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. Continue your practice from the comfort of your own home with our online classes/courses to assist in keeping you connected, inspired, and energized. Let us take this time to reconnect with ourselves through the practice. https://sivanandacanada.org/camp/Online-courses/
Meanwhile in early November, Winter set both feet firmly on the ground at the Yoga Camp. November was white, snowy, windy, yet peaceful. We celebrated a Guru Puja, online Satsangs, a Diwali Puja and celebrations plus the TTC inauguration. We did a Guru Puja on the 9th and the 11th November commemorating Swami Vishnudevananda’s Maha and Jala-Samadhi. We had the Diwali Puja on 14th evening, invoking Mother Lakshmi for blessings, auspiciousness and prosperity for the new year. Happy Diwali to one and all!! The TTC inauguration with 23 students, all excited and happy to be part of the program. The staff were happy and excited to be part of this important journey of their lives. As the TTC started over a weekend, we had only the week program of Yamas and Niyamas from Monday to Friday, attended by a few guests. They enjoyed the lowdown on the basics and foundation of our practices. The asana classes in the morning and evening were well received by the guests and the local community, as always. All preparations of the Lodge and facilities for the TTC students were completed. There was polishing, repairs, prepping the rooms, and readying all the logistics and boutique products for the TTC students. The online challenges and classes are well attended by the regular participants. The onsite classes are well received by the local community. May the grace of God and the guidance of the teachers be with us in extending our service to all who come to the Ashram. Om.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Namah Sivaya to all. We are happy to announce that we are accepting guests to the Ashram from 15th October, 2020. Pre-booking via [email protected] is necessary. Terms & conditions apply. Visit www.sivananda.org.in/neyyardam/covid-guidelines We look forward to welcoming you back and practicing together. We are continuing classes, courses & programs online. Please visit www.sivananda.org.in/weekly-schedule
Meanwhile, at the Ashram in early November there was the Bhagavatha Saptaha and Swamiji’s Mahasamadhi anniversary. The final stories were given in the morning Satsang and then after a short yoga class, staff and guests returned to the Rama Hall and the Temple area for Abhishekam of Sri Krishna who was then taken for a bath in the lake. Chanting of the Maha Mantra continued until his return followed by the final Kirtan and Arati. Then, in honour of Swamiji’s, vigorous Om Namo Narayanaya, chanting followed whilst Puja was done for Swamiji and flowers were offered by all. A simple Kerala feast was offered for lunch. There was stormy weather early November, giving a wet start to the first TTC of the season. We were happy to welcome 41 TTC students to the Ashram. They were initiated into the course in Satsang by Swami Gayatriananda and the teachers – Nataraj for 2 pm, Suresh for HY, Padmavati for BG and Kalyani for chanting. With COVID-19 required social distancing the students were spread evenly throughout the hall with the staff mixed in. The students looked transformed by the end of the night when they changed into their yellow and white uniforms. The hall floors were marked for sitting in Satsang or eating in the dining hall or practicing on a mat in order to guide students, guests and staff with social distancing. The staff were also busy collecting all the necessary equipment for karma yoga. The online programs continued well attended all but during Diwali. For Diwali the newly arrived TTC students joined staff in lighting many lamps around the Temple and in the Satsang Hall. A TTC Ganapathy Homa was conducted by one of the Ashram priests, giving the TTC a good start with the blessings of Sri Ganesha. The students adjusted well to their first week of studies and being in the Ashram environment. The first talent show of the season was a gentle and delightful sharing of poems, songs and one curious demonstration of the headstand with hands and head on individual bricks!
With all the Centres and Ashrams in India opening in November (except Netala which is always closed during the winter months) the online programs from the central platform were scaled down to allow the directors to provide online programs as their situation allows. Such a program was the second Adapted Sivananda Yoga Course, conducted online by Padmini. The students were very grateful for the wisdom she shared and to Nataraj for his input on anatomy and physiology. The number of Yoga Vacation / Ayurveda treatment guests is slowly increasing at the Ashram’s Ayurveda Clinic. We are grateful to Master and Swamiji for the opportunity to serve. May all have health and peace of mind. Om.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namo Narayanaya from Uttar Kashi. The Uttar Kashi Ashram continues to be temporarily closed for the winter months. Due to the lock downs announced by the Indian government, we will not be accepting any new visitors or guests to the Ashram until further notice. During this phase, we’ll be offering various classes, courses & 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. Due to the unpredictability of the on-going COVID-19 situation nationally and locally we have had to change our opening dates. We request that you contact your local India Centres and Ashrams directly for their latest update. Join us through online classes, courses and programs online. Sending Prem and Om to all from our family of guests and staffs. Our thoughts are with you all and we pray that you keep well and positive during these challenging times. Namaste. Om.
