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Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada

Om Namah Sivaya. Our Beginners’ week attracted twelve students. In the asana classes we gave more explanations, demonstrations, and corrections. In lectures and Satsangs we focused on the main principles of yogic teachings. Teachers and students alike were happy to see their progress after just four days of the practice. We continued to enjoy very warm autumn days which allowed us to have more meditative silent walks in nature and even to do some asana classes outdoors.
We received a larger group of students for the retreat “Fit with Yoga”. After the retreat ended the students expressed their wish to come back for the next retreats and stay for a longer period of time. They left happy and thankful.
The closure ceremony of the Subramanya Temple for the winter season was filled with Pujas, mantras and devotional energy. The smaller Deities were brought down from the Subramanya temple to the Krishna temple. Staff are starting to do simple Pujas throughout the winter for Lord Subramanya and Lord Krishna as our priest leaves for India.
We had a beautiful week in mid-November with the priest Harish performing several Pujas. We had Swamiji`s Mahasamadhi Puja in his house in Samadhi Estate. Atmaram shared his heartfelt memories of his last three years of service and stay with Swamiji. Some old-time disciples of Swamiji were present. The students were very touched by hearing stories and expressed many warm words. The Jalasamadhi of Swamiji had created a joyous energy and the presence of Swamiji was felt. We also did Hanuman Puja which was performed in the Samadhi Estate area, next to the river where the Hanuman statue is placed. Even though the morning was rather cold, we all very much enjoyed the energy, purity, and upliftment throughout all the Pujas.
The following weekend we welcomed a group of eighteen students who came to attend the Teachers Training Course. Some students came directly from Sri Lanka, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Switzerland. On the Sunday we had an Inauguration into the course and all students were shining in their new yellow and white uniforms.
That week`s program for the guests was focused on the topic of Prana, Pranayama and the Astral body. It was a lively and attentive group of students.
By mid-November all 17 TTC students had adjusted well to their new schedule and went joyfully through their first week of classes, Karma Yoga and Satsangs.
We were happy to welcome Acharya Kanti Devi who is teaching the main lectures in the TTC and guiding the staff on various aspects of running the Ashram.
We also welcomed two groups for the week and week-end retreats on the topic of the “Healing Power of Sound”. One of our regular special guests at the Ashram offered a well-appreciated gong and crystal bowl meditation during an evening Satsang.
The first snow falls took us by surprise, and it seems the snow is here to stay for the next few months. Although we are all enjoying the beautiful scenery, we also started to organize the snow removal Karma Yoga teams which will be active until the spring.
The final week started with a retreat named “Breaking Negative Habits”. Students were happy to participate in all yogic activities. Some guests were impressed with how much they could relax and recharge.
TTC group continued very well. Beside regular TTC classes students had an opportunity to learn headstand in a more precise way during a Headstand workshop. Students were also offered extra time to learn a new kirtan and then to lead it, which they did, wholeheartedly.
Our highlight of the week was talent show for which students were preparing during the whole week. It was a very sattvic and inspiring talent show, where students expressed themselves through songs, stories, poems, dance etc.
Atmaram went to Ottawa where he gave an asana class and lecture which was very well received.
On Sunday Swami Shankarananda went to Montreal Yoga Centre and gave an uplifting evening Satsang.
Two big Christmas trees were brought into the reception area and Krishna temple. They were decorated beautifully. We put some decorations in the grounds of the Ashram as well creating a joyous and positive festive atmosphere.
All staff are doing well and are ready to serve and to continue with different projects at the Ashram. May the Masters bless us all. Om and Prem

Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India

Om Namah Sivaya. The Ashram’s energy was high in early November due to seven days of Srimad Bhagavatam chanting and Pujas to commemorate Swamiji’s and Harihara Chaitanya’s Mahasamadhis. The Pujas culminated on the ninth with abhishekam and a feast celebrating the liberation of the individual soul. By the weekend students had arrived for the new TTC and Ayurveda Wellness Course (AWC). It is gratifying to see that international students make up over a quarter of the total students. The Initiation was held on the Sunday.
The TTC and AWC students settled in quickly. Yoga Vacationers appreciated the classes and optional asana, meditation and chanting sessions. Over fifty guests took advantage of the day trip to Kanyakumari and other special sights. As always we enjoyed the Saturday talent show and the early morning walk to Kalipara the following morning.
The Ashram energy has returned to pre-COVID levels with over 20 – 30 nationalities in the Ashram at any one time. The TTC and Ayurveda Wellness Courses continued, with twenty-five patients for panchakarma and about fifty guests for Yoga Vacation. Both Yoga Vacationers and TTCs had independent shat kriya sessions. YV were introduced to jala and sutra neti only.
Many guests enjoyed the day trip to Kollam backwaters and Varkala beach, but the highlight of the last week was definitely the AWC graduation. Dr Vishnu received high praise from the students.

Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India

Om Namah Sivaya. The Mundaka Upanishad Camp successfully concluded in early November, with some questions about life and existence being answered in an authentic manner giving more meaning to the journey.
Preparations for the Bhandara went on at full swing with all necessities being taken care of properly for the big occasion.
Severe cold set in with the commencement of winter season. We have closed the Ashram until March as it is quite difficult to function during winter. The entire Ashram has been cleaned thoroughly and everything is in place until the cold subsides and we reopen.
Praying for Swami Sivananda ji’s and Swami Vishnudevananda ji’s grace and blessings to be our guiding light. Om shanti

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Om Namah Sivaya. The TTC went well. The teachers also had Mantra Initiation giving them an aid to help with focus and Meditation which is a major advancement in the spiritual journey. We had one online TTC student joining to complete the course with the present group. The Talent Show was superb with wonderful performances from professional dancers interlaced with singing as well as some some games.
We had a good number of students for the Yoga Vacation after the covid times. Yoga Vacation guests are also enjoying life and activities the yogic way. This shows how much people are turning to Yoga and its techniques to solve their problems and difficulties. Most of the recently concluded TTCs are doing the vacation while some opted to join as staff.
Later in the month another twenty eager aspirants were initiated to the course paving the way for Swamiji’s teachings to reach yet another group of students. Some were being introduced to Yogic teachings as a complete beginner and others were trying to dive deep into spirituality with the teachings. They had a beautiful Ganapati Homa at the temple asking for blessings from the remover of obstacles. They began their schedule with a great deal of fervour and they have settled into the course very well with the blessings of our Masters and Gurus
Yoga vacationers are also enjoyed the stay taking in the teachings along with enjoying the proximity with nature. On their day off the guests and students were taken to Rameshwaram temple, giving all a very fulfilling experience. Though it took them a long day to travel back and forth they were all basking in the positive energy derived from the divine experience. Sending Prem and Om to all from our group of guests, students and staff.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA

Om Namah Sivaya. The Yoga Ranch reopened for guests for a three day weekend. Lila Lolling, a long-time Sivananda teacher organized the “Stress Relief and Relaxation Weekend” supported by some temporary Karma Yogis, some of whom arrived on Wednesday to help open and a few who stayed until Monday to help clean and close up the Ashram again. With a lot of hard work and even more grace, the needed Karma Yogis arrived and took the necessary responsibilities to care for our guests and run the Ashram. Only about half of the Karma yogis who committed to support the weekend actually came, but those who did come, did an amazing job, leaving the Ashram cleaner than when they arrived with a true spirit of Karma Yoga. The Ashram guest reservations filled very quickly along with a waiting list of 34 more people than we could accommodate. Swami Adiparashaktiananda from the Yoga Farm was a great remote support with online registration, website and constant contact mailings. However, Lila Lolling stepped up not only teaching the workshops, but coordinating the Karma yogis, receiving the guests, working out overbooking problems, Karma yogi accommodations, and even cooking some of the meals.
The late fall temperature was challenging with a tropical storm arriving from the south (after passing through Nassau and Florida as a hurricane) and a cold front swept in from the northwest bringing in freezing temperatures.
Miraculously, the Karma Yogis as well as the guests adapted to all the challenges that arose during this short and intense weekend.
We will close most of the buildings for the winter to conserve on heating costs. We are hoping to reopen again for a weekend in April and then for the season in mid-May through mid-September. As always, the Ashram continues with a lot lot of hard-work from Karma Yogis, and Gurus’ grace – service of the Sivananda mission offered at the feet of Swamiji was shared by all honouring Swamiji’s Mahasamadhi.‎

