Have you had enough chaos, confusion and conflict in your life?
If so, would you like to figure out how you can avoid the added stress?
These are the kinds of thought-provoking questions Dr. Paula Whang-Ramos will ask her clientele at Blue Lotus Center (BLC) in Gilroy.
As the owner and lead spiritual director, Ramos, 61, says she especially felt the need to ask these questions in the midst of 2017, when acts of extreme acts of nature and violence became prevalent across the country.
Ramos said everyone she spoke with said they’d had enough chaos, confusion and conflict in their lives—and they didn’t want anymore.
Ramos then asked herself what kind of remedy the Blue Lotus Center could offer others to address the agitation and difficulty going on in the country.
“I knew we needed a change in our consciousness—and then I heard the inspiration—Return to Peace,” she says.
It’s a theme the Blue Lotus Center adopted mid-2017—and one that is the collective response to addressing those needs.
“In yoga, the teaching is that peace is always within us,” Ramos says.
In a way, she says, we’re looking 180 degrees in the wrong direction when we’re going outside of ourselves to find peace.
Blue Lotus Center is more than just your basic yoga studio; it is an affiliate of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment (CSE), which holds its World Headquarters in San Jose. The CSE is a meditation center in the spiritual tradition of Kriya yoga—a type of yoga introduced to the United States in 1920 by one of the first yogis to share its philosophy, Paramahansa Yogananda.
“Yoga is a Sanskrit term that means ‘yoking’ or ‘returning to our essential wholeness,’” Ramos says.
Yoga is the daily practice of sitting meditation, a fundamental part of yoga, says Ramos.
Other practices, like hatha yoga, which is the physical manifestation of yoga most commonly recognized as “yoga” practice, are intended to support, not replace, the essential daily practice of sitting meditation.
For the past seven years, the Blue Lotus Center in Gilroy has freely offered classes in meditation, hatha yoga, spiritually conscious living, tai chi and qi gong.
In essence, Kriya yoga is the practice of learning to use our thoughts, words and behaviors; to live from our essential peace, love and wholeness that we are, and that we all seek to realize in our lives, says Ramos.
The center has found a home in Gilroy, and the community is excited to have it here, Ramos says.
Ramos has an extensive background in both eastern and western teachings and offers a wealth of expertise to assist her clients in achieving their goals.
She is the lead Kriya yoga, tai chi and qi gong instructor for the center. She also serves as an associate minister at CSE and has been a practicing psychologist for the Gilroy area for 27 years.
“I serve those facing life-altering, chronic and life-threatening health conditions, including end-of-life and grief, and women moving through life transitions,” she says.
Ramos realized there was something missing from the western field of psychology that she had always found more complete than her eastern training.
So after attending CSE in 2005, Ramos decided to enter its seminary program.
She then received her Master’s of Divinity and in 2012 and was ordained in Kriya yoga.
“I realized how powerful these teachings are,” she says.
Jodi Barr, who has taken many classes at the BLC since it opened in Gilroy, can attest to the benefits of its teachings.
“I have learned how to meditate and have learned many different meditation techniques,” Barr says.
“Dr. Paula Whang-Ramos has created a peaceful place for all faiths and experience levels to come together and meditate in harmony.”
The BLC offers weekly silent meditation groups and a Learn to Meditate class for newcomers. Those returning to meditation practice are welcome. Many of the sitting sessions are done in chairs, making the practice accessible to anyone interested in obtaining its benefits.
“We want to be able to make the teachings accessible to anyone who is called to be with us,” Ramos says.
And because BLC is supported 100 percent by community donations, BLC is able to do just that by offering its meditation classes and its Kriya yoga classes on a donation basis.
“As a philosophy—and not a religion—the ancient, universal teachings of yoga are beneficial to sincere seekers from all and no faith traditions,” Ramos says. “People from all backgrounds are welcome. In the yoga tradition, we don’t claim to be THE way—but we are a way—to live in a more transformative, peaceful, holistic, joy-filled way.”
Blue Lotus Center is a nonprofit 501(c)3 meditation yoga center located at 8347 Church Street in Gilroy. Beginning and experienced participants are welcome to all classes and groups. For more information and a current schedule of classes including its upcoming five-week workshop offering a practical of ancient yogic teachings: ‘Living Yoga: The Eternal Way,’ call 408.842.0208 or visit bluelotuscenter.org.