Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya. We had two happy groups of students attending the Spiritual practices for busy people retreat. There were lectures focused on explaining different practices and tools of yogic teachings. One of the students received a spiritual name. We also did a small introduction to the Teachers Training course which inspired several students to think about this possibility and perhaps attend the course in the near future.
Snowfalls of the week made us all shovel the snow for days in a row. Some guests joined us in shovelling as well. Older staff members mentioned that hadn’t had such a winter with so many snow storms in Quebec for many years.
We welcomed Karma yogis from Montreal and Massachusetts and staff dedicated some time to give some prana and do Pujas in the Krishna temple. We could feel the energy and purity present at the temple.
We held a week-long retreat “Expand Your Mind” the following week.
It is always good to see some students who are staying with us just for the half day or one full day. On Saturday we received three students coming from Montreal, which is about one hour away and stayed with us from morning Satsang till after evening Satsang, when they left in good uplifted spirits.
Staff started painting and cleaning of the Subramanya Ayappa temple in preparation for its opening.
The following week we were blessed with some warm and sunny days and we could feel spring in the air although light snowfalls continued.
We ran a well-attended retreat called Prana and Pranayama – recharge and energize your life and Swami Sankarananda supervised two teams of karma yogis working on the Mataji hall renovations as well as on the clean-up and fresh painting of the Subramanya Ayyappa Mariamman Temple to be ready for the season’s opening.
The following week`s retreat was Joy of cooking which involved small cooking classes every day as well as some theory explaining different points of yogic diet and the main ayurvedic principles. We welcomed a good group of students for the weekend. On Saturday we gave a well-appreciated cooking class teaching students a simple basic balanced yogic diet. All dishes came out very tasty and nutritious and students were happy to get the recipes as well as many tips for their home cooking. Students left grateful and eager to continue different yogic practices at home.
On Saturday we held an online TTC Open House on zoom which saw six sincere students interested in different TTCs.
Atmaram is steadily leading Sunday Satsangs in Montreal and we are happy to see inspired students increase in number.
We held a well-attended retreat on the topic of yogic teachings to help with depression. Over the weekend a large group of guests participated in the full Ashram program as well as gladly taking advantage of the health consultations offered by Swami Rajeshwarananda who suggested home practices for improved physical and mental health. Students also had the chance to receive shiatsu and thai massage treatments. Many promised to come back to the Ashram more often, they felt uplifted and refreshed. Besides the retreat we continued with preparations of the Subramanya Ayappa temple for its opening.
We had a most inspiring week with many events taking place. We held a retreat “Meditation in daily life during the week”. The highlight of the week was the long weekend Easter retreat which saw the Yoga Camp filled to capacity (the dorms are not yet open because of the snow). A group of around 40 guests participated as well as many close teachers and karma yogis from Montreal and surroundings.
The staff organized a beautiful chanting Easter Satsang, which started with crystal bowls meditation and continued with beautiful English and gospel songs sung by different staff and guests. We all felt the uplifting vibrations and enjoyed the togetherness. We are very grateful for this opportunity to welcome new and old into the Sivananda family and to celebrate Easter together.
The other highlight of the week was the opening of the Subramanya Ayappa and Mariyamma temple on Saturday. Our priest Harish started with a Puja in the Krishna temple after which all the Murthis holding the energy of the main temple during the winter were taken back to the Subramanya temple. Many Pujas were performed in the Subramanya Ayappa temple & Mariyamma temple for two days. Many Indian devotees visited from Montreal and Toronto helping to organise and to participate in these Pujas.
Besides all these beautiful events we also celebrated Hanuman Jayanti with the chanting of the 108 names of Hanuman and Hanuman Chalisa as well. A cooked prasad was prepared by staff and everyone could partake of it after the Puja.
As the Divine blesses our lives in so many ways, we want to share and to send this love and gratitude to all and everyone. Om and prem
As the temperature rises nature is awakening, mountains of snow are slowly melting away and birds are singing again. The retreat Expand your Yoga Practice saw two groups of students, one group came on Monday and another group of students came for the weekend. It was a rather mixed group of beginners and more advanced students. Almost half of them came to the retreat for the first time. We were happy to offer different activities, Satsangs, and nature walks as well. We also welcomed guests who came spontaneously, just by passing by and staying with us for a night or so. They joined the retreat as well. Swami Vasishtananda arrived from India and started with different Pujas in the Krishna temple as well as in Subramanya and Mariyamma temples. We are happy to have him back.
