First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ramananda Mayi: Thank you for asking. We are very blessed to be doing well during the pandemic.
Tell us about how you founded Blooming Lotus Yoga?
Ramananda Mayi: My soulmate Lily and I started Blooming Lotus Yoga in Bali about 6 years ago, after looking for a suitable location to relocate the yoga school from our original base in Thailand.
Bali has always had a special place in my heart, as the vibrant spiritual culture, the beautiful nature, and kind-hearted Balinese people make this island truly unique. I had visited Ubud numerous times over the last 15 years and always knew that it would ultimately become the place where the visions of the yoga and meditation center I seen when I was younger would materialize.
We were very fortunate to find an ideal location in the jungle, overlooking a Balinese temple and river that the local people consider sacred, that was conducive to yoga and meditation.
Once the location was found, everything flowed spontaneously, and we started offering yoga retreats, yoga teacher training courses, and silent meditation retreats, which have been attracting an international audience of yoga enthusiasts and spiritual seekers ever since.
What makes Blooming Lotus Yoga so innovative?
Ramananda Mayi: One of the unique features of our yoga school is the fusion between the ancient teachings of the yogic tradition with the modern world. The needs of the modern student require us to constantly innovate new ways of communicating the perennial wisdom of yoga in ways that people from around the world can understand simply and easily. The speed and distractions of modern life make learning and applying authentic yogic practices particularly challenging. We have had to adapt many of the traditional techniques so that people can learn them quickly and encourage them to continue the practices at home. One of the ways we support our international students is by offering online specialty courses like yoga retreats and Yoga Nidra meditation training, which can be done in the comfort of their own homes. This new way of learning yoga and meditation virtually, in a digital classroom, is something that many students have been asking us to do for years, and we now offer.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect Blooming Lotus Yoga, and how are you coping?
Ramananda Mayi: As you know, the entire island of Bali has been closed to international visitors, and as such, all our normally scheduled retreats and courses have stopped until borders reopen.
Yet, despite the inability the teach students in-person, our digital presence has grown, and our online events and training have been very well received by our existing audience and many new students.
What are the lessons you are learning during these unprecedented times?
Ramananda Mayi: Patience, kindness, and compassion are some of the main qualities that this pandemic has evoked.
Like many of us, I always look for the positive in even the most difficult of situations. Even though the world struggles with more disease and stress than usual, looking within and invoking the human virtues of wisdom and compassion gives my heart solace. Meditation continually reminds me that everything in the world changes and is unable to offer us the happiness that we all seek. With this insight and the cultivation of compassion, I am continually reminded that by helping others and serving humanity selflessly, my life is enriched and grows in fullness. No matter what happens outside, the cultivation of wisdom and compassion leads to happiness and inner bliss.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Ramananda Mayi: Meditation. Stress is natural; no one can avoid it. Anxiety, on the other hand, is purely mind-made. Learning to manage stress with awareness is the key. If pure awareness is challenging, watching the breath or chanting mantras can help a lot. Once you practice meditation for long enough, you will see that anxiety stems from fear.
For most people, it is the fear of something happening in the future. Anxiety arises when the thought of something that you want to happen or a thought of a desirable thing that might not happen arises. Meditation helps you live in the present moment and find satisfaction in simply being present. When you can rest, as you are, here and now, fear and anxiety lose their power to affect you.
Who is your audience? And how do you plan to stay relevant?
Ramananda Mayi: We attract yoga lovers from around the world. Whether they are beginners, intermediate, or even more advanced students, we offer a completely unique approach to yoga that is both mystical and modern. We are currently developing new programs for our online learning platform, called “Vidya,” which is a collection of online courses, eBooks & audio recordings aimed at enhancing the study of all facets of yoga and meditation. From the amazing feedback we have received so far, it seems that this new project will be a wonderful addition to our live retreat and courses in Bali.
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