A Place of the Heart
Abhyasa Ashram is a place of the heart rather than any physical place or institution. Abhyasa is the inner (antar) practice of yoga as Self-realization. Abhyasa is one of the foundation principles of the Yoga Sutras, and literally means "practice." It means living practices that lead to the deepest level of equanimity. The root of the word "ashram" is "shrama" which means the effort towards Self-realization. For many years I either lived in or headed a physical, residential ashram. That phase of life and practice has passed. Now, wherever I am living or visiting at the moment is my ashram, my monastery. My ashram is internal, at the core of my being, called heart.
Now, I live and share the perspective that the ideal ashram is one's own home, and that our effort ought to be making that home truly an ashram of the heart where all of the practices are part of daily life, right in the middle of all other activities. I hold this as true not just for me, but for all people who are dedicated to the subtler, inner journey of Yoga in their own home, rather than having to live in somebody else's home.
Yoga Sutra 1.12: These thought patterns (vrittis) are mastered (nirodhah, regulated, coordinated, controlled, stilled, quieted, transcended) through practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya).
(abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodhah)
No Name, Institution, or Religion
I and other close people practice universal meditation as taught by the ancient lineage of yogis of the cave monasteries of the Himalayas, especially as transmitted through Swami Rama. The tradition has no name, and is not affiliated with any of the institutions or religions of the plains of India or other countries surrounding the Himalayas, although individual meditators may personally align themselves with a wide variety of religions or institutions.
Many refer to the tradition as "the tradition of the Himalayan masters" or "the Himalayan tradition", but that is for the sake of convenience, and is not a style or brand name as is popular these days.
Our methods of meditation and contemplation involve systematic awareness of all levels of our being, including actions/senses, body, breath, mind, finally resting in the awareness of the Self (atman) which is one with the universal Self (brahman). Our network of friends emphasizes aspirant training, not teacher training. As one progresses on the inner journey, he or she naturally shares the insights and practices, whether or not living in any situation called teacher.