Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya. We had a very inspiring festive week with Acharya Kanti Devi, Swamis and senior staff sharing elevating lectures, «Thought Power in the Yoga Practice”, “Vedanta – A Positive Approach to Life”, “The Power of Self-effort”, and “Maintaining Spiritual Practices”. We also had an Ayurvedic doctor Sonal Bhat with us, who gave well-appreciated programs on the basic principles of Ayurveda as well as a cooking workshop entitled “Warm Up your Winter Wellness and Immunity with Ayurvedic Herbal Tea”. On the following weekend we welcomed a big group of students. Our New Year celebration Satsang on Saturday started with meditation, Jaya Ganesha and a Puja dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Divine Mother Lakshmi. Afterwards Kanti Devi addressed us all with a talk on hope and peace, which gave a beautiful inspirational touch for the evening and the year to come. There was a presentation of the theatre play “Well Frogs and the Ocean Frog”, which was told by Swami Vishnudevananda in one of his Satsangs in Tel Aviv. Five dedicated and enthusiastic staff members performed this play with lots of humour and warmth and it was enjoyed by everyone alike. The evening continued with Meerabai and Krishna, our close teachers, who sang some songs beautifully, then we read the last message for this year from the Sivananda Upanishad and our last moment of this year was chanting the Peace mantra and meditating into the new year. After wishing everyone “Happy New Year” we ended the night`s Satsang with the celebration of Swamiji Vishnudevananda’s birthday with a cake and sweets lovingly prepared Kanti Devi and staff. The celebration brought staff and students together as part of the Sivananda family. Happy New Year to the entire Sivananda family and all in this world. May peace be upon all. Om Shanti
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Om Namah Sivaya. The high energy of the Yoga Ayurveda Cultural Programme made a welcome change after three years of limbo. Special events included a demonstration of kalaripayattu (Kerala martial art by Agasthyam, Trivandrum), Ayyappa Swami Mandal Puja on Kalipara, santoor concert (Haridas, Thrisur), bharatanatyam dance (Yogesh & Sneha, Bangalore), Guru Puja on 31st morning and final performance of mandolin and mridangam (Sadhgun & Saiju, Mangalore) in the evening. The highlight of the following week was the inauguration of the first TTC of 2023 with eighty-one students: one-third of which are international. Our Japanese Ayurveda Wellness Course finished on the Friday with ten satisfied students. On the following Thursday we were blessed with a visit from Sadhu Sangam of ten sannyasis who were in Trivandrum for Namami Sankaram. They chanted Vedas and Vishnu Sahasranama solidly for one and a half hours. The effect was elevating and purifying. Om shanti.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namah Sivaya. Severe cold has set in with the commencement of winter and we have closed the Ashram until March as it is difficult to function during the winter. The entire Ashram has been cleaned thoroughly and everything is in place for when 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
Namaste. At Madurai ashram we rang in the year 2023 with lots of gusto and enthusiasm. We had an outdoor satsang with bonfire, laughter, and joy all around interlaced with singing and dancing to happily usher in the New Year. The anticipations of a new step taken, healthy and sattvic with a Yogic lifestyle for all our guests and inmates. Being in an ashram environment is the best way to start the year imbibing positivity, harmony and the feeling of oneness. We are also preparing for a Sadhana Intensive course, a much-awaited course for all serious spiritual seekers.
