Frustration, stress and anger are a few things a regular meditation practice can help to release, according to Swami Vedant, also known as Vasant Joshi, PhD.
He is a disciple of Osho, a spiritual teacher and guru who died in 1990.Joshi, of India, travels the world guiding people through Osho meditations and spreading Osho’s beliefs and techniques.
He also said people also start to let go of drug, alcohol and smoking habits after developing a meditation practice.
“Many peoples’ lives change in such a way they cannot believe how they could have lived that unconscious, unaware life for so many years,” Joshi said. “They are able to connect and relate with people better. They’re more compassionate, more alive and respect life much better.”
He is currently in Atlanta until June, when he will continue traveling around the states for several months. Joshi hosts three- to four-day meditation retreats, as well as smaller sessions in various locations (www.meetup.com/oshomeditationatlanta). Osho meditation is also offered in yoga studios throughout Atlanta.
For Joshi, his first experiences with Osho meditation in 1975 brought him a “tremendous amount of clarity” and a “life-transforming vision.”
“I see life in a very different light. I learned to enjoy life, not to carry the same burden of the past,” he said.
Joshi described meditation sessions as a gathering of friends to have fun and be aware of all three levels of being; the body, thoughts and emotions.
“Then one begins to experience our consciousness. We are conscious but we don’t do things consciously,” he said. “Another message is we have to respect this life. This life is precious.”
Joshi said Osho believed in one humanity and one consciousness, and his teachings help erase divisions among people created by the mind.
“We have to remove the dichotomy, the split between mind and body and consciousness. They’re all connected,” he said. “We are not here to convert anyone or convince anyone. We are simply saying, ‘Something has worked with us. Maybe it will work for you.’”
Joshi said he tells his practitioners, or “seekers,” to choose one of Osho’s 300 “active” meditation techniques, which includes breathing, catharsis — which can be dancing, crying, laughing jumping or shouting — and seated meditation.
“You have to go inside and look what you’re carrying inside. We are carrying emotions like anger and jealously,” he said. “We silently watch what is going on inside and [learn] how you can deal with [it].”
Additionally, the international nonprofit Isha Foundation, non-religious and volunteer-run, has made a presence in Atlanta. It was established by internationally known yogi Sadhguru Vasudev, whose focus is to cultivate human well being with a holistic approach, said Leslie Crespi, Isha Atlanta media outreach coordinator.
She said there are two arms to the organization, including yoga and Isha Kriya meditation offerings, as well as social outreach projects worldwide. So far, the U.S. has about 35 cities with city centers, including health care facilities, libraries and churches, with free introduction Isha Kriya meditation sessions.
“It’s an opportunity to come and meditate with other people of like mind, and to get questions answered,” Crespi said.
One-hour sessions are hosted Mondays at the Northside Branch Library from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and there will be a guided meditation session April 4 at the Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore in Sandy Springs, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Crespi said Isha Kriya meditation involves 12 to 18 minutes of focused time “going internal.”
“People will experience a sense of peacefulness. It can enhance health. … Your heart rate goes down,” she said. “People report more mental clarity and focus.”
Personally, Crespi said she stopped getting sick consistently, was more productive at work and had a significant energy boost after she started meditating and doing yoga nine years ago.
“It’s overall, a sort of blissfulness and joy,” she said. “Little things don’t bother me. … I am less reactive and much more thoughtful and aware, versus responding out of emotion.”
Vasudev will be speaking at Emory University in DeKalb County April 14 at 5 p.m., as part of the Sheth Series, where key global leaders are often asked to come and address key issues in economy, politics, and leadership.
“The focus is on inner management and wellbeing for people who lead people,” Crespi said.
He will also be at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park April 19 through 21 for a three-day event, Inner Engineering, which will include guided meditations, yoga, discussions with Vasudev about human consciousness and nutrition, and there will also be vegetarian meals served both days.