We had a very inspiring retreat named “The Power of Positive Thinking”. The guests tuned in very well and were active throughout the day happily attending all activities. As usual we had some beginners for this retreat and all of them were thankful for all that they learned and expressed the desire to come back to the Ashram. We welcomed 9 students from India, Canada, USA, and Columbia for the spring TTC. The Inauguration was inspiring and we felt the blessing of Master and Swamiji on students and teachers alike.
New windows, new lights, new heaters and a new warm cork flooring were put into the renovated Mathaji hall. The hall is now almost ready. We are very thankful to Swami Shankarananda and his team of karma yogis for all the prana and love they put into this big and very important project for the Ashram. Staff feel blessed to be part of this course – teaching and rendering any service needed. OM and Prem
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Om Namah Sivaya. We concluded the third week of TTC with mantra initiation for sixteen students and a special talk on the first fifteen Patanjali Yoga Sutras. Eleven students were initiated into our new Ayurveda course, Ayurveda Massage Therapy Course (AMTC). We were also visited by a group of five differently-abled young men. Their journey with yoga started eighteen years ago when a few TTC graduates volunteered to teach yoga to differently-abled children at the Holy Trinity school. The boys have since formed a society called Yogis on Wheels, Kerala to help differently-abled people with yoga and other resources. We were happy to connect with them after a long break.
Despite the hot, dry weather and the continuous drone of the neighbouring temple speakers, most TTC students managed to complete the course and YCB exams successfully. All passed the TTC, two failed the YCB exams. Swamiji Tanmayi arrived to lead the week-long Vedanta Retreat – Introduction to Tattva Bodha.
The heat of the summer months was broken by thundershowers which lifted everyone’s spirits. The Ayurveda Massage Therapy Course continued into the third and final week and Staff were queuing up to be subjects for massage practice. The study of Tattva Bodha with Swamini Tanmayi ran with the focused attention of twelve students. Then followed the Initiation of a new TTC group with sixty-two students, including sixteen from Sri Lanka. There were also students from Europe, Brazil, Mexico, Lebanon and Thailand.
The TTC got off to a good start and the Ayurveda Massage Training Course (AMTC) group graduated. Eleven students were very satisfied with the skills that they learnt and a number of staff and guests enjoyed free massages as part of the AMTC training.
Week two of TTC went smoothly, including the shat kriyas, which were practised with enthusiasm by the students.
After two months of hot weather, the rains came with dramatic displays of lightning and thunder. Our exposed position on a hilltop makes us vulnerable to lightning strikes despite the lightning conductors. On Saturday we got a direct hit that made people jump and damaged some electronic equipment. Thursday morning saw mantra initiation and a bhajan concert with Vinod Vital in the evening. Friday’s trip was to Ponmudi Hill station with panoramic views. We are happy to have a new priest, Sumesh ji for the Raja Rajeshwari temple.
TTC students were in high form in the final week of TTC. Besides the hatha yoga special classes and teaching groups, sixteen students prepared for the YCB exam. Swami Tanmayi kindly coached them to memorise some Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita shlokas for the exam. The week peaked on Saturday with Vishu (new year) celebration, when everyone was led to the temple before daybreak with their eyes closed before having a vision of the Vishu Kani, an elaborate display of various auspicious objects, including a Krishna statue, fruits, vegetables, coins, and mirror all decorated with the seasonal Vishu Konna yellow flowers. After a light breakfast, TTC students assembled for the exam. Thankfully all passed. YCB students went on to viva and MCQ exams in the afternoon. The day finished with the graduation ceremony and talent show, followed by many emotional farewells.
Neyyar Dam continues to be active after TTC. Twenty-three people attended the five-day ‘Vedanta Retreat – Introduction to Vedanta’ conducted by Medha ji. She introduced the main concepts of Vaidic culture and Vedanta, including the purushartas, varnas and ashramas. This is an ongoing series of eight retreats with different teachers who have completed TTC and are now studying Vedanta in more depth. On Wednesday, the two-week Kids Camp kicked off with fifty bright and energetic souls. Suresh ji is leading the camp with twelve dedicated assistants. In the background, maintenance works, which lagged during the COVID period, are ongoing. Most building exteriors have received a fresh coat of paint. Inner walls will be painted as soon as the guest numbers come down and rooms are empty. Om shanti.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Greetings from Sivananda Kutir, Neytala. We opened the Ashram for the season by the end of March after winter. Vinod, Satyaji, Venugopal ji and Kavya reached the ashram and it was very cold during that time. Manmohan ji was taking care of the ashram during winter.