The following week was quite eventful with preparations for the Sadhana Intensive course, especially the cleaning of the grounds to give students the opportunity to do their practice in open spaces. Students started arriving from Friday onward, giving them a couple of days to get into the yogic routine. We had 39 students being initiated to the next level of Sadhana with the blessings of Swami Sivanandaji and Swami Vishnudevanandaji. They began their journey with a Ganapati Homa at the temple asking for strength and perseverance in their intense practice. The Yoga Vacation program with a modest number of guests is enjoying the schedule and at the same time being motivated by the other courses that they can see around them. On the Sunday we took all the guests and staff to Dr Narayanaswami’s old-age home to participate in their Pongal celebrations. A nice breakfast was served to all which was made enjoyable with a banter-filled walk back to the ashram. 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 Ashram is currently closed for the winter. We will re-open from mid-May until mid-September 2023. As always, the Ashram continues with a lot of hard-work from Karma Yogis, and Gurus’ grace. Om shanti.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya, During the festive week we continued our Holiday program with workshops on: Bhakti Yoga, Steps to Supreme Faith; Love in Action, Karma yoga practice; Ahimsa as an Expression of Love; Concentration with Japa and Mantra; Meditation Guidance; Yoga of Equanimity; Krishna Chants and Stories; Inner Peace and Contentment; Emotional Intelligence; Ayurveda Self Care Practice; Faith Not Fear; Guru and Saint Stories; Abhyasa, Practice not Perfection; Spiritual Diary workshop; Cultivating Selfless Love; Keeping Inspiration; and New Year Resolves. We also had a nice workshop on devotional practices with Swami Ramananda of Integral Yoga. The staff put on a play of the Ramayana with many scenes: Rama and Sita in the forest; Ravana’s court; the kidnapping of Sita; meeting with Hanuman; greatness of Hanuman; Hanuman meeting Sita; and Lakshmana poisoned. On New Year’s Eve we had a devotional concert with Mangalananda and friends followed by a Guru Puja and Peace chanting to bring in the New Year. The next morning we all took messages from the Sivananda Upanishads to confirm our practice for the year ahead. The following week we had an Ayurveda and Yoga course where students learned the fundamental principles of ayurveda and health. Swami Adi led the international online satsang with the topic of Spiritual Diary. The ashram experienced some strong rain and winds, but despite this, all staff kept up with their regular sadhana. We welcomed a new priest from India. We look forward to showing him all the temples and shrines in the ashram. We are all feeling the blessings of Master and Swamiji. We are wishing everyone a Happy New Year and inspiring 2023 year to come. Om shanti, om peace
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Happy and Blessed New Year Greetings from the Yoga Retreat! We had another inspiring festival week, with many guests arriving for the New Year celebration. Gaura Vani and his family joined us to perform kirtan concerts every evening, starting on Dec 30th with an unexpected collaboration with Snatam Kaur and her family, who had just finished their program the previous week. It was a beautiful, heart opening concert, with the two traditions, Hari Krishna and Sikh coming together in a true spirit of unity in diversity. During the day on New Year’s eve, staff took turns chanting akhanda kirtan in honour of Swamiji’s birthday. In the evening, Gauri Vani led us into the New Year with a kirtan concert, while our priest, Krishnam Namboodiri led a puja for Swami Vishnu’s birthday, and later a homa to bring in the New Year with blessings and positive energy. We also celebrated the December TTC graduation that evening, with all students passing the course. By Master and Swamiji’s grace, it was an inspirational and uplifting weekend to start the New Year. May their blessings be with us always. Pranams to all!
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. The Christmas week was well attended and full of joyful spirit.
The TTCs are well connected to their schedule, their teachers and amongst themselves.
Weather is almost springlike, and the ski slopes are green!
The New Years Onsite and Online Satsang was uplifted by kirtan, concert, theater play and a peaceful meditation into the New Year. The Highlight was an Audio Message by Swamiji from 1982, followed by archanam and prayers for His Birthday. The News Year programme continued with special satsangs and a lectures series on the topic of Sadhana. The online asana workshops where well attended. Our TTC group studied anatomy and went deeper into the asana and pranayama practice. On Tuesday participants of the TTCOL additional module from 7 European countries arrived to join the TTC schedule for 9 days. Guests and TTCs enjoyed a morning walk on Sunday.
