Heart Yoga And Sacred Activism: An Initiation into the Sacred Marriage

This course is being offered through Wisdom University September 7- 11, 2011. The format can easily be adapted for other venues and as a weekend rather than 5-day workshop.

“Fuse the powers of the sacred heart with the energies of the body, and you can transform everything.”—Teillhard de Chardin

“The Spirit shall look out through Matter’s gaze
And Matter shall reveal the spirit’s face
And all the Earth become a single life.”

—Sri Aurobindo


Heart Yoga and Sacred Activism: an Initiation into the Sacred Marriage, fuses together Andrew Harvey’s vision of Sacred Activism as described in his new book: The Hope: a Guide to Sacred Activism, and Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson’s pioneering new yoga, as detailed in their new book: Heart Yoga: the Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism. From the sacred marriage of these two interrelated visions, Andrew and Karuna have constructed a template of initiation that mirrors the rhythms of the ancient mysteries of India, Egypt, and Greece. These mysteries had essentially three stages. The first was a glorious vision of possibility arising from a knowledge that our evolutionary destiny is to birth the divine in our bodies and on the earth.  The second is a radical and unillusioned descent into both the collective shadow of the world and the ways in which our personal shadows collude and conspire with its work of devastation.  The third stage takes us into the deepest mystery of embodiment, in which the glory of the first stage is married to the dark wisdom of the second stage, to effect a sacred marriage of opposites on every level of the mind, heart, body and soul.  This union births the fully empowered and humble divine human being, committed to profound contemplation, sacred body work, and the sacred activism that flows from them and can save and transform our world.

Course Description

This course offers a five-day initiation into the birth of the divine human, through the fusion and sacred marriage of Andrew Harvey’s vision of Sacred Activism and Andrew Harvey’s and Karuna Erickson’s Heart Yoga. They present their united vision of Sacred Activism with Heart Yoga, a unique interweaving of ancient wisdom traditions with classical yoga practices that can sustain and inspire Sacred Activism. This course is an opportunity to join devoted teachers in a three-part initiation that unfolds the mystery of divine embodiment and provides the fuel and wisdom for Sacred Activism.

This initiation will open your heart to unconditional love, strengthen and infuse your body with light, and deepen and inspire your yoga practice (whatever your level of experience) as well as your commitment to sacred service. You will experience the profound union of the radiant body with the awakened heart, and the love, peace, and sacred passion that is birthed from this marriage.

When yoga practice is infused with the inspiration of sacred texts and poetry, and is married to the most powerful meditations of the embodiment of the light, yoga becomes a way to experience the great mystery of birthing the divine in the human.  Our initiation will be both an experience of the journey into divine embodiment, as well as a prayer for all human beings to enter into the fullness of this birth of the divine human. This course will provide the fuel for acting with the peace, passion, stamina and inspired focus that we all need to be authentic sacred activists capable of co-creating with the Divine a new humanity and a new world.

Heart Yoga is grounded in the universal mystical vision of the Sacred Marriage, the marriage of spirit and body, transcendence and immanence, heaven and earth, masculine and feminine, profound contemplation and sacred action, that is continually birthing the cosmos through the power of radiant love. In this workshop, the vision of this marriage will be explored by unfolding the Five Great Joys that emanate from it: the joys of transcendence, creation, love for all beings, Tantra, and service. For each of these joys, beautiful combinations of yoga postures with sacred poetry, meditations, and visualizations drawn from the classical mystical traditions will be offered. These enable each joy to be experienced simultaneously in the illumined mind, ecstatic heart, and conscious body.

The three stages of our initiation mirror the unfolding rhythms of the ancient mystery schools and reinterpret them for our modern crisis. In the first stage, we will unfold the glory of the sacred marriage of transcendence and immanence that makes possible in and through the Death of our world crisis the Birth of the Divine Human. In the second stage, armed and inspired with the Five Great Joys, we will undertake together a descent into the collective shadow causing the death and the collusion with it of our personal shadow. In the third stage, we will marry the ecstatic vision of the Sacred Marriage and the Five Great Joys with the dark wisdom of the descent into the collective and personal shadow, to birth the divine human in the sacred marriage of opposites that fuels mature Sacred Activism and a radical wise commitment to transforming the planet.

Andrew will be our mystical guide and our guide into Sacred Activism.  Karuna will be our guide into the profound way in which a mystically inspired yoga can provide the tender strength and illumined power that creates a perfect container for each of the three stages of the initiation.  Over the years, they have evolved a seamless way of interweaving mystical and yoga teachings that mirrors the Sacred Marriage in its beauty, grace, inspiration and empowerment.