We did deep cleaning of the entire Ashram for the TTC, took care of the gardens and now the entire ashram looks nice with lots of plants and flowers. We welcomed Swami Hariomananda and Vijay ji for TTC. Swamiji shall stay at the ashram for the entire season.
TTC started with 33 students who were initiated on Sunday. They had a beautiful Ganapati Homa on Monday morning. From May 15th to 21st we are arranging the Bhagavata Saptaham for the villagers. This year we are also starting the Yoga vacation program in Netala from May 1st continuing till the end of September. There had been lots of enquiries in the past about a Yoga Vacation program in Netala. Now as we are starting in May, the vacation program slots are almost full. Some renovation works are still going on: we are preparing another Yoga Hall for Yoga Vacation and arranging internet wifi connection for the guests. Otherwise, Ashram activities are going very well and all the staff are doing fine.
The first week of TTC went very well. Students are enjoyed all the classes and became more comfortable with chanting making satsang livelier. Swami Atmananda ji, a disciple of Swami Sivananda ji and director of Sivananda Ashram Ganeshpur came to visit us at the Ashram. Mataji Swami Paramananda ji, disciple of Swami Dayanand ji, from Tapasyalayam Uttarkashi also visited our Ashram.
On Friday, we went for the Gangotri trip. Almost all the students joined in, and the trip went smoothly. Students enjoyed visiting Swami Vishnudevananda’s cave and bathing in the Ganga River. Swami Hariomananda ji led the trip and shared his experience of the time he spent with Swami Vishnu in Gangotri. Students enjoyed performing at the talent show and are now feeling more open in the Ashram. Many people came forth to participate and everyone had great fun.
At the end of the second week of TTC we had the Mahamrityunjay Homa, which went wonderfully. We had a Shat Kriya workshop on Thursday, all students enjoyed the practice and felt very light afterwards. We also started calling the students for chanting in the satsangs, some of them chanting very nicely and motivating the ones who are still feeling a little shy to come forward. Students started teaching groups, they are enjoying the practice of learning how to teach.On Friday, Shanti ji came to the ashram with her parents from Chennai and has started teaching the Anatomy lecture for the students.
We had the opportunity to welcome Swami Premananda ji, a disciple of Swami Sivananda ji from the Sivananda ashram, Ganeshpur, along with Swami Yatidharmananda ji at our ashram. Right after the evening asana class all students met Swami ji and he shared many stories from his time spent with Swami Sivananda ji and also shared many anecdotes from his own sadhana and learning. Students also joined in for chanting with Swami ji.
On Friday, we went for a trip to Adi ShankaraBramha Vidya Peeth in Uttarkashi after Swami Janardhanananda ji invited all of us to attend the ceremonies being carried out for the Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti, and students were immersed in the environment where they had the opportunity to ask their questions to Swami Haribhramendrananda ji. Students enjoyed visiting the ashram and the Sri Kashi Vishwanath temple nearby. Swami Hariomananda ji and Swami Janardhanananda shared their experiences of their learnings in the ashram and took us on a tour of the ashram.
It has been raining for a few days and the weather is a little colder. Because of the changing weather some students got sick but are almost recovered now. Students enjoyed performing at the talent show on Saturday and shared many beautiful performances and games which made everyone get involved in the show. Om shanti.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Namaste. We commenced the TTC with a Ganapati Homa at the temple invoking the blessings of Vignahartha, the remover of obstacles. As is the case with all the courses, so much positivity could be felt with the group trying to adapt to their new Yogic way of life. With the blessings of our Masters and our Gurus, they all tuned quickly to the ashram surroundings and the course schedule.
At the end of the week, we took the vacationers and TTC students out to Rameshwaram and Khushi beach which was enjoyed by all. The talent show was a very vibrant one with a dance performance, singing and storytelling. The show helped most of them to break the barrier of stage fright which is something they need to overcome to become teachers.
The following week was accentuated by our Temple Anniversary Celebrations that started with an early morning Ganapati Homa on Wednesday followed by Kalasha (pot) Puja which continued onto the noon time. The evening rituals culminated with Devi’s favourite Lalitha Sahasranaama Puja. All the students looked radiant in traditional outfits and enthusiastically participated in the puja asking the Goddess for her grace and blessings.
