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The search within
Waterloo senior spends half of each year in India, drawing strength from kriyayoga
Tuesday September 20, 2005
JOHANNA WEIDNER
RECORD STAFF


Yogi Satyam, founder of the Kriyayoga Research Institute in northern India, is offering free classes in Kriyayoga in Kitchener over the next two weeks. Mil Winter (right), a retired chaplain in local Catholic high schools, spends half of each year in India studying with Yogi Satyam.

Home is in Waterloo and Allahabad, India, for Mil Winter.

The senior lives half the year in India at a yoga centre, practising meditation, working and teaching the ancient practice.

"This is really vital to my life," said Winter, 74.

Winter's teacher is Yogi Satyam, founder of the Kriyayoga Research Institute in northern India, and he's in Kitchener leading free classes for two weeks starting today.

Winter, who retired 10 years ago from her job as chaplain in local Catholic high schools, discovered kriyayoga after decades of searching for "wholeness." She had tried other types of yoga starting in her 30s, but they just didn't fit.

"I'd always been looking for something that would take me deeper into myself," she said.

Then about seven years ago she met Yogi Satyam at the Yog Fellowship Temple on Plains Road at the outskirts of south Kitchener. He practises kriyayoga, an advanced form of meditation that combines physical and mental techniques.

"It's a practice that anybody can do," Winter said, regardless of age, beliefs or religion.

Although she said the techniques of kriyayoga are simple, Winter was reluctant to explain specifically, insisting that it's something that must be experienced to truly be understood. Of course, anyone interested in learning more is invited to join classes with Yogi Satyam.

"When you practise, it is very joyful," he said.

Kriyayoga goes way beyond the popular notion of yoga as a series of poses combined with deep breathing. Winter explained that kriyayoga teaches people to reach inside themselves for answers, rather than seeking them externally, which is a common approach in western society.

Kriyayoga, she said, "is a system of living that has immediate results and heals the body, the mind, the spirit."

Winter doesn't balk at explaining the benefits.

"The changes are so profound because what you need is what you get," she said. "This is the method that has the power to transform."

A few years after meeting Yogi Satyam, Winter was diagnosed with cysts on her ovaries and exploratory surgery was eventually advised. Instead, Winter studied for about a month with Yogi Satyam who was then teaching in Boston.

"It was so effortless," she said.

Yet she said the benefits were enormous. A couple months later another ultrasound of her ovaries showed the cysts were gone. She believes the kriyayoga helped the cysts because that was the only thing she had done differently.

Later that year, she made her first visit to Yogi Satyam's ashram in India and stayed for six months. She has returned to India every year since then.

While there she joins three practice sessions a day, and the rest is spent gardening, cooking, writing and speaking with visiting students. Yogi Satyam and students like Winter also travel to villages to teach kriyayoga.

People come to the ashram, a complex of several buildings located on 14 acres, from all around the world to learn and help. Winter just returned in June with two other Canadians.

Through her study of kriyayoga, Winter said she has learned to see past the common conception that progressive problems inevitably accompany age.

"Inside I feel like I am no age," she said.

Winter said she feels like she can do anything, and "It's quite a wonderful feeling."

jweidner@therecord.com

WORKSHOPS

Yogi Satyam from India is leading free, public classes in kriyayoga for two weeks starting today at the Yog Fellowship Temple in Kitchener.

Beginners should attend classes on a minimum of three consecutive days to build understanding.

Classes run from today to Oct. 5 with five daily to choose from -- 6 to 8 a.m., 10 to 11 a.m., 3 to 4 p.m., 7 to 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. to midnight -- at 388 Plains Rd., at Fischer-Hallman Road.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Wear comfortable clothing. Bring a blanket or pillow for sitting, and a notebook and pen.

Dates and times may change. Call 696-3869 or go to the website at http://www.kriyayoga-yogisatyam.org/

Donations are welcome.

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160 King Street East,
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, N2G 4E5
519-894-2231