Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum, Berlin, Germany
Om Namah Sivaya! We started 2019 in meditation with a good group of students who joined for the New Year’s Eve Satsang. The Centre was then prepared for the special program. We welcomed Swami Durgananda and Swami Sivadasananda together with Guest of Honour, Sri Venugopal Goswami and his musicians from India. Many students and teachers joined for the first day of the Yoga Festival Week. There were Asana classes, lectures and Bhagavatam recitations. All was very well received. Staff, Karma Yogis from Poland and Lithuania and also from Berlin helped together to make it a beautiful start to the year. OM.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America
Om Namah Sivaya. By Gods Grace and Masters’ blessings, all went well and smoothly in January. Aca in Buenos Aires began the summer holidays. Swami Premananda and Swami Dayananda traveled to Brazil for the TTC and ATTC in Garopaba. Swami Sivapriyananda stayed at the Centre with Mrida de Ramos Mejia. We started a Meditation Course and two Beginners’ Yoga Courses. Many people came to the Trial Class and also to Satsangs. Man Karma yogis helped the Centre, of which we were grateful. We hope that all of you are well. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chengdu, China
Om Namah Sivaya from Chengdu. A highlight in early January was a Sunday Satsang where we shared the three gunas and how to progress towards peace of mind. The feedback was good. The Yoga Foundation course continued. The open class at noon time was more popular.
A highlight of mid January was the three-day Children’s Yoga Teacher Training. We invited one of our TTC graduates, Gita, to teach the music part and add her own teaching experience with kids. Ambika taught the theory and practice portion of the course, plus, led the Satsangs on Sivananda yoga philosophy. There were twelve students joining the course, including two of our staff. The students learned a lot about how to teach and communicate with kids. They also had so much fun in these three days that everyone felt they were back in their childhood! Like Swami Sivananda said “Be childlike, but not childish”. meanwhile, the Yoga Foundation course continued. The open classes went well, plus an intensive one- day Kirtan course, with 2 of the students from the children yoga training already signed up for it. All is well by Guru’s grace. Om Shanti.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves from the Chennai Centre. The last day of 2018 was highlighted by the celebration of Swami Vishnudevananda-ji’s birthday. On the 31st of December, the first sun rays appeared alongside the Akhanda Kirtan. Om Namo Bhagavate Vishnudevanandaya was chanted until midday before the Guru Puja started. Everyone was congregated around the Padukas which were bathed, dressed and presented the offerings of the devotees. At the end of the Puja, the feet of each Paduka were hidden by a mountain of colourful flowers representing the Sivananda family which may have different colours but one heart. Afterwards, lunch was served, a delicious Kerala Feast prepared with so much love by Sandhya and Magi. On the 1st day of 2019, new brochures of the Centre were hand delivered by the staff to the people on the street and at different beaches. Chandrika and Praveen (Kerala) travelled to different Ashrams. Chandrika went to assist the TTC in Neyyar Dam and Praveen went to Gudur. A new potential staff joined the Centre, Satheesheelan, a homeless young man who started to serve with different tasks at the Centre.
Pongal, Pongala! were the greetings heard mid January. Pongal, a harvest festival in Tamil Nadu (South India), has similar meaning of the Happy New Year. Early in the mornings, Ganesha was invoked through a fire ritual (Homa). The smoking threads from the Homa filled the space and mixed with the divine sounds. Everyone was embedded in a inner and external purification. At the end of the Ganapathi Homa, most of the devotees went for a yoga session while others went to cook a sweet rice in the main entrance of the Centre. A big clay pot was put on the fire and supervised with much love, by female hands, as the local customs expect. After the yoga class, the Pongal, the sweet rice, was offered to everyone, creating happy faces! We received a gift for the New Year with two new staff members joining us, Aiswarya from Trivandrum Centre and Gripson from Neyyar Dam Ashram. Also for a short visit, three staff from Canada, Bhavana, Jiva and Chandra stayed with us. We had also some departure of other staff. Priya left to Madurai for ATTC and Praveen to his native place for a family celebrations. A Sunday Yoga for a Cause, the social activity of the Centre, took place in a orphanage. Children and elder people practiced some of the asanas and pranayamas. They gave us their time, cheerfulness and charming smiles, keeping the energy up asa we learned something new besides their ages and health issues. We were grateful for the experience. The Centre’s Teachers Meeting was held with two teachers. We performed the regular Sunday Satsangs. By Grace of God and Masters everything is going well and progressing in Chennai. Pranams! Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chicago, USA