The same afternoon we also celebrated Holi, the festival of colours, marking the victory of good over evil. All the guests and students had a wonderful time playing with coloured powder and water, forgetting their age and naturally getting into a playful and joyful mood.
The TTC moved to their third week with a major shift in their afternoon lectures from Philosophy to Anatomy and Physiology. They were given an opportunity to analyse and understand the benefits of whatever had been taught in Hatha Yoga in the previous weeks with the Anatomy sessions. They also started their teaching groups with Beginners Classes, dawning along with it the realisation of scope for improvement in teaching.
Three students joined from Online TTC groups to complete the course. The Talent Show was short and sweet with variety of performances from the Yoga Vacationers, TTC students and staff. For the Silent Walk they were taken to the nearby hilltop where they watched the beautiful sunrise allowing them to experience the beauty of the surrounding creation.
The last week of TTC was quite eventful with the students putting their best efforts for the exam preparations. 13 TTC students also enrolled for the YCB level 1 exam. They taught the Open Class in their teaching groups and could experience their moulding to become better teachers with every class they teach.
They were introduced to Advanced Pranayama practice and also had a review of all the subjects to help them with their revision. We conducted the YCB practicals on Friday and Saturday began with our exam in the morning and YCB theory exam in the evening.
We had the graduation of all successful students on Saturday evening. This was followed by big celebration in the form of Talent Show where all the students poured out their heart with the performances.
The ashram routine again went back to the Yoga Vacation mode with the conclusion of the TTC. Some of the TTC students stayed back to enjoy the Yogic lifestyle sans attendance and assignments, while few are planning to become staff and the rest went back to their family, work and so on with the promise of coming back with friends and family.
The vacationers are enjoying their time bonding with each other, making new friends and getting adapted well to the sattvic way of life. Few of them who were complete beginners and had been sceptical of ashram life, especially the food, are now staying longer to imbibe the values and to make it habitual so that the teachings would come handy in their dealings with the outside life.
The climate is gradually creeping back to the hot temperature natural to tropical zones of the globe. But all the guests have adapted well to the climate and are going about the Ashram routine with enthusiasm.
The Yoga Vacation program commenced with quite a lot of new guests in addition to a few of the previous guests who were staying back. The weather is getting slightly hotter day by day but within bearable limits. The grounds which were greener before have now turned slightly browner due to the temperatures, a phenomenon which is familiar to the indigenous flora and fauna. For a couple of days over the weekend we also had rainfall during late evenings making the nights pleasant and the grounds moist. On the construction side we are progressing with our Compound Wall work and the pending works at our Hospital Building.
We continued with our Yoga Vacation program with a modest number of guests owing to high temperatures quite unfamiliar to tourists who travel to South India. But for the people here, they soon get acclimatised with the changing weather bringing up the temperatures with each passing day. Classes and lectures are happening as per the schedule imparting the Yogic teachings from our Master and Teacher to our guests. It is really heart-warming to see the positive changes all around as we try to imbibe these teachings in our daily lives. The Talent Show was good with the guests and staff full on in their entertainment mode.
Sending Prem and Om to all from our group of guests, students and staffs.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. The Ashram is currently closed for the winter. We will re-open from mid-May until mid-September 2023. As always, the Ashram continues with a lot of hard-work from Karma Yogis, and Gurus’ grace. Om shanti.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. The Hybrid TTC began at the Yoga Farm with an initiation in which the Gurukula and Guru lineage and Swamiji’s vision for the TTC and students was shared. Pandit Bhima led the Guru puja. We had 8 students attending in-person and 3 online students, all from the US. The students settled quickly into Ashram life; meanwhile a steady stream of Yoga Vacationers visited the Ashram every week. With the onset of heavy rains, the Ashram became greener and trees blossomed with spring. Karma yogis worked on a stone wall for the garden entrance and a new orchard fence.
The TTC group completed their 2nd week. They were very inspired and serious and diving into the sadhana. They enjoyed the Kriya practice and later in the week began their group teaching. We thanked our special guest teachers, Dr. Fred Luskin speaking on Forgiveness with practical understanding why we need to move forward from past sufferings; and MahaVidya Mary Thompson offering an introduction to Ayurveda.
