Interview with Gurudev Shri Amritji

Meditation in Motion

Gurudev Shri Amritji (Yogi Amrit Desai) is one of a handful of gurus who came to America from India in the early 1960s.

Amritji was the first to bring the authentic inner dimension of yoga to the West, which has continued to transform countless lives. His Integrative Amrit Methodology (I AM Yoga), incorporates Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the first written code on the meaning of yoga and the combination of Hatha and Raja Yoga into one practice. His I AM tools and techniques are truly unique in their practicality and wisdom and are available to all.

Out of his 1970 awakening experience, he originally formulated his teachings as Kripalu Yoga, named in honour of his guru, H.H. Swami Shri Kripalvanandji, himself one of the greatest yogic saints of the 20th century. From the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania (1966) to the Kripalu Ashrams (1971 and 1976), Amritji went on to establish the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, Mass. in 1983, which became the largest of its kind in North America.

Today, he resides at the Amrit Yoga Institute in Salt Springs, Fla., where he continues to refine the I AM methods while traveling and teaching extensively around the world. He has been repeatedly honoured for his unique contributions, far too many to mention here. The yoga he has created is now practiced and taught by thousands in more than 40 countries. 

I was so thrilled to have a conversation with my Gurudev and catch up on the important things in life. The foundation of all my teachings in the last forty years has always been based on my Yoga and Teacher’s Training at Kripalu with Gurudev. As I continued along my path, I studied for my Masters degree in counselling psychology so that I could continue to spread the teachings of yoga. The most important lesson I’ve learned was how to take yoga off the mat and incorporate it into my life and not just be something physical you do three -five times a week. The most profound changes in my life came from using the power of the breath and meditation.

Can you describe the fundamental causes of our health problems in today’s world and how we can use Meditation in Motion as a therapeutic tool for emotional healing and spiritual transformation? 

Today, the Covid pandemic has created an amazing shift in people’s consciousness and lifestyle. Many people are unable to adjust with all the profound changes that are happening at all levels, be it political, educational, economical, family or lifestyle.

This is the perfect timing to learn how to manage your own personal affairs as well as your relationships with people and life. 

Many are getting so confused because they have to basically learn how to change habits which, for most people, is a difficult thing. The main problem is people don’t like to change. Those who suffer from health problems are the victims of their own destructive compulsive habit patterns that are built into their lifestyle so they end up repeatedly creating this conflict and stress in their life. 

Meditation is a powerful technique to help restore your peace of mind and balance within yourself. Health and relationship problems point to an imbalance from within which is created by the mind. The mind that created the problem cannot be used to solve the problem.

Meditation is a profound power. Patanjali, the father of yoga, who wrote the fundamental book of yoga over 2000 years ago, stated that yoga means witnessing the modifications of the mind.

If ego mind is the problem, then withdrawal from the mind is important so that you can go to the higher consciousness that is behind it. Once you withdraw from the mind you enter your feeling body, which is the direction to soul being. Learn to shift gears as God is within.

This is what I call Meditation in Motion. Without meditation, there is no integration, there is no yoga. Most people practice yoga as a physical discipline. This brings in the ego mind which manages your practice with its own paranoid memories of everything it has; “I’m too stiff, I’m too fat, I hate this, so and so is doing better, it’s not good, etc… this is what the Ego is doing that on the yoga mat and thereby creating conflict within the body.

To practice yoga postures, one needs to focus on the meditative interaction between mind and body. Mind becomes the beginner’s mind as you withdraw all the reactive cards; anger cards, self pity cards, comparing parts etc.. these are all from ego mind. Meditation puts you in touch with the pure mind without the forced connection. It becomes mind-body in co-creation, the whole mind-body interaction with the body.

The higher power, God, is born into the body. Learn how to awaken that power with what I call the Quantum Breath Meditation; using the breathe to make the connection to the subconscious energy field.

With a combination of the breath and meditation, one can withdraw from the mind and the mind becomes clear.  By using the breath, one can get a direct link to Prana and your energy feeling body as well as be able to silence the thinking mind. Awakening the power of Prana allows the healing to begin.

