Tag Archives: Ashtanga Yoga

Tiruvannamalai, famous pilgrimage destination.

Tiruvannamalai, Annamalaiyar Temple

Tiruvannamalai, Annamalaiyar Temple

Renowned pilgrimage destination, the city is famous for its great temple of Annamalaiyar dating back to the IXth century AD and devoted to Shiva. The city is also well known for the legendary sacred hill of Arunachala, which is a holy place, as well as for the presence of the ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi, considered as one of the most illustrious wise men and Indian mystics of the XXth century.


  • The temple is one of the largest in India with a surface area of 10 hectares. It is surrounded by a wall, ornamented by four colossal towers (known as Gopuram) used as the entrance of the sanctuary, and decorated by thousands of sculptures painted rich in colours. The Gopuram have a distinctive architecture dating back to the Chola period in the IXth century. The Eastern Gopura is one of the largest in India; it is 66 meters tall. The room of a thousand pillars is magnificent. The temple is full of life, six rituals are held daily from 5h30 to 10h, there are twelve yearly festivals of which the most famous is the Karthikai Deepam held on the day of full moon between the months of November and December. More than three million pilgrims are present during the celebration. At the top of the hill of Arunachala, there is a giant fire, visible over several kilometres, held in the honour of Shiva.
  • The sacred hill of Arunachala, also called Arunagiri, Annamalai Hill, is one of the five holy shivaït places of South India. Some believe Shiva manifested himself there as a pillar of light. Many Saints and wise men have established themselves on the hill or in the caves, such as Sri Ramana Maharshi who lived there from 1899 to 1916.

“Arunachala is really a holy place. Of all holy places, Arunachala is the holiest. It is the Heart of the world. It is Shiva itself. It is the secret and holy heart of Shiva. In this place, it resides forever under the form of the glorious Arunachala Mount.” Extract from: Sri Arunachala Mahatmyam – Skanda Purana.

At the foot of the sacred hill of Arunachala lies the Ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Ramana Maharshi is one of the greatest wise men and spiritual masters of modern India. He was born on December 1879 and died on April the 14th 1950. He came to transmit the ancient Wisdom of the Advaita-Vedanta under a new, simpler and clearer form. It is based on his personal experience, and he has made accessible to today’s men, the finding of the path of knowledge (Jnana-Marga). According to his teaching, only the Self, the pure conscience, has to be found thanks to the continual question: “Who am I?” “You are That at this precise moment.”

“In the centre of the heart’s cave, in the shape of Me, in the shape of Self, unique and solitary, straight from self to self, the Brahman shines! Enter yourself inside, your thought piercing up to the source, your spirit buried in itself, blow and feel within the collected depths, all of yourself fixed in you and there simply just be!”
Sri Ramana Maharshi 

Tiruvannamalai is located 163 km from Mahabalipuram, 3 hours by car, approximately 5 hours by bus (first go to Chengalpath then change bus to Tiruvannamalai).

Apart from the benefits of Ashtanga Yoga, what to do on Andros island

Andros is part of the Cyclades archipelago. It is a vast, fertile and mountainous island. Rare in the Greek islands, it has many sources and torrents. Some valleys are therefore very green. The trails of the island allow ballads among vineyards and fruit trees. The architecture is also very different from other islands: large neoclassical houses with roofs covered with tiles. Andros is untouched by mass tourism. It mainly attracts wealthy Athenians.

Andros is a paradise for nature lovers and hikers. A well-developed network of trails takes you through the island.

Our Sophia Dimitri very hospitable hosts, will offer you numerous possibilities for excursions.

Must see :

The village of Chora, the beaches on the west coast, the monastery of Agios Nikolaos and of Panachrantou.

Andros Island, the beach

Andros Island, the beach

The beach :

The sand is pleasant, the sea is transparent and fairly quiet. Swimming is enjoyable, but at Easter, water can be a little bit chilly!

Indulge yourself to the benefits of the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, to the blue of the Aegean Sea, to hiking, to osteopathic consultations, to massages, to meetings with other yoga practitioners, to resting, to reading, to swimming or simply stay on the beach doing nothing!

