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Vistara Circle Program2018-09-08T22:31:43+00:00

Mission Statement

The Vistara Circle is a spiritual community that will help its members experience greater emotional maturity and a deeper personal relationship with God (the Supreme Consciousness who is greater than self). Members have the option to join a two-year Spiritual Lifestyle Training that will help them strengthen their spiritual practices, knowledge, and leadership capacity. All members will be encouraged to practice Tantric meditation and master the yoga ethics of Yama and Niyama in order to attain inner harmony with self, the community and society.

Community

Members will feel as if they are a valued member of a community where their spiritual goals can be nurtured. The community will create mechanisms to ensure that each member has a support network that can help them overcome physical, mental and spiritual problems. Members will have opportunities to grow within the organization and take on leadership positions.

Knowledge

Members will gain spiritual knowledge through seminars, retreats and weekly collective meditation gatherings. They will become well versed in topics related to Tantra Yoga and be given tools and inspiration to become life-long tantric meditators.

Service

Members will take on service projects and learn to practice selfless service as supporting the interconnectedness of all life forms.

Are you ready to find your Superhero within?

The Vistara Circle meets every Monday in Alexandria, VA and Sundays in Rockville, MD and Washington DC. View the events page for more info.

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Guiding Principles

YAMA

  • Ahiḿsá: Not to inflict pain or hurt on anybody by thought, word or action

  • Satya: The benevolent use of mind and words

  • Asteya: Non-stealing and to renounce the desire to acquire or retain the wealth of others

  • Brahmacarya: To keep the mind always absorbed in Brahma (Supreme Consciousness)
  • Aparigraha: To renounce excess and luxury and to practice living simply

NIYAMA

  • Shaoca: purity of body and mind
  • Santośa: Contentment

  • Tapah: Selfless service, such as service to humanity, to all beings and to Supreme Consciousness
  • Svádhyáya: The study, with proper understanding, of scriptures and philosophical books
  • Iishvara prańidhána: Practicing meditation and having firm faith in Iishvara (Supreme Consciousness)

Vistara Circle Membership and Avenues of Growth:

  • Visitors: All members are considered visitors during their first four Vistara Circle meetings. After four visits, they can choose to be members and have the option to join the training program.

  • Members: Members are required to maintain two years of good community standing in order to join the Vistara Circle. A visitor can still become a member even if they know they will be moving in the near future. In order to become a member the following must be completed:

    1. an oral exam demonstrating full knowledge of the ten principles of Yama and Niyama
    2. demonstrate practice of at least one of the ten principles of Yama and Niyama
    3. pay a yearly membership fee of $20 in order to help maintain website and other organizational costs. The two year start date can be deferred to the first day of attendance.
  • Trainees: Members have the option to join the Spiritual Lifestyle Training and become trainees. They are required to fulfill all of the requirements of the training. A member can still become a trainee even if they know they will be moving from the area in the near future.

  • Coordinators: Members can choose to be coordinators only after they have received the first lesson of advanced meditation from an acarya of Ananda Marga. They must be on track to receive subsequent lessons.They must also be participants of the Spiritual Lifestyle Training. Roles can include:

    1. Service Coordinator – coordinates Vistara Seva Circle
    2. Recruitment Coordinator – coordinates different ways of attracting new members
    3. Accounts Coordinator – helps manage accounts, takes attendance and communicates with members
    4. Events Coordinator – helps the Vistara Circle organize retreats, seminars, and other events
    5. Musical Coordinator – helps with music, sound and kiirtan. This person must be able to lead kiirtan
    6. Sister Circle Coordinator – to be held by a sister, who will create programs for sisters in the organization

    Coordinators must create programs on a routine basis. They should keep regular contact with members in various ways including social media. Coordinators should prioritize programs that support the mission of the organization. If the roles above are filled, newly formed coordinators can assist an existing coordinator and form a committee. All coordinators are required to attend planning meetings either in person or via conference call at least once a month. Coordinators will also submit goal sheets every two months. Elections will be held by members in order to fill a coordinating role. Elections will be held every 6 months.

