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. By early June the warm Summer temperatures arrived, along with mosquitoes and blossoming trees! The Yoga Camp Ashram was getting busier, as our guest count increased and the summer staff arrived daily. During the weekdays we had our regular program for guests, with Nirmala Chaitanya giving afternoon lectures and Gayatri Chaitanya doing the asana coaching. The weekend started in a festive spirit, celebrating Swami Vairagyananda’s birthday and going for the Kaappuk Kaddal holiday activities at the Subramanya Temple. It was a blessing to be a part of auspicious Pujas and to open the season of spiritual festivals at Subramanya Temple. We were happy to welcome Mirabai who came from Montreal to give the Introduction to Thai Yoga Massage Course once again this year. Inspiring as she always is, it was interesting to hear about different approach to massage practice and exchange between people that takes place with these kinds of practices in general. Prahladji arrived to the Camp to begin with the Sadhana Intensive Course. The inauguration was traditionally held in Subramanya Temple. The circle of incoming staff members expanded every day of which we were grateful as every department of the Ashram was busy with many projects this time of year. The maintenance crew built an extension on the Registration building. The Panchakarma building received a fresh coat of paint. There was a lot of new furniture coming out from the wood shop. Mosquito nets were being installed on the windows. Gardening crew was catching up with the late spring green growth making the Ashram grounds all beautiful for summer. Everyone contributed the best way they could to serve and support Swamiji’s vision.
Mid-June transitioned back to more like late spring weather in Val-Morin, as rain and sun alternated between the moving clouds, and then jumped to clear skies and the need to even use sunscreen! A Juice Fasting program finished its 9-day detox with all participants persevering and truly enjoying this unique purification process. Sadhana Intensive students had their graduation ceremony, followed by their last kitcheri for breakfast and encouraging words from Prahladji to stay dedicated to their practice. Next, the Camp got very busy as many people arrived for the Chakra Cleansing Through Nada Yoga workshop. Guests were very curious to explore how ‘yoga of sound’ worked on the body’s subtle energy and helped to bring peace and clarity to the mind. We were very grateful to have Ram Vakalanka giving this workshop and the many people visiting the Ashram for this reason. Throughout the whole week, we all continued to go to the Subramanya Temple to celebrate the Pongala Festival, staying up until the very end to worship the Divine Mother. Everyone, including some of the Juice Fasters and Sadhana Intensive students would wait to serve prasad in the end of the night and take blessings before going to sleep. We celebrated the last night of the Mariamman Festival, dancing and putting on the fireworks. We concluded the 10-days festival with the traditional Pongala day. Staff meetings became longer and the circle wider, as summer staff and karma yogis kept arriving to the Ashram each week. The Subramanya Temple was in full swing for the annual festivals and daily Pujas. The list of things to be done increased each day and we are lucky to have many people serving to maintain the Ashram. At the same time, everything was getting preared for the busiest month of the year, July, and TTC to come. Gardens were in full bloom, the pool opened and outside yoga platforms prepped. Everyone was doing their best to keep up with summer pace and good spirit! May the Grace of Master and Swamiji bless you all!
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Namah Sivaya to all. Everyone was well at the Dhanwanthari Ashram in June. The June Yoga Vacation program continued smoothly with morning and evening Beginners’ Yoga and intermediate classes plus optional asana/pranayama coaching sessions daily and meditation coaching sessions alternate days. Rohini led the talks on Yoga at 2 pm. With the official start of the monsoon season upon us, the frequency of rain distinctly increased. The staff Guru Puja took place at the same time in the Rama Hall with different staff learning how to set up and conduct the Puja. The guests had the opportunity to participate in Lalithasahasranama Lamp Puja when we had the evening Satsang at the Raja Rajeswari Temple. Twelve guests opted for the Kanya Kumari day trip led by Sajan, with Rajeev in training. Vipin, a graduate from January TTC, joined us as staff for 6 months. Suresh left for the Yoga Camp in Canada to participate in Sadhana Intensive.
By mid June the monsoon rains gave us a short reprieve with sunny days, so guests and staff enjoyed silent walks to the Dam. We said farewell to staff member Ananda whom we expect back in November. The main activities centered on the International Day of Yoga on the 21st of June. We had 2 schools visit the Ashram and staff went in teams of three to 6 schools for talks and demonstrations on yoga. Seeing such young children benefit from the practice exemplified the teachings of yoga. For guests we had a special class challenge of 108 Surya Namaskar led by Sajan. Guests and Staff from the Ashram also attended an International Day of Yoga program at the Trivandrum Centre which offered an informative panel discussion, with some eminent doctors, on the Benefits of Yoga. We said goodbye to Kalyani and Nataraj for a month as they commence their Japan Tour, going to various cities and Centres while offering classes and workshops on Swami ji’s teachings. We wished them safe travels. We also welcomed back Vinod from the Kids and Teens Camp in the Gudur Ashram. May Swamiji and Masters guide us all! Pranams to the Sivananda family. Om.