Ashram de Yoga Sivananda, Orleans, France
We had a smooth start of the year. The weather was quite cold in January but with the various programmes, there was good dynamism at the ashram. At the end of the first week, we had a nice group of students joining us for the TTC. We had yoga vacation programmes and people joined freely for a minimum of three nights. There were nice opportunities for the staff to teach and share. Our staff team has enthusiastically started repainting the bedrooms. The project is going well. We worked successfully on a quality label of the various teachers’ training courses according to the government regulation to help students get funding. We look forward to welcoming TTC students from all walks of life.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya. Wishing a very happy New Year to all. Here at the Dalat ashram we enjoyed a joyous celebration on 31st December. A large group of guests were in attendance for our New Year’s Eve satsang. We were pleased to be reunited with all the staff who had travelled from the Ho Chi Minh City and Dalat Centers to join the festivities. Guests joined a special workshop with Swam Sitaramananda in the afternoon to work on forming resolutions for their practice for the coming year. Our evening Satsang was full to capacity with guests and staff. After some inspirational words from Swami Sitaramananda on the significance of the day, all those present received a personal New Year message read from the Sivananda Upanishad by the swamis present. This was followed by a play performance of the story of the Ramayana, put together with great creativity and acted with great gusto by two groups of performers, the first part by staff from the ashram, the second part by staff from the Ho Chi Minh Center. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the whole production. For the final part of the evening the whole group went outside to enjoy the warmth and light of a beautiful campfire. All offered up their written resolutions to the fire. We continued the evening with kirtan, enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies, then saw in the New Year with chanting of Om Namo Narayanaya. The following morning final personal messages were given, flowers were presented to main teachers and to special guests. All joined a procession to the main gate of the ashram, again with chanting of Om Namo Narayanaya. Festivities ended with a feast of Vietnamese specialties. At the same time this week the Health House offered a first symposium on Yoga, Health and Stress. Events spread over three days, with contributions both online and onsite from international presenters. The first week of the New Year was quiet, as most guests left on Sunday or Monday after the celebration days. A small group of guests, including some international visitors remained. Staff and guests have been doing daily Om Namo Narayanaya chanting for peace. At the weekend we welcomed a group for a retreat weekend focused on the practices of Yoga to help relieve back pain. Staff are well and inspired. Om shanti.
Sivananda Ashram Tapaswini, Gudur, Andra Pradesh India
Om Namah Sivaya. Wishing you all Happy New Year from Tapaswini Ashram, Gudur. It has been a quiet week at the Ashram with all TTC students leaving. The birthday of Swami Vishnudevanandaji was celebrated with Satsang and Guru pooja in the temple and a feast later on. In the evening there was a bonfire and Satsang was conducted around it in the open. All guests and staff enjoyed the New Year’s Eve celebrations, followed by cake and fruit salad after that. Wishing all of the staff and their families and guests love, light and blessings.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tokyo, Japan
Om Namah Sivaya. Happy New Year! The Health Symposium held at the Da Lat ashram in Vietnam was given with Japanese translation service, joined by Japanese students. We staff and our guests saluted the first sun rising above the top of Mt. Fuji at the lakefront of the Shojiko Lake on New Year’s Day. It was shivering cold weather, however, we saw the auspicious alignment of the New Year’s first sunrise emerging from right behind Mt. Fuji, which countless people across the nation and the globe visit here to witness. We celebrated the coming of New Year with Japanese traditional cuisine for New Year’s Day called Osechi. The Study session on Sivananda Yoga, which is the monthly regular program, was given on the following Friday, joined by good number of students from the beginning of the New Year to deepen their understanding. Guests who stayed at the Shojiko Retreat during the New Year holidays left on Wednesday, meaning that our lodging service is now closed for the winter season. However, we keep the online programs, including asana classes and courses, going in progress. The lodging service will resume in April and in the meantime, we do some maintenance and repair of the guest rooms, which we are not able to do while guests are staying. Om shanti.
05 Full Moon
18 Sri Maha Sivaratri
20 New Moon
21 New Moon
Instruction in material and practical affairs should keep pace with instruction in Divine things. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Aham Brahmāsmi – A Vedantic assertion meaning I am Brahman. From the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (1.4.10). One of the four Mahāvākyas or Great Sayings of the Upaniṣads.
Ahaṃtā – I-ness; egoism
Ahaṅkāra – Egoism
Ahiṃsā – Non-violence
Aiśvarya – Divine powers
Ajāti Vāda – The theory of non-evolution, that is, that the Absolute is not subject to birth, change and death. The Absolute is aja, unborn eternal.
Ājñā chakra – The centre of spiritual energy between the two eye-brows
Ākāśa – Ether
Ākāśa-vāṇī – Ethereal voice
Akṣara – The imperishable Brahman; the sacred monosyllable OṂ
Āmalaka – The Indian gooseberry
Amara – Puruṣa. The immortal being
Āmnāya – The Vedas. Sacred texts handed down by tradition or repetition.