A reportage from the spiritual event of the year.
In these times when authentic spirituality is discouraged and even outright oppressed, the Atman Federation’s Grand Graduation Celebration was a monumental feat. With almost 150 graduates from three different teacher training courses and more than 20 different countries, this year’s grandiose graduation was a big step forward for not only the Federation hosting it, The International Federation of Yoga and Meditation ATMAN, but also the awakening of genuine spirituality on our planet.
The Atman Federation teacher training graduations take place biennially. As in 2015, this year’s graduation took place in Paradise Retreat Center, Denmark, but this year it became clear that this was going to be an event of another magnitude altogether. It was a graduation of firsts. For the first time, Paradise’s magnificent new Valhalla Hall hosted the event, there were three different teacher training courses graduating, the first generation of Tantra Teacher Training aspirants graduated, it was broadcast online, and probably most impressive of all, it grew from a modest five-hour ceremony to a three-day, full weekend initiate event.
A Unique Celebration of Spirituality
Taking place on the weekend of 24th to 26th November, the Grand Graduation Celebration brought together aspirants from the Yoga, Tantra and Tantra for Women Teacher Training Courses. This year, the Yoga Teacher Training Course year celebrated its 10th anniversary! The Tantra for Women Teacher Training Course saw its second generation of graduates, and for the first time the Tantra Teacher Training Course made its debut on the graduation stage. This marked a historical moment for our school and for the Atman Federation, with the first generation of people now certified to teach the Tantra Intensive Course!
The Grand Graduation Celebration was set up in an initiate frame, as this moment of graduation and receiving spiritual investiture as a teacher is a rite of passage and an important moment of initiation for new teachers.
Yoga teachers – Tantra teachers – Tantra for Women teachers
Becoming a teacher within the Atman Federation is no small feat. To become a yoga teacher means to undergo 2 years of training and to pass two exams – one at the halfway point and a final one at the end of the training. To graduate you need to also submit a thesis, which needs to be of a high standard, both practically and theoretically, in order to qualify for graduation.
To become a Tantra teacher, the training is even more intense. Aspirants undergo four years of training and at the end go through a very thorough practical and theoretical examination process which is aligned with the Tantric path and principles, ensuring that only those who are truly ready to teach this profound path make it through. It is also necessary to submit a thesis at the final exam.
The Tantra for Women Teacher Training lasts for two years and in the end the women can choose to do the final exam and become teachers or not. There is no obligation to do the exam and to become a teacher, but if you want to then you also need to submit a final thesis, which can be of a topic of your choosing.
As you can see, becoming a certified teacher within the Atman Federation is no small feat. In our world today where you can become a yoga teacher in a month, and there are no recognised tantra teacher training courses linked to a particular tantra course, what the Atman Federation offers in the way of spiritual teacher training courses is on a whole other level altogether. And in order to qualify in the first place you need to be in at least the third year of the respective courses in an Atman Federation recognized school.
A joyful celebration of a unique accomplishment
This year’s magnificent graduation began on Friday evening when all the aspirants from all the teacher training courses who had sat the final exam and submitted their theses came together. This was the first time that all these people were gathered together in one space. It was a somewhat nerve-racking moment when the aspirants found out for the first time if they were going to graduate or not. For the few who did not graduate, they had the opportunity to stay in Paradise and be part of the celebrations, having a chance to remain in the spiritual field created by the event and to be inspired by the success stories of their colleagues.
The initiation unfolded over the weekend, culminating in the Grand Graduation Ceremony on Saturday evening, during which the graduates were announced to everyone and they received their diplomas.
The ceremony got off to a delightful start with the Romanian music ensemble, Devas, treating us to their sublime sounds. This set a wonderful ambience for the ceremony to unfold. The moments of awarding diplomas to those who deserved to graduate were very uplifiting and heartfelt.
The diploma ceremony was interwoven with some beautiful and pertinent artistic moments and concluded with Devas again raising the roof with their signature strings and souful beats, which got the audience on their feet. Among the performances, we were treated to Indian dance, sensual, refined eroticism, a polarity movement performance, spiritual song, and artistic yoga postures. In the photo gallery below you can see some images of the wonderful performances.
In what was a world premiere, the entire ceremony was broadcast on MISA TV. It was the first time the Atman graduation has been able to be watched by many from afar and this proved to be a great success. With almost a thousand online, and two hundred in the hall, this year’s graduation was seen by more people than ever.
Teacher Projects – Research into Spiritual Science
As well as the graduates receiving their teaching diplomas, the best theses from each group were awarded. Thesis topics are decided by drawing lots for the Yoga and Tantra teacher training groups and for Tantra for Women the aspirants have the choice to choose what they want. This year’s projects were of a very high calibre and overall I was very impressed by the works that were submitted. It is worth mentioning the projects that received first place in both Tantra and Yoga as these were both outstanding and set the bar at another level altogether.
For Yoga, Raluca Popescu received first place with her study on the phenomenon of Transmutation. Raluca succeeded to remake all the groundbreaking experiments of the pioneer in the science of transmutation, French scientist, Louis Kervran. This was an exceptional project, both theoretically and practically, being a big step up from all the projects previously done on the same subject, and very well-deserving of its first place.
For Tantra, Doru Bodea received first prize for his work on the fundamental Tantric notion of polarity. Doru’s project was actually the equivalent of a decent sized ready-to-publish book and what impressed me the most about this was the way he so elegantly handled what is a very difficult and nowadays very controversial subject.
Graduation is a significant moment in the spiritual life of an aspirant
Following the graduation ceremony, the newly graduated teachers received their spiritual investiture in special ritualistic integrations. This was a very special moment which stands out as being one of the peak moments of inaugurating new teachers.
On Sunday, the celebration continued with more initiate activities for the newly graduated teachers.
The Grand Graduation Celebration marked a very important moment in the life of the schools integrated within the Atman Federation. I was deeply impressed by the way the organizers rallied together to make it happen in such a wonderful way. The states of Karma Yoga were exemplary, people spontaneously adapting to what was needed in any given moment. The team created a magnificent, heartfelt event and the Paradise team did a terrific job of providing great meals and accommodation for everyone.
To have made it to the point of graduating as one of the teachers in the Atman Federation is a remarkable achievement and a big step for many spiritual seekers on this path. But the journey is not over here, in fact this marks just the beginning of this incredible path of being a spiritual teacher. Guiding fellow aspirants on the path is one of the noblest causes a human being can engage in
Being a spiritual teacher in our world today is a great privilege and at the same time it brings with it great responsibility. At a time when spirituality is at its lowest and materialism reigns, having the position of being a teacher of an authentic spiritual path is an amazing opportunity which also comes with a lot of tests and challenges and is certainly not something to be taken lightly.