Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya. In early May the TTC students continued with their daily lectures and classes diving deeper into their yoga practice, the philosophy of Yoga, mantra Chanting, the Bhagavad Gita. The novelty of an outdoor bonfire facilitated an evening of Kirtan. Many different Kirtans and songs were shared by students and staff alike, creating an elevating moment together. The weekly talent show brought a calm and sattvic energy in the various offerings of Bharatanatyam interpretation of the Gajananam, inspiring stories, pictures and videos. We held a Puja, led by Swami Vasishtananda. It was dedicated to a close teacher Gauri Devi, who passed away. She was originally from Argentina. She would visit the Yoga Camp every year during summer. We wish Gauri Devi peace, calm and light on her new journey. Yoga Vacation students came for a weekend aspiring to have two days fasting, juicing and detox retreat. They were served juices, broths and teas in between different classes and Satsangs. We wished them all the best for application of simple rules and principles of diet and fasting at home. Staff were in high energy, in a good spirit of Yoga. May Masters always bless us on this path.
Mid May saw the last week of the TTC. The students really enjoyed their last asana classes including the advanced pranayama class, the inspiring philosophy lectures and the final chapters of the Bhagavad Gita. The mantra initiation saw all eight students receiving their mantra and spiritual name. A beautiful graduation ended the TTC course and we bid farewell to the TTC students with shining faces and full hearts. Some of them planned to come back to join the staff team this summer. God blessed us as well with a nice group of yoga vacationers bringing sincerity and positivity. Besides Satsangs, lectures and classes, students enthusiastically participated in silent walks and in our famous soccer matches. We have installed a greenhouse next to our vegetable garden and continued to plant seeds of different vegetable and flowers which we can plant later once the weather is secure enough. We experienced a spectacular thunderstorm which broke many trees in the area and left us without electricity and hot water for the following few days. The week retreat on the topic of meditation still took place with all guests bearing bravely the austere conditions. Our main focus for Karma yoga was gardening and housekeeping. We welcomed Swami Dayananda who came from Argentina to stay with us for two months.
The Staff are well and inspired to serve. May Blessing of our Teachers be always upon us all. OM and Prem.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Om Namah Sivaya to all. Greetings from Kerala, India. In May we started with a heavy thunderstorm but was otherwise it was simply hot with not much rain. Regardless of the heat, the guest numbers increased into the mid-50s. Rachana took over the lectures whilst Sonal continued with meditation coaching and joined the current hatha yoga teaching team – Oshyane, Saju and Sunil and Sajan. Rajeev managed the karma yoga allocation now that Aman is gone. The SIH continued to be reasonably busy with a steady number of panchakarma guests appreciating the wonders of Ayurveda. Several paid staff went to Madurai to pick up their kids from the Madurai Kids Camp which was a great success. Nataraj gathered together a group of staff and teachers across India to plan a one month programme of classes and talks in June for the International Day of Yoga. As a part of the IDY activities, Neyyar Dam will have the honour of hosting a half-day function for the 3rd anniversary of the India Yoga Association Kerala chapter. This is expected to bring a good number of people to discover the activities of the Ashram and Master and Swamiji’s teachings. May their blessings continue to flow for the benefit of all.
By mid May the weather continued to swing between sunshine and showers. The Ashram was very green and the lake was full. The generator was fixed. The Ashram guests enjoyed their classes and lectures. There continued to be around 8 or 9 people having panchakarma. Several of the staff taught the morning and evening online classes, giving Oshyane space to conduct a two week Kids camp online inspiring the kids with her flexibility. A meeting took place between a chartered accountant and registration software developer plus Suresh and Kalyani for the last stages of the software development – receipting and financial reporting, resolving a few doubts. International Yoga Day planning continued with collaborative work for a series of weekend programmes and all the advertising requirements. Rohini returned after several weeks helping her parents out in Delhi. Sivadas unexpectedly took himself to Mumbai to visit a cousin. Suresh took Swami Gayatri and priest Harish for a brief visit to Madurai Ashram to see nine of the new deity statues being sponsored by Swamiji for the Vishnu Hall stage and to discuss the pedestals required. Nataraj and Kalyani took a train to Madurai where Nataraj taught at the TTC just starting there. Arun went with them to finally be a TTC student. His support as a karma yogi will be missed at Neyyar Dam. A group of 60 plus yoga students came from Andhra Pradesh with their Sivananda yoga teacher for a few days at the Ashram and some sightseeing. Their arrival had the karma yogi staff on their toes guiding them to their accommodation.
