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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 December the last week of the November TTC left us in renewed awe as we witnessed the transformation of the Teacher Trainees. It was an intense week which started with three special sessions where students learned how to adapt the classes for elderly with Bhagirathi, for pregnancy and for Children with Swami Rajeshwarinanda-ji. With the adaptations, students gained a new perspective and a deeper understanding of yoga and the asanas. The students had their mantra initiation and got to use their own handmade malas, while others went on a silent walk to Lake Raymond and admired the stillness of the early hours of the day. In the afternoon of the same day Swami Rajeshwariananda-ji presented the students their new spiritual names. They were entertained to learn what their friends’ new names were, the stories behind the names, getting them to reflect and contemplate the match with their personalities. Later on the day had a presentation by Dr. Laurier-Pierre Desjardins about the anatomy of the diaphragm and its magic in releasing tension and facilitating deep relaxation. We enjoyed Satsangs with Prahlad, who delighted and inspired all with his talks. We laughed wholeheartedly as Swami Rajeshwarianandaji counted stories of Swamiji during his last years. We felt we know him more as we learned of his sense of humour, funny requests, and caring and generous attitude. The students wrote their exam, impressing the correcting team with some remarkable answers and entertaining a few with a couple of creative answers. The TTC students were delighted to learn that everyone passed. Some spent the rest of the day helping out around the ashram and in the kitchen, preparing a feast with Sita & Bharata, which we enjoyed that evening. The graduation & talent show were delightful, followed by farewell photos and tears of joy. A group of guests arrived for that same weekend, enjoying the high energy of the ashram on the last eve of TTC. That weekend continued peacefully, with few TTC’s around helping on the cleaning of the rooms and Ashram in general. Guests enjoyed lectures and helped us with the installation of some Christmas decorations. We said bye to Swami Rajeshwarianandaji, who flew back to Rome to arrive just in time for the Christmas party at the Rome Cntre. We were grateful for her presence during the month with us, leading the TTC and Satsangs and inspiring us all.

During mid-December the staff did a deep cleaning at the Ashram after the TTC. We all gathered in the kitchen to clean every little spot we could reach. Stoves, oven, sinks, storage, nothing escaped the watchful eyes. We set up more Christmas decorations, painted the reception area in the Lodge, including bathrooms, halls and stairs. The baseboards also got a new coat of paint. The building looks clean and neat for the guests coming for the holiday celebrations. The housekeeping team did a thorough cleaning in all the rooms, laundry area and Yoga halls. Joanne took care of the Krishna Temple, coordinating the Christmas tree decoration and welcoming the new Nativity set installed for Christmas. Chandrika coordinated the preparation of the rooms for the special guests that will soon arrive, making sure rooms and beds were done, rooms and houses were clean and treats were also available. Guests enjoyed the good weather for walks in the forest and the good energy that slowly built toward Christmas. We welcomed Padmavati that arrived to spend a few weeks with us. We had our first snow. The grounds were beautifully covered with the fresh powdery snow that will hopefully stay for the end of December celebratons. Staff were excited to receive guests and fellow staff from other locations, bringing a sense of family and brotherhood. We were grateful everyday for the blessings of the Masters. May they remain alive in us. Peace and Pranams to all the Sivananda family for the holiday season and 2016.

Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India

Namah Sivaya to all. In early December the Adapted Sivananda Yoga Course and the Fasting Detoxification Program got off to a good start, with thirty one and eighteen participants respectively. ASYP students progressively refreshed their knowledge of anatomy and learned how to adapt the basic class for people with unique abilities. One of the most interesting and enjoyable learning experiences was to teach asana to blind and deaf people which the students learned these were two very different approaches. The Fasting Detox group enjoyed the new verandah in front of the Narayanaya Hall. Two Yoga groups from Kerala University came to visit the Ashram. Satyam and Shanmugam joined staff. Nisha and Nema stayed on for work study after their TTC.

