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. In early January activities slowed down at the Ashram. The majority of our New Year’s family week guests and visiting staff departed, leaving the Ashram quieter than it had been in a long while. A few other guests continued to check in benefiting from the Ashram while they still could before the Ashram closed for Sadhana Week 5th to 12th of January. The weather remained cold as can be, with lots of snow on the ground. We also had a few stormy days with high winds, keeping us inside for the most part. Sadhana Week began and staff started to clear the furniture out the Lodge in preparation for painting and cleaning. We’ve been making use of this short period without guests to undergo those messier projects in the Lodge. During Sadhana week we gathered to do our own asana practice every morning and meeting again in the afternoon to chant the Bhagavad Gita together. Staff enjoyed this quiet occasion to focus on their spiritual practice.
By the middle of the month the Camp was very busy again with many guests coming in for various programs. Minakshi offered a Positive Thinking and Meditation program with 15 guests signing up for the course. The program ran very well with the guests creating a very nice connection amongst themselves and immersing themselves into the daily Ashram schedule. They were given many tools to take home with them and left inspired and happy. The Ashram was full once again and full of energy. Special guest Emily Moody offered a Self Compassion workshop along with Samyukta who offered a Yantra workshop. There were over 55 guests who came for that weekend and enjoyed not only the courses and classes but also got to be out in nature and take advantage of the abundance of snow we have here. After their Saturday afternoon lecture we offered a snowshoe outing. Camp Staff continued with a few indoor projects. Our maintenance crew fixed up the rooms in the Lodge, doing a lot of painting. In addition there were renovations in our Annapurna building. We had fewer staff during this time of the year. Regardless, everyone happily helped out all around the Camp. We all said goodbye for now to Swami Vairagyanandaji who has been with us here at the Camp since the Summer 2017. She headed to India. We enjoyed having her here with us. Swami was a great help and support for the staff throughout her stay. May the Grace of Master and Swamiji bless all. Om Shanti.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Namah Sivaya to all. In January the Yoga Ayurveda Cultural Programme concluded with dramatic a Bharatanatyam dance performance. This included stories of Prahlada and Bhasma asura, the asura who was granted the boon, from Lord Siva, of being able to turn anyone into ash by touching them on the head. After turning on Lord Siva, Lord Siva was forced to seek the protection from Lord Vishnu, who took the form of Mohini to trick the asura. The moral – intelligence (female at that) beats brawn. Little Camilla celebrated her sixth birthday with a little party in the Health Hut. Some of her school teachers attended. The annual multi-language TTC started this month with a full quota of one hundred eighty students including eight languages with support. We were happy to have Swami Ramapriyananda here for the month to teach main lecture and Swami Satyapremananda for TTC chanting and Yoga Vacation talks. Vijay and Sandeep were in charge of Hatha Yoga. Nagaraj ji taught Bhagavad Gita. It promised to be an exciting and interesting month. We also welcome Padmavati, Dayakar, Sundari, Meenakshi and Raghavan to the team. Praveen travelled to Madurai for TTC.