How do you take yoga off the mat and incorporate it into everyday life?

It’s all about learning how to use meditation to connect with your body. When holding a yoga posture on the mat you are learning how to convert your mental and emotional reaction to the body into co-creative interaction with the body; you are using meditation to restore the conflict into co-creation.

You are creating the shift on the yoga mat between mind and body then, when you go out into life, you are creating and using the same shift between mind and anybody you face in life. Meditation helps restore the shift between body and mind.

We need constant reminders and it is with regular practice that we will make it very effective.

People that come to me, within one or two sessions, have an amazing turn in their personal life and in their interactions with their husbands, wives, children, family and business. Everything begins to change because they see the effects in their lives right away. They learn it on the yoga mat and they go test it with their life. What they test in their life, they then bring back to yoga mat. Every life experience is how you interact with your body and the same is how you interact with everybody in the outer world. That is why, if you change your relation with yourself, you change the world, no matter where you go and whom you are with.

This is very powerful; that is why I say that when you change, the whole world changes with you.

I use simple techniques that work, otherwise I won’t teach it. There is an instant change when you work with the breath and you see the results right away. There is an immediate shift.

The main key is meditation and the breath along with physical body postures.

The focus is on Prana, kundalini meditation and awakening the subconscious energy. In yoga, we call this Prana awakening. It happens spontaneously. That’s what happened to me when I had my awakening experience in 1970. It was the experience of meditation in motion, where suddenly my body was entering into different postures prompted by the inner impulses, rather than the mind telling the body what to do.

Energetic communion is the most powerful direct teaching. Nonverbal communion is real communion. In church, they call it communion but it is nothing like communion, is it?  No one is feeling connected, they are thinking connection, which is no connection. Mind is never listening just questioning and being indecisive.

Mind to mind is not communication. No one is listening because they are not connected to the silence and witness inside. They are subjectively listening to everything from what they think rather than what is being said. People are frustrated because no one listens to them.

They haven’t learnt how to connect with the source within to be in communion within.

If they are not connected within, they are not connected with others.

Heart to heart communication is the secret to all health issues and creating relationships with self and others. If you are happy with yourself, you’ll be happy no matter where you go, what you do or who you are with. That’s the fundamental fact of life. This is why the mind that created the problem cannot be used to solve the problem.

When you don’t learn, you repeat the same problem. This is what I call the cycle; people become the victims of what they have created before and then they create it again.

Everybody is the carrier of Toxic Memory Stress Disorder (TMSD). TSMD is the root cause of relationship and health problems. When you trigger your unconscious memories, you see the enemy outside and then you are fighting with the false enemy. What you don’t realize is that you are using up energy and end up getting nowhere. You end up suffering from all the energy deficiencies; depression, anxiety, fear, etc… They form the mental and emotional energy blocks, many of which can be traced to traumatic emotional wounds that we carry as painful memories of the past that are difficult to recognize and even harder to erase. They are fused into our biology and psychology.

False memories create divided memories. In reality, there is no such division. Withdraw from the memory and know it is false.

Once you know the Truth; I am not what I think about myself, people are not what I think about them. Conflict is someone’s expectations that are different from what they are.

So conflict is within you, reflection is your problem. Realize that all the disturbances that appear to be coming from the outside are actually in the eye of the reactive perceiver.

When you are enlightened, you live in a state of beginner’s mind, where you do not react to who is present Now through the memory mind. You know the Truth. The memory mind is the carrier of the illusive perceptions of reality. Once you know the Truth that you are not your thoughts, you can instantly drop them. I can drop my expectations and the frustrations are gone.

Yoga is a powerful tool to regenerate the body and restore balance to our mind and emotions. By reducing the stress related problems, yoga can help us make the shift to the deeper core of our spiritual being and allow the healing to occur.

 If it changes your life, it is yoga. If it changes your body, it is exercise.

I’d like to thank Gurudev for the love and grace he shared with us today. Through his unique teaching, he continues his mission of spreading the light to the world and inspiring us all to seek enlightenment through the body, mind, spiritual connection.


Antoinette Giacobbe


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