This vision is presented in Andrew and Karuna’s new book, which the leading spiritual and yoga teachers have proclaimed as an essential tool for both mystics and activists, and the essential next step for yoga.

“This is an amazing book that will accelerate your journey to God-consciousness.”—Deepak Chopra

“Heart Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism exquisitely merges the poetry of the Divine with the power of Yoga with inspired precision. Authors Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson have accomplished the rigorous blending of heaven and earth, guaranteed to inspire new and well-seasoned students of yoga. This book is a magnificent accomplishment.”—Caroline Myss, author of Entering the Castle and Anatomy of the Spirit

“This profound, beautiful and pioneering book will ground the yoga community in a deeper mystical understanding, taking the world-wide yoga movement to a new level of inner empowerment and outer effectiveness. Whether you’re a beginning student of a life-long practitioner, Andrew Harvey and Karuna Erickson will deepen your practice with this exalted and extremely practical book.”—Marianne Williamson, Author of Age of Miracles and The Healing of America

“This is a magnificent and timely book affirming that the sacred practice of yoga is a journey of personal illumination, universal recognition, mystical unification and the inevitable understanding that it is love and action that can transform this planet from one of fear and separation into one united by love, truth and God.”—Seane Corn, Yoga Teacher, Global Yoga Ambassador for Youth AIDS, co-visionary for “Off the Mat, Into the World”

“Karuna Erickson is delighting us with her authentic and intense inquiry into spirit. Her yoga is inspiring.” —Rodney Yee, internationally renowned yoga teacher

“The pages are infused with the direct passionate experience and wisdom from two longtime love pilgrims and scholars who are calling for and igniting the inner fire of the heart of yoga with piercing insight and a living joy…this is another sacred classic.”—Shiva Rea, yogini, founder and leading teacher of Prana Flow Yoga and Yoga Trance Dance™

Learning Objectives

Our fundamental objectives are to give all who come to this initiation both the sacred wisdom of the Sacred Marriage and practical tools to work with in the core of ordinary life, and to be able to embody and express this wisdom at ever greater levels of joy, commitment, and inspired action.

Karuna and Andrew believe that all mystical seekers now need to fuse their inner practice with outer service, and all activists now need to marry their heroic efforts with the deepest and most practical sacred practices.  The initiation they are offering can help birth both kinds of people, who are already doing such important work, into the next level of divine embodiment and its expression in Sacred Activism.


Stage One of the initiation will be unfolded on Days One and Two; Stage Two on Days Three and Four; and Stage Three on Day Five.

Day One (morning) ~ Stage One

The vision of the Sacred Marriage
Heart Yoga
Sacred Activism
The birth of the divine human in and through our world crisis

Day One (afternoon) and Day Two ~ Stage One

The experience of the unfolding in mystical teaching and Heart Yoga of the Five Great Joys:
The Joys of Transcendence; Creation; Love for all Beings; the Tantra of Tenderness; and Service.
Group meditation on and invocation of the new divine humanity and the new world it will co-create with the Divine.

Day Three ~ Stage Two

The descent into the collective shadow:
The five inner saboteurs that keep us paralyzed, disempowered, and radically ineffective in the face of crisis: denial; disillusion; despair; dread; and death wish.
This descent will be accompanied by a re-experience of the joys of transcendence and creation to sustain and inspire us on our journey.

Day Four ~ Stage Two

The descent into the personal shadow and the ways it interlinks with, colludes with, and darkly sustains the collective shadow.
We will concentrate on five aspects of the personal shadow: ignorance; delusion; greed; trauma; and addiction to comfort.
To inspire and sustain us on this descent we will re-experience the joys of the Love for All Beings and the Tantra of Tenderness.

Day Five ~ Stage Three

After experiencing Stage One and its vision of the Sacred Marriage, and the descent of Stage Two into the collective and personal shadow, in Stage Three we will marry the glory of the light with the dark wisdom of the shadow, to complete our journey into divine embodiment and the full transformative power of Sacred Activism.
The day will begin with a seven-part body prayer which enshrines all three stages of the mystery of the birth.
We will continue with the Seven Laws of Sacred Activism:
1.Law of sacred practice
2.Law of surrendering the fruits of action to the divine
3.Law of recognizing evil
4.Law of the alchemy of anger
5.Law of constant, humble shadow work
6.Law of joy
7.Law of networks of grace
We will end by re-experiencing the fifth Joy of Sacred Service, that will focus everything we have undergone and integrated in a blaze of commitment to going out into the world as transformed and fully embodied divine human sacred activists, to co-create with the Divine the Sacred Marriage on Earth.


