is a spiritual discipline in the same way that Art is a spiritual discipline. Artistic Yoga™ is the link between Yoga and Art.

There are many forms of Artistic Yoga ™ or Swami Maitreyananda Yoga.

First, there is the Artistic Yoga ™ whose emphasis is on the choreography of yoga asanas, padavis and mudras. This approach to Artistic Yoga™ is a Purna Yoga Integral style. It is the linking together of aesthetic asanas, padavis and mudras by way of hooks and passages to create a cascade of asanas and mudras. Hook and Passages are one of the most beautiful creations of Swami Maitreyananda. The series or kramas are put to music and teh yogis learn to work with coordination, timing, breath, rythmic, mudras, ekagrata, and moving concentration. But most importantly for the spiritual education, yogis incorporate emotivity, energy control, introspection, intuition, and expression of feeling. The style has its own technique and is not the same as other forms of Yoga Dance or Yoga Flow. There exist two ways: the competitions Artistic Yoga ® Sports and only artistic demonstrations of this form of Artistic Yoga ™ all over the world.

In 1987 was the firts Artistic Yoga Festival (artistic demonstrations)
In 1989 was the first world cup of Artistic Yoga Sports

There is another style or form of Artistic Yoga™, the Sangita Artistic Yoga  whose emphasis is on sangita yoga, sparsa yoga and mantra yoga, the singing of mantra with music. Mantras can be sung alone or in groups. Mantras can be accompanied by musical instruments, by the clapping of hands, snapping of fingers, or crying out of sounds. This form of Artistic Yoga™ can also be accompanied by a demonstration of asanas, padavis and mudras series, but the mantra and the music are the focus. Yogis are free to take creative initiative in the incorporation of rhythm, harmonies, and arrangements. It is not necessary to have knowledge of musical techniques to practice this form of Artistic Yoga™ because the goal of this practice is to enter into meditation in order to freely express feeling through sound.

The major form of Artistic Yoga™ theatre or Yoga theatre. This includes plays written about mythological Hindu characters, who have symbolic significance for yoga enthusiasts. This also includes plays about Yoga history, yoga today, or the yogi lifestyle. This category is open to all plays about the spiritual path in general. (Dispersed through out the body of the play there could be demonstrations of Artistic Yoga™ asana series and mantra chants.) Theatre and yoga are similar as both work with posing, and the relationship between posture, action, and emotions.

As we progress along the Yoga path, attachment to the physical training results in the neglect of the mental aspect. And after years of training the mind, we find that our discipline, in the end, neglects the spirit. It is at this time that the yogi must return to Art to grow spiritually. With a strong body to sustain him or her, and with a concentrated and aware mind, the yogi is delighted to find that after years of yoga he or she has a facility for dance, singing, painting, poetry, music, acting… We need Art to celebrate, grieve, and learn. The purna yoga integral of Swami Asuri Kapila and Aurobindo was artistic, but Swami Maitreyananda created a unique method for all who love art. Be part of the Artistic Yoga revolution

Thank you to all, Prem
Swamini Lakshmi

President of Artistic Yoga International and International School of Artistic Yoga

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Since 1985 were 22 world championships of artistic yoga™ and 73 festivals around the world