Om Namah Sivaya from Chicago! Happy New Year from Chicago Centre. Swami Satyapremananda returned from the Yoga Ranch in time to lead the celebration of the new year and Swami Vishnudevananda’s birthday with a special Satsang and Puja on New Year’s Eve, starting at 9pm and going through midnight. We were closed on January 1st and reopened on the 2nd for our regular schedule. On the 5th of January, we had an Open House with registrations good for January courses and special programs. We had a wintry wind blew in early January after a week of unseasonably warm weather. Three new courses started: Meditation, Yoga 1 and Vedanta for Busy People. We were honoured to be among the feature presenters at the VIEW (Vivekananda International East West) Conference at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, where we led a kirtan session. This conference celebrated the 156th anniversary of the birth of Swami Vivekananda. The Centre had a Natya Yoga program, with Laksha Dantran, who gave a workshop on mudras and postures from the Kuchipudi tradition of South Indian classical dance. Then Laksha performed a dance as part of the evening Satsang. By Grace, the rest of our courses are off to a wonderful start and the programs were very well received. We were pleased to start offering a Spanish-language Open Class on Thursday evenings. Two new courses started: Yoga 2 and a special 3-week Positive Thinking course called “Boost Your Mood: Yoga for Mental Wellness.” Despite a weekend snowstorm followed by bitter temperatures, there was sincere, devotional participation at both the Friday evening Bhagavad Gita study class and the special Kirtan Night at a Sunday evening Satsang. Staff are grateful for the grace of the Gurus, steady in their Sadhana and sending pranams to all. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta DÀ LAT Centre, Dà Lat City, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from the beautiful DaLat Centre. In early January we started with two Yoga 1 classes in parallel, both filled after Open House. A Sunday Satsang, with special guest Lila Saraswati Lolling, saw many people attending and very interested in her sharing. The Centre created a place of peace and happiness where the students come regularly for practice.
During mid January students were busy preparing for the national celebrations of TET, the upcoming lunar new year. New staffs and karma yogis were trained well to teach Beginners’ Yoga and Prenatal Yoga. Many people joined the interesting Satsang with special guest, Narayani, from India. The staffs kept their Sadhana practice regular, keeping good energy for the Centre. Regular classes and Satsangs continued to be busy. We give thanks for
Guru’s grace. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta DWARKA Centre, Delhi, India
Om Namah Sivaya. By the guidance of the Gurus, the Centre ran efficiently and effortlessly. We celebrated Swami Vishnudevanandaji’s birth anniversary on the 31st December. A Havan was performed plus a Bhandara in the afternoon. The children of Angels Academy were invited and they performed yoga then had lunch at the Centre. Everyone was helpful with the guests in whichever way was needed. During the lunch gifts were distributed to all and all of them were very happy. Their energy filled the atmosphere and touched the hearts of many. In a week full of learning and events we continued with a new meditation workshop on the 5th of January and Headstand workshop on the 6th. The year was off to a good start, continuing 2 Beginners’ Yoga courses, a weekday and a weekend Beginners’ Yoga on Jan 5th. Vijeyji left on the 3rd of January to teaching in Jan TTC in Neyyar Dam. The staff wished him safe travels and looked forward to his return.
During the rest of January the main focus was on more Beginners’ Yoga sessions. Other classes and courses continued as usual. Regular classes developed very well. We had a free trial class one Sunday for a good number of registrations. The class size for Children’s Yoga was also increasing. We had many new students show up to the Centre, many of them seem interested in coming back to open Asana Classes. In Vijay ji ‘s absence staff were busy, working together to get things done and keeping up with their duties. Satsangs went very well. The words of the Masters resonate with us all. All the staff members are deep in their practice and doing their best to improve themselves and the Centre. We hope that everybody in the Sivananda family is healthy and happy. We send our Pranams to all. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta NATARAJA Centre, Delhi, India
Om Namo Narayanaya. In January, with the grace of the Masters, we started the New Year with a spirit of Swami Vishnudevanada’s birthday & a New Year celebration on the 31st December. The usual weekly schedule continued from 5:00am. We had an evening cultural program where Dr Monika, vocalist and Dr Pushpa, violist performed the Bhajans, Bilita & Bitanya sing song. We concluded the program after a New year message from Swami Sivananda, Arathi & cake cutting for Prasad. We conducted 108 times Surya Namaskar on New Year’s Day with Vijayji. We started a Beginners’ Yoga course at 6:30am and Foundation to Meditation course at 8:30am on Wednesdays. We also started a weekend Beginners’ Yoga course. We conducted the Sunday Satsang and it was, as usual, uplifting and energizing.
Once January gained momentum we added two Beginners’ Yoga courses, one at 10:00am and the other at 6:30pm. We also started a new batch of Weight Loss Yoga at 10:00am and a special 90min Open Class every Wednesday at 6:30pm. The class included a few variations of basic postures and other asanas like bridge & wheel pose. Vipin returned to the Centre from home. Our other weekly events included open class, gentle yoga, prenatal yoga, kids yoga, trial class and Satsang.