We thank Master and Swamiji for these opportunities to learn, serve and grow. We pray for peace for all. May all be blessed. All of us send our Pranams. Om.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namo Narayanaya from Uttar Kashi. Namaste. Please note we continue to offer classes, courses & programs online. Details regarding this can be found at sivananda.org.in/Online-sessions. Please like our Facebook page to stay notified about live open classes, Satsangs & other programs. Our thoughts are with you all and we pray that you keep well and positive during these challenging times. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Om Namo Narayanaya. Namaste from Madurai. Early May was pretty quiet one after our Summer Camp of 104 children concluded. Staffs and STIC students who came to help us with the camp left the Ashram after an outing to Meenakshi Temple and a dinner date together. Sandeep ji left to Gudur while Suresh ji and Jnaneshwar returned to Neyyar Dam. Few of our staffs also took a brief sabbatical before the upcoming TTC. There were a few Yoga vacationers, savouring the discipline of Yogic practices combined with the beauty of nature.
We send Prayers and Regards to all from our family of guests, students and staffs. May Master and Swamiji bless all the efforts to follow the teachings. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Om Namah Sivaya from the Ranch. We thank Master and Swamiji for the blessing of opportunities to share the teachings and to help wider circles find good health and peace of mind. May Masters’ Blessings and Gurus Grace be with us all. Pranams from the rolling mountains of New York state. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. By the Grace of Master and Swamiji, TTC completed their first week in early May, all with very high spirits. It was wonderful to watch the students come together very quickly, very sincere in wanting to learn and soak in the classical teachings. We celebrated Sankara Jayanthi with a Puja and stories of Sankaracharya’s life. Swami Sitaramananda joined us for a talk on Sankara’s teachings and reading from Viveka Chudamani. Meanwhile the Sivananda Yoga Health Educator 2nd module was completed. Students had intensive 17-days of study on Ayurveda, Anatomy & Physiology, Biomedical Knowledge, and the Intake/Assessment process, learning how to address specific health conditions with Yoga. Students and teachers were inspired with this milestone and look forward to the work ahead. Karma yogis continued to cultivate the garden with new plantings plus the construction of the greenhouses, as well as landscaping around the Ashram.
As May progressed the Ashram felt uplifted by the return of Swami Sitaramananda after 6 months in Vietnam. The TTC week 3 was very high energy with students going deeper into their practices. We also welcomed 9 TTC Immersion students who completed their online TTC and arrived to the Ashram to receive their Yoga Siromani certificate. TTC received their mantra initiation and their spiritual names. We also thanked Dr. Fred Luskin for his teaching on “Forgiveness” and MahaVidya for “Intro to Ayurveda” talk. Beautification moves forward throughout the Ashram with work on Krishna Temple, Ganesha Shrine, painting, landscaping and garden work.
We are grateful for this opportunity to serve. May all feel Master and Swamiji’s blessings. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. May 2022 in the Bahamas: We celebrated the inauguration of the May Yoga Teachers’ Training Course. Eleven students were initiated into the course, and their first week of studies went well! We celebrated the Jayanti of Sri Adi Shankaracharya with a beautiful Puja and lovingly-prepared Prasad. Around the Ashram, several karma yogis transitioned from the April TTC and ATTC into the karma yoga program once again. We bade farewell to Bhargavi Chaitanya, Savitri Devi, Parvati Maria, Krishna Danny, Krishna Victor, and Devi. As we move into the quieter months of summer, the guests remain engaged with the workshops and Satsangs.
