TheLoneRider
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In Search of Tibetan Yoga (Yantra Yoga) June 25, 2018

In Search of Tibetan Yoga (Yantra Yoga)

Location: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, McLeod Ganj (suburb), Dharamshala (city), Himachal Pradesh (state), India

The Yogis Of Tibet
Ever since I saw the Youtube video documentary, The Yogis Of Tibet, I have been intrigued and fascinated. The yoga asanas/movement seemed different from the Hatha Yoga (of Hindu tradition) I had been practising for years. From that video, Tibetan yoga is practised almost entirely seated down with lots of swinging arm movements mostly brushing the hands against the body - little or no standing poses, no one-leg balancing poses, no twists or backbends. But Tibetan yoga has a strong meditation/pranayama/kumbhaka component to the practice - something lacking in the way Hatha yoga is being taught in yoga studios nowadays. But where do I find a Tibetan yoga teacher? Now in Dharamshala (India), home of the Tibetans-in-exile, I sought them out.

In Search of Tibetan Yoga (Yantra Yoga)
The Yogis Of Tibet

Nowhere to be Found
I have asked many Tibetans here in Dharamshsala where I can find a Tibetan yoga school or Tibetan yoga teacher and the answer was always negative. Surprisingly, it seemed unheard of! Someone told me that these yogis have died out because of the Chinese repression, and those who are still surviving would not be found in the hustle-and-bustle of Dharamshala. Finally, when I went to the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, I was referred to a certain Dr. Chok Tenzin Monlam Peltsok who might be able to help me.

Dr. Chok Tenzin Monlam Peltsok
I met with Dr. Chok. He was a young man who seemed to hold a high position within the library complex. Even though I had no appointment, the meeting wasn't rushed. He took the time to explain many things to me. He said there was only one Tibetan yoga teacher in Dharamshala - and I was already talking to him. Whoa! That's convenient!

From One Yoga Teacher to Another
I explained to Dr. Chok that I had been practising and teaching Hatha yoga for a good number of years already but I wanted to learn Tibetan yoga. He corrected me and said Tibetan yoga is called Yantra Yoga. He was generous about his knowledge - gave me links, book references and explained the Yantra yoga system. We exchanged ideas and insight about yoga.

Yantra Yoga
Without doing the asanas, Dr. Chok explained how Yantra Yoga awakens the chakras (energy centers), clears the blockages of the nadis (energy channels) and moves prana (energy) within the body for optimum health and vitality. I realized that if he didn't mention Yantra Yoga, I would mistaken his explanation for Hatha Yoga. I guess it should not be surprising that Yantra Yoga also works with the same elements.

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu
Further research into Yantra Yoga led me to the current holder of the Yantra Yoga lineage - Chogyal Namkhai Norbu. This particular yoga from the Dzogchen tradition was passed on from teacher to student, in an unbroken lineage since the 8th century. Apparently, Yantra Yoga is alive and well and currently taught globally by the students of Chogyal Norbu.

Ending Thoughts
From my conversation with Dr. Chok, I am drawn to conclude that Hatha Yoga and Yantra Yoga are essentially the same as they both deal with the same etheric elements - chakra, prana, nadi, etc. to arrive at the same goal. The only difference are the asanas or the physical poses. My analogy is this: Both yoga systems prepare the same dish, use the same ingredients, but cook the dish in a different way. But the end product is essentially the same dish with a slight variation.

I am still intrigued by Yantra Yoga and I will still pursue it and learn how I can complement my Hatha Yoga - but not as a replacement. With my evolving yoga and my deepening Vipassana meditation, I remain strong, medication-free and young. This will remain my core practice.

--- TheLoneRider
Yoga & Fitness Website: YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit

Youtube videos by Dr. Chok Tenzin Monlam Peltsok

Books about Yantra Yoga



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Reader Comments:

Jason RoblesJason Robles
(Jul 5, 2018) Really nice Git! 🙂 you inspire me!

Next stop: Visiting the Tibet Museum


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Dharamshala (city), India

hotels in Dharamshala hotel

Travel Tips for Dharamshala

  1. the Dalai Lama's scheduled public teachings in Dharamshala are as follows: September 4-7, 2018 | October 3 - 6, 2018 | February 19, 2019. To register, visit this page: https://www.dalailama.com/office/contact
  2. in June, the average temperature high is 31° and average low is 21°. It rains usually in the afternoon/evening beginning mid-June
  3. July and August see the most rainfall, up to 22 inches
  4. Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) happens 30 October to 2 November in McLeod Ganj
  5. at the Tibetan Museum in McLeod Ganj, there is a daily 11am and 3pm movie screening of Tibet-related issues at INR 10
  6. trekking is one of the highlights in Dharamshala - to Dharamkot, Bhagsu, cutting through Dhauladhar to the upper Ravi Valley and Chamba district, or the 8km trek to Triund
  7. Wednesday is vegetarian day - other days, meat dishes are served by cafes and restaurants
  8. Bhagsu and Dharamkot are a quiet alternative to McLeod Ganj. They are also cheaper in accommodation when the Dalai Lama is in town and McLeod Ganj hostels are fully booked (with inflated prices)
  9. If you wish to stay in McLeod Ganj but want quiet, stay along Jogiwara Road where balconies will offer scenic views
  10. short power outages frequently happen during the day
  11. for quiet stays and scenic views, stay in Upper Dharamkot or Upper Bhagsu. The "upper" you go, the cheaper the accommodation prices go.
  12. in Upper Dharamkot is a cluster of cafes and lodging (Salvation Cafe area)where the community is chill

How to get to Dharamshala from Rishikesh by bus

  1. bus terminal Bus - Rishikesh to Dharamshala is 449 kms. The usual route is to go to Haridwar and take the State transport buses to Lower Dharamshala, but it's less hassle to get a bus from Rishikesh that go all the way up to McLeod Ganj - a little more money (INR 1150) but worth it specially if you a carry bulky pack. You will leave Rishikesh 4pm and arrive in Dharamshala the following day (you save one night lodging) at 7am.

Travel Tips for India

General Travel Tips

  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!

India Blogs by TheLoneRider

    DHARAMSHALA

  1. 16 Days in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala: Goodbye India June 23-July 8, 2018
  2. Peoplescape of Dharamshala, India June 14 - July 8, 2018
  3. Visiting the Tibet Museum June 27, 2018
  4. In Search of Tibetan Yoga (Yantra Yoga) June 25, 2018
  5. Conducting Yoga Classes at Pema Thang Guest House, Dharamshala, India June 24 - July 8, 2018
  6. Life in Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 16-23, 2018
  7. Trekking to Naddi from Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 19, 2018
  8. Matters of the Heart Jun 17, 2018
  9. A First Timer in Dharamshala Jun 14, 2018
  10. NEW DELHI

  11. 29 Hours in New Delhi Airport July 9-10, 2018
  12. Meditation with Shirly Pnina at Lodi Garden, New Delhi May 15, 2018
  13. A First-Timer in New Delhi, India May 12-17, 2018
  14. RISHIKESH

  15. A 26-Day Mini-Life in Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
  16. Peoplescape of Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
  17. Rafting the Ganga River with Greg Goldstein June 1, 2018
  18. White Water Rafting on Ganga River, Rishikesh May 25, 2018
  19. Satsang (spiritual discourse) by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati May 21, 2018
  20. Ganga Aarti (devotional fire ritual) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram May 21, 2018
  21. Bouncing Back into Yoga in Rishikesh May 21, 2018
  22. Exploring Rishikesh, India May 18, 2018
  23. SONAULI

  24. India e-VISA snag May 9, 2018
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