During mid-December a highlight was a visit by fifteen senior swamis from Uttarkashi. After a tour of the Ashram and food, the atmosphere was sanctified by Shanti Mantra chanting in the Siva Hall. Some of the swamis had direct contact with Swami Vishnudevananda. Yoga Vacation guests and staff had been doing some extra physical karma yoga by carrying pieces of firewood up from the valley towards the kitchen. It is amazing how much can be accomplished in forty five minutes if many people coordinate. We marked the end of the two-week Juice Fasting program. The benefits were obvious in the shiny happy faces of the fasters. We thank Narayana for his service and accommodating five staff members in the program. We welcomed Srinivas who will conduct Sanskrit classes and Patanjali Yoga Sutra classes during the Yoga Ayurveda Cultural Program at the end of December. May the blessings of Master and Swamiji be with us all. Pranams and Peace to al the Sivananda Family at his special time of year from the staff at the Dhanwanthari Ashram.

Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India

Om Namo Narayanaya – Greetings from Uttar Kashi. Whilst the weather it typically cold with not so much sun, the renovations and construction work in the Ashram continued.  The tiling in the Kailash rooms and bathrooms was finished. The rooms waited for the carpenter to adjust and re-hang the doors.  The foundation work for the new Akhananda Kutir was completed and will soon have walls going up.  Additional preparations for the ATTC course in February included the purchase of electric room heaters and the ordering of good blankets.  The staff are fine and busy, paying attention to the works and the workers. Om Namah Sivaya to all the Sivananda Family at the close of 2015 and beginning of a new year 2016.

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

Om Namo Narayanaya. In early December as a part of Satsang video show, guests and students watched ‘Messages from Water’ that underlines the power of words and its vibrations which supported their understanding in the significance of Mantra, Japa and chanting. During a study night for TTC, a pasta night for staff was prepared by the newly joined karma yogi team. About 30 guests, plus trainees, were initiated in a Mantra initiation ceremony. A trip to Rameshwaram was organized. Prenatal yoga section of the TTC Course was introduced. Open class teaching started on the same day. The performances in talent show was quiet sattvic and deeply philosophical with self composed poetry, songs, parallelism of other faiths with Vedanta, and the like. Flood relief measures were taken by HQ to support 3 villages around Chennai for which Meenakshi Ashram joined hands. A first step motivational talk for fund raising was delivered by Swami Satchidananda to the guests and trainees. The same matter was put up on the notice board. On the construction side, mezzanine flooring was being installed in Yamuna Nivas.

Mid-December saw the last week of TTC. The trainees were exposed to Kids yoga and Gentle yoga classes plus the Advanced Pranayama sessions. The play-way approach to yoga in Kids class was a surprise twist for the students from their practice routine. The Pranayama theory was covered and practiced the following day. There was also a preparation day for the following big day of TTC examination and graduation. Talent show that followed was quite quiet. Kapoorji and Nagarajji flew back to Delhi. With students leaving, one by one, the Ashram gradually shifted to a calmer, quieter energy. At the same time the guest strength, arriving for Yoga Vacation, was increasing. A few staff went for a Darshan to Sabarimala and returned the very next day. Anil left to Neyyar Dam for helping with Ayurvedic massage and Nalini left on leave. Om Shanti. We wish you all a happy 2016, abundant in Sadhana. We send Om Namo Narayanaya to every one. Pranams to all.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA

Om Namah Sivaya! In early December the weather was unseasonably warm so staff worked on getting all of the Christmas lights up before the temperatures cooled down.  We also put up the Christmas tree in the main lobby, lovingly decorated by several staff, ready for the weekend guests. We offered a weekend program – A Beginners’ Weekend to Mediation.  We had a great turn out for the program, with all but one guest coming to the Ashram for the first time.  Mukti Devi, a previous staff member and long time karma yogi, came up from NYC to teach the workshop and give the evening Satsang.  The guests were very happy with the program, classes, food and general hospitality.  Many of the guests became friends and are planning on returning at a future date for a reunion. Mahadev Chaitanya returned from his five weeks away, first in India, teaching TTC and then in Israel for one week, where he joined Srinivasan and Swami Swaroopananda on a pilgrimage to holy and sacred sights.  It was wonderful to have Mahadev Chaitanya return, back to leading Satsang the next morning.  Staff are continuing with a morning group practice and all happy and well.