Mid January we went to US Embassy to conduct Introduction to Meditation session for the participants during their wellness week program. We introduced the Masters’ teachings and explained the purpose of Meditation and its benefits, then a Pranayama practice before a guided Meditation. The participants got inspired to join the Sivananda Organization for yoga and meditation courses including TTC in the near future. We distributed booklets & the Centre’s brochure. Boreyana (Chandani) came to the Centre for two days on the way to Madurai for ATTC. She taught open classes during her stay. Jaypal went to his home to attend a family wedding. With the blessings of the Masters, everything is going well at the Centre. We send our Pranams and hope everyone is happy and peaceful. Om..
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
Om Namah Sivaya. The staff returned from Orleans recharged and inspired, after a beautiful Xmas and New Year’s program. Girija left to Neyyar Dam to the support the January TTC. Purna, a Yoga teacher from Spain, arrived for one month to help during Girija’s absence. Student numbers for the first days was small, but we received a few bookings for the upcoming Yoga 1 & Yoga 2 courses. January’s Satsangs were about new year’s resolutions, Karma & Karma Yoga. Renovations at the Centre continues. OM.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya. In January we had a good turnout for the Open House on Sunday with 22 people attending and this week we started a beginner course taught by Devika with eight students. On Sunday we had an advanced asana workshop taught by outside teacher Shakti with seven students. We continued the renovations of the Centre and already feel tremendous energy as students are excited to start the New Year with a new look. We have a new spacious and beautiful reception area with larger book cases for the boutique, table for meals, more room to access the lockers, and glass doors with a view of the front yard. Also very promising is the new large and very quiet classroom behind reception formed by removing a wall between the two back resident rooms. The classroom has a new floor, a clean rectangular shape, and a view of the back patio.
Mid month we welcomed Swami Sitaramananda ji to the Centre for a special program, with a Puja for the new classroom, and later, a teacher meeting attended by 16 outside teachers. She also led a very well attended and inspiring Satsang with about 50 people, during which she gave a fascinating talk about relationships, the Self and others. We also welcomed Lila Lolling who led a six hour course on Back Pain with about 20 people attending the two
three-hour workshops. Dharmini came from the Dalat Ashram and led a workshop on making and using japa malas, with 14 students attending. Visiting Swamis of Divine Life Society, Swami Ramananda and Swami Jaya, came to speak at Satsang one Wednesday evening. The staff returned from the SYHET training at Da Lat. We did some deep cleaning for the coming Vietnamese New Year. We are happy to continue spreading the wisdom of Yoga follow the teachings of the Master and Guru. Pranams to the Sivananda Family. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, London, England
Om Namah Sivaya. 2018 ended with a lovely New Year celebration. We started with a Puja with an Indian priest and after dinner most of the students stayed for the Satsang following. We watched Swami Sivananda’s video of “You Are The Master of Your Destiny”, with a lecture inspired from Master’s book “World Peace”. After chanting Om Namo Narayanaya, we entered into the new year with silent meditation and celebrating Swami Vishnudevananda’s birthday. Students left inspired and on a vibrant note. A new Yoga Retreat brochure was finalized and printed out, further planning for 2019 was done and the Yoga festival was launched on the social media. Swami Mangalananda and Kailas arrived from Orleans. We had a well-received headstand workshop, with Kailas, where some of our teachers assisted, receiving more training on how to teach and correct the posture. Staff spent time at the reception and on the phone to actively promote the upcoming special programs as well as
retreats. Initial inscriptions were coming in.
The preparations for the upcoming special program continued. The hall and the stage were decorated, rooms were prepared, deep cleaning and maintenance projects were completed and fresh flowers from the market arrived as well as food orders. Staff went out with leaflets and made phone calls to advertise and announce the program. Rukmini arrived from Orleans and Christina arrived from Lithuania to stay with us for the next three months. Teachers and Karma yogis were happy to see so many staff at the Centre. One Saturday we had a lively workshop, Positive Thinking, given by Savitri, with a nice group of students, most of them staying for the entire program. Satsangs were well visited and many new people from the area passing by the Centre these days and are enquiring about yoga. The information and invitations for the special program were much appreciated by the students. We felt the energy for the event was building. Everything was ready to receive our guests when Swami Durgananda, Swami Sivadasananda, Swami Kailasananda, Sri Venugopal Goswami and accompanying musicians, as well as supporting staff, arrived safely at the Centre. The dynamic and very special program “Lila – The Divine Dance of Life” began. After a dynamic start the Saptaha continued with excellent attendance throughout the week. Swami Sivadasananda and Swami Kailasananda gave lectures and dynamic asana classes, sharing their experience and insight, giving students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and to gain a better understanding of different aspects of Yoga. Some of the classes took place on two levels. Students came out happy and recharged. The evenings were beautifully enriched by a Nada Yoga concert and discourses about “The divine dance of life” by Sri Venugopal Goswami and accompanying musicians. A lecture drawing inspiration from the Bhagavat Gita with Swami Kailasananda was well received and attended by most of the staff.
