Written by Radha Rani Bradley - Co-founder of Akhanda Yoga Australia
I was on a quest like so many of us when we travel to India, to find a true spiritual teacher. We all go to India I think, in the hope of finding something enlightening, some piece of us which needs to be understood, that understanding that we believe can’t be found in the west. No, it has to be amongst random cows walking past you in the street, people shouting at you from all directions, incense wafting at you on every street corner. However, finding what you went there looking for, can be extremely tricky.
For all of us searching for a guru, we are easy pray to people who want to capitalise on our naivety. From all around you men in orange or white robes are there to sell you spirituality and we are ready to pay. Finding a true spiritual teacher amongst all this can be like looking for a rickshaw with less than 10 people in it. However when you find it, you really know it’s the genuine article.
When I reflect upon my time in India, I marvel at the grand design of it all, and how lucky and blessed I am to have had my life change in such a positive way. Finding Vishva was the start of it all. When I walked into the hotel in Delhi and saw Vishva ji surrounded with people, this small man with a kind smiling face and healthy laugh, I had no idea what a teacher I had chosen.
His background was that he had studied and practiced Hatha and Raja yoga and the Vedic healing arts in northern India since childhood. From the age of 8, he studied Vedic wisdom at Kanvashram in the foothills of the Himalayas. With its historic temple and Ayurvedic clinic, Kanvashram attracts many yogic saints and Ayurvedic masters, and was an ideal place to absorb these ancient healing and consciousness- raising traditions. Vishva went on to attain a Bachelor’s degree from a renowned Sports College with a specialisation in yoga and its use in optimizing athletic performance, followed an M.A. and Ph.D. in Yoga Philosophy at Gurukul Kangri, the Sanskrit university of Haridwar. He then moved to Yoga Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, seeking advanced teachings in Pranic purification from Yogi Nath, while teaching and inspiring students from around the world to live the yogic life with joy and dedication.
However what all that didn’t tell me was, that he was one of the few yogis in India teaching ancient yogic practices and his magnetic energy and humble manner which would draw anyone to him.
The Kriyas or yogic cleansing techniques were a part of my teacher training that I was incredibly excited about, I had heard tell about them and wanted to try anything that sounded as revolting as these did. Flow water through your nose from one nostril to the other, yes. Put a piece of rubber tubing down your nose and pull it out of your mouth, yes. Swallow heaps of salt water wash it around your stomach and throw it up again, oh yes. Drink heaps of salt water and let it flush out your entire intestinal tract, oh yes yes. Swallow 21ft of cloth let it massage the inside of your stomach and then pull it back out, oh yes, yes, yes, yes yes!
In reality, anything beyond the Neti Pot was a bit beyond me, although I gave them a good crack, but it was taking part in these practices that lead me to the man I married, Nick 'SadaShiv' Bradley.
Nick Bradley had also travelled extensively through India many times, he had practised with Pattabhi Jois and Sheshadri in Mysore, trekked through the Himalayas and spent time working on acu-energetics with Kevin Farrow at the Osho ashram in Pune but now was searching for a guru who could help him master the inner workings of his body, namely his organs. He knew that Rishikesh, home to the Ancient Rishis would be his best bet, so went in search of his teacher here.
After asking around the many Saddhus that he thought would be practising these deeper Kriyas he was pointed towards Vishva ji, and found him to be not only knowledgable on all of the practices he was interested in but accomplished in each and every one.
We hear a lot about ancient yogis and what they could do but to find one in this modern day society was exciting beyond words. A year later Nick and I opened up Shiva Shakti Yoga Studio in Byron Bay, and a few months after that our baby girl was born.
It’s amazing the way yoga changes your life and I often wondered what I was thinking opening up a yoga studio in my third trimester but yoga and the studio gave me so much and really helped my whole birthing process. I was lucky enough to give birth to Amala in the water tub in Mullumbimby, where I was given the most amazing care by the beautiful midwives there. The night before I taught the largest yoga class I’d ever taught and Nick had just been accepted into the Masters degree of Osteopathy at Southern Cross University.
We hoped to marry in India back at the ashram with Vishva in late January but our baby was just too small for us to feel comfortable taking her on her maiden voyage to India. Incredibly Vishva agreed to come to Byron Bay and perform our marriage! While he was with us, not only did he perform our Wedding ceremony, he taught all week in our Byron Bay studio and we held a wonderful, jam-packed full day Yoga workshop there too. It was a very special time for us and wonderful experience for all involved.
We have since had a second daughter, moved up to the stunning Gold Coast hinterland, where we facilitate our 200hr Akhanda Yoga Teacher Trainings from our purpose built Yoga Studio and Ashram Style Retreat Centre in Austinville. All done with the encouragement and blessing of our beloved teacher, Yogi Vishvketu. Nick is now a Qualified Osteopath and owner of his successful Osteopath and Naturopath Clinic in Worongary, where he works alongside Naturopath, Cameron Barker and other practitioners.
We are excited to announce that our beloved Vishva-ji will be coming again to visit with us in early 2017. We will be holding Workshop on the Gold Coast, location and time to be advised soon, tickets will go on sale at the end of September. Click here for more info
A few very special students will have the chance to study up close and personal with Yogi Vishvketu at our upcoming 200hr Residential Yoga Teacher Training in March 2017. He will be working closely with the small group of students for a few days during the YTT course, a rare opportunity not to missed! Click here to find our more about upcoming YTT
The Gold Coast of Australia is a far cry from the windy studio at the ashram where he would teach us, as we looked at views of the Himalayas while the sun rose, but I know that as he comes he brings with him that flavour of ancient Prana from the heights of Tapovan, Rishikesh and gives us a taste of true Indian wisdom. We are excited to share these events with all who wish to learn from a genuine Yogi Master and treat him to his second taste of all Australia has to offer.
Vishva-ji is committed to offering holistic yoga workshops internationally, incorporating diverse aspects of the practice: asana, pranayama, cleansing kriyas, Ayurveda and Vedic chanting, as well as to offering Yoga Alliance registered 200 and 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) programs in Canada and in Rishikesh (India). He calls this holistic style of teaching Akhanda Yoga, meaning whole and indivisible.
Vishva-ji esteems for their teachings in traditional Hatha yoga, the great saints Baba Prem Nath and Guru Yogi Nath of the ancient lineage of Nath; and for teachings in Naturopathy and Ayurveda, the master Baba Hari Nam and Swami Yogananda.