Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya. In early March we were blessed with many special events at the Yoga Camp and the Montreal Centre. The annual opening of the Subramanya Temple saw many temple devotees and their families joining the day’s celebrations. Swami Vashishtananda and Krishnan Namboodiri performed various Pujas in the Subramanya and Mariyamma Temples. All deities shone with a bright light, creating lots of Prana around us. We also had a TTC Open House on Zoom. We offered a TTC information lecture, asana class and Satsang. One student was interested in doing TTC in April or July. The Yoga Camp staff went to the Montreal Yoga Centre where a Puja for Lord Ganesha and Divine Mother was performed. Swami Vasishtananda explained beautifully the meaning and purpose of this Puja. The evening ended with delicious meal prepared by the Montreal and Yoga Camp staff. We held a week long retreat on the topic “Yoga for the Back”. A small group of students attended the retreat, in which we shared different inspirations, tips and advices for further practice at home. One student was interested in doing the TTC online.
Mid March the temperature started to rise significantly giving us a small taste of springtime. We focused on a Yoga Vacation program called “The Joy of Cooking’’ where Satsangs and workshops included different aspects of the yogic diet and Ayurveda. Besides the lectures we also offered daily cooking classes where students joined us in preparing, cooking and tasting the food. All were inspired and ready to apply different healthy cooking principles at home. Throughout the Ashram a team of dedicated karma yogis, led by Swami Sankarananda, actively prepared the Temple for the special Pujas,marking the beginning of the renovation work on the Mariamman and Siva Temple. Swami Vasishtananda and Krishnan Nanboodiri performed the Pujas and rituals. Many families of devotees who have been supporting these Temples for many years attended the celebrations and lovingly distributed prasad to all at the end. We received lots of enquiries and enrollments for upcoming retreats and TTCs, so we looked forward to an active spring and summer seasons. One of our staff members got a spiritual name and was initiated into the mantra.
The Staff are well and inspired to serve. May Blessing of our Teachers be always upon us all. OM and Prem.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Om Namah Sivaya to all. Greetings from Kerala, India. March was a high energy month with ATTC going on. Also Srinivas ji has been enthusiastically coaching students for the Yoga Certification Board (YCB) Level 2 exam. Seventy nine students completed the course. Two students were awarded Bhaskara certificate because of attendance issues. Nevertheless the mood at graduation was very positive. Many thanks to all the ATTC assistants for your selfless service. Fifty nine students went onto the YCB exams. To accommodate all the candidates in the practical exam, two online panels of three examiners each were arranged. Many thanks to Srinivas ji for organising each step, Satya for organising the online exam and Sonal for overseeing the invigilators for the YCB exam.
Mid March was between courses, so a perfect clean-up and reset time. Some assistants left the Ashram, some course teachers left, some new teachers arriving and some ATTC graduates shifted to assisting roles. Swami Gayatriananda and quite a number of other volunteer and paid staff, took the long journey to and from Mookambika Temple, a favourite retreat place for Swamiji. There, with a few other staff and devotees, a powerful Chandika Puja and Homa was arranged by a long time devotee. It was certainly a blessing to be there. Meanwhile, in the Dhanwantari Ashram the guest number dropped a bit at the end of a YV cycle and then remained steady. Staff and guests celebrated Holi with water and colour in the volleyball court area. Then it was time for the inauguration of a hybrid version of the March TTC. Five students were initiated online followed by fifty-seven students onsite. We were particularly happy to welcome twelve students from overseas including as far away as USA and South America. Everyone looked forward, with the blessings of Master and Swamiji, to a fulfilling month of TTC.
We thank Master and Swamiji for their blessings and the opportunity to practice and share the teachings. We pray for joy and peace for all. May all be blessed. All of us send our Pranams. Om.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
programs online. Details regarding this can be found at sivananda.org.in/Online-sessions. Please like our Facebook page to stay notified about live open classes, Satsangs & other programs. Our thoughts are with you all and we pray that you keep well and positive during these challenging times. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Om Namo Narayanaya. Namaste from Madurai. End of February 2022 was pretty busy for the second week of TTC, spent on a high spiritual note with night long celebrations of Sivarathri. All the students enthusiastically participated in chanting and dancing while our priest carried on with the Pujas and rituals for Lord Siva. The TTC students began their teaching group my mid month, introducing them to a whole new world of teaching, a major transition from student to teacher life. Saturday Talent shows had several memorable performances of singing, dancing and games.
