Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Sivananda Headquarters, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya, Greetings from the Headquarters. The celebration of Sivaratri at the Yoga Camp was very festive this year. Our staff organized a rotation to chant Om Namah Sivaya continuously from 8am until the evening at the beginning of the Sivaratri celebration. This year we had with us our Acharya Prahlad, who came to lead the celebration. Guests and visitors from the nearby villages and Montreal joined the festival all through the night. This year a big group of courageous yogis stayed all night and enjoyed eating the delicious Prasad made by the Mahalingam family who’s been sponsoring the Pujas for the past 15 years. Manjunath, the priest, wonderfully performed all the Pujas while we were keeping the energy hight by singing Siva kirtans and Om Namah Sivaya. We also had the pleasure of welcoming families and children for school holidays. The children had the opportunity to do various activities such as yoga, games, sliding, handcraft and music. The shoveling of accumulated snow at the Ashram was finally coming to an end for the winter. Almost all the roofs of the entire compound were cleaned. That said, this year the snow continued to fall and the staff were still cleaning out the various paths and roads.
Later in March we welcomed the spring, ice-bound. The guests attended daily workshops with Divya, identifying the ways to lead a peaceful life. They discussed mantras, Sakshi Bhav, Japa and tools how to apply those ways in their daily lives, by doing the exercise of watching the mind, writing a journal and keeping a personal dictionary. There were not as many guests staying overnight, which gave the staff some time to work on finishing the projects around the Ashram and prepare for the new season. Maintenance work in the Orange House concluded, Samadhi Estates was deep cleaned and the kitchen and Puja room were painted. Shanti Das and Jasper traveled to Toronto to film the “how to” videos for our ‘asanas’ YouTube project. Hanuman Chaitanya read “Thought Power” by Swami Sivananda every day during Satsang, which corresponded well with the topics guest were discussing in the workshops and it also inspired the staff to start a dialogue on this topic. The beginning of new season also inspired some of the staff to practice together and do 108 Surya Namaskar for the first day of Spring. May the Grace of Master and Swamiji bless you all. Om Shanti.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Namah Sivaya to all. March. Guest nights peaked early March with guests having come especially to attend the Sivaratri celebration. The Temple was decorated with the traditional coconut strands and the more modern fancy serial lights. There was Om Namah Sivaya chanting going strong all day from 6 am. Potti Swami and team began preparations early afternoon, creating a beautiful place of worship outside the Dakshinamoorthy Temple using plenty of flowers. The team of priests processed the small stone Sivalingam from the Rama Hall to the Puja area at 8 pm and preparations for the Homa and Archana continued to the sound of Jaya Ganesha. Then after a short explanation from Swami Janardhanananda, Om Namah Sivaya chanting continued whilst the Puja processed and everyone present offered ghee into the fire and herbs to the Sivalingam. When the Puja was finished, Om Namah Sivaya continued whilst a little Prasad was distributed. Around 80 or more people made it through to 5 am when a small Puja and Arati were conducted for Dakshinamoorthy. Then everyone sat around in an external silence whilst the many different Prasads were served to them on banana leaves, Om Namah Sivaya still going on internally, probably for the rest of the day! A Satsang gave more opportunity for bhajan singing with Parul who is also a yoga teacher at our Centre in Delhi. We offered the useful topic of Yoga for Stress Management at another Satsang. The TTC students appreciated the taste of advanced pranayama in their last week. Then it was review day, last classes with Bhagavad Gita, an arati and lively Krishna bhajans before receiving a special Prasad. Whilst TTC students continued their busy studying, a large bus of Yoga Vacationers went on a Kanya Kumari trip. Study and all the effort of the last four weeks of both students and course assistants paid off. All the students received their Yoga Siromani diplomas and enjoyed the talent show that followed. We wished them all well in there continuing journey on the yogic path.