The new stone walls / benches for the garden were completed, the front fence to the ashram was painted and garden starts were prepared for planting.
The TTCs went well, successfully completing the 3rd week. Students took mantra initiation and received their spiritual names. All were inspired and very happy. They enjoyed the teaching groups and this week the Anatomy Physiology lectures. The week concluded with a sweet Talent Show featuring students and staff sharing poetry, a duck joke, interpretive dance, kirtan, and juggling.
The TTC students completed the final high-energy week of TTC with teaching groups and introduction to advanced pranayama practices. Swami Sitaramananda gave a special Q&A Satsang talk from Vietnam, answering the students’ spiritual questions. We thank Durga Leela for her talk on Yoga of Recovery, introducing how Yoga, Ayurveda and 12 Step work to heal our addictive tendencies. Swami Jnaneswariananda led the TTC graduation and all swamis shared encouraging words for the students. We have several of the TTC remaining in service as staff for the ashram.
Guests came for the monthly Ashram Sacred Tour of the temples and history of the Ashram, Yoga asana class, dinner and satsang. This has become a very popular offering.
We had a surprise visit from Ramanuja, director of the Yoga Farm from 1977-1981. It was his first visit in 40 years to the Ashram. We feel very blessed to meet him and to hear many wonderful stories of his time here at the Ashram.
We had a wonderful Easter weekend Yoga for Self-Healing program with guests enjoying the beautiful spring weather in the Ashram. Swami Jnaneswariananda taught The Marvels of Yogic Breathing; Swami Dharmananda Five Layers of Healing; and Swami Sivasankariananda Ayurveda Detoxification. We enjoyed a lovely kirtan concert from Angelika, sharing sacred chants from many traditions. With 5 staff just completing the TTC, our new graduates started teaching the asana classes this week and are doing very well. This week our SYHET student taught the Yoga for Anxiety and the Yoga for Stress Relief courses. Guests learned about the stress response and how to integrate the 5 Points of Yoga into daily life. Students are very grateful for the teachings and the Ashram.
The Ashram was a full house as Swami Jnaneswariananda taught the weekend Intro to Meditation course with students learning and practicing the Raja Yoga technique and learning Yoga psychology. We were delighted to welcome back the Yoga Bharati group from the Bay Area, resuming their yearly retreat with the Ashram after covid times. The weather is getting warmer with many bright, sunny days. Projects carried on with the kitchen remodel at Swamiji’s house underway, replacing all the antique kitchen cabinets and lighting. We have a new lawn mower donated by Kartikeya and the garden is producing its first veggies of the season. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve.
We concluded the month with very high energy in the Ashram with many programs taking place. We had 2 SYHET courses: Positive Thinking and Respiratory Health. Both courses introduced the 5 Points of Yoga and lifestyle practices. We thank Mahavidya (Mary Thompson) for teaching on Ayurveda as part of the Ayurveda Massage Rejuvenation Retreat. We began the 7-day Permaculture Design Certification Course led by Spencer Nielsen, with students learning and applying theory with projects around the Ashram including water systems, composting, straw bale design, etc. Staff and guests are enjoying the warm spring weather, abundance of wildlife, blooming flowers and trees. We thank David and Elizabeth for the new kitchen cabinet installation at Swamiji’s house making for a new beautiful kitchen. We are grateful for this opportunity to serve. Om shanti.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namah Sivaya. We welcomed Swami Sharvanda Giri, who arrived to teach the Chandogya Upanishad. Swamiji is one of the most senior teachers of traditional Advaita Vedanta in India and was appointed as the Acharya of the renowned Kailash Ashram in Uttarkashi and elected as the president of the Sadhu Samaj. We had several Classical Indian Vocal Concerts performed by Pooja Goswami Pavan and A. Pavan and Paula as well as a heartwarming concert performed by Paul and Tanya Hanna, local musicians from Nassau. The TTC was inaugurated a few days later on a Sunday evening, which made for a very inspiring week. John Beauleu arrived at the ashram, to share his insight and to support staff and karma yogis with individual and group counseling, to help process and deal with the passing of Pranava Chaitanya, which was very helpful.
