yoga_competition_1In a time where the tendency is to devaluate the spiritual values ever more to a degree where yoga and other initially spiritual systems for self transformation often have become so trivialized that only the mere physical aspect remains;  yoga nowadays is associated with a kind of slow gymnastics in peculiar positions, devoid of its original essence. The spiritual part of yoga aims to awaken the entire latent potential of the human being covering a wide range of unimagined wonderful qualities and ultimately the Supreme Self, ATMAN. To counteract this tendency Natha Yogacenter is hosting a competition for their students with the purpose of promoting spirituality and the spiritual values.



Even though it is organized as a real competition with rewards for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places the real goal is not so much to encourage competition between the participants, much more so the idea is that each and every student through the participation in this competition at the end of every year can get a feedback on the transformation which has happened in their being in the year that has past. The idea is that all the students of the school can come every year and participate together, enjoying the elevated spiritual atmosphere which they create together during their participation in the competition, and through their participation their transformation will be mirrored back to them, so that they in this way experience more clarity on their path. In this way it could be said that it is rather a competition which each participant has with him or herself; they overcome their limiting blockages and inhibitions and every year they have the possibility to “measure” their own evolution and in this way they realize the idea of continuous transformation, which is the motto of Natha Yogacenter.


Even though this kind of competition has existed ever since Grieg (Gregorian Bivolaru, the spiritual mentor of the school) first time introduced it in Romania in 1990, it is not a new idea. In ancient times it was a tradition to gather all the  spiritual schools for magnificent spiritual exhibitions in which each school or spiritual tradition was showing their results for a large audience. At that time it was not a competition with winners – actually the audience were the great winners in these gatherings since they got the opportunity to listen to the presentation from all the schools, which explained the background for their spiritual teaching and showed their most spectacular results. This was highly inspiring for the audience and all in all it was a great spiritual celebration which both served as homage to the spiritual values and was a great inspiration for the audience; after such a demonstration they often could gather the courage to initiate their own spiritual practice.

The contest for promoting the spiritual values in Natha Yogacenter is adapted to a more contemporary spirit in which the competition itself, not to mention the prices for the 3 winners, is giving yet another incentive to participate and to give your very best to yourself.



yoga_competition_2

 

 

... and as intense when the jury is giving points.




The events of the competition had 5 parts out of which the 3 first were mainly theoretical (even though they could not be successfully passed with theory alone), while the last 2 parts was done in asanas (yoga postures) emphasizing on 2 different aspects. In the following each of the 5 parts are explained further:
 

 

- Theory
This part contained 4 separate questions, which can be answered if having read and understood the written material of the 1st year course. A theoretical understanding is crucial in order to know where we are going, why and how. In this way we depend on the knowledge in order for allowing an optimal transformation of our own being. The correct answer of each of the 4 questions was rewarded with 500 points for each question thus maximum points for this part was 1000 points.

- Subtle perception
Since the system of evolution which the school is teaching emphasizes a lot upon the law of resonance, where the aspirant actively ”tunes in” upon a specific frequency of vibration (state of consciousness or energy) in the Universe (macrocosm) in order to amplify that frequency of vibration in his own being (microcosm), it is considered an important element in the process of transformation to gradually develop the subtle power of perception so that it becomes as precise and correct as possible.
This test was carried out in the way that the jury (consisting of teachers from Natha) was meditating upon a specific subtle state which they then emitted in order for the participants to perceive it. 7 possible states were mentioned out of which 3 was exemplified successively: Each correctly perceived state gave 500 points. Maximum points for this part were thus 1500.

- Intuitive logic
The spiritual path is full of temptations and obstacles and this is why both intelligence (logic) and intuition are needed in order to walk on its narrow pathway. This part of the test had 5 questions about a certain intricate problem, which the participants should solve. Each correct answer gave 200 points and the total sum of possible points was 1000.

The next part of the test was about performing asanas in two different categories:

- Asanas which had to be performed as correctly as possible including a good attitude and subtle focus
Here the participants did not need to be able to keep the same position for a very long time, the points were given for how correctly it was done, for their subtle focus upon the specific resonance, which would be amplified through the performance of the specific asana and upon how well they were focused during the performance. They were tested in 3 different asanas. The maximum number of points given for each asana was 500 points. 3 teachers from the jury gave points to each participant, who would then receive the average number of points given by the 3 teachers. The total sum possible which was possible to obtain in this part was maximum 1500 points.

- Asanas which had to be performed as long as possible thus showing the perseverance of the participant
In this last part of the competition it was about how long time the participant could remain in each of the 3 asanas, yet correctly performed: chakrasana, garudasana and sarvangasana. The emphasis was here more on the capacity to perform for a long time the asana, proving the experience in serious yoga practice. The one who stood longest time was rewarded with 500 points, the one who kept it second longest was rewarded with 400 points, followed by the next one rewarded with 300 points and the fourth one with 200 points and the fifth time was rewarded with 100 points.