International Yoga Day 2019 Report:
The events started for the Ashram with a visit from the Saraswati School on 20th of June. Rohini gave a talk on the benefits of yoga and Hamsa demonstrated of the 12 basic postures to 40 students. Sajan then took them for a tour of the Ashram and brunch. The students enjoyed the experience so much and were excited about joining Kids and Teens Camp the following year! On the 21st of June the Ashram went to six different schools to give talks and demonstrations on Yoga. Our day started at 7.00am going to two schools first thing in the morning, continuing into the afternoon. In the Ashram for guests and staff, there was a 108 Surya Namaskar class challenge and we hosted functions for 2 schools. The enthusiasm of the students was inspiring, specially to see them keeping yoga as a part of their curriculum. At Jawahar Navodya Vidyalaya, the Ashram staff were on the panel of judges for an inter-house Surya Namaskar Competition and talks done by the students on the benefits of yoga. Rohini talked about benefits of yoga, yoga as a form of unity for mind, body and spirit that gives children the skills to live balanced lives. Beena, Hamsa and Eri demonstrated 12 basic postures with variations. Approximately 300 students attended the IDY assembly. The other 7:00am event was at NAPT (National Academy of Pre-recruitment Training), where Kannan and Hanoush took 100 students through a guided class with demonstrations. At the Bharatheeya Vidya Peedom Parasala approximately 1200 students were a part of the IDY celebrations, starting with a puja, student demonstrations and a talk done by Manimala on the 5 Points of Yoga and guided stretches students can do to maintain health and focus through exams. Demonstrations were done by Hanoush and Kannan. Kailash and Dina went to the Chinthalaya School Kallikkad at 9:00am with 500 children in attendance. At the Mahalakshmi Vidya Peedom Kizhvanda, 140 students from Class 3 to 7 participated in the talks and demonstrations given by Syam, Shiju, Manimala, Kannan and Dina led 60 students from Lourdes Matha College through basic postures, benefits and explaining breathing exercises such as abdominal and full yogic breathing. Kerala Institute of Co-Operative Management Admission (KICMA) sent 32 students to the Ashram for a class and talk by Sajan and demonstration by Asha, Eri. Om.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namo Narayanaya – Greetings from Uttar Kashi. May Swamiji and Master’s blessings be with all. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Om Namo Narayanaya. Namaste from Madurai. In June the TTC progressed well with the students well established with their schedule. Taking a week long break from Philosophy lessons, they were introduced to a general overview of different body systems and yogic detailing of the same in Anatomy and Physiology sessions. Bhagavad Gita classes empowered them to take on the challenges of life along with Hatha Yoga adding to their levels of mental confidence and physical strength. Yoga Vacationers continued their Ashram schedule complete with Satsangs, Asana classes and Vedanta lectures. Talent shows were vibrant and vivacious with a plethora of dance and singing performances. We were thanking Master and Swamiji for all the favours and guidance received.
By mid June the TTC students embraced the last and final week of their course with much enthusiasm. As upcoming yoga teachers they also had a golden opportunity to be part of International Yoga Day celebrations organized by the Ashram and Centre. Being the sattvic students that they are, they participated in 108 rounds of Sun Salutation, even though it was their study day prior to their exams. They also did well in their exams and came out with flying colours, making all of us happy and proud. Saturday night fever reached its crescendo with their Graduation ceremony, complete with their last Talent Show. We wished the blessings of our Masters to guide them always and much success in becoming instruments in spreading their teachings. We bade bye to Nataraj ji who left to Kerala to prepare for his Japan tour. Yoga vacationers also participated in the Yoga Day programs with contagious vigour and vitality. Sending Prem and Om to all from our family of Guests, Students and Staff. With Master and Swamiji’s grace, we were very happy and grateful. Namaste. Om.