The Chandogya Upanishad classes moved along with much inspiration, and gratitude to Swami Sharvananda Giri for imparting his wisdom and knowledge to us. Early in the week we welcomed Graham Schweig Ph.D., scholar, and professor of comparative theology of religion, philosophy, and the history of Yoga and Bhakti. Dr. Schweig taught a program on sacred Yoga texts, and led several engaging and informative satsangs. We also welcomed Tsunma Tenzin Dasel, Tibetin Buddhist Nun and spiritual director of Tashi Gastsel Ling, in Maine, USA. Tenzin Dasel led satsangs and workshops on Compassion, Joy and Peace. On Friday, the ashram priest performed a Ganapate Vidya homa for the TTCs to remove any obstacles and bless them with wisdom. Later, Mark Mincolla, Ph.D. a Nutritional Therapist and quantum energy healer, holistic physician and author of The Way of Miracles, joined us for a program in which he shared his own self-healing experience, and documented research on the ability to heal and create miracles by developing the superconscious mind. The following week the ashram priest, Krishnam Namboodiri, performed a very powerful Kali puja, for blessings and protection of all ashram dwellers and visitors. The Annual Hindustani Classical Indian Music and Dance Festival also began. This annual festival was initiated and organized for many years by J.S. Sachdev, a great master of classical Indian music. Since his passing in 2018, his wife Saroj, and son Amar, have continued the tradition of organizing the festival. This year’s master performers were, Swapan Chaudhuri, Niharika Mohanty, Suhail Yusuf Khan, Rachna Bodas, and Nilan Chaudhuri. The festival continued until Saturday evening, with the final performance by Master Tabla player Swapan Chaudhuri. On Sunday, Rose Kress led satsang on Yoga for Depression, as an introduction to a 4-day experiential program to begin the following week.
At the end of the month, we had the great privilege of studying the TulsiDas Ramayana: Ram Charit Manas with Swami Prakashananda, Archarya of the Chinmaya Ashram in Trinidad. Swamiji, a direct disciple of Sri Swami Chinmayananda, led morning and evening satsangs, filled with devotional chanting of the verses, clear interpretation of their meaning, and delivered the talks with much suspense. Swamiji is on a 108-day tour, stopping at temples and ashrams in the Caribbean, where he is reading the entire Ram Charit Manas, picking up where he left off the day before. When he arrived here, he had already finished the first chapter, and began Chapter 2, Ayodhya, with us. Over the weekend Suhas and Manisa Kshirsagar, Ayurvedic doctors living in California, joined us for a program on Detoxification and Rejuvenation, leading evening satsangs, and mid-day workshops. They also led a 5-day Kichari cleanse, which was very well attended.
We had a Sayujya Puja (or Samadhi Puja) for Pranava Chaitanya. His brother Julian arrived at the Ashram from Austria, for this special Puja and memorial service. The Puja was attended by all Ashram dwellers and online there were several hundred attendees. The distribution of some of Pranava Chaitanya’s ashes were offered into the ocean from the dock by the priest and his brother. Swami Sharvanada Giri recited the Vishnu Sahasranama while we made offerings for Pranava’s auspicious departure and for all his ancestors who have left this bodily life before him. Afterwards, we planted a stunning yellow hibiscus tree in the Om Garden which was very appropriately chosen.
Ragani and her kirtan band joined us on Wednesday, performing concerts in evening satsangs and workshops throughout the week. Dr. Rubin Neiman was the presenter on Sunday, giving lectures on the mind-body approach to healing sleep and dreams. TTC graduation was on Saturday. It was joyful and celebratory. With only a few days to prepare for the next month ATTC and TTC, staff were busy preparing the Ashram for the arrival of the new students.
Passover Week was a dynamic and busy week at the ashram. Marilyn Rossner arrived for a 2-week stay, to attend Passover Seder Celebration and give programs on Life after death, the April ATTC/TTC courses were inaugurated and Family week. The Ashram was alive with the sound of children laughing and playing, especially with the Ashram cats. By Wednesday the entire Ashram community was busy in the final preparations for the evening Passover Seder. It was a joyous evening with a traditional kosher feast. Shamini Jain, PhD. joined us to give an interesting and lively program on The Healing Keys, using scientific research to show how we have the power to heal ourselves. Dr. Jain led several evening satsangs and midday workshops. Marilyn Rossner also led workshops and satsangs, in her usual manner of giving messages from spirit to willing recipients. It was a full week of celebrations with 3 birthdays, all within a few days. On Sunday morning we celebrated the resurrection of Lord Jesus, with the annual Easter Sunrise Service, led by local Bishop Trevor Williamson, his wife and a 40-person choir. The sunrise service with local reverends had been a tradition at the ashram for decades, started by Swami Vishnudevanda and Honorable Rev. Prince Hepburn. On the panel with Bishop Williamson was Marilyn Rossner and Swami Brahmananda. It was a dynamic and uplifting service, reminding all in attendance of our many blessings.
