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Gurugram February 2017 | Preface

Blessed Self,

Om Namah Sivaya

With gratitude we can say the year 2017 began with much success for the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Organization and its goals of expansion. We’re blessed with the increase of attendance to our workshops, programs and Teacher Trainings. The Sivananda Centres and Ashrams continue to offer active programs and classes throughout the entire year. The Organization is blessed to serve the plentiful number of students and guests worldwide.

A highlight was the official opening of a new Ashram in the Organization, opening in Da Lat, Vietnam on 01 January 2017, with enthusiastic staff and students at its doors, excited to provide a vibrant space for the Sivananda teachings.

We are very thankful to each and everyone, for your continued support in the growth of the Organization as it finds even more new arenas for the teachings of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda.

All the best with your personal Sadhana. Much success in your spiritual path. May Master and Swamiji’s blessings be with you always.

Pranams to all.

Love all, because all are the manifestations of the One Self. – Sri Swami Sivananda

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Raja Yoga


Here, Swami Vishnudevananda advises on choosing the place to meditate.

At the feet of Swami Vishnudevananda. Thoughts on Meditation.

Swami Vishnu-devananda would say that it is not possible to teach someone how to meditate, any more than it is possible to teach them how to sleep. Sleep overtakes us only when we detach our mind from its concerns. Meditation also cannot be forced, but unlike sleep, it is a conscious state. We need a degree of willpower to remain in the state of heightened awareness that occurs when we meditate. However, at the same time we need to relax, letting go of all expectations and desires. This subtle balance between the effort needed to sustain concentration on the one side and detachment from all distractions on the other is the art of meditation. We learn to focus the mind without struggle, yet maintain enough control to avoid a drift into reverie. To attain this state of relaxed awareness we need to prepare ourselves, and there are several steps that will help us. It is important to reiterate that meditation is a process, and as such, takes time. Be gentle and patient with your mind; do not expect miracles. The more care and attention you give to the preparation, the more positive the results.

We start with basic guidelines for the beginner, in the section ‘Starting Out’.

Let’s begin.


It is best to have a special room for meditation, but if this is impossible, as it is for most of us, try to separate off a portion of a room, reserving it solely for your practice if you can. Maintain it as a space to be used only for meditation, clean and tidy, free from distracting vibrations and associations, and allow only those who respect its sacredness to enter.

The place of focus

Set up a little table as the focal point of the room, with a candle, or better still, a small oil lamp, light being a potent spiritual symbol. Gazing at the steady flame before you start your meditation practice will bring concentration and introversion of the mind. This gazing is actually a concentration exercise in its own right, as explained later in the book. A flower or vase of flowers will enhance the atmosphere and fill the mind with joy. Burning incense in the morning and evening has a strongly purifying effect on the energy of the space. Use natural (not chemical) incense such as sandalwood, with its calming and cooling effect on the mind, or fragrances such as rose or frankincense. If you are of a religious nature set up an image of an uplifting spiritual symbol, such as the OM symbol, the Cross, or the Star of David; or a picture of Christ, Krishna, the Divine Mother, or Buddha. Choose what speaks to your heart and soul and helps your mind to turn within, away from worldly concerns. The powerful vibrations from repeated meditation practice will remain in the room, creating a magnetic aura, and within six months the peace and purity of the atmosphere will be quite tangible. In times of stress you can sit in the space, practice for half an hour, and experience great comfort and relief.

Which direction to face

Sitting on a clean mat (a folded woolen blanket or cotton mat are excellent for this) in front of the table, face north or east to take advantage of favourable magnetic vibrations. These directions are considered to be the most conducive to spiritual concentration.

Meditating in nature

It scarcely needs mentioning that natural environments are much more favourable to the practice of meditation than cities, where pollution from noise, traffic, electronic machinery, and the high stress levels of many of the people around can make it difficult to concentrate. If you can, try to take advantage of any opportunity to meditate in nature – on a beach facing the ocean, on a peaceful river bank, under a tree, on a mountain, with the rising or setting sun. You will find the meditation qualitatively different. If like most of us, you have to meditate in the city, you can still create a protected and sacred environment and it is certainly better to meditate in a city than not to meditate at all.

Excerpt from the book: “Swamiji Said – A Collection of Teachings by Swami Vishnudevananda in His Own Words”

Study thoroughly, prayerfully and unhurriedly with an alert mind and without interruption. – Sri Swami Sivananda

Bhagavad Gita Quote

Chapter XII: The Yoga of Devotion


(Krishna speaking to Arjuna)

He who neither rejoices, nor hates, nor grieves, nor desires, renouncing good and evil, and who is full of devotion, is dear to Me.
COMMENTARY: He does not rejoice when he attains desirable objects nor does he grieve when he parts with his cherished objects. Further, he does not desire the unattained.

Repeat OM. Chant OM. Sing OM. Meditate on OM. All desires will vanish. – Sri Swami Sivananda

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Spiritual Calendar


07  Ekadasi
10  Full Moon
22  Ekadasi
24  Maha Sivarathri
26  New Moon

MARCH 2017

08  Ekadasi
12  Full Moon
13  Holi
24  Ekadasi
28 New Moon


IN THE NAMES of the ASANAS – Here are some adjectives to help understand the names of the postures:

SUPTA – Reclining – ie.  Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose), Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
PARIVTTRA – Revolved. Rotated – ie  Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
ADHO – Downward – ie. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
MUK – Face – ie. Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
ARDHA – Half – ie – Ardha Chandrasana  (Half Moon Pose)
EKA – One –  ie. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose)
PADA – Foot – ie. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose)
URDHVA – Upward – ie.  Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog)
UTTHITA – Extended –  ie. Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
PARSVA – side, flank – i.e. Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
BADDHA – bound –  i.e. Baddha Konasana (Bound Ankle Pose)

The moment you turn your mind Godward, you will gain immense strength and peace. – Sri Swami Sivananda