Q&A with Ann Marie Power, who teaches yoga at Samadhi House. She attended two talks by Swami Sarvapriyananda and had dinner with him as well.

Q: What was the highlight of his message for you?

A: The swami’s views on the nature of mind and what’s real are so simple, but so profound. The philosophy of the Vedas says that if you don’t rule the mind, it will rule you. It aligns with my own spiritual path. I started meditating in 2008 and slowly started to see a difference in my reactivity. I became calmer. But even that can be a trap – to meditate and seek that “great experience.” You have to go deeper.

Q: What else did you get out of meeting him?

A: The swami has a sense of humour. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. People like that stand out. He is joyous by nature. He is learned but still loving — and down to earth.

Q: Tell us about your own path.

A: When I was young even though my family didn’t go to church I always felt that I was talking to God. I wanted to be closer to whatever that is.

Q: Besides yoga and meditation, how do you look after yourself?

A: There is so much healing potential in nature. I love to take day hikes. I did a two-day wilderness retreat. I always come back refreshed and with a better perspective.

Q: What role do women need to play in making a better world?

A: The Dalai Lama says the problems of the world will be solved by the Western woman. We have the freedom to push back against the tyrants of the world. If we women embark on a spiritual path, we will develop our own power. We need to break through stereotypes and conditioning and show up as we really are. Yoga helps. It involves layers of letting go.

Q: Who are some role models?

A: Greta Thunberg the young climate activist. Her message is so important. The #metoo movement is about global pushback. It’s the same with the climate crisis. We have to stop this.

Q: What can the individual woman do?

A: In the 1980s and 1990s women were unhappy, but they tried to suck it up. Now they know they are not happy. Our stories are coming up from underground. We need to practice self-care. Meditation, for example, teaches you to look after yourself and at the same time stay curious and be aware of your environment.

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