Pongal rice (salty)

Ingredients :

  • Peppercorns (+/-1 tablespoons)
  • Cumin (idem)
  • 2 glasses of rice
  • 5 glasses of water
  • Cashew nuts (not many)
  • Special Vanaspati oil (mixture of several oils and condiments)

Preparation :

  1. Heat a little oil in pressure saucepan and add peppercorns and cumin
  2. Add 5 glasses of water
  3. Add 2 glasses of well-washed rice
  4. Cook until 5 whistles in other words until the rice is well cooked
  5. Fry the slightly crushed cashew nuts in a little special oil.
  6. When the rice is cooked, add cashews nuts

Is eaten with the coconut chutney


Pressure pot

Ingredients : 

  • Rice (Well washed), 2 glasses
  • Water, 3 cups
  • 1 lemon
  • Dal, one handful
  • Blackgram, one handful
  • 3 dried chilli (red) open them
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Mustard seeds
  • Curry leaves

Preparation :

  1. Put water and rice in pressure saucepan, cook until you hear a whistling sound, turn off and leave.
  1. Roll the lemon on a hard surface to “get the juice”, cut it in half and press, collect the juice in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of turmeric.
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan, add :
  • Chilli and fry
  • Curry leaves
  • Mustard seeds
  • Dal and the blackgram

Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, and then add

  • The lemon juice and a little water
  • Salt

Turn off under the frying pan

  1. Open pressure pan and mix the cooked rice with the sauce

Coconut rice

Ingredients :

  • 1 glass of rice
  • 1 ½ glass of water
  • 1/3 to ½ of a coconut, cut into small cubes
  • Dal
  • Blackgram
  • 1 onion
  • Curry leaves
  • Mustard seeds
  • 2 dried chillies (red)


Preparation :

  1. Put rice and water in pressure saucepan, heat, stop at the first whistle, let cool.
  2. Grind coconut in a blender, adding a little water to have an almost liquid consistency.
  3. Heat oil in frying pan and add in order :
  • Mustard seeds
  • Mustard leaves
  • Dal + blackgram
  • Onion
  • 2 opened chillies
  • Blended coconut



4.  Add the cooked rice to mixture
5.  Salt

Raïta with yogurt (curd)

Ingredients : 

  • Peeled and grated cucumber 250ml (one cup)
  • Curd (plain yogurt) 250 ml (one cup)
  • Onion 1 (finely cut) 1/4 cup
  • Fresh coriander 1/4 cup
  • Fresh mint 30ml (2 tbsp)
  • Cumin powder 1 ml (1/4 tsp)
  • Salt 1 tsp. tea

Preparation :

  1. In a colander, place the grated cucumber with salt and allow to drain 20 ′. Rinse and drain again.
  2. Cut an onion into very small pieces, finely chop the fresh coriander and fresh mint, mix everything with the yogurt, add a little salt and cumin
  3. Mix the cucumber and the sauce together.

Vegetable sambal (for 2-3 persons)

First part : 

Ingredients :

  • 50 gr of dal
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 Chilli
  • 4 to 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large glass of water

Put everything into the pressure saucepan, boil, and stop after 3 whistles

Second part :

Ingredients :

  • 1 drumstick
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 packet of peas
  • 1 carrot
  • 4/5 beans
  • ½ onion cut into small pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Mustard seeds
  • Sunflower oil
  • Curry leaves
  • puli
  • Sambal powder
  • Turmeric
  • Water
  1. Wash and cut vegetables (into pieces slightly larger than for curries).
  2. Heat sunflower oil in a frying pan and add in order:
  • Mustard seeds
  • Curry leaves
  • ½ cut onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Washed vegetables
  1. Cook for 5 minutes

Third part : 

  1. Remove all that has been cooked in the pressure saucepan, and KEEP the water
  2. Add a piece of puli to the cooking water
  3. Mix the contents of the pressure saucepan (from which the water has been removed) and add the contents of the frying pan.
  4. Add a little of the cooking water preserved ((not the puli)
  5. Add the turmeric
  6. Add sambal mix (sambal powder 1/2 packet)
  7. Add ½ glass of water to the remaining cooking water and knead the puli inside, then throw the puli away.
  8. Add this water to the rest.
  9. Salt to taste

Replacement YogaTeacher Simon De Wrangel

After many years of Sivananda Yoga, Simon de Wrangel practice Ashtanga Yoga since 1992 with passion. He is an architect and he also has a passion for the instinctive archery.