Another highlight in January was a lecture with Swami Durgananda about “True Freedom”. The hall was packed, all staff were attending and the talk uplifted everyone present. The Centre also offered a free full day program entitled “New Year Yoga Festival of Colour and Light”. From morning onwards students kept pouring into the Centre for classes and workshops and made the day to the joyous and happy event we had hoped for. The program included a colourful cooking workshop, a saree tutorial and workshops about creativity with thread and fabric, Rangoli crafts and Garba dance. All activities were taught by teachers and staff of the Centre. We saw many new faces and the attendance exceeded our expectations.
The day culminated and a beautiful concert with interactive participation of the audience. Some teachers and students took the opportunity to reconnect with the Centre after a longer time and the general credo was “I should come to the Centre more often”. We feel truly blessed to have shared the teachings of the Masters and the rich gifts of yoga in such a joyful and generous way. We were deeply grateful to the Acharyas and the help of karma yogis in the kitchen to make this special event happen at the Centre. OM.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Om Namo Narayanaya! 2018 ended with Celebration of Swami Vishnudevanandaji’s birthday and New Year Puja with Peace Chanting into 2019. We each received a message from Master Sivananda Upanishad and are inspired to create our new year. There was a peaceful enjoyment felt in the monthly Puja honouring Lord Vishnu, led by Pundit Mani Sharma. The LA Centre and all devotees felt uplifted. Open class attendance increased as regular students continued to return from vacations and new students resolved to improve their health this year. Yoga 1, 2 and 3 courses began and continued with happy students attending. Karma Yogis joined to support all of the new happenings at the Centre. The Bhagavad Gita study group kept us all on track and inspired. New daily pranayama classes created their groove and a weekly Kirtan workshop brought joy to the attendees and all around. At Community night we watched in awe the beautiful new movie “Sivananda Yoga in China”. The first monthly teachers’ meeting of 2019 was great, with all feeling connected to the teaching and happy to come together. The regular teachers practiced to improve and new teachers trained. The Karma Yoga Brainstorm Meeting generated new ideas, from enthusiastic Karma Yogis on how to: promote classes, reach into the community and increase the energy of selfless service in the Centre. A new weekly kirtan workshop created a steady groove where students were happy to learn about kirtan and, of course, to practice the chanting. Staff Radhika arrived from Ashram Yoga Farm and Karuna Devi went to the Yoga Farm to teach a SYHET diabetes course for one week.
By mid month Swami Jnaneswariananda visited L.A. Centre for a weekend workshop on Resolves in the New Year. All attendees gathered joyously to learn, serve and come together in a common goal of inspired progress and increased Peace of Mind. Swamiji also led a special Satsang for the local Jesuit Novice community for their annual visit to the Centre, where they expanded their knowledge of Classical Yoga and Meditation practices. Yoga 1 continued into week three. Karma Yogis joined in preparation of Swamiji’s weekend, helping to set up, cook and clean up all weekend. We were continuously reminded of our immense gratitude for the Gurus, the teachings and the dedication of the community. May God keep us all on His path and may the Blessings of Master and Swamiji continue to light the way.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madrid, Spain
Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves! OM.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madurai, India
Om Namah Sivaya. Namaste. By Gurudev’s grace everything runs fine. We thank our Masters for all blessings and support bestowed. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi.
SivanandaSivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montevideo, Uruguay
Om Namah Sivaya! In January Uruguay’s summer time invited students to practice Yoga. We had a reduce schedule for classes but very good attendance. Many students expressed interest in our next TTC and Sadhana Intensive in Bariloche, Argentina. Love to all. May all live under the Masters’ grace. With Prem and Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya and Greetings from the Montreal Centre! We wished everyone a very Happy New Year! We reopened the Montreal Centre on January 2nd and have since been busy with many happy students who missed the Centre during the holidays. Gita left with Swami Shivabhaktananda to India and will return mid February. The past 5 days we spent cleaning the Centre, setting up the advertising and settling into a routine. We conducted a Ganesha Puja, attended by 76 students, including many students from the recent TTC course at Yoga Camp. Hanuman, from Holland, joined our team as staff for 6 weeks. He completed his TTC at Orleans in June and was looking forward to the staff experience.