We would like to share a beautiful video about the Madurai Ashram which was recently completed. Please link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3Rw6ZuvYJQ
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Happy New Year from the Ranch! By the Grace of the Gurus, yoga life in the Yoga Ranch Ashram went well in June. Jagadambika led students through a Yoga Immersion Week for Beginners’ Yoga, instilling the discipline to create a home practice, improve flexibility and foster a greater ability to cope with stress and find inner happiness. We were very pleased to welcome two special guest speakers to present workshops and Satsangs on the topic of Proof of the Afterlife: What Happens When We Die? The first presenter was Dr. Raymond Moody, who studied near death experiences for almost 50 years and a best selling author of 12 books. Dr. Moody trains hospice workers, clergy, psychologists, nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals on matters of grief recovery and dying. The second presenter was Dr. Marilyn Rossner, a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda and one of the world’s most gifted intuitives. Dr. Rossner pioneered the use of yoga as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of children with special needs. She is the founder of the Spiritual Science Fellowship and co-founder of the International Institute of Integral Human Sciences. We were also happy to celebrate Srinivasan’s birthday with a morning Puja and special feast, prepared by Dr. Kamlesh. Swami Satyapremananda and Hamsa also came for the celebration. Our TTC students successfully completed their first week of their program!
We were thrilled to again be invited to participate in the United Nations International Day of Yoga. This year the theme was “Yoga For Climate Action.” Our entire staff, along with TTC students, travelled to New York City to partake in this historic event. Swami Paramananda led a yoga class in the UN’s General Assembly Hall along with practitioners from several other organizations. Srinivasan participated in a panel discussion the following day. Meanwhile, back at the Ashram we were pleased to welcome special guest Bren Jacobson to lead Satsangs on the topic of “Stories of the Flying Swami,” telling inspiring stories of Swami Vishnu’s peace missions. We also welcomed special guest Gopi Kallayil, Chief Brand Evangelist at Google, to lead Satsangs and a workshop on the topic of “Internet To The Inner-Net: Living With Ancient Yoga In The Digital Age.” Gopi published two books on integrating yogic principles into daily life and inspired guests and staff with ideas to live with a greater sense of purpose. Finally, Siva and Sundari led a “Yoga & Hiking Weekend Retreat,” and enjoyed leading guests on a five mile hike at Minnewaska State Park. The TTC students completed their third week and were gaining great momentum in their teaching groups. Pranams to all from The Ranch. Om.
International Yoga Day 2019 Report:
The International Yoga Day event was transmitted live in the social networks of the Ashram and Center and transmission reached more than 8,000 people through these networks. More than 1,600 people attended the event. 250 yellow t-shirts, especially printed for this event, were given to staff and people interested in the Sivananda practice. People wearing the yellow clothes were spread all over the Assembly Hall during the event. 300 bags containing the Sivananda Yoga Ranch brochure, a gift certificate and the New York City Center brochure were handed out to participants of the event. The event’s program officially ended at 7:30 PM. After that, food and certain other articles from other organizations was given to people in the entrance hall of the UN. We were also given a space to display a special exhibition on “Yoga and Sustainability” conformed by pictures from Sivananda Ashrams and Facts about how Yoga is direct related to sustainability (pdf will be soon uploaded to website).
United Nations Headquarters June 21st 2019 Report:
On June 21st the panel discussion with the topic “Yoga for Climate Action” took place at the United Nations Headquarters. Srinivasan was one of the 5 panelists that were invited to share about Yoga and their opinion on the effect and importance of Yoga for Climate Action. The panel discussion started at 11:00 AM at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC Hall) in the main building of the UN and ended at 12:30 PM and gathered around 200 Yoga practitioners, leaders and Swamis, among which were Srinivasan, Swami Paramananda and Swami Satyapremananda.
Link for the Panel discussion: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/watch/5th-international-day-of-yoga-yoga-4-climate-action/6050891138001/?term=
Both events were a great success in the mission of sharing Yoga and spreading the teachings of Yoga in the spirit of Swami Vishnudevananda.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. In early June the Ashram’s energy was very high with the first week of ATTC. The students were very dedicated to their Sadhana, enjoying the morning pranayama practice, asanas, and philosophy teachings, receiving great inspiration from Satsang talks with Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Jnaneswariananda. Swami Vasishtananda gave a beautiful talk on Divine Mother as part of the Durga Temple morning walk. Meanwhile the Yoga of Recovery “Between the Meeting and the Mat” course with Durga Leela and Parameshwari combined Yoga, Ayurveda, and 12-Step recovery techniques to create healthy routines and lifestyle choices. The Permaculture Design Course, led by Spencer Nielsen and assisted by Krishna das, focused on Social Permaculture, the relationship between communities and the land, while creating hands on projects around the Ashram.