We offered a Ganapathi Homa invoking Ganesha to bring the best for the new TTC batch. Vedic chants and offerings continued throughout the entire Puja. At the end, everyone received the blessings of the powders and Prasad. Kathakali dancers were on the stage and with their impressive dresses, gestures. Music took everyone to the Mahabharata story Kirata where Arjuna fights with the disguised Lord Siva and is finally rewarded him with the powerful Pashupatastra weapon. On day off, many visited Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kanya Kumari and Suchindran Temple. The talent show enabled the appreciation of cultural diversity in the form of an amazing variety of different dance forms, poems and songs. The next morning started earlier than usual for a long walk to the Devi Temple on the hill, Kalipara. From there the sunrise, in full view, set the scene for contemplation and an inspiring Satsang. May all stay blessed. May Swamiji and Masters bless all, both students, guests and staff! Pranams to the Sivananda family. Om.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namo Narayanaya – Greetings from Uttar Kashi. The Ashram closed for the winter season with the first TTC to begin Apr 7th going to May 5th. May Swamiji and Master’s blessings be with all. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Happy New Year from the Ranch! By the Grace of the Gurus, life in the Yoga Ranch Ashram went very well in March. We started with a powerful Mahasivaratri celebration, led by our Ashram priest Sankara Namboodiri. More than 50 guests and staff enjoyed three Pujas throughout the night and a concluding feast, creating a high energetic vibration throughout the Ashram. Shakti led a Yoga Immersion Week for Beginners, inspiring participants to create a home practice, improve flexibility and foster a greater ability to cope with stress and find inner happiness. We had a busy weekend with three wonderful programs. First, Swami Asokananda joined us from Integral Yoga NYC to give an inspiring program called How To Live Like A Yogi. Over the course of two Satsangs and a Saturday workshop, he discussed how to live a lifestyle that nourishes your body, mind, and soul. Second, Shakti led a Power of Kirtan Weekend Retreat, guiding participants through inspiring kirtan music to uplift the heart, mind, and spirit. And lastly, Sankara Namboodiri led a South Indian Delight Cooking Workshop, sharing some spring inspiration in the kitchen and some of his secrets for cooking delicious, healthy, and healing South Indian vegetarian dishes. We were very happy to welcome Swami Paramananda and Sundari back to the Ashram from the Bahamas, as well as Shakti and Moksha Priya who returned to the Ashram as staff in the coming weeks and months, and finally Diana who joined us from Columbia.
As March continued Siva led guests through an Essentials of Meditation Retreat, covering all aspects of the theory and practice of meditation, including daily meditation practices, group chanting, and workshops. We were delighted to welcome Swami Shivabhaktananda from the Yoga Camp to guide guests through a weekend workshop and several Satsangs on the topic of Meditation as a Transformative Process. We were also happy to welcome special guest teacher Michael Pyfrom to lead a workshop on Aligning Your Spine and Mind to the Divine. Guests learned about the connection between the spine, the mind, and the spiritual path; how to use movement and breathing for achieving balance and harmony; and several simple techniques to loosen and release the spine and re-balance and renew the body and mind. We also had a Yoga for Beginners Weekend Retreat, instilling in guests the discipline to create a home practice, improve flexibility and foster a greater ability to cope with stress and find inner happiness. Pranams to all from The Ranch. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. Following the beautiful Sivaratri celebrations, we were blessed to have Tara Durga Devi teaching the “Positive Thinking: Art of Affirmations” course, focusing on Yoga techniques to observe negative thought patterns and tools to apply practical positive thought-remedies to counteract them on a daily basis. Swami Dharmananda taught the weekend Intro to Meditation course introducing the question of “Why Meditate”; the Raja Yoga meditation technique, Yoga psychology and to understand the mechanics of the mind, and the 3 levels of the mind. Meanwhile Tara Durga Devi taught the weekend Yoga of Relationship intensive, addressing the types of suffering around relationships; that all relationships are karmic and there are karmic lessons to be learned from them; and that ultimately we heal through Self-knowledge and Love for the Divine. The Yoga Farm continued to receive the blessings of lots of rain. The Ashram turned green, the almond and apple trees blossomed, the streams running all over the land making for a beautiful heaven on earth.