We ended the month on a happy note with Prayers and Regards to all from our family of guests, students and staffs. May Master and Swamiji bless all the efforts to follow the teachings. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Om Namah Sivaya from the Ranch. May Masters’ Blessings and Gurus Grace be with us all. Pranams from the New York mountains. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. By the Grace of Master and Swamiji, the TTC continued very well, with students very focused on their practice and the teachings. They were a very mature group, thoughtful and inspired. Swami Sitaramananda joined us for Satsang on “Yoga” from Vietnam and we welcomed Mahavidya (Mary Thompson) for “Introduction to Ayurveda”. We thanked our karma yogi Yashoda for donating vegetables, roses and blueberry shrubs to our revamped garden. The Ashram was very green as we approached spring!
As March progressed the TTC completed their week 2 and were very inspired by the teachings, the practice and the group teaching sessions. Swami Sitaramananda zoomed in to give a talk on 5 Causes of Stress; Swami Sivasankariananda joined from LA to give a talk on Chronic Pain. The students enjoyed the kriyas and were getting stronger in their Hatha Yoga practice. TTC Talent was a wonderful mix of poetry, bhajans, art work, and a short yoga skit. Staff and karma yogis were well and continued their nightly Om Namo Narayanaya Peace Chanting. The Ashram was bursting with spring; the garden was getting planted and the trees pruned.
We are grateful for this opportunity to serve. May all feel Master and Swamiji’s blessings. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. Late February/Early March 2022 in the Bahamas: We celebrated the Mahasivaratri late February with an all-night vigil, beautiful Pujas throughout the night, and ample trays of sumptuous prasad in the morning of 29th February. About 40 Zoomers kept vigil throughout the night, and those onsite maintained good energy through daybreak. Shortly after the Mahasivaratri, we celebrated the graduation of our first hybrid TTC, which included onsite students, online students, and students who joined for the 9-day immersion module to earn the full Yoga Siromani certification. We wished an auspicious start to the teaching journey to all of the graduates! The March hybrid TTC began a couple of days later, with 16 students traveling to The Bahamas and 3 joining the course online.
Deepak Chopra and Menas Kafatos offered online evening Satsangs. The focus was on perspectives of reality from science and the non-dual traditions. These well-attended Satsangs were quite informative and inspirational. Workshops included a heartwarming Kirtan session with the Raj’s (Raj Prem and Yogi Raj), as well as chair yoga with Krishnan Namboodiri, Yogic Techniques for Happiness and Peace of Mind with Pranava Chaitanya, and an asana coaching workshop with Parvati Maria.
Mid month we experienced a couple of delightful morning concerts with presenter Latif Bolat, who joined us virtually to give the program Healing Sounds of Ancient Turkey. Dr. Nathan Katz joined us on Zoom to tell stories of his time with the Dalai Lama, plus the similarities and differences that were explored between Tibetan Buddhism and Judaism. Many of the Satsangs were given by members of staff, who presented the teachings of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda on topics as diverse as cultivation of divine virtues, integral Yoga, the distinction between questions and arguments, development of inner peace as a catalyst for outer peace, Sadhana Tattva, and self-surrender and Self-knowledge. Guests were dedicated in their yoga class attendance and enjoyed the workshops on Yogic tools for stress management, a heartwarming Kirtan workshop with the Raj’s, and some experiential Asana coaching and Yoga Nidra. Everyone was engaged in their Sadhana and Satsangs. The TTC students did well with their second week of classes
May all be well and may this be an opportunity to turn inward to that which is eternal and ever-free. Om Shanti. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. In early March the TTCs were very positive and inspired. They progressed intensively in their headstands and enjoyed the anatomy lectures. With a lot of enthusiasm they started teaching each other in the afternoon classes. The guest programme focused on the inner path and the mental aspects of the practice with lectures on concentration. Guests and TTC enjoyed the daily sweet snacks on the sunny Ganesha platform. Marylin Rossner started her new online course “Tools for Self-Healing”. We planned the upcoming on site programmes, especially the Easter Retreat.
