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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. The beginning of February started with rain showers which quickly turned into icy and slippery surfaces, a good time to exercise mindfulness. Soon enough, a large layer of fresh snow covered the Ashram. Guests enjoyed snow shoeing over the Saraswati trail, amazed at the beauty of Nature and the serenity of the Camp. They asked enthusiastically about every deity as we passed the shrines, and as we passed by Samadhi Estate we spent some time counting the stories of Swami Vishnu. We offered a program introducing Pranayama. Guests participated in Uma’s beeswax candle making workshop, where she shared her knowledge of creating a zero waste item. Each person left with two candles that they showed off happily. Harsha brought his classmates from Waldorf School to the Camp, a group of 15 teenagers and their two teachers. Their presence filled the Camp with young and exhilarated energy, good laughter, and nice artworks. On the staff side, we continued our work as usual with more emphasis on painting the Subramanya Temple. May Masters’ blessings be always with us.

Mid-February started calmly. A snow storm covered the Camp with a thick layer of powder-like snow. Two new Work-Study Karma yogis enthusiastically chanted Kirtan everyday as they learned new chants. The hunger for learning was high, you could hear the Sivananda Daily Readings and other work from Masters read out loud around the Camp – after the morning Satsang, at the Reception, at the Library, etc. We were grateful to receive Kanti Devi who did few Satsangs and shared with us her rich experience, great energy and deep wisdom. Coming from warm Latin America, she reminded us of the blessings of winter and the calm and silence we get to experience here. Bhagirati, from the Montreal Centre, also spent a weekend with us, offering an introductory workshop on Vedanta. Guests were startled to learn about the depth of the concept and the philosophy behind the teachings. In the afternoons, they enjoyed snowshoeing around the Ashram, playing with fresh snow, making a snowman near Krishna tree. On the staff side, work continued as usual. A new storage unit for Krishna Temple was completed. Plastering and painting at Samadhi Estate was ongoing. Preparation for the Toronto Yoga Conference and Show have started. The unusually warm winter, kept us busy clearing and sanding the paths. May the blessings of the Masters remain with us all. Pranams.

Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India

Namah Sivaya to all. At the beginning of February the TTC group energy became noticeably more positive as they entered their last week. After the initial trials and challenges students finally could experience the peace and contentment that comes with sincere Sadhana. A highlight was a kalaripyattu demonstration, by a new group from Trivandrum. They gave a polished performance including fire juggling. Next, the TTC exam, graduation and talent show. We were grateful to all the teachers and assistants, especially Acharya Swami Sita who made this TTC successful. Bella joined us for a three month work study. The dust settled quickly after the TTC and the staff were able to relax for a few days. ATTC initiation was held on Sunday 7th Feb, with 115 students. We were happy to receive Swami Durgananda, Swami Sivadasananda and Swami Annapoornananda for the India Directors Meeting. We welcomed Prahlada, Swami Shivabhaktananda and Srinivas for the ATTC. Also arriving were Mahadevi for workstudy and Narayani to be staff. It promised to be a good ATTC, with many familiar happy faces.

During mid-February the Ashram welcomed eleven directors from the three Indian Ashrams and six Centres, seven trustees and Acharya Prahlada ji were present for the India Directors and Trustees meeting. It was presided over by Swami Durgananda and Swami Sivadasananda. Swami Durgananda announced that Prahlada is also an international executive board member. The agenda was completed in one day. The new Yoga Vacation got off to a good start. Padmavati led the lectures. ATTC energy was being boosted by the morning pranayama practice and asana classes. Om Pranams.

Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India

Om Namo Narayanaya – Greetings from Uttar Kashi. At the beginning of February the works at the Ashram were almost all completed. The plumbing, electrical and carpentry work was all finished and the rooms all ready.  The painting was finished, except for Akhanda Kutir which is white washed only until the plaster work is drier.  Some outside cleaning and the laying of flagstones still remains to be done.  Otherwise we were ready for the arrival of the ATTC staff and students. Prahlada ji arrived soon after, for a brief visit, to inaugurate the new Akhanda Kutir and also the new kitchen so that they could both be put into use.  Prahlada ji left soon after to return to South India for meetings and to teach the ATTC. Swami Parameswariananda spent a day in Delhi with the accountant. She then travelled down to Chennai and on to Tirupathi to receive the blessings of darshan of Lord Venkateshwara. We thank the Lord for successful completion of the Ashram works and for Swamiji and Master’s blessings. Pranams to all.

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

Om Namo Narayanaya. At the beginning of February the first few days in the Ashram were relatively quiet. Yoga Vacationer beginners and intermediate asana classes went well. Anoopji’s wedding on 5th of February was a big highlight. Most of the staff left to celebrate his wedding. Swami Hariomananda arrived to teach the Yoga Vacation lectures. Janaki-ji arrived to teach Hatha Yoga and Chanting class. Ravi Easwaran will teach the Bhagavad Gita classes. Swami Jnaneshwarananda arrived with Kalyani-ji. Swami Jnaneshwarananda will be teaching Vedanta and Anatomy/Physiology to the TTC students. Srinivas-ji also arrived with Janaki-ji. Srinivas will be teaching four lectures on Raja Yoga Sutra to the yoga vacationers. Prahladji, Sandeep and Ravi arrived for meetings regarding construction work in the Ashram. As a few karma yogis left, a few new karma yogis also arrived to assist the TTC. Swami Jnaneshwarananda led an energetic and fun Satsang night. Forty five students were initiated into the TTC with a good balance of Indians and foreigners in the group. It was an energetic start to the TTC.