The total maximum number of points which a participant could obtain was 6500 points.

 


yoga_competition_3

 

 

The other participants start to meditate while waiting.
And the member of the jury who timed him sits attentively eagerly waiting  ...
No one had a hunch how long time would still be passing.


The Prizes
As mentioned earlier the most important element in this ”competition” would be to give each student the possibility to have a feedback on the progress in their own continuous transformation, much more so than the competition amongst the participants in-between them. The prices which the winners take however also give a great incentive in the same time backing up the continuous process of transformation for the respective winners.



yoga_competition_4

 

 

Also the courageous participants from the youngest years receive a diploma
and a small price for their participation in the yearly
Competition for promoting the spiritual values.

The happy winner of the 1st Prize won:
2 month free participation on either the intensive yoga class or the intensive tantra class
Free participation together with free food & accommodation to the New Year Silent Retreat 2011/2012
A dinner for two in the vegetarian restaurant Ambrosias Have
The book:  ”The secret tantric path of love” signed by the author Gregorian Bivolaru
The DVD: ”Mysteries of Tantra”
Together with various other spiritual books, chocolates etc.

The happy winner of the 2nd Prize won:
2 month free participation on either the intensive yoga class or the intensive tantra class
Free participation together with free food & accommodation to the VIRA or Shakti camp on Easter 2012
A dinner for two in the vegetarian restaurant Ambrosias Have
The book:  ”The secret tantric path of love” signed by the author Gregorian Bivolaru
The DVD: ”Mysteries of Tantra”
Together with various other spiritual books, chocolates etc.

The happy winner of the 3rd Prize won:
2 month free participation on either the intensive yoga class or the intensive tantra class
Free participation to one of the weekend workshops of their own choice
A dinner for two in the vegetarian restaurant Ambrosias Have
The book:  ”The secret tantric path of love” signed by the author Gregorian Bivolaru
The DVD: ”Mysteries of Tantra”
Together with various other spiritual books, chocolates etc.



yoga_competition_7

 

 

Everyone applauded enthusiastically when Vlad finally came down
from sarvangasana after 4 hours and 30 seconds.


 Who was winning this year’s competition in Natha for promoting the spiritual values

Before we mention the concrete winners of this year’s competition and transformation feedback, we must share that the competition indeed offered us some big surprises and all in all was a wonderful spiritually elevated event. The atmosphere was full of intensity, presence and togetherness.  



The most remarkable results came in the spiritual perception part and in the perseverance during the performance of asanas. In the spiritual perception part all participants perceived at least one of the exemplified states correctly; the winner perceived them all 3 correctly while another participant perceived 2 of them correctly. This is a really good result taken in consideration that such a thing for sure could not happen if only by chance.



A second totally exceptional surprise happened during the perseverance in performing asanas. The whole event was expected to last for about 4 to 4½ hour, so that the students afterwards could join the Graduation party at 6.30 pm.

But during the performance test the winner stood in chakrasana for 9 long minutes, in Garudasana for 48 minutes and in Sarvangasana for 4 hours and 30 seconds. This is a totally exceptional accomplishment which also had profound effects both on the one practicing it and also on the participants, which we will reveal more about later.



The following persons were the ones who took the Prices:

3rd price was taken by Mathias Bettinelli who obtained 3980 points

2nd price was taken by Cristian Opris who obtained 4211 points

1st price was taken by Vlad Craciun , who obtained 5383 points


After the award ceremony and hugs, the winner Vlad was invited to say a few words, - if he could move ...
This he could, so he came to the microphone and with great humbleness and profound inner peace and
silence radiating from his being he said: ”I thank you all for supporting me. It is good to know that everything is possible, - even if sometimes it is hard. And we have a direction, which our spiritual mentor shows us, - this is the best way that I could see ... Thank you!”


Mihai Stoian, the coordinating leader of the teacher’s team gave a small speech for both participants and public:
”To keep any of the asana for 4 hours is an exceptional performance. Even though it is written in the yoga theory that after keeping an asana for 3 hours and 48 minutes states of cosmic consciousness begin to appear, rarely practitioners are trying to do it.
This contest indeed is spotting and promoting the spiritual values that sometimes appeared during the practice but goes unnoticed by the practitioner because it happens gradually. Participating to this contest  is already a win. Congratulations to all participants and we wish you a great holiday.”
At this point one of the courageous beginners from the first year tantra class, who participated to the competition, felt to come to the microphone and share his view with some promising words, which also became the last words of the evening: ”I am thanking for Natha Yogacenter, it has changed so much in my life and I am extremely happy for the tantra course so I will for sure be back after the summer holiday!”