We were happy to welcome back Swami Vasishtananda from his travels on the east coast later in March. We also welcomed Swami Sivasankariananda and Satya to teach the Yoga for Chronic Pain Retreat as part of the Yoga Health Educator program. Students learned how the 5 Points of Yoga can be used with breath awareness, gentle movement and relaxation practices to re-approach one’s relationship to pain to live a more pain-free life. Manas Kshirsagar led the 5-day Ayurveda Detox Rejuvenation Retreat. We had a wonderful group who enjoyed a cleansing kitcheree and greens mono-diet, daily Ayurveda and Health talk with Manas, gentle Yoga class, Satsangs, as well as an Ayurveda consultation and Ayurveda massage therapy. The new bathhouse was fast-approaching completion. The weekly garden party gathered momentum with staff and karma yogis preparing the beds for the season. We began harvesting greens from the flourishing greenhouse. Om Shanti to all Blessed Selves from the Yoga Farm. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. We had the privilege to host many renowned performers as we celebrated the annual Hindustani Classical Indian Music & Dance Festival. The program began with a vocal and tabla concert offered by Sanhita Nandi and Vishal Nagar. Aruna Narayan Kale shared the stage with Vishal Nagar the following evening, giving a virtuosic presentation of the sarangi and tabla. Farah Yasmin Shaikh introduced Satsang attendees to the dynamic art form of Kathak dance. The program concluded with a spellbinding concert given by Swapan Chaudhuri and Habib Khan, who performed on the sitar and the tabla. We are very appreciative to all of these artists for sharing their craft this week, and we look forward to welcoming them again next season! Swami Atmaprakashananda continued the presentation on the Vedic Vision of Life throughout several morning Satsangs. These talks gave much inspiration and demonstrated how the teachings of the Vedas can be brought into daily life at the experiential level. Rukmini Chaitanya continued to make the theory practical through a mini-series entitled The Secret of True Happiness: Teachings on Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita. Jnaneshwari Chaitanya spoke about Bhakti yoga. Bliss Divine served as a source of teaching and inspiration for two morning silent walks, with a focus on the topics of the Guru and ahimsa. These were led by Iswara Chaitanya and Krishna Chaitanya. At the end of this week of inspiring talks and music, we had a beautiful evening celebration of the Kali Puja. Theodore Tsavousis joined us to offer a four-day series of workshops on shamanic medicine. These workshops specifically focused on healing the past, and attendees departed from each workshop glowing in a newfound levity. Other workshops included a series on the Yogic diet as taught by our kitchen manager, Pranava Chaitanya, as well as an exploration of ThetaHealing with Shambhavi. Iswara Chaitanya led an asana workshop, and Surya guided attendees in sessions of Yoga Nidra and Healing the Emotional body. Some courses included the Essentials of Yoga I, which was taught by Surya. Shambhavi taught vacationers and staff members about harnessing the mind for good with the Essentials of Positive Thinking weekend course. May all continue to receive the blessings from Master and Swamiji. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. We started the month of March with the Sivaratri celebrations. A dedicated group of guests joined in whole-heartedly. Siva and the Sivalingam were bathed in milk, honey, ghee and yoghurt. The powerful mantra chanting reverberated through the Ashram. All felt greatly uplifted. We had great support from some karma yogis who helped with maintenance, office projects and preparing the TTC uniforms. The vacation program continued with another special retreat week. The main focus of the retreat was breathing and the role of pranayama for more vitality and relaxation. Relaxation was recurring topic as we had a Further Education Course on Relaxing with Yoga. In the course lectures we looked at the many details of the savasana posture, tips for a better diet and better sleep and mental relaxation through detachment. In the yoga classes we applied the techniques that we learned and practiced asana sequence that are especially suited for times of extreme stress and exhaustion.
