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. As the summer approached, more and more people contacted the Yoga Camp to ask whether the outdoor classes started. Although it was too early to go out on the platforms in early May, we still had guests coming for the regular weekday program. Nirmala Chaitanya led the philosophy lectures, while Gayatri Chaitanya taught the coaching classes to the guests. Both guests and staff were grateful to have Arjuna visit the Ashram to give the Yoga for Three Bodies workshop. As a direct disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda and someone who has been in the Organization for a long time, Arjuna gave a unique Satsang and a glimpse of the early years in the Camp. While there is still some snow around the Ashram grounds, it was mostly sunny and warm enough to get our hands dirty on the grounds. The trees were trimmed and the first flowers appeared in the grass. Every day after brunch all of the staff would gather to do some gardening before getting on to other karma yoga duties, to build the team spirit before the upcoming summer season begins.
By mid May, as the guest numbers increased and the last traces of snow melted away, a hint of summer was in the air. For the regular weekly program we had a very vocal group of guests. They were curious and interested to come to the lectures, ask questions and share their experience of the Ashram. We were lucky to have a group of kids and teachers from a local school come for a visit. Jagadamba and Gandharva did their best to introduce the yogic lifestyle to the children, teaching a special yoga class and serving a yogic brunch after. Many people arrived for a weekend workshop – A Yogic Path Through Anxiety. We were grateful to have Upasana arrive from Toronto for this program exploring how to deal with the feelings of anxiety and other increasing problems of society through yoga. The Ashram’s spring cleaning was completed as staff was working on clearing the Ashram grounds, trimming the trees, fixing the outside platforms and preparing the summer buildings for the season. We had a couple of group karma yoga tasks, with staff and guests, to remind ourselves how team work is sometimes the most efficient. 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 Ashram in May. We had a boisterous beginning of May with the Kids’ Camp in its final days, the kids were full of excitement at the thought of going home. When the time came, of course, there were the tears and the sadness of leaving. Everyone was sent off with a wonderful graduation ceremony, parents beaming at seeing their children again. There were a lot of staff departures, and we thank everyone who made the Children’s Camp such a great success. The Ashram turned strangely quiet. On a Friday, free day, a cheerful truckload of Neyyar Dam Ashram staff and Yoga Vacation guests made their way to the local park alongside the Dam as part of the Swacch Bharat Project (Clean India Mission). Around twenty five eager souls swooped down and spent two hours loading up sacks with rubbish and debris, changing a public area into looking bright and inviting. We then made plans to de-litter a local area on a regular basis. Everyone had a lot of fun. It did everyone a lot of good.
As one Yoga Vacation program came to an end on Wednesday with the regular talk on Hinduism by octogenarian, Colonel Nair, another started with Padmavati giving the introduction to the Ashram and our teachers. The highlight of the month was probably the brief visit Prahlada ji, in his whistle stop tour of all the India branches. He gave an inspiring talk in Satsang and continued his encouragement in the staff meeting. We were happy to welcome Ravi Kumar, trustee from Chennai and Shraddha, a karma yogi architect from Bombay for discussions with Prahlada and Dr Vishnu regarding the location of the new Ayurveda buildings. We looked forward to receiving Shraddha’s re-working of earlier plans in a week or so. Prahlada then continued on to Madurai, taking our special guests with him and also Suresh and family who left for a few days for a well-earned break after the Kids / Teens Camp. Staff continued to persist in their Sadhana despite the challenges of the weather which has become hotter again. We expect the monsoon to start soon. May Swamiji and Masters guide us all! Pranams to the Sivananda family. 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. Sending Prem and Om to all from our family of Guests, Students and Staffs. With Master and Swamiji’s grace, we were very happy and grateful. Namaste. Om.
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 very well in May. Guests participated in a Yoga Immersion Week for Beginners, led by Siva and Shakti. The course instilled the discipline to create a home practice, improve flexibility and foster a greater ability to cope with stress and find inner happiness. Guests and many of our staff members enjoyed a Spring Cleanse Juice Fast, led by Nitya. She prepared delicious fresh organic salads and juices and guided participants through the benefits of cleansing and detoxing the body. Shakti led a retreat on The Art of Positive Thinking. In Satsangs and an afternoon workshop, she taught how the practical application of Yoga philosophy can offer numerous tools for empowerment and for improving the quality of everyday life. Finally, we wished safe travels to Swami Paramananda as he departs to the Bahamas to join the Upanishad study and to Srinivasan as he departed for the Chicago Centre.