The intense high energy of TTC remained in full force in January with the enthusiasm of all. The TTC group passed the challenging Shat Kriya practice. Guests and students enjoyed a santoor and tabla concert by Haridas and Ratnasree plus a backwater trip. As always Chandra (Iran) was able to celebrate his birthday in the Ashram with a special cake and many blessings. We welcomed Amrita for teaching TTC A&P and Sarada who will offer a short course, ‘Invoking Saraswati – Creative Writing for Spiritual Practice’. We were sorry to see Dayakar and family go after their relatively short but sweet stay. May Master and Guru be with us all. Peace and Pranams to the Sivananda family. Om.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namo Narayanaya – Greetings from Uttar Kashi. The Ashram will be closed until March 2018. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Om Namo Narayanaya. In January our Fasting and Detoxification program successfully concluded with the 9 participants who tried their hands in what seemed impossible initially, finally emerged victorious with their will power and mind power being put to severe test. On sharing their experiences some of them opened up on how they wanted to quit in between but ultimately ended up noticing the positive changes to their body and mind in due course. The program helped to break several fads and myths circulating around diet and fasting. Our first TTC of the new year kick started with 31 students enrolling for the course. They underwent initiation by their course teachers, followed by their introduction to the gathering. We prayed for our Master’s blessings to guide them all through their thick and thin. Praying for the well being of all from all our Ashramites. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Greetings from the Yoga Ranch. The New Year started beautifully here at The Ranch. We started by saying good bye to some guests then continued a relaxing day with the Sauna on with the rest of the guests. Srinivasanji and Saraswati flew to the Bahamas for the ATTC course for the month of January. Sitaram Chaitanya also flew to the Bahamas to take the ATTC course. Also Swami Satyapremanandaji flew to India. It was a rest day for the rest of the staff with a nice movie night to end the day. Swami Paramanandaji gave beautiful lectures on the lives of saints. Due to a heavy snow storm, the flights from Israel were cancelled so we didn’t have the Kirtan of the Heart with Narayn Jyoti. Also the Sweat lodge was cancelled, however half the guests showed up, despite the weather, for their Yoga Vacation and/or Kitchari Detox with Nitya and her helper, Joanna. We also enjoyed a “sound bath hour” with crystal singing bowls, provided by Hamsa.
Meanwhile the Ashram staff worked on different projects around the Ashram. The kitchen was reorganized. Shankar put a lot of energy to updating the Instagram account with some new and improved posts. Swami Paramananda and a few of the staff traveled to the NYC Centre to continue the course on the Yoga Sutras and to lead the Satsangs which have been very popular. Swami Paramananda and Shankara Nambooridi traveled to the Chicago Centre to lead the weekend programs there. Shakti, our staff from the New York Centre came to the Ranch to lead weekend workshops for the “Advance Asana Weekend”. Mukti Devi, a long-term staff member also was here to lead the “Do Good Be Good: The Joy of Right Living” course. The “Essentials of Meditation” retreat started. Our Staff are well, feeling grateful for the grace of the Gurus and sending pranams to all from The Ranch. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. In January we started the New Year with Swami Sitaramananda joining us for morning Satsang from Vietnam via Skype. All staff and guests opened the Sivananda Upanishads to receive their New Year message, which Swamiji interpreted into practical Sadhana and what to focus on in 2018. It was also the start of a Positive Thinking course with Swami Sankarananda and a 5 day Juice Fasting for those who wanted to start the year with good resolves and a little tapas. The first weekend of the year was also busy, with a Beginners’ weekend intensive course and Ayurvedic Massage and Rejuvenation Retreat (AMRR). The Beginners were introduced to the 5 points and AMRR participants learned about their constitution and enjoyed ‘bliss treatments’ and other Ayurvedic therapies in the Ashram. We took all staff and guests to Swamiji’s House for evening Satsang. We said good-bye to Swami Sankarananda who left for programs in Los Angeles as he continued to travel for Peace. We thanked him for his service here for the month and look forward to his presence next year. Swami Adiparashaktiananda left to Vietnam for 2 weeks and Swami Vasishtananda left to attend the celebrations in Nassau for 10 days. We looked forward to their safe return. Swami Jnaneswariananda taught a Bhagavad Gita Course. Staff were inspired to study and hear the stories Swamiji shared. Rudra taught a Stress Relief and Relaxation course. Students learned practical techniques to relax. We also had special guest Joann Lutz with us who taught a course named “Trauma-Informed Yoga Practice”. Students learned how to adapt the yoga class to special needs. We welcomed back Swami Vasishtananda from Nassau and Jagadamba from Vietnam. Swami Jnaneswariananda visited the SF Centre for a program. Ananda Mayi departed the Ashram to become a staff in SF Centre. We could say we were all feeling the blessings of Master and Swamiji this month. Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves from the Yoga Farm. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. In January we started the new year with a sunrise ceremony performed by our priest, which included the performing of Surya Namaskar during the chanting of Aditya Hridayam. We welcomed KP Khalsa, who gave interesting lectures on “The Twin Paths of Yoga and Ayurveda for Healthy Living”, focusing on the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of multiple herbs. We welcomed Srinivasan. He will be teaching in the January ATTC and will be giving morning Satsangs on the topic “Foundations of Raja Yoga”. We had a beautiful TTC and ATTC inauguration with a Guru Puja, which was conducted by our priest. We welcomed Swami Vashistananda, Radhakrishnan Namboodiri, who is Krishnan Namboodiri’s son and Vishnuprasad Namboodiri from India. The priests arrived to conduct special ceremonies during our week-long celebration for the 50th anniversary. We started the celebration for the 50th anniversary with a Ganapati Vidya Homa, which was performed by the priests on the tennis court and included an explanation provided by Swami Vashistananda. The celebration continued during a special evening Satsang. The Bahamas’ Minister of Education, Hon. Jeffrey L. Lloyd, and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation Travis Robinson; Swami Swaroopananda, Srinivasan and Kanti Devi joined together on the stage for the Satsang. They gave inspiring speeches, honouring our relationship with the local community in Nassau. A local singer, Paul Hanna, a local musician and Iswara Chaitanya performed a short but touching song. Surya taught a 3-day Essentials of Positive Thinking Weekend Course. We also started a new symposium, titled “Interfaith Devotional Singing Festival: On the Wings of Ecstasy”. We welcomed Davod Azad, a multi-instrumental musician of Iranian music; Tia Sharee, who sings and teaches gospel music; Narayan Jyoti, who shared with us ancient Jewish melodies from Eastern Europe; and Mirabai Ceiba, a duo consisting of Markus Sieber and Angelika Baumbach, who represented the Kirtan tradition. It was a very joyful and touching festival. Matthew Fox, an internationally acclaimed theologian, arrived to the Ashram to share his program “Creation Spirituality”. Srinivasan continued with his program on Raja Yoga during the morning Satsangs. Surya taught a 5-day Essentials of Positive Thinking Course. Sending best wishes for a peaceful 2018. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. We had two joyful weeks of special programmes for Christmas and New Years’. All local and visiting swamis and staff contributed wholeheartedly with workshops, classes and Satsangs, preparing delicious meals and prasads, guiding idyllic nature walks through the snow filled landscape, and sharing with guests and TTCs at the reception and in the boutique. The priest guided us through several uplifting Pujas. Our spiritual knowledge was expanded through some beautiful lectures that took inspiration from verses of Patanjali Maharishi and from Swami Sivananda’s book How to Cultivate Virtues and Eradicated Vices. The guests participated in insightful lectures with Angela Hope Murray on Ayurveda and the Immune System. The highlight was a lecture with Swami Durgananda on New Years’ day on the topic “High Goals- Where Yoga Can Lead Us”. Swamiji’s words were inspiring for students of all levels and will help to carry us in the coming year. Swami Kailasananda inspired us also with lectures on The Creative Power of Positive Visualisation, and Swami Sivadasananda with a workshop series on “the Living Spine”. Throughout the first week of the New Year we were blessed by the presence of our guest of honour, Sri Venugopal Goswami for the seven- day journey of the Bhagavata Saptaha, which softened the heart and uplifted the mind. With the blessings of Master and Swamiji the two weeks Christmas and New Year programme brought fresh inspiration for persistent Sadhana and service to the students. The TTC students prepared well for the exam and many passed with “excellent”. The graduation ceremony was celebrated with lots of gratitude and joy. After a warm hearted fare-well after which a few guests stayed on for a relaxing and peaceful yoga vacation. 33 participants arrived for the next TTC. After a beautiful inauguration ceremony, we look forward to sharing the next four weeks of the TTC journey. OM
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. January was lively with well attended guest programs on Ayurveda with Mahati and The Power of Asanas which started with a good group of guests. It was followed by lectures and workshops about The Magic of Yogic Breathing which allowed the students to deepen their pranayama experience and expand their knowledge about the topic. Swami Kailasananda and Kailas left for Reith’s program along with Rukmini who left for Paris for a few days. Everyone was back soon after for the start of the January TTC. The arrival day went smoothly and the students felt inspired by the inauguration ceremony, as well as the attending staff members. Many staff who had supported us during the special program went back to their Centres and new staff arrived to be with us during the next months, quickly familiarizing themselves with their new tasks.