May all be well and may this be an opportunity to turn inward to that which is eternal and ever-free. Om Shanti. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. Early May was filled with karma yoga projects. We got flowers for the decoration of the outside area of the Retreat House, continued with preparations for the Ascension special retreat and the May TTC and finished different advertisement projects. The inscriptions for the summer TTCs and the ATTC in September started to come in. The regular online classes and online Satsangs continued. Vaidyas Sankar and Poornima Sreelal from Kerala gave an interesting online introduction for their new online course “Health and Rejuvenation” on the principles of physiology and anatomy of Ayurveda and its rejuvenative potential. All staff were well, enjoying the springtime and looking forward to the upcoming programs.
By mid May, in the last week of the closing time for Reith, we finished different maintenance projects and the preparations for the upcoming programs. A small group of yoga vacation guests arrived. We were also happy to welcome 26 participants for the May TTC from various European countries. They were overwhelmed by the beautiful spring nature in the mountains and enjoyed the first days with classes on the outside yoga platform. The TTC inauguration was wonderful. They were very inspired and looked forward to the next four weeks. Our guest of guest of honour Sri Venugopal Goswami arrived from India for the upcoming Bhagavata Saptaha program. Swami Santoshananda arrived from Madrid, Swami Annapurnananda from Berlin and Swami Vidyananda from Munich.
Mittersill: On April 29th the yoga programs in Mittersill, near Salzburg, re-started. We were happy to see many familiar faces again to continue practicing yoga together in a soothing powerful place with beautiful surroundings. Despite unfavourable weather forecasts, sunshine accompanied us through all hikes in the High Tauern during the “Mountain and Magic” Yoga Week. In the yoga classes we taught the guests how they can strengthen their back and build up a healthy body alignment. The posture analysis of the spine with the help of a plumb line was particularly well received. Satsangs were lively and Mantra Chanting was joyful throughout. All participants showed gratefulness to attend the program and to experience yoga within a very harmonious group of people. The next new group joined us for “Yoga and Vitality” program. Swami Mangalananda arrived from Berlin. She took over for Swami Vidyananda who returned to Munich.
All staff are healthy and happy to welcome both long-time students and new guests. We send greetings to all and pray that all remain healthy and safe. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. By the Grace of the Masters, all went well in May 2022. The weather warmed up. The Ashram grounds grew much greener. We entered into the second week of the TTC. They had their day off and their first review based on the week 1 of teaching. They enjoyed the talk “how to set up an altar”. There was a study night for the students and meditative walks outside the Ashram. We had a small guest programme “Soothing the body and mind”. Narayana left The Orleans Ashram to support the London Centre and Rukmini spent some days at the Paris Centre to help.
By mid May we turned the last corner of the TTC. The students were optimistic. They had an introduction to advanced pranayama, plus, their last teaching classes. We also had a beautiful mantra initiation in the Temple on a day which culminated with a Sri Yantra – lamp Puja at the Temple. We welcomed a good group of students for the yoga theme “healthy body, healthy mind”. The students were introduced to various yogic practices including the five points framework, Ayurveda, healthy diet, and the kriyas. We also had a group of students coming for the certificate course “Yoga and meditation for anxiety and trauma” with Kaivalya. The guests enjoyed themselves, and took to their karma yoga cheerfully, sometimes eagerly helping in the garden. The Ashram opened for stays of a minimum three nights, giving more flexibility to guests to come recharge and rejuvenate at the Ashram.
Monthly Mediation for World Peace and Health. Please accept this invitation to join us for the Unite for a Healthy Planet worldwide meditation – Every 1st Sunday of the month at 2PM Continental European Time, for 30 minutes. https://sivanandaorleans.org/unite-for-a-healthy-planet
The staff were full of gratitude for this opportunity to serve dynamically. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from Da Lat Ashram. In May the Ashram wrapped up the very busy 5 months season with the completion of the SYHET module 2. The students received lots of anatomy and physiology information from Swami Jnaneswariananda about the different systems of the body as well as possible pathologies. We had 4 excellent Vietnamese medical doctors giving lectures on medical systems. We sent off our American Ayurvedic teacher Mahavidya to the USA after her visit and stay with us. Students were inspired about health and healing the holistic way and eager to start their practicum. The staff enjoyed a respite for a little bit and sent off Swami Sitaramananda and Radha Chaitanya back to the USA, via a visit and retreat in the north of Vietnam. We were grateful to have Swamiji stay in Vietnam, as well as, experience her Satsangs. The international Satsang community enjoyed one Satsang topic, “Faith and Doubt”.