Montreal was cold in January but that did not stop the students from attending classes. There were many new faces arriving to attend classes, register for Beginners’ Yoga courses or attend the free trial class. Open class numbers were very good in the mornings as well as the gentle yoga class. We had 10 students for Satsang led by Bhagirathi. We had 4 students for the hip opening workshop and 6 students for a free sun salutations workshop. Few of the Yoga Camp Ashram staff joined us for Satsang on Sundays. Their support is always appreciated and welcome. We had a total of 44 attendees for Satsangs with many new students staying after the free trial class. Our main focus turned mid month to the website and revamping the content and working on advertising strategies for the next 6 months. We were very grateful for all the love and devotion of our yogi community at the Centre with
our very committed karma yogis who are always willing to serve. It has been an inspiring beginning of the year at the Centre and we look forward to the busy weeks ahead. We feel our Guru’s grace guiding us. Pranams to all! Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Munich, Germany
Om Namah Sivaya. On the 31st of December 2018 lots of karma yogis helped to prepare the New Year’s Eve celebration. Delicious prasad and kitchari were cooked; altars and rooms prepared and the whole house got a good cleanup. The special evening started with Satsang and uplifting kirtans. After serving the Bandar, all joined together to listen to spiritual stories followed by Om Namo Narayanaya chanting and silent meditation into the new year. In the New Years message from Sivananda Upanishad page 259 Swami Sivananda reminded us to seek for the truth which is existing at all times and in all creation. May that truth guide us all. After a short introduction into the new years resolution and spiritual diary forms students left inspired. In January classes and Satsangs slowly filled up again as students returned from their Christmas vacation. OM.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Neuquén
Om Namah Sivaya from Neuquen. All is well, with the grace of the Masters. Shanti and Prem to everyone! Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, New York, USA
Om Namah Sivaya! 2019 arrived. By Masters’ blessings and the Grace of God, we were off to a wonderful start! Everyone started to return to the Centre after the holidays and classes began filling again. A highlight was the visit from Swami Paramananda and Priest Shankara Namboodiri. Swami Paramananda-ji taught the advanced class and during the Satsang the Priest held a beautiful Puja, completely uplifting the Centre. We looked forward to seeing much more of them as both are scheduled to come every Wednesday this month! Until then we sent them off back to the Ashram with our blessings.
Mid month we had two new courses start – a Yoga 1 and an Introduction to Meditation. Priest Sankara Namboodiri and Swami Paramananda from the Ranch continued joining us on Wednesday evenings. Swamiji continued his Raja Yoga course, “Samadhi Pada,” and gave a thought provoking Satsang on releasing attachment. Sankaraji gave a beautiful Puja on the following morning. We were happy to welcome Siva as staff to the Centre for several weeks, joining us from the Ranch. Siva taught a headstand workshop and also gave Satsang on Sunday on the topic of “Discovering Your Inner Blissful Nature.” We were also happy to welcome back Shraddha to our Centre staff. A couple of years ago, she served with us for six months and is now back for two weeks. We were also grateful for the karma yoga service of Shankar. Lastly, we wished safe travels to our Director Neeti who left to spend some time in India with her family. Sending our blessings from the New York City Centre where, by Masters blessings and God’s Grace, all is running smoothly. Om.
Centre de Yoga Sivananda Vedanta, Paris, France
Om Namah Sivaya. God blessed the Paris Centre with a beautiful beginning to 2019. The staff enjoyed the new year celebration and Puja for Swamiji’s birthday. Parameshwara and his team prepared a delicious dinner for the occasion. There was a joyous atmosphere in the Centre during the preparation. We were very happy to welcome Swami Gopalananda who guided the evening. The celebration started with a Krishna Puja, led by Swami Gopalananda. After the Puja, Gauri and Prema did a beautiful talent show with soulful singing of Amazing Grace. Swami Gopalananda gave a tabla recital and a cheerful singing. We wished Swami Vishnudevananda a happy birthday with a cake and finished the evening with a beautiful silent meditation while the city was celebrating with music and fire works. The next day we had a calm morning with extra time to rest, do sadhana and enjoy the good weather. The Centre was happy to see Swami Kailsananda who passed by on her way to Reith. Swami Nityananda returned from Orleans. Swami Gopalananda went back to the Orleans Ashram. The Christmas decorations went back to the boxes. We had four more evening Satsangs with a little family. Sivakami led two evening Satsangs. We started the brochure for the upcoming season and did a deep cleaning of the first floor and the meditation room. We continued with the inventory and with the organization of the decorations. The tree went to the park nearby to a recycling place. Gauri started to work on the texts for three handouts, on the topics of proper breathing, proper diet and proper relaxation, to give to the students. She also worked on some translations for Orleans. and gave a chanting workshop to the staff. Vyasa focused on the accounts. There was a power cut in the building just before the 4 pm class. The power cut lasted until midnight. As the dusk drew we used torches in the Centre. That day, we were blessed by a flying stop of Swami Kailasananda who came briefly and left with Swami Nityananda for the Ashram. Everyone appreciated the evening Satsang under candlelight. The Masters keep sending help and inspiration. We completed a couple of days in silence. The students were happy to keep mauna after the evening classes. We all are focused on keeping our resolutions for this New Year. OM.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Porto Alegre, Brasil, South America
Greetings from Porto Alegre. Blessings and Peace to all of the Sivananda Family. Om.
