If I was rating on just the Intensive Yoga Level 1, I would give it a 4 or 4.5 out of 5. Yet Agama is not solely about Level One, so I had to factor in the other levels, the Tantric element, and the Swami.
Level One Intensive is great. It is the most detailed informative yoga instruction I have taken so far. Swami has clearly taken different methods of instruction – much of if from India and Sivananda Ashram in particular, and made a comprehensive Western version by telling us the who, what, why and how that you may not get in the Indian version of the instruction. The classes go into detail about what to focus on during each asana and even what chakra they influence and how you can heal ailments from incorporating certain poses.
I also found the lectures really informative with great information on maintaining natural well being including diet and cleanses. I found the instructors great and dedicated and really helpful when you had questions. Though I do find the yoga instructions rather robotic as they are all trained to say the exact same thing and that seems a bit clone like to me and lacking personal identity and character which they all clearly have.
I did not care for the instructors and helpers coming up to me and touching me without asking first. I am deep in my practice, often with my eyes closed and also very aware of my own energy and working with the healing aspects of it so I found it rather invasive to have someone touch me while I am in this state and sometimes the touch was in a sensual manner. I brought this to their attention and they take in these critiques and often make changes.
I wish there was an Intensive Level 2 and 3 that they offer with the same format yet they do not offer this. I talked with other students and they wished for the same thing so I proposed that to the school since many of us return to Level 1 again yet don’t continue with other Levels.
Instead Level 2 has three classes a week. Much of the lecture is via video with Swami speaking. Swami’s speeches were my least favorite part of the teachings, so to have his speeches and via video was hard for me to consider for a month duration as well as future Levels. I preferred instruction from the other teachers who were also there in the flesh.
The Swami is a very knowledgeable man and I am grateful for the information he put together for the Intensive 1 class, yet I do not care for his speeches and have walked out on a few because I felt his information during his story telling was not always accurate and I felt it unethical at times.
Tantric teachings are also part of the information taught at the school – this is slowly introduced to students once they start Level one. I took Tantra 1 and liked the information presented and in this case it was presented by the Swami and I appreciate his instruction during this class. I cannot say what the other levels or related tantric classes are like since I have not taken them.
Being that there is Tantric teachings, it draws a variety of people. Some come there looking for spirituality, others for sexual experiences, others both. Beware that unsafe sex also seems to be a practice with some. Some ‘Shakti’ sessions seemed to lean towards women being submissive towards their partners and surrendering to them. It makes me wonder what is brought up in the ‘Shiva’ (male) sessions. I would like to hear a male’s perspective of the ‘Shiva’ sessions.
Swami is known for having sex with his students. He claims he is helping them learn Tantric skills by doing this. He is also a practitioner in hypnosis and has books in his library on charisma. I question his integrity and ethics in some of the way he discloses information and conducts himself. This was also a prevailing discussion among many students and sometimes instructors while I was there on both occasions.
I have a guru who exudes love and beautiful energy and I never question her ethics. I believe she is enlightened and is free of ego. I do not feel these same qualities from the Swami. However I appreciate the yoga information he offers at Agama and am grateful for what I learned there. I am also grateful for some of the cool people I met who were students at Agama, some I have remained friends with.
The center is known as having a bit of a cult flavor along with using their own jargon (ie referencing each other as ‘Shivas’ and ‘Shaktis’) yet you can be in it as much as you like and leave whenever you wish. Some, including instructors, use the term ‘being in a bubble’ at the Agama Center, yet you can still pop your way out of there when you choose. There is nothing to keep you there except your desire to stay. You can also take with you any great information you learn and leave what does not work for you.
You could become part of the flock yet I was not. I questioned things and the answers from the Swami were sometimes like what I might hear from a politician or a lawyer defending himself. Yet I never heard my own guru defending herself – because there was nothing to defend.
I recommend Level 1 teachings, I think they are amazing and the instructors are great. I have taken it twice yet find I have no desire to continue with the course set up for the next levels as they are currently structured.
Students from Agama received emails from Agama requesting that they write to Trip Advisor about their experiences at Agama. After two such requests, here is my honest synopsis. I hope it is helpful.
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