By Sadguru Swami Nirmalananda
Standing in front of my closet door, I was trying to pick out what to wear to school, a highly stressful moment in a 15-year-old girl’s life. I realized that my hands were pressing on my low back, which made me notice that my back hurt. I was surprised, not because of the pain, which I recognized was not new, but I was surprised that I even noticed it. Somehow it meant another possibility existed, that pain was not inevitable. Then a thought that was imbued with a completely different quality arose within, “I should know how to fix that.” I was astounded! Inside, I answered myself back, “How could I know? I’m only 15.” I never forgot this inner dialogue, brief as it was. Off and on, I continued to wonder about it for another 15 years before I learned how to end back pain. It was one of the many gifts I received from my Guru.
I learned anatomy from the inside-out. When I received the gift of Shaktipat from my Baba, the inner arising of meditative energy moved me through spontaneous yoga poses every time I meditated. Incredibly blissful and profoundly transformative, I looked forward to my daily meditations, learning more about how the human body works every time. Though I had already trained as a yoga teacher, Kundalini became my teacher, the Divine Energy of the Universe having been awakened by my Guru. After living and studying with him for years, I returned to mainstream America and to teaching yoga.
I could see that my students were not getting the blissful and transformative openings I had been blessed with, so I moved them into pose variations that would work. I remember the first class in which I introduced a variation. It worked so well that every single one of the 16 students stopped to talk with me individually after class. Each one said, in their own way, “What was that!? I feel so different.” I continued week by week, moving them through a process of spinal decompression that I called “core opening.”
A visiting Sanskrit teacher told me I must name this profoundly different approach to the poses. I was resistant but he threatened me, “If you don’t give it a name, they’ll name it after you.” To forestall that, I named it after you: “svaroopa” is a name for Self, your own Divine Essence. Why? The poses provide deep spinal release, which reliably opens up the inner bliss and experience of your own Self. Along the way, they also make you pain-free.
As I continued teaching classes and offering private yoga therapy sessions, my students and clients pressed me to teach them how to offer the sessions and classes. I created our Professional Yoga Therapist Training for them, along with multiple levels of Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher Training. Having now trained thousands of teachers and therapists, I know this stuff works no matter who’s teaching it. It’s simple, yet powerful. It works because your spine is the key to your whole body and mind, as well as the deeper dimension of your own cosmic beingness.
Now in my eighth decade of life, I am pain-free. I do Svaroopa® yoga daily, to take care of my body and provide an excellent quality of life. Yet more importantly, I now understand the source of those inner voices dialoguing inside me at age 15. The inner arising was the voice of Self, revealing the course and direction of my life, as well as the inner source of the knowledge I would share with so many. This is ultimately the purpose of all yoga, empowering you to delve into your own knowingness, the source of bliss and love, the wellspring of aliveness itself. The goal and purpose of Svaroopa® Yoga is promised in the name, the yoga that gives you svaroopa, your own Self. And it makes you pain-free. What a way to live!