Mid May guests participated in a Power of Positive Thinking Retreat, led by Shakti. The course introduced the practical application of Yoga philosophy, including numerous tools for empowerment and for improving the quality of everyday life. Srinivasan led Satsangs and a Saturday afternoon workshop on the topic of Karma and Freedom, discussing how to implement free choice to act selflessly, turning karma into dharma and leading towards spiritual fulfillment. Guests also participated in a Native American Sweat Lodge, led by Heather Principe. The traditional Native Cree Sweat Lodge ceremony of rebirth and purification included a complete Four Direction ceremony. Finally, Mavis Gewant taught two very popular Planet Mandala Painting workshops. By working with associated colors and mantras. This meditative painting practice connected participants to the deeper energies of the planets, creating more harmony, peace, and energy. Pranams to all from The Ranch. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. May’s TTC first week is very energizing and inspiring for all, the students were a very sincere and sweet group, very eager to learn the classical teachings. The group hailed from the US, Canada, UK, Korea, Russia, Mexico, and France. During their first week the students adapted themselves well to Ashram life, immersing themselves into the practice and philosophy, and enjoying the beautiful green landscape of the Yoga Farm. Swami Narayanananda, visiting from the Vietnam Ashram, offered a highly-appreciated Compassionate Communication workshop one weekend. We thanked our special guests Mary Thompson for a wonderful Intro to Ayurveda talk; and Partha Bose and Indranil Mallick for a sublime classical sitar and tabla concert. Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Dharmananda went to LA Centre, presenting a weekend program while also looking for a new location for the Centre to reside. We bid farewell to Shakti Chaitanya and Sundari, our dedicated staff who returned to Vietnam. We were happy to receive a steady stream of karma yogis during the TTC month, as well as many Yoga Vacationers who came to rejuvenate in the Ashram.
By mid month, the TTC students’ energy built and built as the group immersed in the rhythm of the daily practice. They were very sweet group, tuning into the teaching, and being very adaptable with the unseasonable rain storms. Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Vasishtananda led a beautiful Buddha Purnima celebration, celebrating the life and teaching of Lord Buddha, with story of Buddha’s life, mantra chanting and a small Puja with all participants offering flowers. Swami Sitaramananda gave inspired Satsangs and teachings, on Yoga psychology and the mind, while also traveling to Los Angeles Centre and Arizona Divine Grace Ashram to give Satsangs and promote the SYHET program. We thanked Mary Thompson for her high energy teaching on Ayurveda Psychology, introducing the Doshas and Gunas according to Ayurveda. We were blessed with the visit of Hasu Patel who gave a beautiful sitar concert, accompanied by Daniel Paul on tabla, that uplifted all. The TTC Talent Show was very sweet with poems, songs, dance and spiritual jokes from Swami Vasishtananda-ji. Arun Deva presented an Emotional Intelligence course with a large group of eager students, including a Satsang talk for all on Yoga and Ayurveda and Emotional Intelligence. We wished Swami Narayanananda a safe journey as he departed to Asia. During his 2 weeks visit at the Ashram, he shared his 60th birthday Shasta Abda Purti celebration and his teachings. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. The month of May was full of learning and new beginnings. In the week of the Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti, we had the privilege of hearing from Swami Sharvananda Giri, who presented a Satsang series on The Life and Teachings of Adi Shankaracharya in advance of the celebration of this most auspicious day for our lineage. We celebrated the Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti with a beautiful Puja and many trays of delicious Prasad! Our new TTC students got to learn even more about our lineage by watching the film, In the Name of Peace, hearing from Swami Sivananda’s article How God Came Into My Life and by removing any obstacles to learning in the Ganapati Vidya Homa, which was led by Krishnan Namboodiri. We began the fourth annual Yoga for Recovery Symposium with an insightful introduction by Durga Lila as to the meaning of addictive personalities and their implications for recovery through various healing modalities. Presenters such as John Kelly, Anita Johnston and Nikki Myers also joined us to share their wisdom on this topic. In a well-attended workshop, Durga Lila spoke about the importance of community and accountability in the treatment of addiction. John Kelly examined addiction as a chronic disease and covered the science of Alcoholics Anonymous. Anita Johnston compassionately taught about the healing of eating disorders from several different angles, including neuroscience, myth, and storytelling. Nikki Myers brought in the Yogic point of view on the treatment of addiction and codependence. Swami Hridyananda presented Yogic remedies for anxiety and depression. A group of karma yogis and guests had the opportunity in the five-day Essentials of Positive Thinking course to delve deeper into the power of thought in constructing our realities. The well-timed course, which was taught by Swami Shambhudevananda, laid a wonderful foundation for all of the paradigm-shifting offered by the Yoga for Recovery Symposium. Other programs included Satsangs on Sadhana (led by Iswara Chaitanya) and the Guru (led by Rukmini Chaitanya). Parvati Maria taught several popular asana workshops. Detox Basics: Cleanse at Home was hosted by Sanatani, and attendees of the Five Points of Yoga workshop learned more about Swami Vishnudevananda’s approach to well-being.