 


yoga_competition_8

 

 

The 1st Price was taken by Vlad Craciun, who made 5383 points of 6500 possible points.
The biggest price was however probably the benefit of having kept sarvangasana for 4 hours:
Profound inner peace and happiness radiates from the humble winner.



Interview with the winner of the competition for promoting spiritual values 2011; Vlad Craciun

After the competition we made an interview with Vlad, asking him how was his experience through all this – especially the 4 hours in sarvangasana, and what made him to do such an unusual deed.
Vlad participates to the yoga class for the 9th year, he is from Romania and just arrived recently in Denmark. We are sitting in the office of Natha and Vlad is still radiating a silent blissful peach while he humbly and a little shy answers our questions.

How did it happen that you ended up participating to the competition?
I was about doing my own yoga program in one of the yoga halls when my friend Catalin came to me and said: ”let’s go to yoga contest”. It was not in my plan to participate and I was not prepared at all for this, but when he repeated again: ”let’s go to yoga contest”, I said ”okay!”.
It was a very good experience. I am very happy that I participated. I felt that I was doing yoga with my friends and I thought; ”if it will help the subtle field – then why not?”

It is very unusual to keep 4 hours in Sarvangasana, - was it difficult? What did you feel?
When I heard that next asana is Sarvangasana, I smiled and thought: ”let’s relax”, because I have done this asana 30 minutes a day before. The first 1½ hours I was quite relaxed; I was working with Mantras, wishing to be with our spiritual guide and God. Between the second and third hour I was challenged, I thought: ”let’s not exaggerate”. But then 3 hours passed and I could do more; after 3 hours and 48 minutes I thought: ”okay – let’s do 4 hours”.
In a way there were difficult moments; the tips of my toes became very stiff and there were many things but it was like on a spiritual path; I had decided to keep it for 4 hours and then I had to be there, this was very clear in my mind. I had a motivation: it is good to realize that it is possible – both for me and for the others, who were there.
I felt many vibrations and my mind became more silent.

Which was the biggest challenge?
This was the thought that said: ”let’s not exaggerate, lets distribute the energy, you don’t know what will come next. Sometimes it is good to think like this, but other times it is more about comfort and just giving up. Sometimes when I am tired and I am doing my tapas very late I discover how many resources we have: If God is with us and sustain us we only need to ask and then to act.

 



yoga_competition_9

 

 

"You are getting in contact with your self and this is so extraordinary,
There is so much happiness it is indescribable ..."

It is written in the yoga scriptures that you can experience a state of Samadhi, if you will keep the same position for 3 hours and 48 minutes – what was your experience?
It was very peaceful, I could still feel my body but I had a very profound state of peace and relaxation. I felt peace with myself and happiness. I was just there and it was good. I don’t know about Samadhi, but I felt very near to that peace and happiness which I have felt in my highest moments. I felt very relaxed.

Here it is as if Vlad is experiencing the same state again and it radiates through all his being and makes his voice infinitely gentle while he repeats: ”very relaxed”.

Vlad continues: Everything is possible; it is really true what we read in the yoga theory. It is like GOLD, something very valuable which we have and we must take good care of it and do our best to transform our selves. To understand more and to help others to understand more and to do what we really came to do – the faster we do it the better it is.

The goal is the same, we can choose to go directly or we can run away from our fear and try to escape. We must do our best to make the way as direct as possible, so that it becomes the shortest way to our destination, which is God, where there is happiness and silence. Where there is happiness and silence.  And this is not a happiness which depends on outer things, because this kind of happiness is related to desire. And desire leads to other desires – this is the long way. The short way is the one our spiritual mentor Grieg is showing us. Sometimes we can feel tired, or we don’t believe in ourselves, maybe we are disturbed by thoughts that keeps us back or temptations, but the shortest way is very simple: love as much as you can, do as much as you can and focus to transform yourself as much as you can – and to understand.

Never run away! If you want to do something then just keep on no matter how many obstacles, then you will succeed in the end. If we have faith that this is a good way and that it is the shortest way, then all we have to do is to continue – with the help of God we will succeed.  You get in contact with your self and this is so extraordinary, there is so much happiness it is indescribably ... Yes, so my last word is this: ”keep going”.

Natha Yogacenter is thanking Vlad for showing this extraordinary dedication to the practice, as well as all the participants and the audience in the ”Competition for promoting the spiritual values 2011”, - a yearly event in Natha Yogacenter, where the students every year are invited to measure their continuous transformation while practicing together and passing certain specific test’s.

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Quotes

''You shouldn't ever be dependent on anyone and anything. You should always be perfectly free.'' - Gregorian Bivolaru
 
''In the case of love which is mutually shared, beneficial pleasure is always legitimate.'' - Gregorian Bivolaru

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