MANU - History
Manu Akshohia, a Gemini born in 1973 in Belgium, was blessed with a Yoga teacher for a mother. At the age of 18, he began to develop an interest in Yoga and meditation, and in parallel with Philosophy studies at his university in Brussels, he progressively grew more fascinated with these fields of study.
In 2000, while traveling in India, he completed the Sivananda Teacher Training Course in Neyyar Dam, South India, and started to teach directly at the Sivananda center as a karma yogi.
While in Rishikesh, India, in 2001, he first met Swami Vivekananda. Coming from a background in different styles of Yoga, he was amazed with the knowledge and techniques available in the First Month Intensive Course alone. Inspired to delve within the Agama system, Manu has completed the fourth program of the Agama course (beyond the 42nd month of study).
Manu most loves the teachings of Kashmir Shaivism and the approach of the Spiritual Heart as transmitted by Claudiu Trandafir.
Manu joined the Agama teaching staff in 2003. In 2005 and 2006, he managed the first two Agama Teacher Training Courses and every since returns annually to help prepare the future teachers of Agama at the Thailand headquarters. In addition, he has taught in Turkey, Canada and Europe, and along with Monika, co-founded the Agama branch in Dharamsala, India.
Since 2006, he continued to open his interests in the spiritual field with the help of Dolano, a radical Zen master, and has developed an extensive practice of tantric meditation and ritual under the initiations and specific guidance of Guruji Rajkumar Baswar. Manu also follows the teachings and practices of Sri Prem Baba.
MONIKA - Herstory
Monika Nataraj, a Cancerian born in India and raised in the USA, has taught Yoga and Mystical Dance® in 20 countries around the globe.
After graduating with degrees in Chemistry and Art History, Monika lived for 10 years in New York City and had a thriving career in philanthropy and corporate strategy. Her personal interests were varied, and in addition to serving as a business executive by day, she cultivated a "dual life" as a professional belly dancer, master scuba diver, and adventurer to all seven continents, journeying to more than seventy countries.
Grateful for her outwardly charmed life in the West, her soul still yearned for more. In 1999, she made the conscious decision to leave everything behind and set out on a 2.5 year quest for "Truth." Divine Grace fell upon her at the end of 2000 when she became a student of Swami Vivekananda in Rishikesh, India. Everything began to shift profoundly for Monika, and there was no turning back. She steadfastly continued her studies with Swami in India, Romania, Greece and Thailand, and completed 42 months of traditional tantric teachings in 2006.
Monika's major influences include the Mahavidyas (the 10 Cosmic Powers), Kashmir Shaivism, and "Who Am I" inquiry, which she embraced in Satsang with radical Zen master, Dolano. In 2006 she was initiated into tantric meditation by Guruji Rajkumar Baswar with whom she continues to actively study with and to participate in ritual pilgrimages throughout India. While living in the Himalayas, she has been initiated in Tibetan Buddhism and Dzogchen practices, through the grace of many living masters, most notably H.H. the 17th Karmapa.
Monika teaches at the Agama headquarters in Thailand (Koh Phangan), co-founded the Agama branch in Dharamsala, India with Manu, and has helped pioneer the Agama system to Turkey. She also leads Tantra workshops and Shakti Groups (special tantric teachings for women) in Asia, Europe and North America. She serves as a Faculty member at the Omega Institute in New York. She has spent the past 13 years living full time on the road as a dancing mystic adventurer of the soul.
Her sacred dance workshops and tours also keep her globe-trotting as she continues to delve into the relationship between movement and consciousness. She offers an annual 200-hour, 6-week Mystical Dance® Teacher Training Course in Thailand.
Monika is the co-founder/director of the Dharamsala Film Festival, celebrating consciousness and creativity in independent film.
"Let your teacher be love itself."