A mid-month highlight was the annual Bhakti Reunion, during which many members of the Hare Krishna community joined us and shared their beautiful music and exuberant spirits. Gaura Vani and many other musicians graced the stage several times to engage the Satsang and workshop attendees in exhilarating kirtan. Rukmini Walker, Raghunath Yogi, and Vineet Chandler also presented both kirtan and teachings from the Bhakti tradition. The Bhakti truly began with an exquisite Ocean Puja, led by our priest, Krishnan Namboodiri. We were also pleased to welcome special guests Gopi Kallayil and Mirabai Bush, who presented for several days on the relevant topic of “Bringing Mindful Awareness to Life and Work.” As executives at Google and graduates of the Sivananda TTC, they are uniquely positioned to offer practical advice for those who strive to find (and maintain) a balance between work, spirituality, and the other aspect of one’s life. Other courses included the Essentials of Meditation weekend course, taught by Swami Shambhudevananda, as well as the first day of Essentials of Yoga I, also taught by Swami Shambhu. Saraswati Sylvie shared her expertise through several workshops ranging in focus from the headstand to Swami Sivananda’s “20 Important Spiritual Instructions” to helping people discover which of the four paths of Yoga best suit their temperaments. The annual Yoga of Recovery Symposium concluded with presentations by Swami Hridyananda on “Yogic Remedies for Anxiety and Depression” and Nikki Myers giving workshops on Yoga and the 12-step program. To close the program, there was an insightful and compassionate panel discussion with all of the presenters who had shared their knowledge. We wished the presenters good success as they continue to teach these necessary tools and wish all the best to anyone who benefitted from the symposium. 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. We started the month of May with “Yoga and Mountain Magic”, attracting a nice group of people. Despite cold, rain and snow they were keen on daily outside tours into the nearby mountain valleys. As we got to know, some of the hiking paths were still closed because of avalanche danger. As many of the guests were quite new to a daily yogic routine we gave thorough introductions into the principles of yoga, the meaning of Mantras, Satsangs and yogic rituals. At the weekend we gave lectures and Satsangs on “Yoga Lifestyle” and presented the new Sivananda Ayurveda book. It attracted a lot of interest and was well sold. Balancing the muscle system was the main focus of the yoga classes. We worked with Agonist and Antagonist, gave hints for better alignment and counteracted weakness in the back muscles. During Satsang we helped the guests to find a comfortable meditation seat, talked about prerequisites of successful meditation and introduced Likita Japa. All guests were very open for new experiences on the field of Yoga. We concluded our three week program in Mittersill. Narayani and Swami Vidyananda travelled back to the Retreat House in Reith. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from DaLat Ashram. In early May the rainy season began in Dalat, meaning that although temperatures remain steady and agreeable, as all year round, we experienced a period of rain each day, usually in the afternoons, making the atmosphere in the Ashram and surrounding forest especially pure and fresh. We ran a stress management course, taught by one of the teachers recently graduated from the SYHET program, as part of the practical/internship portion of her course. We also saw the arrival of a group of 11 guests to stay for a successful weekend retreat. We welcomed a new employed staff who worked on the Ashram accounts. We said farewell to karma yogi, Brahmi, who had been with us for 6 months of dedicated service. Staff started work on translation with a Vietnamese publishing company for the Vietnamese version of the Sivananda Home Practice Companion book. All give thanks for the Masters’ guidance and protection.
During mid month we offered a course, Introduction to Ayurveda, with 15 participants. We ran a Beginners’ Yoga course, with 12 participants. The Ayurveda training course for staff ended, and we said farewell to teacher Nitya. In house training for staff continued. We were happy to welcome Shakti Chaitanya back from her travels to the Yoga Camp and Yoga Farm. We held two TTC information day events, in the Dalat and Ho Chi Minh Centres, both events were successful in attracting new students for the upcoming courses. Om.
03 New Moon
02 New Moon
If you want God, you must turn your back to worldly enjoyments. – Sri Swami Sivananda
SHASHTI ABDA PURTHI – Sanskrit: Shashti – 60, Abda – years, Purthi – completion
Shashti Abda Purthi is also known as ‘Shashti Purthi’. It is a Hindu ceremony that is celebrated to commemorate a person’s 60th birthday. The age sixty is of great significance because it is considered as a turning point in one’s life. At this age one has usually fulfilled their commitments to family, home and service and now can turn their mind to spirituality. There are many meaningful, elaborate rituals and ceremony to mark this 60 year milestone.
Forget the past. Begin life afresh. Face life boldly. A glorious future is awaiting you. – Sri Swami Sivananda