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. Spring is in the air in May and the Yoga Camp is finally seeing sunny days. Most of the snow was cleared to make way for some spring cleaning. The EBM meeting finished then all the senior staff were taken up to the Subramanya Temple for Puja. Manjunath was able to make offerings and prayers for each of the different locations. All the members enjoyed the Temple food after the Puja and most of them departed that same day. It was such an honour to have them all here at the Camp and we look forward to seeing them all again, as always. Swami Shivabhaktananda departed Wednesday evening for India to lead the Char Dham Yatra. We had a total of 13 people on the 2 week Yatra. We prayed for their safe travel and looked forward to hearing about their journey. Meanwhile the Camp had some guests enjoying the sunny days with different lectures, workshops, and outdoor activities. We welcomed Kumari, a long time disciple of Swami Vishnu, to the Camp. She held a weekend “Slow Down-Enjoy More” workshop which brought in many guests even though the weekend was rainy. It was a perfect atmosphere for a gentle/slow down retreat. The staff were hard at work, setting up and cleaning the Camp. Now that the snow melted, we commenced with outside work that needs to get done before the summer season. With the help of guests many of the paths in the Ashram were cleaned. We finished opening the Annapurna building and our water pipes for the summer. Everyone pitched in to get all of this done. In addition, the staff were keeping up with their Sadhana.
By mid month the Spring colours were beginning to blossom. Everything turned different shades of green. The smell of spring is in the air. It was beautiful to watch the transformation of the mountain colours as the days passed. Mookambika offered a few lectures and workshops throughout the week days for anyone who was interested. We continued with the biweekly chanting of the Lalita Sahasranama and Bhagavad Gita with a few guests joining here and there. We welcomed Upasana to the Camp. She has been coming and offering a “Yogic Path through Anxiety” workshop for a few years now and there is always a good response from guests. It was a long weekend here in Canada so the workshop was held for three days. In addition, we had the pleasure of having Prema, long time disciple of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnu, here at the Camp. She spoke during one of the Satsangs and told stories and memories she had of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda. Everyone felt inspired and felt the love of Master and Swamiji radiating from her as she remembered her experience with them. We hoped to have her back again soon. We also welcomed Swami Satyapremananda from the Yoga Ranch, New York State. She stayed with us for a little while. We’re all always happy to have our Sivananda family visit from different locations. Meanwhile, the staff were busy in the Camp and Temple gardens. There was much cleaning and preparation needed. The Ayurveda building was well underway to being opened for the busy season. A new staircase, leading up to the Krishna Kutir and Ayurveda Building due to the construction, was rebuilt. Work in the Annapurna Building continued as all the staff were hard at work. Being outdoors was a nice change after the winter months. May the Grace of Master and Swamiji bless all. Om Shanti.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Namah Sivaya to all. In May the Ashram celebrated Swami Gayatriananda’s twenty-fifth Sannyas anniversary with a Pada Puja. All the staff and children participated and received her blessings. Our Kids’ and Teens’ Camp concluded. After the parents’ meeting the kids joined together for a mini Satsang and a well-rehearsed talent show. Parents were happy to see their children again, kids were excited to go home but also sad to leave their new friends. Staff were sad to see the kids go but also relieved to get back to normal schedule. They deserved a big congratulations for making the Kids Camp a success. The staff then settled into the low season schedule, keeping a daily group spiritual diary including a half hour of Om Namo Narayanaya chanting, daily new teachers’ training classes and Sunday morning Guru Pada Puja. Work was underway for the construction of a new roof over the top floor of the Vishnu building – Dining Hall. This will provide a new asana space for up to sixty people. We welcomed Veena and her son, Nandi, from Camp for a few days. Peace and Pranams to the Sivananda family. Om.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namo Narayanaya – Greetings from Uttar Kashi. In May the 2nd TTC of the season began with initiation on Sunday 13th May and Ganapathy Homa on Monday morning. The weather was quite pleasant for the twenty nine students who are venturing forward in the Yogic path. They were guided by Kapoorji for the main lectures and Satsangs; Sukumari for Bhagavad Gita; Katyayani for Hatha Yoga and Dr Saravanan for Anatomy & Physiology. Many of the students took the opportunity to visit the Cave at Gangothri and were inspired by the presence of the snow peaked Himalayas as well as Mother Ganga flowing by the Temple there. The Yatra group were welcomed for a visit to the Ashram after visiting Gangothri the previous day. They had a relaxing day doing Satsang and class together, then relaxing on the banks of Ganga after lunch. We wished them well for their onward journey to Kedarnath and Badrinath. We thank Master and Swamiji for the blessing of being in the company of the Himalayas and Mother Ganga. May Master and Guru be with us all. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Om Namo Narayanaya. In May the Ashram held a Sivananda Medical Camp for the villagers near the Meenakshi Ashram. We had Surgical Camp as well, catering to the need of surgical procedures amongst the rural population. However on account of our limited treatment facilities, referrals are made to hospitals for a detailed analysis and planning of treatment. The Medical Camp was attended by several new cases in addition to the regular patients. The villagers live with the belief of a natural cure for their ailments as they consider it as a curse that had befallen them. Through the grace of our Masters our Weekly Medical Camps, albeit gradually, have helped us to meet the needs of rural population thereby cementing their faith in Medical Science. Praying to travel well ahead in our noble endeavour of campaigning health and wellness. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Greetings from the Yoga Ranch, where this year’s slow-coming Spring transformations were at last in full progress and each day the Ashram blooms more beautifully. The weekdays in May were quiet in terms of guest stays, but staff were busy continuing to prepare the grounds and gardens for the busy season. Srinivasanji and Swami Paramananda returned from the EBM at the Camp, and then Swamiji traveled to the Bahamas for a two-week visit. Weekends were busy with a full house and programs that included a very popular Introduction to Yoga Weekend taught by Isani, a teacher and karma yogi at New York Centre whom we were glad to welcome. Nitya also came from the city, along with Aaron, Jessica, and Joanna, to lead the Spring Juice Detox weekend program. We were happy also to welcome Barabara Moss, who came to lead a Yoga & Osteopathy weekend program. Two new karma yogis arrived to the Ashram’s work-study program: Rachelle and Carol.
By mid-month a five day Positive Thinking course was taught by Swami Satyapremananda. We hosted the annual ASL (American Sign Language) retreat and had 13 participants learning how to teach yoga to the deaf community while taking quality time for themselves. There was a lot of movement with several arrivals and departures. Swami Paramananda returned from two weeks of study at the Yoga Retreat in Nassau, and with him also arrived Shankara Nambroodhri, our Ashram priest, who just arrived from three months in South India. Both were warmly welcomed back. Srinivasan headed off to Fort Lauderdale to help Shyam and Mohini, directors of the Yoga Warehouse, celebrate the 20th Anniversary of this Sivananda Yoga Affiliated Centre. Meanwhile more weekend programs were offered: a Native American sweat lodge and a program on Japa Meditation, were both well attended. We were blessed with a Krishna Puja, performed by Ashram priest Shankara Nambroodhri. Swami Paramananda and Shankaraji went to the New York Centre, where Swamiji lead the 4pm advanced class and Shankaraji performed a Durga Puja during the evening Satsang, to bless the space. The Ashram Staff geared up for the start of the high season with deep cleaning, installing tents and planting the annuals in the flowers gardens. Swami Satyapremananda flew to Quebec for a ten day retreat at the Yoga Camp. By the grace of Master and Swamiji, all are healthy, well and inspired. Pranams to all from The Ranch. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. In May we were happy to welcome back Sw Sitaramananda and Sw Jnaneswariananda from the EBM meeting at the Yoga Camp. Sw Sitaramananda visited LA Centre and Sw Jnaneswariananda visited SF Centre shortly before returning the The Farm. Ganga Chaitanya arrived safely as well from Vietnam, for her summer visit. Yoga Farm programs included the Bhakti Yoga course, with Sw Vasishtananda, sharing the Vedic teachings of Bhakti Yoga with stories of devotion, Guru Puja and readings. We welcomed the large 60-people Yoga Bharati group for their annual weekend retreat, led by Raghu Ram-ji of S-VYASA University in Bangalore. Swami Sitaramananda gave a Satsang to the group from LA via zoom. Yoga Bharati, a Yoga Community Service organization based in San Jose, CA, follows the classical four paths of Yoga considered the Yoga Farm their home Ashram. We also thank Saraswati (Stacie Dooreck) for leading a weekend Chair Yoga training with 10 eager students. The Ashram energy was high with our spring/summer season beginning and the preparation for our upcoming TTC. Lots of grass was cut, plus painting, washing, fixing and retouching. The Ashram transformed into a beautiful sanctuary of peace and gratitude where the llamas, alpacas and goats roam freely. Purna, the Ashram dog, recovered from her wounds being attacked by neighbor’s dog and Janaki, the bunny rabbit, ran in her homemade bunny run long cage. Staff, karma yogis, and guests are inspired to learn and receive the teachings.