Meanwhile, November at the Meenakshi Ashram started with celebrations to commemorate Swami Vishnudevananda ji’s Samadhi with Guru Pooja followed by day long chanting of Swamiji’s name at the Temple. The TTC students were also treated to a sumptuous feast the South Indian style savoured and appreciated by all. The final week of TTC resumed their classes on Vedanta and teaching of Open Classes too. Advanced Pranayama theory, followed by practice the subsequent day gave the students an opportunity to focus inwards though for a short period of time to experience the inner silence and peace. The practice had most of them enquiring about our advanced courses that would offer more of the practice. TTC Exam day was quite eventful with exam, correction, feast, graduation, talent show and finally the Deepavali festivities. All the students performed remarkably well throughout the course. Their hard work and dedication paid off with a well deserved diploma. This TTC course culminated, like never before, with colourful fire crackers, brightest flower-pots, cracklers and the like.
After goodbyes bidden to the new graduates, we all got into the preparations for next course, with explicit focus on cleaning. Some of the TTC students remained at the Ashram either as vacationers or for a Work and Study program or as 6-month staff members. They all showed keen interest in assisting the asana class for yoga vacationers, keeping an open mind to learning and understanding. We welcomed Nirmala ji and Mahalakshmi ji, here to teach the next TTC course, with a modest number of 20 students initiated into the second TTC course of this season. We wished them all guidance and grace of our Master Swami Sivananda ji and Teacher Swami Vishnudevananda ji. Sending Prem and Om to all from our Madurai Ashram family. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Om Namah Sivaya from the Ranch. The Sivananda Yoga Ranch is currently closed to the public. We have set up a residential program for those who are able to stay more longer term – https://sivanandayogaranch.org/residential-program/
Since the start of the pandemic, we have put all programs online and we are grateful for all your support and connection in these times! It has and continues to be an innovative time where we can see how easily accessible it is to connect & share the teachings with people everywhere in the world! https://sivanandayogaranch.org/
Meanwhile the staff remain at the Ashram. By Master’s Blessings and Gurus Grace all went well here in the Yoga Ranch Ashram in November. Brisker mornings arrived so time in the garden was important as ever to get the grounds prepared before freezing. Online, we completed the Online TTC with the Sivananda Yoga Farm. We had a wonderful graduation with all students, teachers and mentors coming together to be a part of the ceremony. We were very grateful for this opportunity to serve and pass on the teachings in such an innovative way during this time. Online, we also had a very nice Ayurvedic workshop led by Isvari on the topic of Ritucharya. Offline, we bid farewell to Kaitlin who served as a karma yogi for 2 months helping Sita Ram Chaitanya in the garden. We await her return in the spring for the new garden season! We have been running a residential program with a 2 week minimum stay which has been running smoothly and by God’s Grace we are all safe as we follow certain protocols. Now due to the rising of COVID, we are changing the minimum stay to one month for the safety of everyone as we come into more colder weather. Group Sadhana in the Ashram was high. Everyone was in good spirits. With the blessings of Master and Swamiji all staff are in good spirits and send Pranams to all. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. Warm greetings to you from the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm. We are grateful for your love and support as the Yoga Farm continues to thrive in this challenging time. We are adapting along with you to keep Satsang with each other and to share the teachings in new and creative ways. The Grass Valley Ashram will remain closed at least until the end of 2020. We will keep you updated as events unfold as we consider the health of our guests and staff and the pandemic situation. Please visit https://sivanandayogafarm.org/yoga-classes-online/ to easily join Online workshops, classes and courses. Your generous support to Swamiji’s mission will keep the Yoga Farm strong and vital during the pandemic. Please donate here: https://sivanandayogafarm.org/donation/
By the Grace of Master and Swamiji, the “Online TTC North America” was a great success. It was beautiful to see the TTC students grow through their month of Sadhana and their own sincere self-effort from their home Sadhana space. The final week included Yoga of Recovery introduction from Durga Leela, tratak practice, teaching groups, talks on ethics of the Yoga teacher and what to do after the course. Swami Sitaramananda gave a wonderful Q&A Satsang, with many thoughtful questions from the TTC. The graduation ceremony was beautiful as Swamiji and Srinivasan ji offered very inspiring words to the students, the Swamis and teachers and all the mentors gave encouragement to the students, and the students, nearly all, offered beautiful and heartfelt testimonials of their experiences and thanks to the teachers and mentors. Even after the Arati, no one wanted to leave the graduation. We would like to thank all the teachers and mentors from the east and west coast that made the TTC such a rewarding experience for all.
