Shadanga Yoga

Article by Sundernath (Shandor Remete)

Shadanga Yoga

Guru Goraknath in his Goraksha-Shatakam does not use the terms Hatha Yoga or Raja Yoga nor the Ashtanga Yoga terminology of Patanjali. The term he uses is Shadanga Yoga, referring to a Yoga of six limbs, namely Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi (the implication being that Yama and Niyama have already been understood). He goes on to list auxiliary techniques including mudra, bandha, kundalini-udbodha (arousing) and also the shatchakras that figure so prominently in later classical texts like the Hatha yoga pradipika and the Shiva Samhitha. For pratyahara he prescribes the Viparita karani mudra and he gives only two asanas – Siddhasana and Padmasana.

These six steps together with the their prescribed techniques are to ensure the absolute control over the mind which will bring final emancipation. He clarifies the nature of this goal in the last section of the text (slokas 92-101). Here Goraknath acknowledges the indivisibility of Yogavidya (the science of yoga) and Brahmavidya (the science of the Eternal one). In accordance with the view of the Upanishads he explains the relationship of the two in that while Brahmavidya is the end, Yogavidya is the means.

The Shatakam clearly outlines the steps in this process:

  1. Mental steadiness
  2. Complete control of the physical organism
  3. Reversal of the flow of mental activity

The goal is not Kaivalya (an isolation of the spirit from matter which suggests duality) but rather a dissolution of the mind through withdrawing from the objective world and turning towards the higher self. As the mind loses itself in the higher self the yogin experiences a state of non-duality at the summit of spiritual elevation. Guru Goraknath’s Shatakam thus reaffirms the Upanishadic ideal of ‘Oneness’.

A brief outline of the Shadanga Yoga of the Nath Sampradaya is enough to demonstrate how far most contemporary forms of yoga have deviated from this traditional path of spiritual upliftment. The Shatakam states that 2 seats, 5 bodily mudras and 3 bandhas are sufficient for the unfolding of the spiritual forces within the individual’s body. The specified asanas, if properly and continually practiced, not only establish physiological balance within the body but also secure mental equipoise. From this foundation, mental techniques applied during the different modes of pranayama, can then achieve control of pranic forces that in turn allows the dissolution of the activities of the mind.

At this point it is appropriate to distinguish two broad divisions of asana within the hatha yogic corpus – the cultural and the meditative. Establishing the chief characteristics of these two divisions and their crucial differences will clear any confusion that has arisen through these activities being subsumed under the one term ‘Yoga’. From the structure and content of the Shatakam we can see that Goraknath assumed his readers would already understand this.

The cultural poses are all those that require specific movements of the spine for their attainment and in which a special position of the spine must then be maintained. The effort required to enter and maintain these positions (as in asanas like Sirsa, Sarvanga, Hala and Bhujanga) does not allow the mind to be free for meditation. The principle goals of the cultural asanas is to secure physical health and dharana (single pointed attention). The muscular exertion required to achieve these benefits increases the activity of the lungs and heart and the production of carbon dioxide which imprisons the consciousness in the physical structure of the body.

Although the meditative postures are sitting postures, not all sitting postures are meditative. The meditative asanas can be held for hours since the erect position of the spine keeps the abdominal viscera free from pressure and brings lightness and ease to the whole structure. This frees the mind of the burden of the body and allows it to coordinate the yogic exercises of pranayama, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. These reduce the activity of the lungs and heart and minimise the production of carbon dioxide. This state is the foundation for the arousal of the cosmic force Kundalini Shakti.

As one can see both divisions fulfil important roles during the individual’s journey. Over twenty years ago Shadow Yoga introduced first the Prelude forms and later the Nrtta Sadhana for the improvement of the physical structure. More recently, the Asana-angahara 1 & 2 were introduced for the improvement of the health of the physiological organism. At present we are in the the third phase, the introduction of Shadanga yoga 1 & 2. These are preparatory stages for the purification of the organism and the setting up of the nadi system for the stages of pranayama, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Shadanga Yoga 1 and 2 have been composed from the 32 asanas of varied intensities: in the course of mastering the two forms they will be reduced to 2 seats, 5 mudras, and the 3 bandhas.

The apparent simplicity and unparalleled ease of the meditative postures developed by the followers of the Natha Sampradaya and Hatha Yoga can be deceptive.

As the Teju-Bindi-Upanishad states:

‘A posture can be recognised as an asana only if it allows meditation on Brahman (the Eternal One) without any break. Otherwise it is to be condemned as miserable.’

Shadow Yoga © Sundernath (Shandor Remete)

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.