The second week of TTC saw the students very focused on their practice as they adapted themselves very well to the daily discipline. The group was very inspired with the philosophy lectures, asana practice and the beautiful morning Durga Temple walk and Satsang with Swami Sitaramananda. We thanked our special guests Mary Thompson, introducing Ayurveda Psychology and Dr. Suprabha Jain, speaking on Yoga and Health. Acharya Mangalananda and friends gave a beautiful devotional and uplifting Kirtan concert. The weather was warm and sunny allowing for afternoon TTC classes on the Yoga Deck. Projects underway included a new colourful Ashram welcome sign; the weeding of the lavender field; creating new boutique plans for approval. Construction will begin soon. Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves from the Yoga Farm. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. Swami Kashi Muktananda continued his program “Foundations of the Advaita Vedanta Philosophy”. We welcomed Jai Uttal, a Grammy-nominated sacred music composer, recording artist, multi-instrumentalist, and ecstatic vocalist; and his accompanying musician Daniel Paul. They gave a very joyous and beautiful program, entitled “Awakening Bhakti: A Celebration of Divine and Human Love”. We were honored to welcome back Swami Medhananda Puri, a distinguished traditional teacher of Vedanta from the Kailash Ashram in Rishikesh. This year he came to teach an intense 2-month-course on the Brahmasutras and other programs during Satsangs. We celebrated the April TTC and ATTC graduation with a beautiful ceremony and a special address given by Swami Medhananda. Senior staff gave inspiring Satsang lectures on the four paths of Yoga. We inaugurated the May TTC with a beautiful Puja conducted by the priest. We welcomed Surya, the main Hatha Yoga Teacher, from Portugal and the assisting teachers Narayana and Jagadambika from Colombia.
Swami Medhananda continued with inspiring lectures in the evening Satsangs on Swami Sivananda’s 20 Important Spiritual Instructions. We welcomed Satya (Priscilla Jabouin), who presented the program “Define YOU, Define YOUR Purpose: An Introduction to Live a Life YOU Love!” during several noon workshops; as well as Olga Sokolova Mandodari, who gave the afternoon workshops on “Creating Sacred Space with Vaastu Shastra”. We started our annual Bhakti Yoga Retreat, for which we welcomed Radhanath Swami, and inspiring storyteller and Kirtan leader; Gaura Vani, Revati Prema, Ananta Govinda, Purusartha Das and many members of their families and the Hare Krishna movement. Each night we heard wonderful stories from Radhanath Swami and in the morning we had joyous concerts, infused with divine love and devotion. During the afternoons, the artists continued the Kirtan sessions, which were heard all through the Ashram. Krishna Chaitanya and Padmavati taught a 5-day Essentials of Yoga I Course to mostly Karma Yogis and a few guests. Swami Shambhudevananda taught a 6-day Meditation Retreat. Grace Van Berkum taught the 5-day “Gracious Living Detox Cleanse”. Marc Halpern (Siva) and Andrea Deerheart taught the “Yoga Nidra Teacher Training Course”. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. Swami Durgananda and Swami Sivadasananda were there to give support in a beautiful inauguration of a friendly and open minded TTC group. All of them settled in quickly without complications. Within a few days the Jaya Ganesha was sung with enthusiasm and good participation. The Ascension Yoga Retreat was greatly uplifting and inspiring for all participants. The morning Satsangs with Swami Sivadasananda focussed on meditation techniques and Patanjali’s eight steps. 25 students came for the further teachers training “breath work” which brought inspiration and joy to the group. Additionally the yoga guests and TTCs could join lectures on Ayurveda, Sanskrit and natural healing methods. At the beginning of the third TTC teaching week the Kriya-workshops were expected with curiosity and practiced with attention and concentration. In this week much time was spent in preparation of the Whitsun yoga events and the start of the Bhagavata Saptaha. Over 30 new guests arrived to spend an eventful weekend in the spiritual atmosphere of the Retreat House. In the Asana classes Swami Sivadasananda took care for the more trained students. He also uplifted the morning Satsangs by talking on the reasons for keeping up the Sadhana and understanding yoga as a state of being. The Bhagavata Saptaha started and right from the beginning the audience was taken into the depth of yoga philosophy empowered by wonderful stories full of practical wisdom and skillfully presented classical Indian chants. Lectures on healthy vegetarian nutrition supplemented the programs greatly.The weather was mixed but allowed some asana classes on the garden platform. The Yoga guests departed in a joyful mood and thankful for the many possibilities of reviving their yoga practice. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. In early May the TTC was in its second half and the Anatomy continued. They had the talk on Mantras plus the Kriya workshop. We had nice Satsangs, where spiritual stories were explained. During another evening Satsang we had the talent show with inspired performances. The vacation program “Yoga for the Back” started and we offered early pranayama sessions at 5h10. Most of the student who came were from the TTC! The certificate course with Kaivalya ended very positively and the students received their diplomas. New guests arrived for the 8th May Retreat “Mind: Its Mysteries and Control” and the certificate course with Swami Kailasananda entitled “Positive Thinking – Living Life with Joy”. We had lectures and classes on the platform as the sun came back after a few cold and rainy days. The nice weather also supported the work in the garden which looked more beautiful every day. Swami Kailasananda and Narayana returned from Canada and also Swami Mangalananda after one week in Austria. Sita and Gauri (karma yogi from Paris) arrived at the Ashram to assist during the next programs. Kailas left for the London Centre for a few days to support a program there and Ananda arrived at the Ashram to stay with us during the next 4 months. We held a beautiful tabla and violin concert with two Indian musicians coming from Paris. Everybody really enjoyed the concert!
The group for the TTC May arrived mid month and was inaugurated in a very nice ceremony with beautiful presentations from the students. The start of the course was accompanied by an auspicious Ganesh Homa in the Temple, the first public ceremony since the winter closure. Students were open and dynamic and seemed to be looking forward to the upcoming experience. The guest program was a “dynamic asana week”. Then we had a big arrival day for vacationers for the long Pentecost weekend program “Yoga, Health and Rejuvenation” alongside the Yoga and Anatomy certificate course, with Padma, who arrived from London. Guests were very appreciative of the midday conferences, showing a lot of interest. The meet-the-staff-snack time was busy and the mid afternoon mantra chanting was well attended. Everyone was active during Karma Yoga hours with the TTC students leading enthusiastically by example. Madalassa left for Reith and Kailas left for Poland for a few days. With summer in view the garden platform and the forest platform were prepared and the altar on the garden platform was set up. As we had sunny weather both are now being used for asana classes in the afternoon. We offered a silent walk across the neighbouring fields with the sunset charming many on the way back. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from DaLat Ashram. Swami Narayanananda and Dharmini left the Ashram for a visit to the Tokyo Centre and retreat. A new group of guests arrived at the Ashram to follow our Beginner Week course. All enjoyed their introduction to integral Yoga practice and extended their stay when the course was over to further enjoy the atmosphere of the Ashram. A new group joined us with some of them for a juice fasting weekend. Along with a specially adapted diet, the fasting group took part in daily workshops on diet and health. Staff were doing well, following daily training workshops to improve teaching skills and English ability. We are daily thankful for Guru’s grace and protection.
Other news: By Guru’s grace, the Ashram is doing well in its 2nd year of service. As the deadline for the deposit towards the extension to 10 years of our lease at the present Ashram location approaches, we have received many responses to our fund raising campaign from both Vietnamese and international students and friends. We send our words of thanks to all and pray for a stable opportunity of service at this beautiful location for many years to come. More support is needed in the upcoming few weeks. The Ashram was busy with a very diverse group of guests from many different countries. Our theme was “Stress-relief Through Yoga”. Guests attended daily workshops on managing stress through yoga practice in addition to the regular practice. We enjoyed a Satsang outside on the mountainside. The group also took part in a longer trek into the forest area. Staff continued with daily training sessions to improve English and teaching skills. Swami Narayanananda left to lead the Satsang at the Dalat City Centre. Om.
07 Kaavadi Flag
Atma Vichar Shakti – Inquiry into the true Self. The enquiry of “Who Am I?”. The mind is the tool provided for this quest.
Behold the unity of all faiths, cults, creeds and religions. Respect the views, opinions and sentiments of all. – Sri Swami Sivananda