By mid November we had a 9-day TTC Immersion course, with our staff Bharati, LA staff Siva das, and our student Hanuman. The TTC Immersion completed the Online TTC and graduates received the Yoga Siromani certificate. Students learned to teach headstand, proper corrections, review of Main Lecture and Gita classes, Chanting classes, Kriyas and Advanced Pranayam. They were extremely happy and inspired with this time in the Ashram and Satsang with each other. Swami AdiParashakti also taught the Hatha Yoga for Strength and Flexibility course, dedicated to daily asana practice. Swami Vasishtanandaji led a beautiful Guru Puja, while daily taking care of the Ashram by taking care of all the Temples and shrines and all the Ashramites. The staff and karma yogis were doing well. 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. There is still a small group of us on property who are maintaining the Ashram way of life through daily Satsangs, yoga and teachings.
November in the Bahamas: The Retreat Ashram grounds looked fresher than ever after a concentrated cleaning effort by everyone on-site. Amidst the raking of the leaves and sweeping of the paths, we continued to study the Kena Upanishad with Swamini Atmaprakashananda. A few new online courses also began. Swami Brahmananda began an eight-week course to explore a selection of important sutras from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. On the same evening, Rukmini Chaitanya welcomed a new group of students to her course Cheer Up! Yogic Tools for Depression and Anxiety. For students seeking to learn more about the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, Jnaneshwari Chaitanya commenced study of the twelfth chapter in The Yoga of Divine Love. Jnaneshwari Chaitanya gave a retreat for studying Swami Sivananda’s How to Cultivate Virtues and Eradicate Vices, while Swami Paramananda presented a webinar on cultivating non-attachment.
Mid November: We hosted several guest speakers on Zoom for the evening Satsangs. Maureen Whitehouse gave two evenings of vibrant and inspiring talks about opening oneself to the miraculous in The Anatomy of a Miracle, based on A Course in Miracles. She deftly connected the non-dual teachings from the course with those of Vedanta. Rick Hoffman presented for the first time an introduction to Vedanta in simple terms, as well as a second talk about spiritual practice without judgement or guilt. He studied with Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who also trained Swamini Atmaprakashananda Saraswati, who was at the Ashram to teach us Vedanta since mid-February. Returning presenter Dale Buegel gave the first of two talks about Shakti and methodology from the tradition of Samanya Tantra for attaining the state of Divine union. A highlight was the celebration of Swami Hridyananda’s birthday, which began with a morning Puja and continued with a musical performance, video greetings, a spectacular cake, and a sumptuous feast. Finally, two new courses began: Teachings on the Narada Bhakti Sutra, with Rukmini Chaitanya and Teachings from Chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita, with Swami Brahmananda. May all be well and may this be an opportunity to turn inward to that which is eternal and ever-free. Om Shanti. Om.
Please visit our Online Program page for the latest schedule. https://sivanandabahamas.org/visiting-the-Ashram/Online-program/ We look forward to continuing to add Online programs, courses and guest speakers to our calendar. https://www.sivanandabahamas.org/travel-update/
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. The Seminar House is closed to the public. We continue to teach classes, webinars and Satsangs online. We offer live Online Yoga Classes, Workshops, Talks, Teacher Trainings and group Meditations. Receive all the latest information via our newsletter. https://www.sivananda.at/en/newsletter
In November we offered the current Online TTC. It went very well. The online classes, webinars, morning and evening Satsangs continued. We had several Pujas with Yagneswara Dixit, including special Pujas for Diwali. Most of the European Centres joined in for a beautiful Diwali celebration. Dr. Sankar Sreelal gave an introductory lecture on Ayurveda – Treasure for Health, as a precursor for an upcoming 4-week course on the topic. Dr. Kamlesh continued the course on Ayurveda in Daily Life and prof. Marilyn Rossner once again inspired us in her course on “The Eternal Journey of the Soul”.