We focused on different variations in the asana classes. The guests learned several simple recipes in a cooking workshop. We celebrated Holi with a colourful Puja. All joined with lively singing, uplifting the Ashram greatly. We had our first Yoga and Mountain Magic weekend of this season. We took the guests on walks in the surrounding Bichlach area, which they thoroughly enjoyed. We had lectures on the twelve classical steps to meditation, concentration and meditations techniques and practiced tratak. The topic of introduction to meditation was integrated into the yoga classes with a workshop on the meditation posture and meditative asana classes. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. March was very dynamic with plenty of different programs and celebrations. We started with celebrating Sivaratri until 2am. We had 4 Pujas and chanting the all night “Om Namah Sivaya”. Even if there were only a few guests it was very powerful. A program highlight was “Yoga for Well-being in Body and Mind”. The newcomers were welcome so we had a group mostly with beginners. We witnessed their evolution during their week’s stay. They left very happy. There was a further training for yoga teachers: “ Improve Your Teaching Skills”. We had a nice group of teachers, bringing a nice energy at the Ashram. The program went very well. The teachers were inspired. Most of them stayed for another training – “The Art of Correcting Asanas”. We had a beautiful Krishna Puja. The project to renew the laundry space started.
As March progressed we started two different programs for further training for yoga teachers: “The Art of Correcting Asanas: Inverted Postures and Balancing Postures” and a week-long program “Improve Your Strength and Flexibility”. The further training went very well. Teachers were inspired to keep improving their practice and teachings. Several guests arrived for a weekend program: “Asanas – Key to Concentration and Mental Balance”. Other projects included TTC t-shirt organizing for summer, packaging and stocking boutique with new oils, the chanting books replacement project as well as upgrading furniture in the huts, following the closure of the Saraswati room. Also the yearly accounts wrap-up continued diligently. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from DaLat Ashram. In early March we began with the celebration of Sivaratri. TTC students joined in the celebrations with participation in a Puja and joyful chanting of Siva kirtan. After the evening Satsang staff and karma yogis continued with chanting and Pujas through the whole night, a group of around 25 celebrated the final Puja at 4am. TTC students continued steadily with their study and practice. We were happy to welcome Swami Pranavananda who taught the anatomy and physiology part of the course. We celebrated International Women’s Day, which is an important day of celebration in Vietnam. Ashram supporter and Karma Yogi Amba, a tea master, conducted a traditional tea ceremony. Musical accompaniment was provided by a local meditation and singing group from Dalat, who sang inspiring songs on the subject of meditation and spiritual practice. Staff and many students wore traditional Vietnamese dress for the occasion, making for a beautiful and colorful evening.
After the completion of TTC the Ashram became much quieter, though there was still much activity as the Sadhana Intensive course that began with a group of 11 students. Interviews with the students and initiation of the course took place. The students began practice in earnest. All took to the practice well, enjoying the quiet, cool temperatures and fresh forest air of the Ashram that provided ideal conditions for practice. Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Adiparashaktiananda left the Ashram, first of all flying to Hanoi for the first stop of a tour which continues into China and Japan before their return to the Ashram in Grass Valley. In addition to the Sadhana Intensive course, we welcomed guests for an Ayurveda Detoxification and Rejuvenation retreat led by Nitya. Om.
05 New Moon
04 New Moon
BUDDHI -An aspect of the intellectual faculty: to understand: to know; to reason.
Buddhi is one of the four aspects of consciousness mind. Buddha is one part of the intellectual faculty, assisting the observer with the ability to “form and retain concepts, reason, discern, judge, comprehend, understand. The other three aspects of mind are manas (the perceiving mind), ahamkara (the ego) and chitta (feeling). The analytical process of the intellectual facility goes about its process of enquiry and investigation by categorizing the experiences of the World into these different.
Remember and practice the six S’s—Shanti (Peace), Santosha (Contentment), Satsanga (Association with Sages), Satya (Truthfullness), Serenity and Seclusion.
– Sri Swami Sivananda