Yoga and Tantra School Natha
Yoga and Tantra School Natha (the official name is in Finnish: Jooga- ja Tantrakoulu Natha) is a non-profit association that was founded in 1997. Natha's purpose is to teach yoga and tantra in their traditional forms. Our school is based on voluntary work. Teachers and others involved in the school's activities work for free. There is just one employed person.
Natha as a part of Atman Yoga Federation
Yoga and Tantra School Natha is a part of the international Atman Yoga Federation of Yoga and Meditation. The member schools of Atman Federation follow the same curriculum with annual courses. Except for the coordination of teaching and events, the members schools are independent in relation to each other.
The teachers of the member schools are trained by Atman Federation. The teacher training is extensive (two years) and includes two major exams and a final project.
Finland's Natha has permanent activities in Helsinki and Tampere. In addition to this, Natha arranges occasional courses all around Finland. The emphasis of the teaching is on the conitnuous yoga and tantra courses, but there are also many single events, courses, workshops and open lectures and meditations.
The Esoteric Yoga and the Intensive Tantra courses are taught according to an annual curriculum. In both courses a major part of the program is constituted by yoga exercises, such as doing yoga postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation.
In addition to the exercises, the teaching also includes theory. The theoretical teaching advances from week to week according to the curriculum. The theory deepens the student's understanding of the exercises that are done and expands his or her knowledge about the philosophy of yoga and tantra.
In Natha's courses yoga is presented as a holistic practice. The famous yogi Patanjali defined yoga as a path of eight steps or "limbs". The first four limbs focus on the purification at the physical level and include ethical and moral instructions and Hatha Yoga in the form of asana and pranayama. The four final limbs of the path of yoga consist of different phases of meditation, culminating in the ultimate goal of samahdhi.
As was mentioned above, the yoga and tantra courses are practically oriented with a lot of Hatha Yoga exercises. When doing the exercises, a specific importance is given to being aware of the energization of the subtle force centres, the Chakras. This focus makes the yoga exercises deeply meditative and also provides a unique tool for working with yourself. The yoga exerices harmonize not only the physical body, but also the mind and the soul. An understanding of the Chakras gives us a map of our own being and an opportunity to use the tools of yoga selectively for our own needs.
In addition to the practical yoga exercises, Natha also offers profound theoretical teaching. The purpose is not to give dry, mental information, but rather to provide a conceptual framework for understanding the states and experiences that students encounter in their own practice.
Natha's teaching is based on a vision of universal spirituality in which all authetic traditions have something to give to the spiritual seeker. Thus the teaching includes references to many traditions, including Tibetan Buddhism and esoteric Chirstianity. The students are taught that the same goal can be reached through several different paths.
Natha's values and mission
Natha's values include a spirituality that aims for personal growth that is also beneficial for society. Spirituality belongs to everybody and is prefectly applicable in the circumstances of modern society. Spirituality is not a question of blind faith, but is instead based on knowledge from personal experience.
Voluntary work and communality
All schools of the Atman Federation are based on voluntary work. This is not only a practical arrangement to get things done, but also a manifestation of the spiritual values of our school.
Contemporary society often gives us the false impression that our activties should be guided by our own, private interests, either to receive a reward or to avoid some unpleasant effect. By acting in a detached way, we can learn that there is a pure and free heart to be found under the self-absorbed motives of the ego. When guided by the heart, we do not act on personal interests, but on the true needs of the moment and the environment.
At the same time we learn that communality is a resource. When the members of a group are guided by the same spiritual principles, they can learn faster about both themselves and life by mirroring their experiences in the group. A coherent group can also achieve much more than single individuals. This offers an empowering experience in a world where you often feel like a small cog in a big wheel.