  • Sadhakas (yogis established in their practice): Sadhakas are those who have completed the Vistara Circle Program and are now role models. They can choose to be coordinators or mentors for new members. More importantly, they have the option to move into the next phase of Vistara Circle, which is to become a Sadvipra (spiritual warrior influential in society).

Vistara Circle Membership and Training Requirements:

MEDITATION INSTRUCTIONS

Visitors will be provided 3 meditation lessons and will be asked to practice the final lesson for 1000 minutes. The time will be documented in a chart and shared with the teacher. After the 1000 minutes, arrangements will be made for the person to receive higher meditation instruction.

WEEKLY VISTARA CIRCLE AND ATTENDANCE

Vistara Circle meetings offer:

  • yoga classes

  • kiirtan and collective meditation
  • spiritual readings and discussion

  • potluck dinner (not at all locations)

Participation to weekly Vistara Circles should be considered mandatory for trainees and members. An attendance rate of 75% is required for all. If any member has missed a meeting, they can make it up by scheduling a time to meditate with the president, a coordinator or by attending seminars, retreats, and/or other activities.

TEN SEMINARS

  • Monthly seminars will be provided on topics ranging across yogic health, economic justice to spiritual philosophy. Members are required to attend at least 10 seminars in two years in order to maintain good community standing. Trainees are required to attend 15 seminars in two years.

  • Each seminar will provide a handout. Trainees are required to place these handouts in their portfolio.

PORTFOLIO, JOURNAL AND REQUIRED READING

  • Trainees will keep a portfolio with handouts given at the beginning of the program and from seminars and retreats. Portfolios will be checked before graduation of the training.

  • Trainees will keep a journal either separately or as part of their portfolio.

  • Trainees are required to read the books: “Guide to Human Conduct” by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, “Close Your Eyes and Open Your Mind” by Dada Nabhaniilananda, “Wisdom of Tantra” by Dada Vedaprajiiananda, and “Baba’s Grace” by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti. Trainees are required to journal on topics in the book.

RETREATS

  • Retreats will be organized 3 times a year, in the fall, spring, and summer.

  • Members are required to attend at least two retreats in two years. Trainees must attend at least three retreats in two years.

SERVICE PROJECT PARTICIPATION

  • All members are required to maintain one service project. This can include regular volunteering with an organization, designing one’s own service project, or regular participation in Vistara Seva (service) Circles. Trainees are required to conduct an extra specialized project per year.

  • Documentation must be submitted demonstrating service work. Trainees will give a short presentation on their project.

EXIT PRESENTATION AND INTERVIEW

Members and trainees must conduct a 30 min. – 1 hr. presentation to the community on a topic from the Vistara Circle curriculum before completion of their program. Both members and trainees will have an exit interview upon completion of their respective programs.

Vistara Circle Completion

  • All requirements for both members and trainees must be completed satisfactorily and both must have an attendance rate of at least 75%. 
  • Members and trainees will have a graduation ceremony to honor their achievements.
  • Members and trainees are encouraged to organize a small team building outing with fellow graduates to reflect on their accomplishment and build strategies for the future. 
  • Yoga alliance credit hours in Yoga Life Style will be provided to graduates who were trainees.

Life After Vistara Circle

The Vistara Circle is primarily designed for beginner meditators and yogis. After maintaining good community standing for two years or completing the Spiritual Lifestyle Training, a member becomes a sadhaka, a yogi established in their practice. They are no longer a beginner. In order to maintain their growth, they need to be with yogis who are on their level or are higher. They will then be invited to join another organization with advanced yogis in order to continue their spiritual journey toward becoming a sadvipra, a spiritual warrior that is influential to society. The spiritual journey is about growth. It cannot end after a two-year program. A sadhaka will maintain their growth by getting higher meditation lessons and attending advanced collective meditation sessions.

Ready to join the Vistara Circle?

CONTACT

Other important points:

  • The Vistara Circle will close for Summer Break for 5 weeks every year.

  • All members are strongly encouraged to abide by the principles of Yama and Niyama in order to create a safe and harmonious environment for all.

JOIN OUR VISTARA CIRCLE GATHERINGS FOR YOGA, MEDITATION AND SOCIAL SERVICE!

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