The ATTC students and Ashram staff felt the blessings of Master and Swamiji with many wonderful teachings, guest speakers and events in June. Swami Vasishtananda-ji led the Full Moon Mandala Puja at Swamiji’s house with all swamis, staff, ATTC students and guests participating with Abhishekam to Siva Lingam and several Homa fires simultaneously chanting mantras and creating high vibration and inspiration for all. The beautiful ceremony concluded with Aarati just as the full moon rose above the hills. The ATTC students visited the Yuba River for early morning pranayama and meditation practice. Swami Sitaramananda shared many beautiful teachings during the Satsangs while the Ashram welcomed several guest teachers, including Swamini Svatmavidyananda who shared Vedanta teachings on “Living as Sat Chit Ananda”; Tulku Sherdor who joined us for a week of special teachings on the Nature of the Spiritual Path, Guru, Karma and Meditation; Komilla Sutton who introduced Vedic Astrology for the ATTC students and taught the Vedic Counseling course with emphasis on Jyotish as complement to Yoga practices. The Ashram also welcomed Niranjan Babu, an expert in Vastu (sacred space) and his wife Umarani, for their annual visit to the Ashram. We all feel the blessings of Master and Swamiji. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. The month of June was busy. We welcomed many presenters, performers, and guests for the celebration of Swami Swaroopananda’s birthday. A special welcome went to Swami Paramananda, who joined us to teach courses on Vedanta throughout June and July. South Indian performers Sankarapillai Sunilkumar, Suba Ramesh Parmar, Swamimalai K. Suresha, Gomathy Nayagam, and Mithuran Manogaran presented breathtaking concerts for the South Indian Classical Music and Dance Festival. Flute, voice, and dance were each featured with each concert as exhilarating as the last. All performers shared the stage and demonstrated the synergistic possibilities of music as each musician wove his or her melodies deftly among the fabric of sound. The birthday festivities concluded with a beautiful Puja, as well as a question and answer session. The Puja featured music, dance, a visual feast of decorations, teachings from Swamiji, and a magnificent cake depicting the famous scene of Adi Shankaracharya teaching his four students on the banks of the Ganga. We extended heartfelt gratitude to all of those who dedicated their time to making this celebration possible by decorating, cleaning, cooking, organizing, teaching, hosting, and many other unseen acts of service. Special thanks went to Swami Sharvananda Giri, who returned to India after presenting Satsangs on Vedanta and teaching a month-long course on the Katha Upanishad. Many thanks also went to Swami Swaroopananda for continuing to guide students by upholding the teachings of the lineage. During this time of positive energy, a class of newly-minted positive thinkers celebrated their graduation. The 5-day Essentials of Positive Thinking course was taught by Iswara Chaitanya. The positivity continued with workshops by Shambhavi that taught participants about accessing one’s highest potential by tapping into Divine energy with ThetaHealing. Nirmala presented inspiration from Swami Sivananda during a two-day program entitled Cultivating Virtues According to Sivananda. In addition to sharing the words of Swami Sivananda, she shared inspiring stories from her own path of service to give poignant examples of forgiveness and generosity. The Ashram community also welcomed the students of the June Teacher Training Course. This cohort began their journey with strong inspiration from the screening of In the Name of Peace, the Ganapati Vidya Homa. We wished them well with their studies and they find inspiration to guide them through this month!
During mid-month we celebrated the International Day of Yoga with a schedule full of teachings from our lineage. The day began with a beautiful Patanjali Maharishi Puja, held in the Main Temple, performed by our priest, Krishnan Namboodiri. Swami Swaroopananda addressed the Ashram community with teachings about the spread of Yoga and the ensuing peace that arises from practicing what is taught. For the evening Satsang, Swami Swaroopananda answered questions about Yogic Life and the spiritual path during a special Q&A session. Sivadayi led a workshop on Swami Vishnudevananda’s Five Points of Yoga to share Swami Vishnu’s vision for good health and peace of mind through the practice of Yoga. Swami Paramananda compassionately continued to give teachings from the Ātmabodha, by Sri Adi Shankaracharya, throughout the morning and evening Satsangs. The Ashram community benefited tremendously from the methodical way in which Swamiji demonstrates the teachings of Vedanta. Master Ou Wen Wei joined us to present on healing through mystical Qigong. With translation by his daughter, Olivia Wen Wei, Master Ou gave two evening Satsangs sharing beautiful stories of people who had found a connection to well being through Qigong. We also had the honour of welcoming Dan Millman, who taught through anecdote and metaphor about the lessons we all encounter in the School of Life.