By mid March, four graduates from the recent TTC Online courses and arrived at the Retreat House. They then followed a 9-days-on-Site-Module where they learned those practices which are not part of the TTC Online, requiring an Ashram setting: group meditation; chanting; completion of shatkriyas; receiving physical asana correction; how to apply physical asana correction; advanced pranayama and mantra initiation. Some of these activities were shared with the current onsite TTC group, some workshops were given separately just for this group. At the end of the nine days they received the complete Siromani TTC diploma. TTCs and the module participants had a joyful talent show. In the kriya workshop everybody was enthusiastic about the cleansing experience.
The Yoga Vacation guests could enjoy wonderful early spring weather and went for walks almost every day. Their program was focused on dynamic asana classes and workshops in order to set vital energy in motion. The guests also learned how to bring relaxation, awareness and concentration from the yoga mat into daily life. We went for a longer afternoon walk together with TTCs and guests. Hot chocolate was served as a sweet surprise.
All staff are healthy and happy to welcome long-time students and new guests to the Ashram. We send greetings to all and pray that all remain healthy and safe. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. By the Grace of the Masters, all went well in March 2022. Spring was fast approaching with the Ashram brightening up with yellow daffodils. We had a nice group of students for a “Foundation of Meditation” program. It was a very special group, very diverse in abilities and needs. The staff team much enjoyed being with the guests, learning from this experience. The guests left recharged and happy. We also started a new TTC with an inauguration. The weather in France was mixed but enjoyable. The works on the Ashram grounds continued.
By the Grace of the Masters, the new TTC group settled well into the Ashram routine. They were enthusiastic and focused. Meals were taken in silence, even outdoors, especially in the mornings. We had a Ganesh Murthi Puja. The students had their first meditative walk one evening. On day off there was the first weekly review with the TTC students, revising week one’s content. The students participated nicely in all activities. We also started online TTC introduction session with the first one in French. Swami Kailasananda went to Paris for Satsang. We had a first online trial class in French and it was nicely attended. The morning online Pujas continued with Krishna, Siva and Hanuman. The works on the Ashram grounds are continuing steadily.
Please accept this invitation to join us for the Unite for a Healthy Planet worldwide meditation – Every 1st Sunday of the month at 2PM Continental European Time, for 30 minutes. https://sivanandaorleans.org/unite-for-a-healthy-planet
The staff were full of gratitude for this opportunity to serve dynamically. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from Da Lat Ashram. In March the Ashram was very busy with the successful graduation of 36 onsite TTC students, immediately followed by the initiation of the TTC Asia Online. Onsite TTC graduates gave words of great appreciation of their experience here. From the TTC group 8 of the students committed their time as temporary staff. 27 students were initiated into the online TTC Asia, 14 from Japan, 10 from China, 2 from Korea and one from Australia. Many TTC graduates and ex-staff members supported the course, which required translation from English into 3 languages – Japanese, Chinese and Korean. We were happy to have the help of the ex-staff of the now closed Chengdu Centre, plus help from the Japanese staff now based at the Shojiko Retreat. All were grateful to connect in daily Satsang, Sadhana and study in this virtual Gurukula which spanned 4 time zones and involved support from Staff at the Ashram. All enjoyed a party to celebrate the end of the onsite TTC, and were happy to receive gifts of books and pillows filled with lavender brought to Vietnam from the Yoga Farm lavender harvest in California. We said farewell to several temporary staff and also to Swami Pranavananda who returned to the Ho Chi Minh City Centre after a full year of service at the Ashram.
By mid March the TTC Asia Online kept everyone very busy. Students were all present, eager and did well. 16 Mentors supported the 27 students in their daily study and thus have the opportunity to review the material themselves. 17 translators (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) languages did their jobs diligently in all classes and Satsangs. The supporting staff and technical staff also did well. Swami Sitaramananda taught the main lectures and Satsangs; Swami Narayanananda taught Bhagavad Gita and Kirtan while Swami Adiparashaktiananda taught all Hatha Yoga classes. At the same time we initiated 9 students into a 3 week Ayurveda Abhyanga course with hands-on training on site, and theory classes online by Ayurvedic specialist Nitya Hoa and Ayurvedic doctors from India. Shambhu and Sivakami assisted with the teaching of the Ayurveda theory. We also welcomed a large group of 45 guests of the meditation group, Ozen, who greatly appreciated the opportunity to practice in quiet and in nature after a year when they were unable to visit due to Covid 19 restrictions.