  • Shivananda Yoga from 1985 and Ashtanga Yoga with Jean-Claude since 1992
  • Instinctive Archery since 1998 – Belgium Archery Team 2009 – 2013
  • Architecture since 1982 – Ashtanga Institute in Brussels in 2002


The origins of the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in de Brussels

Jean Claude, dig the foundations of the Matrimandir, Auroville, India

After coming back from India where Jean Claude taught Yoga to Vinobha Bhave and to Indira Gandhi at Paunar Ashram, dig with a Peruvian friend the beginning of the foundations of the Matrimondir in Auroville

the adventure of transmitting yoga starts in September 1973 at “La Maison de la Culture de Rouen” (France).

Success is immediate, there are several classes everyday in different places, at Mt St Aignan University, at St Claire’s church etc. …. Jean Claude transmits either Iyengar’s technique or Pattabhi Jois’s technique. The workshops take place at the “Château d’Ernement sur Buchy”, where he was living.

Still in Rouen, in 1974, he founds the C.R.Y. (Centre Rouennais de Yoga) with   Dr. Louis Creyx, 264 students follow the morning or evening classes.


He then founds the “Centre Padma” in Elbeuf in 1979 to host residential training workshops. Many workshops are held in France, Italy, Switzerland, Holland etc. …. Since then, Jean Claude exclusively teaches “Yoga Korunta” (Ashtanga Yoga as transmitted by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois) .

Many seminar take place, in the South of France, in the Community of the Ark, founded by Lanza Del Vasto.

Life changes ……. Jean Claude meets Anne and goes to live in Brussels in 1987. He teaches at the “Maison Américaine”, chaussée de Charleroi, then rue des Glaïeuls, Uccle, in 1988. More space becoming necessary, the Ashtanga Yoga Institute moves to rue Jules Lejeune, Ixelles from 1989 until 2003. Finally, with the help of his friend an architect Simon de Wrangel, the Ashtanga Yoga Institute moves into it’s own premises 610 Chaussée d’Alsemberg in Uccle, with a yoga room that follows the explanations given by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

“The ideal Yoga room must be well ventilated. Do not open all the windows, only those on a same side that are situated high up. The floor must be perfectly flat, the room very clean, on the ground floor (not above nor below because it is not good for the breathing), in a quiet place, far from the surrounding noise and far from people involved in an activity other than yoga.”

The Ashtanga Yoga Institute’s reputation spreads; daily lessons, workshops and seminars are given in Belgium, Greece on the Island of Andros and in Athens,and in India in Mahabalipuram.


The Ashtanga Yoga Institute’s aim is to transmit “Yoga Korunta” (better known as Ashtanga Yoga) as it was taught by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois during his life-time, at the « Ashtanga Yoga Resarch Institute » in Mysore (South India).

Today, a lovely team participates in the evolution of the Institute. Below is what is offered :

  • Daily classes (except during the Christmas holidays which is the only time the Institute closes)
  • Introduction class to Yoga
  • Beginners class
  • First series class
  • Second series class
  • Third series class
  • Intensive mornings (3 hours class)
  • Teacher training in Ashtanga Yoga in Brussels, Greece and India
  • Ashtanga Yoga sessions in beautiful places:
    • In Greece:
      • Athens
      • Andros Island
    • In India
      • Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, South India
  • Events :
    • Concerts of traditional Indian music
    • Indian and Ayurveda cooking lessons

Om Shanti