Interested vacationers and staff had the opportunity to learn from Swami Shambhudevananda about the Essentials of Meditation. During this five-day course, they learned the theory behind what we practice, as well as many practical points for deepening their own meditations. The students of the Teacher Training Course continued to dedicate themselves to their studies. We also welcomed many new karma yogis to the Ashram, wishing them good success as they immersed themselves into their Karma Yoga service. May all continue to receive the blessings from Master and Swamiji. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. As we started the month of June so did the latest group of TTC students. The lively group was keen to learn and were very much engaged. As they dove into their studies we took the yoga vacation guests on several hikes in the spring filled surroundings. The house filled up for the May Retreat at the Ascension Day weekend with some familiar and many new faces. Swami Durgananda’s guidance brought high energy and joy to the Retreat House. We received inspirational words in the morning Satsangs with Swami Sivadasananda. In the asana classes some of the deeper aspects of hatha yoga were explored, much to the appreciation of all attending. Guests who were new to yoga enjoyed the Asanas Easy program. The classes offered plenty of space for individual recommendations and short lectures on the important principles of yoga. The new yoga platform was finally inaugurated with an Arati, then the first yoga classes began amidst the glorious sunshine. Siegrid Siebert, a nutritional scientist and dietician, gave a three-part lectures series on Diet and Health. Clear scientific knowledge on healthy nutrition for vegans and vegetarians was presented in an easy to understand format. The spiritual highlight was the Bhagavata Saptaha with Sri Venugopal Goswami including a meditation concert one Saturday evening. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. In June the Sadhana Intensive students finished their intense practice leaving the Ashram full of prana and vibrancy. We also offered the program, “The Power of Mantras”. After the wake of these courses the Ashram returned to calm for a short while before the staff team focused on preparing for the TTC refresher. Soon after staff from Europe started to arrive at the Ashram, including the Acharyas Swami Durgananda and Swami Sivadasananda. With the arrival day of the TTC refresher everything went very smoothly. There is a beautiful energy at the Ashram with so many experienced yogis around. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from DaLat Ashram. In early June we held our Children’s Yoga Teacher Training course, led by Ganga Chaitanya and Saraswati. The participants’ days were full of activity and study. They graduated from the course with much gratitude for the experience and learning. Staff were also busy preparing for the arrival of a large group of 60 students for a weekend retreat, led by Dr. Hung, a Vietnamese doctor who specializes in guiding patients to adopt a healthier lifestyle so that they can better take control of their own health. Dr Hung gave a series of very animated talks. Participants were very appreciative of the experience and their introduction to Yoga practice. Especially popular was a meditation walk very early one Sunday morning, when we watched a beautiful sunrise from the mountainside. As soon as the weekend retreat group left the Ashram, the staff prepared for the Kids’ Camp, this year with 30 young Yogis, who continued to be very active and engaged with a full program run by our team of 18 counsellors. At the same time we welcomed a group of adults for a Beginners’ Yoga course. We celebrated the graduation of the Children’s Camp, which was a very happy, yet tearful occasion! After Kids’ Camp was finished Saraswati left for a short trip to Hanoi to lead events promoting the upcoming TTC and SYHET courses. We were also pleased to welcome Swami Pranavananda to the Ashram to lead a weekend event to celebrate International Yoga Day. Staff then turned their focus with preparations for the Teen Camp. All staff are inspired and thankful for Guru’s blessings. Om.
02 New Moon
01 New Moon
The enjoyments of the senses are transient and the senses themselves are worn out by too much enjoyment. – Sri Swami Sivananda
INDRIYAS – The senses.
The Indriyas (senses) have two states, static and dynamic. When the desire begins to operate, the Indriyas are put in motion. This is the dynamic state. As soon as the desire is gratified, the Indriyas shrink through Tripti (satisfaction). This is the static or passive state of the Indriyas.
The Mind and Indriyas are one. Indriya is a prolongation of the mind. The sea is fed by the rivers; the sea cannot exist without the rivers. Even so, mind is fed by Indriyas and cannot exist without Indriyas. If you have controlled the Indriyas, you have already controlled the mind.
Eyes can only see. Ears can only hear. Tongue can only taste. Skin can only touch. Nose can only smell. But, the mind can see, hear, taste, touch and smell. Mind is the common sensory. The five senses are blended there. It can directly see, hear, smell, taste and feel independent of the senses. It is an aggregate of the five senses. All the sense-faculties are blended in the mind. You can see and hear directly through the mind by Yogic practice (clairvoyance and clairaudience).
Vasikaran – In this highest stage of Vairagya, the objects no longer tempt you. They cause no attraction. The Indriyas are perfectly quiet. Mind also is free from likes and dislikes (raga and dwesha). Then you get supremacy or independence. Now you are conscious of your supremacy.
Kaivalya (perfect independence) is when the Indriyas are drawn into the mind, the mind into the Mahat, and the Mahat into the Purusha. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Let prayer come from the bottom of your heart.- Sri Swami Sivananda