Initiation on the Physical Level

Initiation on the Physical Level


On the physical level, initiation is a ritual marking a turning point in our life. With initiation, an individual becomes a student of a particular guru of yoga and places himself or herself under the direct tutelage of this spiritual master and other teachers practicing the same style of yoga. To some extent, being initiated is like becoming part of a family with the brothers and sisters as co-initiates and family elders as teachers.

As with all rituals, a prescribed pattern of action is performed by the initiator (teacher) and by the initiate (student). In the Himalayan tradition, the student may purify himself or herself during the day prior to the initiation by bathing, eating pure vegetarian food and cultivating serenity of mind. To the initiation ritual, the student brings dakshina (a monetary donation of a specific amount for the guru), and wears clean and comfortable clothing.

At the site of the initiation, the student sits quietly for a while before being led to the initiator/teacher who engrossed in deep mediation. The teacher may guide the student into the meditation posture and relaxation. The teacher whispers a mantra into the student’s right ear, and then the teacher and student may sit together and meditate for a while. The initiation ritual ends with a blessing the student.

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