Article by Sundernath (Shandor Remete)

The term pratīka means a symbol and its root meaning refers to a movement towards something; upāsana means “attempt”.

Combined, pratīkopāsana (pratīka +upāsana) refers to the process by which the practitioner attempts to approach an object of concentration. The ultimate aim is to go beyond the outer form of the symbol and meet the deity within the depths of consciousness. This deity is the Eternal Beloved of the Soul. This meeting is not achieved by an effort of will nor does the object need to be created by the mind for the living image is already implanted deep inside the heart. The fivefold symbolism of the AUM indicates the nature of this process.

This movement towards and through the symbol is not achieved by the normal pathways of the waking mind (2. jāgrat) which deal in thought and fancy nor by the mechanical activities of the unconscious mind (1. suṣupti) but through the the dream or visionary mode of dhyāna (3) whose root lies in the borderlands of those two. Only the steady culmination of this inward turning power can pierce the protective veil of illusion (4. māya) and take the soul safely to its goal (5. bindu).

It is this power which is cultivated on the fields of āsana and prāṇāyama and whose presence is indicated by the achievement of effortless effort and indifference. Then the yogin has reached the gate, has become the master of this art and craft and is ready to enter and soar the heights of pratīkopāsana. Yet the path to this point is hard to tread and requires patience and perseverance to overcome innumerable failures and courage to cast off all external trappings and supports. Hence this statement of Gorakhnath:

At the tenth door the avādhut (one who has ‘shaken loose’) undoes the lock. Therefore listen O people only a few, one In a hundred, can conquer the fortress of the body. Ours is a difficult path. One must keep the tongue and the genitals and the channel through which they both operate under control at all times. Then those who spend time in the practice of yoga are not eaten by time.

Therefore the body is the robe and mind is the yogi. Therefore the mind is the yogi and the body is the monastery. The five elements compose the cloak and forgiveness is sitting in the six postures. Wisdom is the ascetic seat, and good reason, the wooden sandals. Therefore correct thinking is the staff and dhyāna, the process of pure reflection on the anonymous, unseen, unblemished presence of God. This is accomplished in a specified seated posture, unaccompanied by respiration, in kevala kumbhaka (alone without parts) that is the secret of ulta-sādhana (the process of reversal). There the reversed Śakti rises to the tenth door while the breath plays throughout the whole body from the toes to the top knot (śikhā) where the reversed moon eclipses Rahu. By the process of reversal the yogi succeeds in reversing the natural trends of ageing, disease and death channelling his or her energy, seed and breath against the normal outward flow of the bodily functions.

The process of pratīkopāsana is threefold since it has both three phases and three dimensions.
Pratīkopāsana – meditation on visual images.
Nāmopāsana – meditation on sound symbols.
Ahamgrahopāsana – meditation on the Self.

For some these form three distinct and progressive stages of practice moving from gross to subtle. However, according to constitution, aptitude and conditions some may be drawn to the world of vibration rather than image whilst a rare few are equipped to move straight into the realm of the Self. As with all practices the most important thing is to respond appropriately to that which arises on ones path and not to react from emotion, agenda or obsession. Over time, and as the practice intensifies and matures, all three realms of form, sound and self will fully manifest, completely dissolve and gather (melana) into a single point (bindu).

In The Threefold Meditations of the Thunder Dragon I have described all the stages that lead to this goal from the first preliminaries, encompassing all the corresponding mindsets and necessary adaptations. Ãsana gives victory over the fortress of the body. Mudrā and bandha together with prāṇāyama cause the dissolution of prāna into Śakti while dhyāna brings forth the absorption of manas. When all essences are gathered into the single point of bindu then the state of Śakti-anusandhāna is attained. Here mind and śakti are united in the thousand petalled lotus in the head (sahasrāra cakra) through the the processes of the Śāmbhavimudrā whose dissolving point is anusandhātmaka that is Śivoham – I am Śiva.

When the realisation comes that one has been gazing at/listening to this living image for eternity this takes place in the innermost domain of the mind where whisper glides without a whisper and where void dwells within its own void.

Shadow Yoga © Sundernath (Shandor Remete)
Credit: ōm shodo by John Evans

Shadow Yoga is concerned with the social and environmental impacts of industry and the marginalisation of various groups. We have pledged 1% of sales to help fund diverse grassroots organizations and appreciate the support of our community.

In 2002, Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, created 1% for the Planet and started a global movement. “The intent of 1% for the Planet is to help fund these diverse environmental organizations so that collectively they can be a more powerful source in solving the world’s problems.”

Important Information


  • Accommodation for the specified nights. We will do our best to provide your choice of accommodation
  • Vegetarian meals catered by local chef with local produce.

If you are flying to Auckland, when your flights are confirmed, please pass the info to Jaymin Gansell who will co-ordinate transport to the retreat on the Tuesday. This will be an additional shared cost. If you are already in Auckland you are welcome to contact her too.


  • 5% For EarlyBird booking and full payment received before 15 July will be applied at checkout.
  • We regret that Teacher’s Discount is not available for this retreat.

