Sahaja Yoga’s history in Australia has been one of active participation in society, providing its services free of charge and engaging with both the general public and a diverse range of community groups. Regardless of race, belief, gender, age or status, these community services are freely available to all.
People who have been introduced to Shri Mataji’s inspirational teachings and learnt the SY techniques, have been involved in providing a wide range of community services such as:
- General public classes, workshops and courses of meditation
- Corporate and organisational stress management
- Personal development workshops within the Department of Corrective Services, gaols, remand centres and immigration detention centres
- Stress management and personal development courses within schools, universities and other educational establishments
- Clinical medical research (providing unpaid voluntary support)
- Youth development programs
- Cultural and artistic projects and performances in music, dance, theatre, literature, and art
- Ongoing weekly community radio programmes
- Unpaid voluntary support for clinical medical research
- Outreach programmes for Indigenous communities
- Support for Multicultural & local communities
- Assisting people in remote and isolated communities
- Online facilities to educate, support and enrich the public.
Funded only by voluntary donations from regular practitioners, and functioning as a non-profit community service, SY has no paid positions and is conducted entirely by volunteers in their free time. This is in keeping with the principles of Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, who never charged, and insisted that Her teachings and techniques should be available to all, at no cost.
Meditation is the most natural addition to a normal routine to lead a more balanced life and assist in lessening the effects of stress and anxiety. The practice of Sahaja Yoga meditation, once established, may help people to achieve mental resilience and intellectual and spiritual fulfilment.
Experienced practitioners, who have themselves benefited from the positive effects of SY meditation, currently offer more than 125 ongoing free weekly introductory and advanced classes across Australia to the public. Sahaja Yoga centres have been established in every capital city and many regional areas around Australia, where people meet regularly to practise and learn more about the SY method.
Over hundreds of thousands of people throughout Australia over the last 30 years have attended SY public lectures, classes, seminars, courses or workshops and have benefited by experiencing an enhanced sense of well being. The SY meditation technique is easily learned by the average person.
In recent years, clinical trials and medical research have established the unique and substantial benefits of SY meditation to participants. We are facing, as a community and a society, a growing crisis in mental health. The World Health Organisation, the Commonwealth Dept of Health and Ageing, and the Mental Health Council of Australia predict the most prevalent health problem in Australia will be mental illness. Our health system will be stretched to breaking point as it is called upon to deal with a broad range of common mental health problems, of which depression, anxiety, stress and substance abuse will be the commonest. It is widely accepted by frontline clinicians as well as health policymakers that we have few, if any, effective strategies available to deal with the burden that these issues will create for individuals, the economy and our society as a whole. In this context meditation has a unique role to play as it is a practice that not only promotes ongoing wellbeing but also can prevent mental illness as well as mitigate the severity of high-prevalence mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety
Role in the Educational System
Practitioners of SY are involved with the education of students and young children within the framework of the precepts of meditation as a simple means of alleviating stress and improving self esteem. A series of initiatives in a number of primary and secondary schools throughout the country is being conducted using SY techniques.
Music and the Arts
The culture of SY is also to actively support the artistic pursuits of visual art, music, dance and drama. Around Australia, Sahaja Yoga musicians from different cultural backgrounds have joined together to create music to promote and enhance a deep meditative experience through their ‘music for meditation’ groups.
Community Social Services
Meditation sessions using SY techniques have been delivered to a wide variety of organisations in the areas of community social services; corrective services; education; health and wellbeing; Indigenous community; multicultural communities; local and regional locations; corporate and small businesses.
Various online methods are used to promote and deliver SY services to the community around Australia. These include websites that provide audio and video instructions on how to meditate, multicultural music and location of classes; email subscriptions and newsletters that promote ongoing and special services throughout the year; plus podcasts of selected SY radio programs that can been streamed or downloaded via the website or the iTunes Store to computers and mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and iPods.