Centro Yoga Vedanta Sivananda, Rome, Italy
Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed selves. In early January the Rome Centres’s staff returned from Reith very inspired and recharged. The Rome Centre re-opened on Jan 3rd, with many students returning to classes. We had a special Hatha yoga class to start the year with a deep practice. We offered a Ganesha – Lakshmi Puja with beautiful messages from the Masters for the New Year. We wished a good year to all the staff and Gurubais. May the Masters guide you and protect you to carry on the mission. We send pranams to all. Om Shanti. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, San Francisco, California, USA
Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. We were happy to offer a sattvic New Year’s Eve celebration, including a Puja for Swami Vishnudevananda’s birthday, with plentiful orange rose petals. Attendees were touched and grateful. Several students joined staff on a hike on the bluffs overlooking Pacifica Beach on New Year’s Day. It was a gloriously clear day. All the prana and the imprint of the blueness stayed with us all week. Six students braved inclement weather to attend our Open House. We launched a monthly Kitchari Cooking workshop and shared kitchari with happy students after the 10:30 asana class. A Hip Opening workshop followed. We had new guests at the Gita classes. Yoga 1 and Meditation 1 courses started. A Saturday afternoon Yantra Painting class brought new appreciative students to the Centre. Four hours is never enough. We hosted a joyful evening of kirtan with Acharya Mangalananda. Gopi Kallayil, from Google, donated towards the event and brought several guests. Swami Sivasankariananda participated in a community discussion at Integral Yoga on how to navigate our current troubled times. Swami Ramananda from Integral Yoga then came to lead a Sunday evening Satsang, speaking on the Yoga of Transformation and how we change habits for good. A Positive Thinking course started.
By mid January Swami Svatmavidyananda gave a well attended talk on Overcoming Self- Sabotage on the Spiritual Path. She ended with the message that action can only bring about the finite. We discussed the 9 modes of Bhakti Yoga in the Gita class one Friday evening. We launched our Wellness Day program. Kamala, a 1980 TTC graduate, gave a talk on nutrition with emphasis on food quality and sattvic preparation. We followed the interactive talk with some sharing, chair yoga, relaxation, intention-setting and a delicious, healthy meal. A deeper connection was forged with the students. Swami Sivasankariananda and Rudrani visited an inspiring program at Open Source Wellness in Oakland, a community and “behavioral pharmacy” for physical and psychological health—facilitated by moving, nourishing, connecting and being. It was a beautiful community that Swamiji drew near to us. We felt the Gurus’ blessings. May the Truth be spread far and wide. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, San Paulo, Brasil
Om Namah Sivaya. May the Masters continue to maintain prana and harmony in the Sivananda Centre of Sao Paulo. Om Shanti Shanti to all the Sivananda family. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tel Aviv, Israel
Om Namah Sivaya. By Guru’s grace, the Centre was full of activities, many courses, good attendance in open classes and many inspired students and karma yogis. In early January a new Yoga 2, Meditation 2 and an Ayurveda and cooking course were opened. A Yoga 3 course finished, with the dedicated students ready to continue with more advanced courses. The Centre also held introductory classes for upcoming positive thinking and meditation courses. We used a new online system for course and class registration at the Centre. The staff learned how to work with the program in daily trainings. The weather was very cold, rainy and stormy. Students stayed home making the yoga classes smaller than usual, allowing the staff to rest and practice. However, despite the bad weather, many people came to the weekend evening Satsang, which was on the topic of ‘Mind Control and Meditation’.