By mid May after a one week tour in the North of Vietnam, including a visit with teaching and Satsang at the Hanoi Centre, we bade farewell to Swami Sitaramananda who left directly for the US. Swami Narayanananda and Priya Chaitanya returned to the Dalat Ashram. Staff here had been busy hosting a corporate group from the Prudential Insurance company for a Beginners’ Yoga retreat, then prepared for the arrival of a group of teachers from the FPT university. Both groups were mostly Beginners’ Yoga students, and left very happy with their introduction to Yoga Life at the Ashram. Regular Yoga Vacation guests slowly returned to the Ashram this month.
All are well and inspired to serve. We were grateful for Guru’s grace during these challenging times. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Tapaswini, Gudur, Andra Pradesh India
Om Namah Sivaya. Namaste. In early May the Ashram was happy to have more guests. Two kids from AP who had stayed last year for almost 3 months returned to the Ashram. They helped with Karma Yoga and Temple work. We eagerly waited for mangoes to be ripe perhaps in few more weeks. Kids camp promotions registrations continued.
Mid May was active, receiving the next round of TTC students. Also we welcomed Nataraj ji and Kalyani ji. Nataraj ji was here to teach the Main Lecture. Kalyani ji stayed for few days. The ground work of levelling and clearing progressed well with a JCB leading the work from front. 27 eager students were initiated by the TTC Teachers. We also had 4 students from abroad, 2 from Iran and 1 each from Tunisia and USA.
Staff performed their Karma Yoga, maintained the Ashram premises plus kept up with their Sadhana. Praying to Masters to bless us so that we continue on this selfless path. All staff are maintaining the Ashram and keeping up with their Sadhana.
Our thoughts are with you all and we pray that you keep well and positive during these challenging times. May Master and Swamiji bless us with true devotion and blessings be with us all! Pranams. Om.
In Samadhi all sound is stilled. All clamouring of desire is silenced. There is perfect peace. – Sri Swami Sivananda
RUCHI – Taste; appetite; liking; desire.
DHYANA – Meditation
Dhyana is the seventh limb of the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, the eighth being Samadhi.
There are many methods of practice of concentration which leads to meditation. The purpose of meditation is to understand the real nature of the object of meditation. The mind is the instrument with which we meditate. A certain amount of the study of the nature of activities of the mind is necessary before one takes up to meditation. The existence of the mind can be found only during its activities. The thief can be found out only during the act of thieving, for at all other times he may look like an ordinary person. When the thief comes to know that the police are after him, he restricts his movements. Similarly, if you begin to study the mind, the mental processes or the activities of the mind will be reduced. There are mainly two stages of meditation. They are: (1) Constantly thinking on one object or thought, to the exclusion of all other objects and thoughts; and (2) keeping the mind free of all thoughts.
In the first stage one must concentrate one’s mind on an object, or engage oneself in the repetition of the Mantra into which he is initiated by his preceptor. If one starts repeating the Mantra with concentration on the Mantra, then alone one will come to know the innumerable other thoughts which lie submerged in one’s subconscious and unconscious levels of the mind and which rise to the conscious level and cause disturbance to concentration on the Mantra. When the concentration on one Mantra together with Bhava (feeling of its meaning), is increased through a long and continued practice, the mind reaches the state of meditation.
In the second stage, one should sit in a comfortable posture, close the eyes and relax all the limbs of the body from toes to the crown of the head. The ears being open, external sounds naturally will impinge on them. One should be a witness to these external sounds and also be a witness to the inner thoughts that may arise one after another in endless succession. One should not go after those inner thoughts, nor should one pay any serious attention to the external sounds. By complete relaxation in the sitting posture and by remaining as a witness of the internal and external activities of the mind, the mind will become non-objectified, after continued, unbroken practice for a long period.
In the early stages care should be taken that one does not go to sleep.
Sincerity, earnestness and purity of thought, word and deed, are the important factors for success in the practice of meditation.
Be regular in your meditation. You will reap a rich spiritual harvest. – Sri Swami Sivananda