I liked Inner Engineering well enough but always had the feeling that I was going to love the next program, BSP. I was ready to take this yoga business even further, and here was my chance. The promise of BSP is to get a taste of what’s “on the other side” so that one can know what’s truly possible from continuing on this Kriya yoga path. I’d seen many people speak about their experiences at BSP, which usually meant that they would enthusiastically try to put into words something that just can’t be articulated, and wind up telling me to just go and see for myself. Usually this wouldn’t be enough to get me to fly to McMinnville, Tennessee for 4 days to be out of contact with the world doing completely unspecified activities, but something inside me told me that I didn’t want to miss this.
BSP is a residential program, held at the ashram, and for now, taught by Sadhguru, along with one or more of the teachers. There are around 200 participants and 200 volunteers (possibly more than that – I wasn’t sure of exact numbers). The program usually starts late on a Thursday night and continues until Sunday evening. Prior to attending, there is a homework assignment that can take around 20 hours or more to complete, depending on how much effort one wishes to put into it. Most people agree that the more attention one puts on the homework, the more one gets out of the program. I certainly had that experience (and did at least 10 hours of the homework myself).
One of the very first things I noticed when I arrived was that the type of person who participates in a program like BSP tends to be pretty loving, open and awesome. I made many friends right off the bat, and some of them are among my very closest friends today. This is always a nice bonus when participating in a program like this. What’s also nice is that none of these people are zealots about Isha. Many of them continue to do their practices, volunteer here and there, and generally support the organization, but there is pretty much no pressure on anyone to participate in any of it unless they are interested in doing so. I’ve found that this is the case for everyone I’ve met through Isha, which says something to me about the organization, since that type of laid back, open vibe usually comes right from the source, the organization’s founder, in this case, Sadhguru. The only thing that caught me off guard was that there were a couple of people there who were so impacted by the energy in the space that they were constantly trembling, shouting random words, or twitching (but they were also totally happy to be there and welcoming of this). I had never seen anything like that before, except for a tiny bit in Inner Engineering, so it took me a minute to get acclimatized. I also noticed people doing practices I hadn’t seen before, which at that time, I didn’t even know existed (I now practice them myself).
Second, is the atmosphere at the ashram itself. All of its permanent residents and BSP volunteers seem very happy to be there. and living joyful lives. I don’t think I could live on an ashram, but they make it look like something worth considering. The volunteers toil tirelessly to ensure that everyone has an incredible experience, and it’s no skin off their back, either – there are consistently more volunteers applying to help out at BSP than there is room to house them at the ashram. This is because it winds up being a phenomenal experience for them, even though they are only participating in some of the program activities in between making sure that things like the kitchen, maintenance and organization are handled. I have never volunteered, but I’m sure I will sometime. (Isha is a completely volunteer run, non-profit organization)
Third, I never could have predicted what we would be doing at BSP, what the context of the program would be, or what I would learn from it, but there are a few particular things that impacted me so profoundly that I find myself referencing them and recalling them anytime I’m doing any self-inquiry or making decisions in my life. I am dying to share them all here (and with everyone, all the time), but the program relies on an element of newness and surprise that revealing too much would ruin. For this reason, participants can only ever take this program one time. I will reveal this though, there were two or three exercises that I was reminded of when I took Landmark’s Advanced Course. They weren’t exactly the same, but there were striking similarities. I doubt either organization is even aware of the other, but I wonder if they are both sourcing them from the same place. I found that in comparing the two, I thought those particular exercises were more effective at BSP. Some of the exercises were physically and psychologically challenging for me and seemed to be for others as well, so that is something worth noting.
Everyone’s experience of BSP is completely different. I experienced a wide range of emotions at BSP, from total exhaustion and a desire to go home immediately, to transcending that into complete peace and exuberant joy. By the end, I never wanted to leave. When it was time to go home, I bid farewell to my dear, new friends and started thinking about what was next for me in the world of yoga. All in all, it was an unusual, wonderful and worthwhile experience.
|Tips for success||- Do as much of the homework as you possibly can
– Participate fully in every exercise
– Don’t pay attention to other people’s experiences. Focus on your own.