As November progressed so did the lockdown. As Austria went into a full lockdown again, the staff from the Vienna Centre joined us here in Reith. The second week of the online progressed well. The students were grateful to take part. The online classes, webinars, morning and evening Satsangs continued. We started a weekly trial class. We had a very special online sitar concert with Klaus Falschlunger, a classically trained sitar player from Tirol. From India we had an uplifting Hanuman Puja and as well as Gita chanting from Reith. Dr. Sankar Sreelal started a 4-week course on Ayurveda – Treasure for Health. Dr. Kamlesh continued the course on Ayurveda in Daily Life. Professor Marilyn Rossner continued with her course on “The Eternal Journey of the Soul”. We pray that all remain healthy and safe. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. 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 OM.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from DaLat Ashram. The DaLat Ashram is open.
In November our TTC group entered into their first week of study and practice with great enthusiasm. The rainy season began to wrap up so the group was able to enjoy more outdoor activities, walks to the see the sunrise and walks in the forest. We also celebrated Swami Sitaramananda’s birthday. Staff were very busy the day before, preparing with great care. We offered a Ganesha Homa ceremony, attended by all staff offering Swamiji their gifts and most importantly their spiritual resolutions for the coming year. We were happy to have staff from the Yoga Farm and the Los Angeles Centre join us for the ceremony via video link. Swami Sitaramananda left the Ashram, accompanied by Sivakami, for an extended visit to the teachers in Hanoi. Her first engagement in Hanoi was to give a talk at an event organized by the Indian Embassy to promote knowledge of Yoga and Ayurveda in Vietnam. At the same time as the TTC, a Beginners’ Yoga course was running at the Ashram.
As our TTC group entered their second week of study and practice, they settled well into the Yoga lifestyle. A highlight was a walk into the forest above the Ashram one morning. All enjoyed the opportunity to absorb prana in the beautiful natural surroundings. The TTC group entertained everyone with a talent show. Alongside the TTC course a group of guests joined us for an Introduction to Meditation course, taught by Ganga Chaitanya. Swami Sitaramananda continued her stay in Hanoi, accompanied by Sivakami, connecting with many TTC graduates and offering an event for new students to give information on our upcoming TTC courses. We all enjoyed the beautiful clear weather as DaLat entered the dry season of the year. Staff are well and thankful for Guru’s grace. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Tapaswini, Gudur, Andra Pradesh India
Om Namah Sivaya. Due to the unpredictability of the on-going COVID-19 situation nationally and locally we have had to change our opening dates. We request that you contact your local Centres and Ashrams directly for their latest update. 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.
NISHKAMA KARMA YOGA
desire-less action, selfless action. nish: without; kama: desire.
More generally, it means action performed without desiring or fearing the consequences; action performed with indifference to the outcome. It is used to describe the practice of doing actions without any expectation of the fruits (results or reactions or effects).
“In the practice of Nishkamya Karma Yoga, there is no loss of effort. There is no harm.” – Swami Sivananda
Nishkama Karma Yoga is another name for Karma Yoga, which is one of the main themes of the Bhagavad Gita. The practice of Nishkamya Karma Yoga destroys sins and impurities of the mind and causes Chitta Suddhi or purity of the Antahkarana. Knowledge of the Self dawns in a pure mind. Knowledge of the Self is the only direct means to freedom.
In the mind there are three Doshas, viz., Mala (impurities like lust, wrath, greed, etc.), Vikshepa (tossing of the mind), and Avarana (veil of ignorance). Mala is removed through Nishkamya Karma Yoga; Vikshepa by means of Upasana (worship); and Avarana by means of study of Vedantic literature and Jnana. Nishkamya Karma Yoga purifies the heart and prepares the mind for the dawn of knowledge (Jnana Udaya).
The following passage records how Sri Ramana Maharshi once demonstrated Nishkama Karma Yoga:
Mr. Rangachari, a Telugu pandit in Voorhees’ College of Vellore, asked about Nishkama Karma. There was no reply. After a time Sri Bhagavan [Ramana] went up the hill and a few followed him, including the pandit. There was a thorny stick lying on the way which Sri Bhagavan picked up; he sat down and began leisurely to work at it [sic]. The thorns were cut off, the knots were made smooth, the whole stick was polished with a rough leaf. The whole operation took about six hours. Everyone was wondering at the fine appearance of the stick made of a spiky material. A shepherd boy put in his appearance on the way as the group moved off. He had lost his stick and was at a loss. Sri Bhagavan immediately gave the new one in his hand to the boy and passed on.
Love all equally. – Sri Swami Sivananda