Blessed are the ones that find a true guru in this lifetime, as they are not always accessible in our lives. I was searching for a guru for many years. I had even traveled to India on a pilgrimage, but never thought I would find him in the heart of New York City’s hustle and bustle.
In reality, my journey to Dharma-ji has been slow and gradual, starting through the many yoga teachers that he has touched until I finally had the opportunity to spend time in his presence. In that first class with Sri Dharma, I was able to go further in my postures than I ever had before, yet there was a deep sense of familiarity, like returning home. It was playful and somehow allowed me to progress exponentially quicker, while taking away the sense of striving. I knew this was Yoga and I would be sharing this way for the rest of my life.
Over the years, his teachings have evolved in a way in which he offered the exact practice that I needed. At the start, a deeper focus on the asanas and then I slowly began to get drawn to the more subtle pranayama and yoga nidra meditations. Now, an integrative approach has come about for me, where I see it as a lifestyle practice.
There is no better name for the teacher trainings that he offers other than “life of a yogi,” because the knowledge affects every aspect of daily life, with the foundations of all actions being compassion.
Although I may practice and teach differently in some ways to Sri Dharma today, I put my ego aside, look at my individual conditions, and think “What would Dharma do if he were in this body?”. From this place I practice in a way to align to my body’s physical, mental, and emotional condition, and offer to the students what is needed specifically on their path, which is dependent on many factors (physical/mental conditions, age of the body, age of the soul, time of day, season, societal factors, etc.). This intuitive approach to practice and teaching is one of the main differentiators of Dharma Yoga, and it all stems from Him.
Sri Dharma Mittra has given his students a keen perception to see clearly what is needed through a wide range of practices to alleviate suffering so others may remove their ignorance. It’s this approach that I am so grateful for.
His teachings and the Dharma Yoga lineage is what inspired me to open Dharma Temple in Vancouver, Canada, a center for students to connect to a practice that is able to liberate oneself from pain and sufferings from the conditions we are face with in the West. It is a great pleasure to carry forward the essence of his legacy through his approach to yoga in his unique playful, yet transformative way.
Dharma-ji is the most amazing soul I have met and a shining light for all on the path to self-realization. I am so grateful to have found him in my life with his now 80 years of experience and service. Happy Birthday and Jai Sri Dharma!
This post was written by Sina Shalbaf
Dharma Yoga LOAY 800 hour certified, 1000 hour in progress | Vancouver, Canada