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Vistara Circle Program 2018-05-05T19:02:41+00:00

Mission Statement

The Vistara Circle is a two-year psycho-spiritual training program that will help its members experience greater emotional maturity and a deeper personal relationship with God (that Being which is greater than self).

Members will be encouraged to practice tantric meditation and master the yoga ethics of Yama and Niyama in order to attain inner and outer harmony with self and society at large. Members will feel as if they are a valued member of a community and be in an environment where their spiritual goals can be nurtured. The community will make sure that each member has a support network that can help them overcome physical or emotional problems.

As part of the training, members will do service at local volunteer places and learn to practice selfless service as supporting the interconnectedness of all life forms. Members will gain spiritual knowledge through a series of seminars and become versed in important topics related to Tantra, yoga, and meditation. Members will have opportunities to grow within the organization and take on leadership positions. Members will be given tools to maintain a disciplined lifestyle and will be encouraged to attend weekly collective meditation in order to solidify their path as a long life tantric meditator.

Are you ready to find your Superhero within?

Join the Vistara Circle’s Two-year spiritual training program. The Vistara Circle meets every Thursday in Alexandria, VA and Sunday in Rockville, MD.

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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)

Completion of the program will require:

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 in Sahaj Yoga Meditation.

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. An attendance rate of 75% is required in order to complete the program. If a member has missed a meeting, they can make it up by scheduling a time to meditate with the president or an organizer.

TEN SEMINARS

  • Monthly seminars will be provided on topics ranging from yogic health to spiritual philosophy. Students are required to attend at least 10 seminars in the two years of the program

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

PORTFOLIO, JOURNAL AND REQUIRED READING

  • Students 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 program.

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

  • Students are required to read the book “Guide to Human Conduct” by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti and journal on topics in the book.

ATTENDANCE TO 3 RETREATS

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

  • Students are required to attend at least 3 retreats in the two years.

SERVICE PROJECT PARTICIPATION

  • Each student is 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
  • Documentation must be submitted demonstrating service work. Members will give a short presentation on their project

EXIT ESSAY

Prior to graduating, members must write a 3-5 page exit essay on how the Vistara Circle has helped them meet their spiritual goals.

Vistara Circle Membership and Avenues of Growth:

  • Visitors: All members are considered visitors during their first four Vistara Circle meetings. At that point, they can choose to be members.

  • Members: 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
  • Organizers: Members can choose to be organizers only after they have received the first  lesson of Sahaj Yoga meditation from an acarya of Ananda Marga. They must be on track to receive subsequent lessons. Organizational roles can include:

    1. Service Secretary – coordinates Vistara Seva Circle
    2. Recruitment Secretary – coordinates different ways of attracting new members
    3. Accounts Secretary – 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

    If these roles are filled, members can assist an existing secretary and form a committee. All organizers are required to attend planning meetings either in person or via conference call at least once a month. Elections will be held by members in order to fill an organizing role. Elections will be held every 6 months.

  • Sadhakas: Those who have completed the Vistara Circle Program and are now role models. They can choose to be organizers or mentors for new members

Completing the Vistara Circle Program

  • All requirements of the program must be completed satisfactorily and members must have an attendance rate of at least 75%. 

  • Students will have a graduation ceremony to honor their achievements

  • Students are encouraged to organize a small team building outing with fellow graduates to reflect on their accomplishment and build strategies for the future. 

  • Certification will be provided as well as yoga alliance credit hours in Yoga Life Style.

Life After Vistara Circle

It is important to remember that the Vistara Circle is primarily designed for beginner meditators and yogis. After completing the program, a member becomes a sadhaka, a spiritual aspirant. 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. The spiritual journey is about growth. It does not end after the 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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