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA

Om Namah Sivaya, The TTC went smoothly. All the students were inspired and learning a lot. In early November we had a beautiful classical Indian Bharatanatyam dance with Shreelata and two other dancers and watched the movie, Life after Life by Dr. Raymond Moody.
We also had a “Yoga & Immunity” course with Nitya and a “Yoga of Relationships” course with Omkara. Halloween was celebrated with candy brought by Ganesha.
In mid-November the TTCs started their anatomy lectures with Swami Jnaneswariananda, received their personal consultation from Swami Sitaramananda, participated in the Mahasamadhi Puja of Swami Vishnudevananda, committed themselves to meditation during their mantra initiation and got their new spiritual name . Staff did akhanda kirtan and all enjoyed many stories shared by Swami Sitaramananda about her time with Swamiji.
Jalasamadhi day on the 11th November was also Swami Sitaramananda’s birthday. All enjoyed the large homemade cake, book gift and the international birthday video with students and staff from many countries promising regular sadhana as birthday gifts. To top the week off, we had a talent show with all the TTCs sharing their special skills and staff doing a fun play about the story of Lord Narasimha and child devotee Prahlada.
We also welcomed two additional nine-day immersion students to join the TTC. They completed their online TTC during the Covid pandemic and came to finish the course and receive their Siromani certificate. Special guest speakers during the week included Mahavidya Mary Thompson on Ayurveda and Dr. Fred Luskin on Forgiveness. The special course was a “Yoga and Anxiety” course taught by SYHET-in-training Nitya. We have been blessed with beautiful sunny weather and the garden fence is being put up as well.
The TTC finished on a high note in with students’ heartfelt testimonies and promises to carry on with sadhana and teaching. The final week lectures brought a lot of “aha” moments for the students and culminated with their advanced pranayama classes, final asana jaya class and a special Puja workshop where all students did a personal Puja. All students passed the exam and received their Siromani certificates at the graduation ceremony. We had a special Indian feast to celebrate and a nice slideshow of all the memories from the month.

Apart from the TTC we also had a Prana weekend course with Omkara where students learned practical tips on increasing prana. Swami Sitaramananda , Swami Adiparashaktiananda along with Swami Sivasankariananda visited San Francisco to give a one-day day program with 25 attendees.
We also prepared the Ashram for a group of guests coming for Thanksgiving weekend on “Holistic Health and Healing”. We are all feeling the blessings of Master and Swamiji. Om shanti.

In the final week, Swami Sitaramananda gave her online International satsang on Gratitude with 100 attendees. The focus of the Thanksgiving Retreat was Holistic Health and Healing. Some of the talks were: Karma & Disease – Swami Sitaramananda; Holistic Healing, Yoga for Better Sleep – Swami Jnaneswariananda; Yoga for Anxiety, Healing with Restorative Yoga – Swami Sivasankariananda; Concert with Angelica; Healing the Duality Within: Insights from the Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta and Emotional Health – Swamini Svatmavidyananda; Healing Addictions – Durga Leela; The Journey of Life and Death – Dr. Andrea Deerheart & Dr. Mark Halpern; Dream Interpretation, Yoga & Lucidity Craig Webb; Yoga for Arthritis & Joints – Swami Adiparashaktiananda; How relaxation Heals – Swami Dharmananda
After the retreat finished, we said safe travels to Swami Sitaramananda who departed for Vietnam. After spending seven months in the US, Swamiji is on her way back to the ashram in Dalat, Vietnam along with her assistants. We also said goodbye to a number of staff who were with us for many weeks.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas

Om Namah Sivaya. Greetings from the Yoga Retreat! This month has been active and full of inspiring programs, workshops and courses. We had a grand celebration of Swami Hridyananda’s 70th birthday, with a Puja at morning satsang, many warm greetings from around the world, and a very large berries and whipped cream birthday cake, enjoyed by all. Ken Whitely gave his third and final performance that evening, entitled “Gospel Music Makes Me Feel Alright!” He surely had us all feeling alright, singing many of the staff favorites and inspiring the guests and students. We entered the third week of TTC / ATTC, which is progressing well, and the lively concerts were a welcome change to the study and sadhana the students had been following with good discipline. Later in the week, we welcomed two more presenters: Sukha Wong, from a long line of Thai Masters, at the Ashram to teach Thai Yoga Massage certification courses, and Zuleika, a Story Teller and Sufi Whirling Dancer, who helped us commemorate Thanksgiving with her powerful and uplifting story and dance performances. In line with the Thanksgiving holiday, senior staff lead morning satsangs on the topics of grace, prayer, blessedness, and gratitude. There was a feast on Thanksgiving day, with prayers, blessings and song before we all sat down together, in gratitude, to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The Thai Yoga level 1 program was very well attended, with level 2 starting next week. Staff and karma yogis are doing well, are strong in their sadhana and send pranams to all.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria

The All Saints Retreat came to an end with a meditative yoga session and a talk on maintaining health. The feedback from the guests was very positive: the shared Sadhana and exchange with other practitioners were especially appreciated.
For the remaining days of the week, we had another motivated group of vacationers. Their focus was on relaxation and new inspiration. The yoga classes were gentle and in the Satsangs we discussed different aspects of Raja Yoga. After the final farewell the Seminar House and the hotel were closed until 16th December.
In the first week of the vacation program in Mittersill, Landhotel Gut Sonnberghof in the Hohe Tauern mountains near Salzburg the guests enjoyed relaxing asana classes, inspiring Satsangs, walks and hikes in the beautiful surroundings and the wellness facilities. The topic of the week was “Active Relaxation and Stress Reduction”. We held lectures on the strategies for coping with stress, the benefits of asanas, pranayama, meditation and proper nutrition.
More people came for the weekend-program. The chanting and clapping in the Satsangs was full of prana. On the Sunday half of the group departed, recharged and full of gratitude for a rejuvenating time-out at this wonderful place.
The group was quite international with people coming from France, Holland, Germany and Switzerland.
The online Satsangs and classes continued from the Retreat House and the Centers in Vienna, Munich and Berlin.
The theme of the last week of the vacation program was “Meditation and Inner Balance”. Besides trying out different meditation techniques, there was a concentration workshop and a Satsang with Likita Japa. The atmosphere during these days was very peaceful and relaxed, with open and interested guests. Besides the yoga programs, we went on some silent walks in the beautiful mountain landscape. Many participants experienced the combination of wellness and yoga as very uplifting and regenerating. We had a good time in Mittersill with a lot of gratefulness at the farewell.
The Retreat House shop has been rearranged and stocked up for the reopening in December.
With the Retreat House closed we are currently putting a lot of time and energy into planning and advertisement. We are in the process of planning next year’s onsite programs and updating the website.
New online courses have been planned for the coming weeks and newsletters have been sent out. We are looking forward to the upcoming special Christmas and New Year program and have started to decorate the Retreat House.
The daily online satsangs and the online workshops “Fire of Yoga” on Saturday and Sunday were well attended.

We are already actively planning the upcoming TTC and ATTC in Rudraprayag, Himalayas, India from February 25 to March 26, 2023. The last TTC conducted there this November (the first one after the 2,5 years of pandemic) was a full success. Students left very grateful and inspired to spend 4 weeks on the bank of the Ganga, in the comfortable Monal Resort which turns into a Sivananda Ashram for the time we are there!

Ashram de Yoga Sivananda, Orleans, France

The All Saints weekend, which had the ashram practically full for the first half of the week, was a big success. The energy of the big weekend carried into the next two programmes: a yoga vacation programme on the “Power of Mantras” and a further teacher training on the foundations of teaching. The ashram was then closed for a ten-day period. The staff used this time to catch up on office work and projects while also having some extra time to do some deep cleaning in the ashram. Along with the closure, comes some additional sadhana time during the day and earlier nights to allow the staff to recharge. Staff are also taking the opportunity to develop their teaching skills, teaching staff classes to each other, in anticipation of upcoming guest programmes. The staff members are taking good care of the temples every day. Preparations were also made for the mid-month TTC arrival. Guests programmes have resumed since the TTC arrival.
All the staff and guests are positive; the ashram is very beautiful as the temperatures coupled with rain has made all the plants and grass deep green.

Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam

We received a large group of guests in early November to attend an “Introduction to Meditation” course. The week went well: students were appreciative of their comprehensive introduction to Yoga life. Rainy season in Dalat seems to have ended so we are doing more outdoor activities, and taking time to attend to landscaping and the garden. Staff are busy preparing for the upcoming TTC course, and we are now expecting around 50 students onsite. Weekly international online satsang with Swami Sitaramananda on Thursday evenings continues to be well attended by students all over Vietnam, plus students from Japan, China and other countries. Activity at the new Yoga Health House continues to grow, with daily classes taking place. On their day off most of the staff left the ashram to take a day’s excursion to the nearby coast at Cam Ranh. All very much appreciated the time to relax, swim in the ocean and enjoy satsang, morning and evening, on the beach.
Staff returned to the Ashram from their short excursion to the beach feeling rested and recharged. We also welcomed back Swami Dharmananda who had been traveling and giving programs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and at the Center in Dalat.
In the Ashram the focus was on preparation for the upcoming TTC. On the 8th November, all staff joined together for a Ganesha Homa ceremony to prepare for the course and also to celebrate the birthday of Swami Sitaramananda. Swamiji joined the early morning ceremony via video link and gave some inspiring words for the group of staff here. TTC participants started to arrive on Thursday already, by Saturday morning all 48 students had arrived. All are of Vietnamese nationality, the ages of the group range from 19 to 74. Initiation of the course took place on the following Sunday, after which the students jumped straight into classes.
In their first week Swami Sitaramananda joined via Video link for two evening Satsangs and the group enjoyed a meditation walk around the Labyrinth. We celebrated Teachers’ Day with a traditional tea ceremony in the evening, led by tea master Co Amba. The weather has presented some challenges for students and staff, the effects of a storm brought a lot of cold and wind for a few days. Students are adapting well to the conditions, mostly very different from at their home locations, with the support of staff here. We said farewell to Swami Dharmananda who completed a two month stay in Vietnam. We have been very grateful for his support and presence here. All are grateful for Guru’s grace.

Sivananda Ashram Tapaswini, Gudur, Andra Pradesh India

Greetings from Tapaswini Ashram, Gudur. The first week of November was rainy and wet. The highlight of the week was Swamiji’s Mahasamadhi day on 9th November. We had a special Satsang and feast served to all Ashram staff and workers.
Our Seven-day Yoga Retreat with Mahalakshmi ji started very slowly with only two people at first, but picked up over the weekend holidays. The last Monday of the Karthika month was celebrated at the Temple with many villagers, yoga vacationers and all staff in attendance. Swami Janardanananda ji arrived for the TTC.
The TTC got off to a good start with the Initiation ceremony conducted at Mandakini Hall. Om shanti.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tokyo, Japan

Om Namah Sivaya. We began the month with a study session on Sivananda Yoga with AtmaShakti Chaitanya with a good number of students attending, through which they deepened their understanding of Karma yoga. On the first weekend we offered a trial class which was joined by some students who used to come to the Tokyo Centre and who signed up for online classes again, as well as some new students. Areas around the Shojiko Retreat are having a beautiful and colourful Fall season and we had guests staying with us every weekend to enjoy the nature and yoga practices. They were refreshed and healed by their practices and surroundings and their faces were shining brightly. Online programs including asana classes and courses are going well. We receive more inquiries on overseas Ashrams, causing us to feel the end of Covid pandemic.
By mid-November, the Japanese government had lifted a ban on the issuance of the tourist visa for foreigners, and we, the Shojiko Retreat, welcomed guests from overseas for the first time in a few years. They enjoyed their vacation with beautiful autumn in Japan and yoga practice to their satisfaction. We gave a briefing session on TTC, in which we shared the detailed information on the current situation for traveling to Vietnam. On the same day, our monthly program Kirtan workshop was offered in-person as well as online. The workshop is expected to happen in Tokyo next time. We incessantly have guests coming and staying here, seeming that things are going back to those in “Pre-Covid.”
In the final week of November we gave a three-day Stress Management Course which became a good opportunity to introduce Yoga to the community in our neighborhood. Online programs including asana classes, courses, and Satsang have been continuing. Om shanti.

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Spiritual Calendar

03  Ekadasi; Gita Jayanti
08  Full Moon; Dattatreya Jayanti
19  Ekadasi
23  New Moon
30  Ekadasi
24 Christmas Eve
25 Christmas Day

02 Ekadasi
06 Full Moon
18 Ekadasi
21 New Moon

Om is your best companion in life, because it gives you Immortality and Eternal Bliss. – Sri Swami Sivananda


The Twelve Basic Postures

Śīrṣāsana Headstand
Sarvāṅgāsana Shoulderstand
Halāsana Plough
Matsyāsana Fish
Paścimottānāsana Sitting forward bend
Bhujaṅgāsana Cobra
Śalabhāsana Locust
Dhanurāsana Bow
Ardha Matsyendrāsana Half spinal twist
Kākāsana Crow
Pādahastāsana Standing forward bend
Trikoṇāsana Triangle