Open Yantra Yoga Classes in Kathmandu, Nepal

Interview with Paula Casanova and Jan Blumenroth about recent public Yantra Yoga classes in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The Mirror: Can you please tell us a little about yourselves and how you start to teach Yantra Yoga?

Paula Casanova: I have been involved in yoga practices since I was 12 years old and practiced Ashtanga Iyengar & Kundalini Yoga for many years. In 2012 I went to India to study yoga but found it very commercial, and, ironically, when I came back to Peru (where I am from) there was a Yantra Yoga teacher training with Fabio Andrico. I was supervised for the first level by Laura Evangelisti at Dzamling Gar in 2018, the same year that Chögyal Namkhai Norbu passed into Parinirvana. I am also a certified Dharma Moon and Tibet House New York meditation instructor.

Jan Blumenroth: I have been practicing Buddhadharma with His Holiness Tai Situpa and other masters, as well as Jivamukti Yoga since the mid 1990s. When I went to Dharamsala in 2000, one Jonangpa lama, Yonten Gyatso, saw me practice Ashtanga and started to show me some of the Trulkhor of Kalachakra, with permission from the head of his lineage. I immediately fell in love with Tibetan yoga and was eager to learn more. We met sporadically, but learning, out of retreat and because of the language barrier, was hard – with not much progress being made. 

Yantra Yoga group during Mingyur Rinpoche’s retreat in Palpung Sherabling.

In Bodhgaya in 2002 after the Kalachakra initiation that was postponed, I shared a taxi to Patna airport with Bob Kragen and we started to talk about practice and my interest in Mahamudra, Dzogchen and yoga. He asked: “Where do you live?”. I said “London” and he said: “Fantastic! John Renshaw lives there, if you like to learn Yantra Yoga”. 

After landing back in Heathrow, I went directly to the next class at Kailash Centre in St. Johns Wood and started practicing Yantra Yoga with John. In order to attend the second level, I received a direct introduction from a VHS tape at Judy Allen’s flat. Soon after I started to take part in Yantra Yoga teacher trainings at Merigar West and Tashigar Norte, being eventually supervised by Laura in Berlin and authorized to teach by Rinpoche in 2015. I am also a 1000h+ certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher and now part of the first Tergar Meditation Teacher Training with Mingyur Rinpoche.

Yantra Yoga workshop at Dharma Gyan iternational youth organization, Kathmandu.

At Dharma Gyan.

How did it happen that you came to Kathmandu and started to lead Yantra Yoga classes? 

Jan: We travel a lot and generally teach wherever we are, especially in the dharmic environments, where people have already received an introduction into the nature of mind and practiced other Tibetan yogas, so they pick up Yantra Yoga very quickly.

What do you usually teach and what kind of people come to your classes? 

Jan: ⁠We teach Yantra Yoga, meditation and Dohas, songs of realization of the Mahasiddhas. According to the audience, we decide what’s appropriate. For example, we taught at the BBC’s community center in London, where victims of the Grenfell tower disaster have a space to practice yoga – they were very receptive and good practitioners!

In between Mingyur Rinpoche and Tai Situ Rinpoche’s retreats in Sherabling, India, Yantra Yoga classes were really appreciated after so much sitting practice everyday.

In Kathmandu there are some people from the Dzogchen Community, and Paul Barbonara who is doing an AI research at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, invited us to be a part of the Dharma Gyan, the international youth organization founded by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche. 

Yantra Yoga at Hotel Dolmaling / Palnge Monastery, Boudhanath.

At Hotel Dolmaling.

On Losar this year Tsoknyi Rinpoche gave us his blessings to spread open aspects of Yantra Yoga in the Nepalese community with the support of the Buddha Prakash Foundation and revive this yogic tradition first taught by Humkara to Padmasambhava in the Kathmandu valley.   

We are very happy to bring Yantra Yoga back to where it originally comes from, sharing this most precious practice and connecting people to this sacred lineage.

Thank you and good luck!

Paula’s and Jan’s website: https://skydharma.org/

 

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