A few sample comments from previous students:

The class was beyond expectation in every way. It was a devotion of love by both Andrew and Karuna and by everyone in the class. The class itself was a marriage.

There’s so much to say. Andrew is a master of mystical expression and a true inspiration for my own dreams of being a teacher of embodied wisdom. His feedback was to the point and pertinent to all our journeys. Karuna’s interjections of mystical poetry to every journey was also potent.

As a longtime yoga practitioner I have yearned for this sacred marriage – to bring the Divine Spirit truly into my practice. In our practice with Karuna, I have witnessed in my physical being the Divine unfolding.

As a novice to yoga with some physical limitations I would never have relaxed into the postures or allowed myself to modify the positions had it not been for Karuna and her style and nurturance.

You have this rare gift of lovingly pulling our spirits down through the ether and right down into the earth, and to do it with such inner strength, such kindness and compassion. I feel like a seed that you have lovingly taken and earthed and planted into a rich dark fertile soil.  You have rooted me with such grace, eloquence and love not only into my body so that I can inhabit the physicality of my body, but you have made my matter matter.

Faculty Bios

Andrew Harvey was born in South India in 1952, where he lived until he was nine years old. It is this early period that he credits with shaping his sense of the inner unity of all religions and providing him with a permanent and inspiring vision of a world infused with the sacred. He left India to attend private school in England and entered Oxford University in 1970 with a scholarship to study history. At the age of twenty-one, he became the youngest person ever to be awarded a fellowship to All Soul’s College, England’s highest academic honor.

By 1977 Andrew Harvey had become disillusioned with life at Oxford and returned to his native India, where a series of mystical experiences initiated his spiritual journey. Over the next thirty years he plunged into different mystical traditions to learn their secrets and practices. In 1978 he met a succession of Indian saints and sages and began his long study and practice of Hinduism. In 1983, in Ladakh, he met the great Tibetan adept, Thuksey Rinpoche, and undertook with him the Mahayana Buddhist Bodhisattva vows; later, in 1990, he would collaborate with Sogyal Rinpoche and Patrick Gaffney in the writing of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. In 1984, Andrew Harvey began a ten-year-long exploration and explication of Rumi and Sufi mysticism in Paris with a group of French Sufis and under the guid- ance of Eva De Vitray-Meyerovitch, the magnificent translator of Rumi into French. In 1992, he met Father Bede Griffiths in his ashram in south India near where Andrew Harvey had been born. It was this meeting that helped him synthesize the whole of his mystical explorations and reconcile Eastern with Western mysticism.

In 2005, in the historic Santuario de Guadalupe in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Andrew Harvey delivered his vision of the contemporary crisis now con- fronting us in today’s world and its potential solution in what he has termed “Sacred Activism,” which he sees as the culmination of his life’s work. This extraordinary occasion was made into a documentary film by the Hartley Film Foundation and is available on DVD at www.hartleyfoundation.org.

Andrew Harvey has taught at Oxford University, Cornell University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the University of Creation Spirituality, as well as at various spiritual centers throughout the United States. He was the subject of the 1993 BBC film documentary The Making of a Modern Mystic and also appears in Rumi Turning Ecstatic and The Consciousness of the Christ: Reclaiming Jesus for A New Humanity.
Andrew Harvey is Founder-Director of the Institute of Sacred Activism. He also has a spiritual counseling practice in Chicago and is available for spiritual direction via phone. For information regarding Andrew Harvey contact:
Jill Angelo, Executive Director –  Institute For Sacred Activism: 928.288.6097 email hidden; Please enable javascript..

Karuna Erickson has lived in the mountains of British Columbia with her husband and family for forty years. She has been a devoted yoga teacher and psychotherapist since 1970. She received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the director of the Heart Yoga Center, a registered yoga teacher training school with Yoga Alliance. She has trained many yoga teachers for over twenty years. She teaches yoga internationally, interweaving Sufi poetry and Buddhist practices of mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation as well as her experience as a psychotherapist into her classes. She leads annual retreats, yoga teacher trainings, and workshops in Canada, the U.S., Bali, and Costa Rica. Karuna also teaches courses with Andrew Harvey internationally. She has assisted Rodney Yee and Judith Hanson Lasater in yoga workshops and considers them, along with B.K.S. Iyengar and the Dalai Lama, to be her most influential teachers.

For Karuna’s teaching schedule, for other information, or to contact Karuna to book a workshop, visit yogakaruna.com or write her at email hidden; Please enable javascript.