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Westley Adam Eckhardt

Wes, emphasise in his teachings the importance of understanding the Yoga tradition and respecting the plurality of its world views. The approach is therefore not dogmatic but pluralistic.

Westley Adam Eckhardt

My trajectory

My professional career is the sum of three currents of knowledge: science, business and humanism. I have led ashrams in Canada and the Bahamas for more than 20 years. I am a student of the Hindu tradition, with more than three decades of experience, my specialisation is in Oriental Philosophy, Yogic Tradition, Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness and 'Mindset' ...

I have taught Meditation, Mindfulness and Mindset in India, N. America, S. America, Europe, Australia, and Russia, and many more countries. In addition, I am a co-founder of Yoga Center Madrid, a center of reference in teaching Yoga at the national level.

Eastern wisdom, Western psychology

I try to maintain a multivocal and pluralist interpretation of spiritual traditions while honouring their uniqueness. Some of my points of view can be provocative, but they are always enlightening, as they unravel other dimensions that invite questions and discover other points of view.

I added to my baggage three Master's Degrees in the UK: a Master in Psychology - MSc, a Master in Business - MBA, and Master Degree in Philosophy MA.

I was born in Toronto, Canada to an immigrant family that respected divers cultural and religious traditions.

Mysticism and Poetry

My liberal upbringing, led to a long search for meaning. First, with the mysticism of Christianity, as an adolescent.

One of my mentors introduced me to the writings of Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave. Thus began my interest in Eastern mysticism, the psychology of Carl Jung and the "Perennial Philosophy" of Aldous Huxley and "The Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James. Finally I encountered Ouspensky, Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti.

My Journey

My journey continued with the study of Indian Culture at the University of Toronto. But now a personal experience of mysticism became my main ambition. It was the decade of transcendence, Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Das) wrote "Be Here Now" and Huxley "The Doors of Perception: Heaven and Hell".

I discovered the sublime teachings of Zen, as expressed by the writings of Suzuki, Alan Watts and Kapleau. Haiku poetry became my passion.

I tried the teachings of Yogananda, Swami Ramdas, Sri Chinmoy and others. But it was the pragmatic mysticism of Swami Vishnu Devananda, as expressed in his peace missions promoting unity in diversity, his activism, his Hatha Yoga and his integrity that caught my imagination.

Sanyasa

Smitten by the Vedanta tradition of renunciation, I took my vows in 1980. I became Swami Shanmugananda for the next 13 years. I trained thousands of Yoga teachers throughout India, Canada, Australia, Bahamas, Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay and became director of the Ashrams in the Bahamas and Canada. Also, I became the international general secretary for Swami Vishnudevanada and his organisation. Eventually, I became one of Swami Vishnuji's first Acharyas of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres International.

Free of Dogmatism

After the traditional 'gurukula' period as a Swami the call to find a broader understanding of human nature drew me to leave the monastic life and re-integrate into secular society. I added an Hons. BSc and MSc in Psychology at OU Milton Keynes, U.K. and a MBA. to round out my understanding of individual and organisational human behaviour.

Multivocal

I co-direct the Madrid Yoga Center, teaching meditation courses, positive psychology, supervising the teaching of the Indian Yoga Tradition in the AIPYS Teacher Training programmes and conducted my own psychotherapy and executive coaching practice.

I strive to maintain a multivocal interpretation of the spiritual traditions while honouring their uniqueness. My views can be provocative but I hope that they are enlightening as I attempt to unpack other dimensions of the Eastern and Western traditions. My aim is to question the many assumptions these traditions contain.

"Being a Swami helped me find my own way and to start walking on my own two feet..."

Yoga Alliance UK

Wes is a registered SYT teacher with Yoga Alliance UK.

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