During mid-February the TTC was busy and hectic. As a part of Satsang guests and students watched a video on Swami Vishnudevananda. Jody arrived from Neyyar Dam to give a lecture on “Finding your Voice”. It went off very well and she had a lot of students staying back for questions. TTC students had their Kriya class. A trip to Raameshwaram was organized on Friday Day Off. The South Indian Yatris group visited the Ashram on their journey. In TTC the beginners class teaching commenced. Yoga Vacationers and TTC enjoyed a fun and an eclectic mix of performances in the talent show. Om Shanti. Pranams to all.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA

Om Namah Sivaya! The Ashram continued to enjoy unusual warm weather as we headed into February.  Srinivasan and Saraswati were welcomed back to the Ranch after spending January in the Bahamas where Srinivasan taught the Raja Yoga portion of the ATTC. Jnaneshwari, from New York City Centre, joined us for a week to teach a week long beginners course to 3 wonderful students who were perfect aspirants, attending every class and activity they could while they were here and even joining in for extra karma yoga. Mahadev Chaitanya left the Ranch to teach TTC in the Bahamas for the month of February, joined by Gopi, Adam and Daya Devi.  The Ranch welcomed Anandakaya, after serving at the New York Centre.  Srinivasan gave an “Introduction to Meditation” workshop one weekend to some inspired guests who were eagerly seeking the tools to begin and establish a meditation practice.

During mid-February the Ranch welcomed nearly 40 guests one weekend, majority from the Freehold Yoga group from New Jersey who visit as a group every year. Neeti came from NYC to offer a Bhagavad Gita workshop and treat the staff to her famous dhal. The Ranch was lightened with great energy from the Freehold group who were very responsive students and experienced chanters, making Satsang very powerful. The Ranch was delighted to welcome Sankara Namboodiri, coming from India to join us as our new resident Priest. We were honored to have him with us. We also said farewell to Anandakaya, who after 1-1/2 years of service will be moving back to Nigeria to be with her family. Staff were maintaining good Sadhana practices, send pranams to all! May the Blessings of Master and Swamiji grace all of our lives. Pranamsl!

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA

Om Namah Sivaya! At the beginning of February Swami Dharmananda returned from Neyyar Dam Ashram after offering service to TTC and Yoga Vacation programs. Swami Jnaneswariananda travelled to teach TTC at the Madurai Ashram. Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Narayanananda completed their TTC teaching in Neyyar Dam and Madurai and then intensively prepared for the TTC in Dalat, Vietnam. The Yoga Farm offered several wonderful programs that included the Enchanting Beauty course, with Dr. Manisha Kshirsagar, offering Ayurvedic teachings and wisdom for inner and outer beauty and radiant health. A weekend Beginner course exposed new students to Swamiji’s teachings on the Five Points of Yoga and the benefits of living a yogic lifestyle. Senior Sivananda teacher, Tara Durga Devi, taught the Positive Thinking course, giving the students very practical methods to overcome negative thoughts and influences to become positive and creative forces in their lives. Swami Vasishtananda led a sweet Lunar New Year Puja, as we welcomed the year of the Monkey and set new intentions for the coming year. We also thanked KV SivaSwamy, visiting from India, for his well-received talks on the Bhagavad Gita. The Yoga Farm weather was sunny and warm during the days. Staff enjoyed trips to the Yuba River for meditation and pranayama practice.

During mid-February Swami Vasishtananda-ji shared teachings of “Healing Rituals and Sacred Sounds: Mantra and Tantra”, with daily workshops on sacred texts and explanation of rituals and the power of mantra and their use. The Ashram was blessed with a sweet and joyous Kirtan concert with Mejda das and Liquid Fire, uplifting all with spirited bhajans and stories of great saints. We welcomed back Hara Mahadeva after his extended service in San Francisco and time away from the Ashram. We were all feeling the grace of Master and Swamiji. Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves from the Yoga Farm.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas

Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. During mid-February we welcomed Swami Swaroopananda and Swami Prema Swaroopananda back to the Ashram, after they were away for 8 months. As always this has brought about a beautiful shift in the energy at the Ashram. The sun finally shone again in The Bahamas, after a cool month of weather. We completed the Yoga of Chant Retreat, with Krishna Das, who has been coming to the yoga retreat for the last 17 years!  Arjuna also hosted his annual snorkeling trip, with larger groups than usual. An extra special snorkeling trip was scheduled for the TTC day off. TTCs were doing well entering their final week. Om Shanti from all the staff in Nassau.

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

Om Namah Sivaya. The winter retreat beginning of February was an inspiring highlight. The guests enjoyed classes, lectures and Satsang amongst the beauty of the area. Some of the guests stayed on for the next program, Yoga Relaxation Days. Lectures on mantras, the control of emotions and giving up artificial stimulants were very well received, along with massages and nature walks. Also tratak was explained and practiced. We wish all peace and serenity. OM.

Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France

Om Namah Sivaya. It was an inspiring month in the Ashram especially since Swami Kailasananda was here at the beginning of the month for her weekend programme, ‘the creative power of the mind’. We hosted a good number of guests – a mixed group with both beginners and also a good number of TTC. We had a very inspiring Siva Puja and the priest drew a nice Navagraha Yantra to worship the nine planets together with staff and guests. It is still a little cold, but the first daffodils are showing already that spring is in the air. Staff are working hard to maintain the Ashram as a fit place to receive guest who want to recharge as well as sincere seekers on their spiritual journey. OM.

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SANTOSHA – satisfaction; contentment to that there is.

Santosha teaches us we can be be happy with wherever we are, who we are, right here, right now.

Swami Sivananda advises, “Create your inner world. Carry with you your own inner companions, viz., Shanti (Peace), Santosha (Contentment), Inquiry and Courage.”

Whatever is, is in reality, One. There truly exists only one universal Being, called Paramatman, or the Supreme Absolute. – Sri Swami Sivananda