The Ashram was full with children once again in the second session of Family Week. It was a week with satsang talks emphasizing health and wellbeing. Dr. Paul Duglis joined us on Monday evening, starting a series of satangs and workshops on Digesting Emotions with Ayurvedic Principles. Later in the week, Acharya Shunya joined us to lead satsangs and workshops on Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom. TTC and ATTC entered their second week, adapting well to the schedule and Ashram lifestyle, with their presence adding prana to the Jaya Ganesha sung at satsangs. Even though we don’t experience a pronounced change of seasons, we can feel spring is in the air, with cleaning and organizing projects underway in the different departments. By the grace of Master and Swamiji, karma yogis are strong in their sadhana and weekly sadhana meetings continue to be held in support of them. Sending pranams to all!
The final week of the month started with talks on Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism presented by Dr. Daniel C. Matt, author, professor and scholar of Kabbalah. Later in the week we welcomed Snatam Kaur and her husband Sopurkh Singh, who presented a program entitled Oneness Consciousness, expounding on the teachings of Guru Nanak and specifically Japji, the daily prayer from the Sikh tradition. They also performed a devotional kirtan concert on the first evening, with emphasis on honoring the guru. Cassandra Vieten, PhD. led a course on transformation, How We Change, and Why We Don’t, introducing the topic at Satsang on Thursday evening. Over the weekend, Samuel Torjeman Thomas performed a mesmerizing concert on Traversing Jewish Soundscapes of the Mediterranean World. On Saturday, Isvari, Mary Ann Johnson, started a week-long training on Ayurvedic Body Treatment Certification course. TTC and ATTC entered the third week of classes, with TTC starting the Anatomy portion of the course as well as the class on kriyas. It was a week of rich and inspiring subject matter, opening our minds and hearts to unity in diversity. Hari Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. The TTC students adjusted well to the daily schedule in their first week and were gradually introduced to the basic principles of Yoga. Guests and TTCs enjoyed some nice morning walks. Chandrika, a medical doctor, Ayurveda practitioner and longtime yoga teacher from Munich gave two excellent introductions to Ayurveda and a lecture on “How yoga works”. The TTCs were enthusiastically asking questions and happy about the possibility to take Ayurveda consultations.
The second week of the TTC went very well. The participants showed a lot of curiosity, and asked many questions. The teaching groups and lectures on anatomy started.
We celebrated Holi with a joyful Krishna puja. The Ganesha hall was beautifully decorated with lights and flowers. The TTCs, guests and staff enjoyed the loving energy and, of course, the sweet prasadam.
We were also able to do the first early morning walk of the year. A group of guests arrived for the weekend programme “Yoga – The Inner Path” in which the 8 steps of Raja Yoga were studied.
Our TTC group had a good third week. They participated enthusiastically in the kriya workshop, developed their teaching techniques and studied anatomy. On Thursday they performed a wonderful talent show. Guests and TTCs were introduced into the practice of likita japa on Tuesday evening.
The spring retreat “Yoga Works” with focus on awareness of health, creativity, movement and meaning in life began.
We had a wonderful last week of the TTC. The participants followed the advanced pranayama workshop with a lot of concentration. On Tuesday TTCs, guest and staff went for a longer walk at noon. There was great joy about the sweet surprise along the way. The mantra initiation was the spiritual highlight on Thursday morning.
On Friday evening we had a Saraswati puja. The TTCs did very well in the exam and enjoyed the graduation ceremony. They expressed their gratitude with little presents for the staff. After a chanting satsang the last day of the course ended with a get-together in Ganesha Hall.
A group of guests arrived for the weekend. They enjoyed afternoon lectures on “Insights into our world of thought” and “Developing concentration, willpower and serenity”.
During the week the topic of the guest programme was Mobility and the health of the heart. We prepared the retreat house for the upcoming Easter retreat. The yoga hall received a beautiful new decoration in fresh spring colors.
We had an uplifting Ram Navami celebration with a puja. The satsang was shared online with the Ashram in Orleans.