During mid-December the Staff were happy to have Srinivasan and Saraswati return to the Ashram from their trip to the EBM in Israel.  We offered a half-price karma yoga week at the Ashram and the few guests that joined us stayed busy between the garden and kitchen. We had several more guests join us, as we prepared the Ashram for the coming holidays. Radha went to New York to help the Centre staff prepare for their annual holiday party. The rest of the Ashram staff traveled to the Centre a few days later, where over 100 students and teachers came by to celebrate with us.  A few staff stayed back at the Ashram to look after things. Sunday was the last day we were open to the public. The ashram was then closed until after Christmas, while staff travel and join the Yoga Camp in Val Morin for Christmas.  May the Blessings of Master and Swamiji grace all of our lives.  Happy Holidays to all. Om Namo Narayanaya to all the Sivananda Family for Peace and Happiness in the New Year.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA

Om Namah Sivaya! In early December Swami Vasishtananda led workshops on Bhakti Yoga: Communicating with the Divine with teachings on the 9 modes of Bhakti, our relationship with the Divine, and inspiring stories to illuminate the path of devotion. Swamiji led a beautiful Vishnu Puja for the Ashram in the Radha Krishna Hall. Ananta Chaitanya taught the Stress Relaxation Weekend retreat, introducing the yogic techniques for stress reduction based on the 5 points of Yoga; understanding the root causes of stress; and the importance of Prana and its relationship to the mind. Swami Dharmananda and Radha Krishna das attended weekend programs at the LA Center.

During mid-December the Ashram welcomed Swami Jnaneswariananda back from the EBM meeting in Israel. Karuna Devi returned from Chicago. Several courses continued with the Beginner 2 course, taught by Nandini, introducing the Four Paths of Yoga. The Vegan Baking workshop, with Radhika, was greatly appreciated and just in time for the holidays. The “Vedanta for Beginners” course, with Sw Sankarananda introduced Vedanta in a practical and accessible way. The Ashram was getting a good amount of much-needed rain. Preparations were underway for the Christmas holiday. The staff are healthy and doing well. Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves from the Yoga Farm. We send our very best wishes for a New Year filled with abundant Sadhana and opportunity for service.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas

Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. In early December, leading yoga researcher Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa started a program on Yoga For Stress prevention, Sleep and Anxiety, in which he explored with us the psychophysiological science underlying the benefits of yoga and how and why yoga is beneficial to addressing stress. During a series of evening and morning Satsangs, Father William Meninger shared a program on Contemplative Prayer from the anonymous work The Cloud of Unknowing, a book that presents a spiritual process to enter and receive direct experience of union with God. He also taught a series of afternoon workshops on The Process of Forgiveness, sharing a variety of practices for developing forgiveness. The Introduction to Meditation Retreat took place over the week days. During this 5 day retreat participants learned concentration and meditation techniques to embark on a journey into the inner self. Bharata Surya came to the Ashram to teach a program during afternoon workshops on Ayurveda for Diabetes and High Blood Pressure and another one on Ayurvedic cooking. Dale Buegel shared several workshops called Prana Focus During Hatha Yoga Practice, on working with energies in postures, breath and meditation. We enjoyed two kirtan concerts in evening Satsangs, led by Ragani. The December TTC started their second week and were settling into the program nicely. We had a lot of rain. Yoga classes were held on the garden and bay platforms.