Cancellation Policy

  • After 15 August: Cancellation fee of 20%
  • After 15 September: Cancellation fee of 40%
  • After 15 October: Cancellation fee of 100%
  • We will do our best to replace your booking in which case the fee will be halved.

Limited to 20 participants. We expect places to fill quickly.

Important Information

August is the time of the monsoon in India. Ancient writings outline that this season is the best season for Panchakarma treatments (Ayurvedic cleansings) which are enhanced at this time. Alongside this, the yoga will be offered with the treatments.


  • Accommodation for the specified nights. We will do our best to provide your choice of accommodation
  • One consultation with the Vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor)
  • Treatments as specified
  • Three vegetarian meals a day with two beverages (ideally herbal tea if not, tea/ coffee) and fruit bowl
  • One group session on Diet and Ayurveda


  • Extra meals/fruits/tea/coffee & juices


  • Airport taxi pickup and drop are available (see below)
  • Additional specific treatments are available
  • Astrology Session: INR4,000


  • 5% For EarlyBird booking and full payment received before 31 March (will be applied at checkout)
  • If you are registering for more than one course at Poonthottam an additional 5% discount is available. We will also include the night between the courses. In this case, please email Danny May with your course selection and room type.
  • We regret that Teacher’s Discount is not available for these retreats.

Venue information
The closest domestic airports in order are Kozhikode, Cochin, Coimbatore. Cochin takes longer because of very heavy traffic. The ashram will help organise a taxi for you – see contact details below.


For taxi bookings and information about additional treatments or extending your stay, please contact Jishnu Ravendranath
WhatsApp is prefered +918075435242

Cancellation Policy

(based on Ayurvedasram policy)
After 30 April – Cancellation fee of 25%
After 28 May – 100%

Limited to 25 participants. We expect places to fill quickly.

Meditations of the Thunder Dragon (Taranyali Dhyanam)

with Sundernath

Over the past twenty years, we have introduced and taught all the preparatory practices required to cultivate the subtle energy and initiate the gathering of vital power that leads to the spontaneous or natural state of Sahajavasta which is the highest peak of meditation.

These practices and technical tools were laid out in Sundernath’s book Taranyali Tridha Dhyanam in the chapters on Krantam and Kriya. In the last chapter, he introduces the principles and characteristics of the final phase to which they lead – the acquisition of Shambhavi Mudra. These properties can be summed up in the term prasādājñā which implies that this mudra has a double nature – Rudra Shakti, the command of authority for the removal of impurities and Kundalini Shakti, the command of grace. When these two energies are drawn together into a single point the portal of transmission is opened. In this explanation I gave enough for genuine seekers to gain some sense of the path ahead and the demands that it would make.

The time has come to teach those individuals who are suitably prepared and open, by practical steps and in a systematic manner, the complete process through to this final stage.

This will be undertaken in four stages as follows:

  1. The Sheathing of Thunder and Lightning
  2. Stabilising the Thunder and Lightning
  3. Opening the Sky and Flooding
  4. The Arousal of Hamsah – the Anahata Nad, (the unstruck sound of the heart).
    Shambhavi Mudra

Each stage will consist of three-weekend workshops, each weekend consisting of three sessions. Between these stages, the students will be given suitable time to practice and absorb what they have learned before proceeding further.

Copyright © Shadow Yoga. All rights reserved. No part of these teachings may be reproduced, distributed, recorded or transmitted in any form or by any means, including, recording, or other electronic or mechanical means, without the prior written permission of Shadow Yoga. All advice given is strictly in confidence.


About the region

Tourism center information

Close by: Remember to call ahead for visit conditions

Roche de Solutré: Not to miss, on the Great Site of France Solutré Pouilly Vergisson

Musée de préhistoire: Jardin archeological and botanical garden, the Maison du Grand Site to complete the tour.

Château De Pierreclos: In the midst of organic vineyards.

Chateau De Berze-Le-Chatel: Historical monument, one of the most well-preserved medieval fortified castles of Burgundy (where Ridley Scott shot ‘The Last Duel’!)

Chapelle Des Moines: In Berzé-la-Ville (the next village!)  – not to be missed.

Château De Cormatin: (only possible to visit its magnificent garden) Between Tournus et Cluny.

Les Communs: Local ceramists.

Chapaize – L’église Saint Martin & L’église De Lancharre: The village offers bed and breakfasts, 3 restaurants a Sunday organic market, an art gallery, and artists’ ateliers.

Grottes D’azé: Earth under life: in -350 000, a primal man appeared in the cave, then rhinos and antique elephants…the prehistorical cave and the underground river hide one of the largest European cave bears fields.

Grottes De Blanot

Château De Saint-Point-Lamartine: If one appreciates the writer

Solornay sur Guye: The neighbouring town – includes a restaurant, small food store, salon de thé – pâtisserie 

Cité- Abbaye De Cluny: The Benedictin Abbaye Of Cluny Shined On The Whole Middle Age Europe, Being The Widest Of Western Christianity Before The Building Of Saint-Peters In Rome.

Communauté De Taizé: Christian Ecumenical Community Founded In 1940 By Brother Roger.

Abbaye Saint Philibert – Tournus: One Of The Largest French Monastic Cities.