Mid month a new Yoga 1 course opened with 14 enthusiastic students, asking many questions and eager to learn and practice yoga. The Raja Yoga – Part 1 course finished and Part 2 was scheduled for February. The staff training on the new online system for course and class registration continued with the karma yogis working at the reception desk also slowly being introduced to it as well. We were hoping by the end of January to be fully comfortable with using it. The planning for the next 6 months of weekend programs was finally completed. The staff also worked hard to finish the program planning for the annual Passover yoga vacation in April. We held an Open House one weekend with many people attending. Over 40 students came to the free morning yoga class, so we had to hold 3 separate classes in order to fit everyone. Many stayed for the feast afterwards as well. The atmosphere was very joyful and everyone had a great time. During the evening Satsang we celebrated ‘Tu Bishvat’, “New Year of the Trees” and learned how we can get inspiration from the tree who is always connected to his life source, remain steady through the storms and always gives selflessly its shade, fruits and more. For Prasad we had an abundance of dry fruits and nuts. We wish all a Happy New Year! Pranams and Peace to the Sivananda family from the Tel Aviv Centre. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tokyo, Japan
Om Namah Sivaya. Happy new year! A New Year Yoga Retreat at Shoji Lake Retreat Centre was offered from Dec. 31 through Jan. 3rd in which we had “toshikoshi-soba,” buckwheat noodles eaten on New Year’s Eve and gave a vegetarian Osechi cooking workshop besides asana and meditation practice. Osechi consisted of special dishes prepared for the New Year and is meant to be an offering to God and prayer for prosperity. We viewed the sunrise on a bitter cold morning on New Year’s Day in celebration of the beginning of the new year. Tokyo Centre was then closed until Jan. 4th. We held a special Satsang on Jan. 6th and received an online message for the New Year from Swami Sitaramananda. A 5-day Jyotish introductory workshop was offered by Keiko Ito. We were grateful for the opportunity to learn more about Jyotish, which is getting familiar in Japan. This course was composed of long classes, however, the students had deepened their spiritual learnings therefore maintaining concentration and motivation.
Tokyo was very quiet and peaceful mainly because people returned to their parent’s home to spend the New Year vacation with their family. Meanwhile, the Tokyo Centre was filled with guru’s blessings and positive energy. Machiko and Yamuna departed to Vietnam to support interpreters for TTC. A Trial class was given, joined by many students who made their New Year resolutions to do more Yoga. A new spiritual journey began for them. The Yoga 1 and Yoga 2 have been going well. Yuko, a long-time Karma yogi, had been staying in India but returned back to Japan. She provided a class at Tokyo Centre with many students and Karma yogis delighted to see her again. A local shrine near the Centre was the location of the New Year Homa where staff and Karma yogis prayed for prosperity of the Centre and good health. Narayani, a resident staff, finished her 9-month service at the Centre and returned to her parent’s home. We were grateful for god-sent Narayani! Srinivas ji, a teacher of Vedanta at the TTCs and ATTCs in India, visited Japan and gave programs for a full day. Over 60 students deepened their spiritual learning and joined his workshops in Yoga Sutra, Bhagavad Gita, etc. despite the fact that the workshops were offered during the weekday. A mala beads workshop was held, joined by 19 students, where they handmade their own mala beads and experienced the meditation practice according to the lecture on the Japa Mala Meditation Technique. Good number of Karma yogis come to help the Centre and to join in Satsang and Puja. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya. Happy New Year to all. Several Beginners’ Yoga courses started, as wellas, a Meditation course. The little kids class started on Saturdays as well. The basement was thoroughly cleaned and set up after renovations. We did several postings on Facebook and Instagram, made some posters for upcoming courses and started setting up several community projects for winter and spring. We had a steady group of students attending morning Satsangs.
Teen classes started mid month with eight teenagers ready to learn yoga and meditation. A lot of new teachers from November TTC at the Yoga Camp joined to assist and attend Satsangs and Karma Yoga. Nalini took classes in graphic design from some karma yogis and continued to improve her skills. She also was looking for English classes to be able to teach courses. We had Vidya, a Chennai student, join the Centre for a few weeks until she found an apartment in Toronto. Kennedy House, a youth custody facility, was interested in having a yoga program for young offenders so we worked on the details. It has been extremely cold in Toronto the latter half of January with several extreme cold alerts. We send Om Namo Narayanaya to everyone. Pranams. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Om Namah Sivaya. A special Pooja conducted to celebrate Swami Vishnudevananda’s birthday was offered on the 31st of December. As well as giving Prasad, we served breakfast to the students and teachers who attended the Pooja. In January we started an early morning yoga batch on Mondays. All other classes continued smoothly. Two days of nationalstrike affected the income and students’ number. Yashpal ji went to Madurai for a week. Satsang was led by Sri. Vijay ji. We were thankful to him that in spite of his busy TTC schedule he managed time to visit us.