The TTC continued with their chanting, clapping alaong and becoming more coherent. The Anatomy lectures started. Padmavati arrived from Vienna to teach the main lectures and give Satsangs. She is a senior disciple of Swamiji. For two days Staff had a mid day Swadhyaya with Padmavati who shared her experiences in a loving a generous way. The Yoga Vacation program focused on Positive Thinking. Lectures and workshops on Improving Strength and Flexibility were also offered. The guests enjoyed a hands on cooking workshop in the big kitchen. One evening, we saw a beautiful Bharatanatyam performance by Anusha Cherer, preceded by insightful overviews of the stories told and symbols used. The next day everyone had the opportunity to participate in Anusha’s dance workshop which was joyful and much appreciated. Madalassa and Amba arrived as well as two new Karma Yogis: Sivadas from Spain and Dhamodara from Canada. Narayana resumed Karma Yoga duties, rejuvenated after a week of Sadhana in the Ashram. For safety reasons the terrace in front of the Meditation Hall was closed and opened again two days later after scaffolding was secured. A common Peetham was prepared in the Meditation Hall to receive the small Murtis from the Temple and the next day after the morning Satsang they were moved from the into the Meditation Hall. We had a beautiful Shiva Yantra and Puja in front of a shining altar. Yagneshwara left for the Retreathouse in Reith and staff started doing the Arati in the morning for the Murtis in the Meditation Hall and small Temples. As the door of the Hanuman shrine was damaged, a Puja was performed to appease him, offering laddus and butter at his feet. It was a beautiful coming together of the staff, creating a peaceful and devotional atmosphere. We wish Gurus’ grace on their Sadhana and an inspiring 2018. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
January began with the first anniversary celebrations for the Ashram. The celebrations were followed by a much quieter Ashram, with just a few guests remaining and the newly arriving Yoga Vacation guests enjoying the tranquility. This group of guests were from many different countries, forming a very international group. Good weather meant we were able to do our early morning meditation walk and watch the sunrise from the mountainside. Staff were busy with many different preparations for the upcoming SYHET course. This was the first SYHET course to be held here in Vietnam. It moved into full swing immediately with participants following an intensive introduction to Ayurveda and health, taught by Durga Leela, along with classes on meditation and the mind given by Swami Sitaramananda, plus, a special series of asana classes and workshops led by Swami Narayanananda. The course was taught in English with simultaneous translation into Vietnamese and Chinese. Students were engaged morning until night time. Time for reflection and relaxation was provided with an evening program, led by Silvia Nakkach, showing how sound and voice are powerful in creating change in the mind and emotions. We also hosted film maker Benoy Behl who was busy filming different parts of the course activities. As many of the regular staff were taking the SYHET course, remaining staff and karma yogis were busy with the general upkeep of the Ashram and looking after a large international group of 20 Yoga Vacationers. All were inspired. We give thanks daily for Master’s and Swamiji’s grace. Pranams to all Sivananda family around the world! Om.
01 Full Moon
MOHA: infatuation or delusion; subtle desires leading to egoism
The ignorance that prevents the understanding of Truth; the obstacle(s) of the Truth. In the “Hatha Yoga Pradipika,” Moha is described as infatuation of the material that clouds the mind in search of Truth. Hatha Yoga is seen as one method of overcoming these obstacles to the Truth.
A pure heart is necessary to know the Will of God. – Sri Swami Sivananda