Byron Bay, Nov 27
Amritapuri, Dec 09, 2011
The lush rainforest surroundings of the Lake House, located on the far north coast of New South Wales, Australia, were the perfect setting for an Organisational IAM - Integrated Amrita Meditation - Technique workshop. Cool breeze straight off the Pacific Ocean gently tossed the surrounding palm trees as 35 students arrived to take part in the day long program, on Sunday, 27 November 2011. Amma had sent Brahmachari Shraddhamrita to Australia for three months, with his last workshop planned for the devotees of the Byron Bay area.
Byron Bay meditation workshop
The serene location set the mood for the students to learn the new Organisational (also called “Secular; or Corporate”) IAM technique. Many participants had been practicing the original version for several years, with many reporting benefits, including a better ability to deal with stress. This popular observation was recently ratified in a study published in the 2011 volume of the international journal, Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (eCAM)
In lake house
The five-year study, titled "The Effect of Meditation on Psycho-Physiological Variables", examines the effect of IAM Technique on various psychological, physiological and biochemical parameters. The study showed a decline in stress-hormone cortisol following eight months of practice. Other physiological results include a significant decrease in the heart and respiratory rate of practitioners, as well as significant increase in IgA levels, which are associated with immunological benefits. Read more, for medical basis.
On 27 Nov, 2011
And so it was that the 35 participants were taken through the steps of the Secular IAM - Integrated Amrita Meditation (IAM) Technique, which are a combination of exercises based on Yoga poses, visualisations and meditation.
During the midday break, participants gathered around a lake filled with water lilies and wild ducks to eat their picnic lunch. It was here that many discussed their experience of the workshop.
Byron Bay meditation workshop
Busy married couple Winifred Perret (Neeraja) 55 and Will Perret (Dheera) 61, from the Gold Coast, a city north of Byron Bay, said they felt inspired by the class. Dheera, who is plasterer, said the IAM technique gave him more awareness of how he was feeling.
“I felt much more aware of my breathing rhythm and much more aware of subtle tension in my body,” he said, adding that he hoped doing the workshop would make him, “more aware of worldly external influences and more aware of tension due to negative thoughts. So then I can be more positive in my day to day commitments.” Read: more experiences.
During the midday break, participants gathered around a lake
Neeraja, who is an architect, said the benefits of practising IAM and participating in the workshop were immediately tangible.
“I hope to continue feeling relaxed and peaceful as a result of practicing this meditation technique. I would also like to gain more spiritual focus and energy,” she said.
Peter Walkden-Brown from New Brighton, a village north of Byron Bay, is a family man as well as a working musician and Ayurveda student. Like most house-holders, Peter has to deal with the stresses of everyday life. To create a sense of balance and peace in his life, Peter practices devotional singing with a harmonium. This type of spiritual practice might not be possible for everyone but Peter said that absolutely anyone can do the Organisational (or, Secular) IAM - Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique.
The picturesque beach of Byron Bay, located on the far north coast
of New South Wales, Australia
“Yes, definitely – it will help to rebalance and settle the energies of the mind and body and make one more aware of one’s own creative potential and ultimately one’s oneness with the entire creation,” he said.
Praba Manning, a high-school teacher from the nearby village of Mullumbimby, agreed that she would not hesitate to recommend the Organisational IAM - Integrated Amrita Meditation to anyone. Praba, 43, is a dedicated mum and career woman who finds it challenging to integrate regular spiritual practice into her busy routine.
Many discussed their experiences
“I don’t have a regular spiritual practice as I find it difficult to put the time aside, or make it a priority in my present busy schedule,” Praba said, “although I attend regular Satsang and Bhajan practice (where possible).”
However after the one day workshop, Praba is determined to integrate IAM into her timetable.
“I am hoping to integrate the IAM mediation into my daily activity either as a morning session before the kids wake up or at the evening when my youngest daughter goes to bed,” she said. “I hope to gain peace of mind, clarity and focus and a greater understanding and serenity of my chosen career and path in life.”
The Lake House, standing majestically amidst the woods
Another participant was 52 year old Byron Bay resident Lesley Berry (Priyamrita). Priyamrita is a busy working mother who said she appreciated that a shorter version will assist those (like Praba) with busy lives.
“I learnt the IAM Meditation about four years ago and in the main I have been regular with its practice. Learning this beautiful meditation technique has enriched my life enormously and has brought with it many blessings,” Priyamrita said.
And the lush rainforest surroundings of The Lake House
“I trained as a teacher two years ago and the process of enrichment seems to have deepened. I greatly enjoyed learning the shorter version of this practice and I’m happy that Amma in her compassion has offered a shorter practice to suit people’s busy lifestyles,” she said.
All of the participants left the workshop feeling blessed to have spent a day dedicated to learning a spiritual practice that was created by Amma. They also felt a debt of gratitude to Brahmachari Shraddhamrita for flying to one of the far reaches of the world to bring a little Amma light into their lives.