All are well and inspired to serve. We were grateful for Guru’s grace during these challenging times. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Tapaswini, Gudur, Andra Pradesh India
Om Namah Sivaya. Namaste. Praying to Masters to bless us so that we continue on this selfless path. All staff are maintaining the Ashram and keeping up with their Sadhana.
Our thoughts are with you all and we pray that you keep well and positive during these challenging times. May Master and Swamiji bless us with true devotion and blessings be with us all! Pranams. Om.
15 Vishu (Malayalam New Year)
16 Full Moon
30 New Moon
03 Akshaya Titreeya (Vamana Incarnation)
Adapt yourself to your surroundings and environments. You will enjoy peace and strength. – Sri Swami Sivananda
PRANAYAMA – Mantra During Pranayama
The Mantra for repetition during the practice of Pranayama is laid down in the Isvara Gita: “When the aspirant holding his breath repeats the Gayatri thrice, together with even Vyahritis in the beginning, the Siras at the end and the Pranava, one at both ends of it, this is, what is called the regulation of breath.”
Yogi Yajnavalkya, on the other hand, declares thus: “The upward breath and the downward breath, having been restrained, regulation of breath is to be practised by means of the Pranava (!) with due regard to the unit of measure of the Mantra.
This repetition of the Pranava alone, is meant for the Paramahamsa Sannyasins. It has been declared in the Smritis, that ordinary contemplation is to be practised, through the inhalation and other stages of breath-regulation at one’s navel, heart and forehead, with reference to the forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva respectively. For the Paramahamsa however, the only object of contemplation has been declared to be Brahman. “The self-controlled ascetic is to contemplate upon the supreme Brahman, by means of the Pranava,” declares the Sruti.
Exercise No. 1
Sit on Padmasana. Close your eyes. Concentrate on Trikuti (the space between the two eye-brows). Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale slowly through the left nostril as long as you can do it with comfort. Then exhale very very slowly through the same nostril. Do twelve times. This is one round.
Then inhale through the right nostril by closing the left nostril with your right ring and little fingers and exhale very slowly through the same nostril. Do twelve times. This is one round.
Do not make any sound during inhalation and exhalation. Repeat your Ishta Mantra during the practice. In the second week of practice, do two rounds, in the third week, three rounds. Take rest for two minutes when one round is over. If you take a few normal breaths, when one round is over, that will give you sufficient rest and you will be fresh for the next round. There is no Kumbhaka in this exercise. You can increase the number of rounds according to your strength and capacity.
Exercise No. 2
Inhale through both the nostrils slowly and gently. Do not retain the breath. Then exhale slowly. Do 12 times. This will constitute one round. You can do 2 or 3 rounds according to your capacity and strength and time at your disposal.
Exercise No. 3
Sit on your Asana. Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Then inhale slowly through your left nostril. Close the left nostril with your right ring and little fingers and open the right nostril by removing the right thumb. Exhale very slowly through the right nostril. Then draw the air through the right nostril as long as you can do it with comfort and exhale through the left nostril by removing the right ring and little fingers. There is no Kumbhaka in this Pranayama. Repeat the process 12 times. This will constitute one round.
Exercise No. 4
Meditate that the single letter, the Supreme light—Pranava or OM—is the origin or source of the three letters A, U and M. Inhale the air through Ida or left nostril for the space of 16 Matras (seconds), meditate on the letter ‘A’ during that time; retain the air for the space of 64 Matras, meditate on the letter ‘U’ during the time; exhale through the right nostril for the space of 32 Matras and meditate on the letter ‘M’ during that time. Practise this again and again in the above order. Begin with 2 or 3 times and gradually increase the number to 20 or 30 times according to your capacity and strength. To begin with, keep the ratio 1:4:2. Gradually increase the ratio to 16:64:32.
Strive with faith and single-minded devotion. You will come out victorious in the end. – Sri Swami Sivananda