During mid-December we kicked off the start of a 5-day program by Jeffrey Armstrong on The Ramayana, The Greatest Story Ever Told. During evening Satsangs and afternoon workshops he talked us through this ancient epic story, elaborating on the characters and hidden meanings of the yoga classic. Sundari offered two different Yoga Vacation Programs during the afternoon workshops on Restorative Yoga and Therapeutic Yoga for Spine, Hips, Legs and Shoulders. Two Sivananda Core Courses took place – The Essentials of Yoga 1 and the Introduction to Meditation Weekend. Karnamrita Dasi returned to the Ashram, sharing beautiful bhajans and kirtan in evening and morning Satsangs, as well as two afternoon workshops on Mantras, Ragas and Voice, Harmonizing our Lives with Sound. Sunday evening Swami Hridyananda started a new program on Depression and Anxiety, “From Emotion to Devotion”. The TTC students were in their third week of the course and progressed smoothly. The last hands were being laid on the new tent-hut platform. A new bathroom block construction was coming along nicely. Happy New Year to all. Om Shanti from all the staff in Nassau.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith/Kitzbühel Tyrol, Austria

Om Namah Sivaya. After five weeks of inspiring yoga programs in Mittersill, Hohe Tauern, close to Salzburg in Austria Swami Vidyananda and Narayani returned back to the Yoga Retreat House. We were happy to receive also 34 students for the TTC. The inauguration ceremony went well. Two journalists from Yoga Journal Germany came by, participated in the activities and met the swamis. Gradually more guests were arriving for the Christmas season. The Kailas houses have been reopened to accommodate for the visiting staff. Christmas Eve celebration was very joyful and uplifting. Christmas carols were sung in many different languages, the classical Christmas gospel was read, Swami Sivadasananda presented the universal passport of Swami Vishnudevananda to all the students and Santa Claus made the students laugh heartily. Throughout the last week of the year many different and powerful Asana-workshops, informative and inspiring lectures on the various aspects of Yoga were held. All staffs are happy to enjoy much relaxing and merry Christmas day together. OM.

Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France

Om Namah Sivaya. As the TTC group was steadily building up their prana, their faces were beginning to shine. There were a number of guest speakers in November, starting with Vincent Maréchal, who gave a nice Ayurveda presentation, speaking of how to take care of the body in a proper way and the specific effect of certain food items on the body. Kaivalya came from Paris to give her presentation on the ‘Yoga of relationsships’, and Ganga spoke about vegetarian diet, giving a nice practical cooking course also.
Alina from Paris enjoyed us with 2 performances on the piano, and finally Cecile Dubois spoke on geobiology and Feng Shui. The priest performed a powerful Sudarshana Yantra Puja, repeating the 1008 names of Lord Vishnu with his strong voice. The teacher trainees did very well in the final exam, and when they left, the Yoga vacationers arrived on the same day itself! Christmas celebration started with the Bhagavata Saptaha and Sant Venugopal Goswami with the musicians gave a Nada Yoga concert on the 24th. We are happy to have Swami Durgananda with us, who gave a nice Christmas address reminding us of the importance of staying in tune with the Masters in spite of all the commotion and restlessness in the world.
It is a great joy to announce that three souls took the bold step to join the Sannyas order in the Sivananda Organization. Madhava Chaitanya, now is Swami Satyananda. Sudha Chaitanya now is Swami Nityananda. Gopika Chaitanya now is Swami Gitananda. May the three new swamis shine as dynamic yogis at the service of our Masters. We wish them much strength, determination and expansion on their paths. May the blessings of Master and Swamiji be with them always. OM.

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Ten Reasons to take the Sivananda Yoga Teachers Training Course

In simple words, here’s why you should take the Sivananda TTC in 2016:

  1. Your asana practice will deepen and evolve.
  2. You will discover your spiritual identity.
  3. You will have more energy than ever before and learn how to recharge your vital energy.
  4. Your aches and pains will disappear as your body becomes more limber.
  5. You will become resilient and strong in stressful situations.
  6. You will be more contented with life, feeling more fulfilled and satisfied.
  7. You will redefine the meaning of happiness and success.
  8. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle will come naturally.
  9. You will learn the steps to attaining peace of mind and how to trace them back when life gets confusing.
  10. You will join a strong, worldwide lineage of Sivananda Yoga Teachers.

God does everything for your own good. Later on you will know this. Be patient. – Sri Swami Sivananda