MEET THE TEACH: Harshada Wagner
Recently YogaCity NYC’s Stephen Treffinger, had the opportunity to catch up with highly respected teacher Harshada Wagner who offers training programs for meditation and "awakened living." They discussed sadhana and the student/teacher relationship.
Stephen Treffinger: Harshada, share a little about your experience as a meditation teacher?
Harshada Wagner: Not sure I would define myself as a meditation teacher. I teach and focus on sadhana, not just formal meditation.
In sadhana, we focus on the "whole enchilada." It's a holistic process of transformation and awakening. Meditation is a major focus, but not the only focus.
ST: Tell us about your influences and how you got involved.
HW: As a teenager, I came from a chemically dependent family and was going down that same path as a kid. I wanted to get clean and sober so I went to AA and went through the whole 12 step path. In a way, that’s the foundation of my spiritual practices and what I teach. The eleventh-step says that "through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him...” That's really the heart of spirituality.
In those early days, around the age of 17, someone gave me Be Here Now. That was like a bomb in my heart and life. It got me into Eastern Spirituality. I was in a small town but I read whatever I could get my hands on. When I went to college, I met Gabriel Halpern in Chicago and began to study Iyengar. I studied therapeutics with him and studied “yoga as medicine.” I also worked with Gorakh Hayashi a psychotherapist who was a great yogi, and had himself studied with Eugene Gendlin. He was the one who turned me onto the work of Swami Muktananda. After that I did many years of training in the lineage of Siddha Yoga.
Harshada primarily teaches – one on one – guiding, counseling, training. He also offers regular retreats at Omega and Kripalu and does videos on Yogaglo so that you can meditate with him. Check out his website for more information by clickinghere.
ST: Is there anyone in particular that influenced you deeply as a teacher?
HW: In India I have a beloved friend and teacher. He is an older sannyasi with a deep attainment. Now he lives as a hermit, just lives alone, grows a garden and enjoys the wilderness in the place where he lives. I met him many years ago and wanted to know his state. There are lots of seekers in yoga, but not so many finders. He was clearly a finder. So I asked him "What's the secret??” At that point he only said that the "secret" was only an "apparent secret", but he spent a great deal of time helping me after that. Mostly he blasted my concepts about practice and spoke directly about the state of freedom. I had been a serious yogi for many years by the time I worked seriously with my dear friend. He helped e