By mid January we added a Monday evening batch to the class schedule. Yashpal ji returned from Madurai. We conducted Ganapathy Homa on the 1st day of the Malayalam month. Radha, a karma yogi from Canada, arrived to the Centre. Satsang was led by Sw. Bhagavadananda ji. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vienna, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. Our Christmas Intensive ended successfully and all students registered for the follow up Yoga 2 course in January. Simone stayed at the Centre as part time staff. Swami Gitananda and Sivani returned fully recharged from their stay at the Sivananda Retreat house. The new brochure for the next season was brought to the post. Om Shanti. OM.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vilnuis, Lithuania
Om Namah Sivaya. 2019 started well with familiar faces returning to the Centre for a yoga practice together again. Three Satsangs were very well attended. Joyful chanting and a new hope was offered to live life more consciously. Writing notes with the new year resolutions for Sadhana created a very good atmosphere and energy. The posters and leaflets for the upcoming events for few months were created and printed. The work on the new Vilnius Centre brochure and web page continued. OM.
Consider yourself a sojourner here in the World, having come here with a definite mission, for attaining Self Realization. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Discourse IV: Kaivalya Pada- On Realization
IV.21. CITTANTARA-DRSYE BUDDHI-BUDDHER ATIPRASANGAH SMRTI-SAMSKARAS CA
‘If one mind could perceive another, then there would be cognition of cognition, as well as confusion of memory.’
The mind can neither perceive itself nor perceive another mind, for if this were the case there would be complete confusion of the knowledge and memory of the different minds. The mind is but an instrument; all knowledge comes from beyond it.
From Discourse II: “Sadhana Pada – On Spiritual Disciplines”
“When negative or harmful thoughts disturbs the mind, they can be overcome by constant pondering over their opposites.”
The yogi is ever alert, watching his mind. When he sees useless thought waves arising, he immediately replaces them with positive thoughts, thus creating new mental habits that are conducive to spiritual growth.
When you are free from attachment to all external objects, the mind will be at peace. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Bhagavad Gita Quote
Chapter XI: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
XI.38. TWAMAADIDEVAH PURUSHAH PURAANAS TWAMASYA VISHWASYA PARAM NIDHAANAM;
VETTAASI VEDYAM CHA PARAM CHA DHAAMA TWAYAA TATAM VISHWAMANANTAROOPA.
(Arjuna speaking to Krishna)
Thou art the primal God, the ancient Purusha, the supreme refuge of this Universe, the knower, the knowable and the supreme abode. By Thee is the Universe pervaded, O Being of infinite forms!
Renunciation alone can make you fearless and happy. – Sri Swami Sivananda
PRAKRITI – the primordial creative force
Prakriti refers to a primordial creative or natural force; the natural or original intended state of something or of an individual’s being. The term is derived from the Sanskrit pra, meaning “beginning,” and kriti, meaning “creation.”
Prakriti is composed of three gunas (elements):
Rajas – Creation
Sattva – Preservation
Tamas – Destruction
The three gunas give movement to the force of Prakriti in the world, allowing modification and change to that which is primal and original in nature. Prakriti is considered to be a feminine, creative energy. Its counterpart, Purusha, is the masculine energy.
VICHARA – the enquiry into the real nature of things.
Vichara results in Viveka or discrimination between the real and the unreal.
Atma Vichara is a yogic practice that involves analysis or inquiry into the Self. The term comes from the Sanskrit, atma, which means the “self” or “soul,” and vichara, meaning thought, deliberation” or analysis. Atma Vichara is one of the main practices of Jnana yoga, or the yoga of knowledge.
Vichara results in Viveka or discrimination between the real and the unreal. It helps the aspirant to sift the true from the false. Swami Sivananda asserts that without cogitation, the Truth cannot be known or realized. Vichara sharpens the intellect and leads to the discernment of the Truth that lies behind the phenomenal universe. Swami Sivananda suggests that the spiritual aspirant should practice Vichar.
The justification for this method of Vichara or enquiry is contained in the saying, “As you think, so you become”. By constant reflection on the Reality behind the appearances, the seeker attains oneness with the Reality and becomes that Reality itself.
ATI-PRASNA – a transcendental question
The question, “Why has God created the world?”, is an Ati-prasna question.
The Mind generally plays this trick of asking ‘Ati-Prasna’ during the initial stages of practice of vichara. As Swami Sivananda states, these ati prasnas, or transcendental questions, are questions that are beyond the scope of human mind and intellect. There can’t be a suitable explanation for these questions within the scope of humanity’s words and ideas. Generally, the Mind plays the vichara by showing few ati-prasnas without a solution within its domain and hints that vichara is not much use. However, the key is to get over these open ended questions like this and continue ahead on one’s path. The Ati-Prasna hints to the sadhaka there is a greater phenomenon than life on Earth and to search for the Truth that lies behind the phenomenal universe.
When you are free from attachment to all external objects, the mind will be at peace. – Sri Swami Sivananda