Our 10-day Easter retreat began with a lecture series on How yoga works and Yoga as a holistic practice. The participants especially enjoyed the daily walks at noon and the snack on the Ganesha platform. A group of yoga teachers arrived for the further training Yoga Psychology. For 4 days they studied the Raja Yoga Sutras.
We had a wonderful Easter retreat. Many students and staff from the centers came to join inspiring morning and evening satsangs, asana and pranayama classes for different levels and daily mountain walks. In the special lecture series on Better Abdominal Health the students could learn many details about the functioning of the internal organs and received practical advice to keep them healthy and how to feel better. Twenty yoga teachers arrived for the Easter weekend and joined the further training “Breath Work” to improve their understanding of the pranayama practices and their teaching skills. On Saturday evening we enjoyed a very loving Krishna puja. Klaus Falschlunger from Innsbruck, Tyrol delighted us with an uplifting Sitar concert on Sunday evening. One evening was dedicated to a spiritual get together with swamis und staff. Many students connected online to the live transmission of the satsangs and several asana workshops and lectures. In a special staff satsang and meeting, Swami Durgananda shared practical insights into sadhana, yogic goals, physical and mental health and much more. Further guidance and support were given in individual meetings with Swami Durgananda as well.
Our Easter retreat finished leaving the students very inspired and expressing their gratitude. Some guests stayed a few days longer and we had a nice Yoga Vacation programme with the topic In Peace Lies Strength until the following Friday. A group of yoga teachers came for the 4-day further training Expand your asana. They learned how to deal with typical beginner’s mistakes and restrictions and to help students expand in the basic postures and variations. Verbal and physical corrections were practiced intensively. The April-May TTC Online started with students from Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom. It was wonderful to get to know each other in the Inauguration. Another highlight of the weekend with many participants was the introduction into the upcoming online course Ayurveda Spring Detox with ayurvedic doctors from Kerala.
The first week of the Online TTC went very well. The students got used to the teaching schedule, managed to organize their daily routine, and were successful in the first exam on Friday. The 6 weeks online course Ayurveda Spring Detox started on Saturday. The students received a very detailed day-by-day guideline on how to start the detox programme. The online satsangs were well attended. The participants of the morning satsangs are inspired by the texts from Masters book Daily Readings. Om shanti.
Ashram de Yoga Sivananda, Orleans, France
During the month of April, we had a beautiful Easter retreat. Many returning students and teachers attended. Alongside the short yoga stay programme, there was a programme for teachers on “Yoga and Pregnancy”. During the third week of April, we had a course “Yoga and Permaculture”; an external teacher who is also a TTC student, came to guide these specialised conferences. The guests had various workshops in the ashram gardens. They left very happy and full of enthusiasm. They are all looking forward to coming back for more such retreats. Throughout the month, we had guests coming and going keeping the energy dynamic at the ashram. Mid-month, a new batch of students came for their Teachers’ Training Course. They had a smooth landing and have progressed well.
The weather is slowly and gently changing to warmer days. As such, the ashram grounds are getting greener. Plants are developing with the energy of spring.
All staff are happy for all the teaching and learning opportunities on various programmes and projects, as well as space for introspection.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya. The final week of the International TTC went well. The graduation included 14 students from Japan, Taiwan and South Korea who had taken the Asia Online TTC in 2020, and now completed 9 days of onsite practice and study. During the last week staff were also busy making final preparations for the ATTC. The ATTC course also had groups of students from different countries. We were happy to welcome our first visitor from mainland China since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, and welcomed also students from Brazil, Australia, Japan and Taiwan. At the same time, we were pleased to receive an increasing number of Yoga Vacation guests who were happy to experience the heightened energy at this special time. Swami Sitaramamanda taught an online satsang for an international group, and at the weekend continued onsite and online teaching of the Essentials of Yoga Health and Self-Healing course. The following week we were happy to celebrate the inauguration of the international ATTC course, welcoming participants from Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, China.and Brazil. The course got off to a smooth start, in particular our international students were happy to be able to return to study and practice at the ashram again. The group enjoyed their early morning pranayama practice outside on the mountainside platform with a wonderful view of the sunrise. We welcomed a steady flow of Vietnamese and international Yoga Vacation guests. The Health House was busy, with students attending courses taught by SYHET students doing the practicum portion of their course.
The ATTC students continued steadily and diligently through their second week of practice. We were happy to welcome Ram Vakkalanka back to Vietnam and to the ashram after a long time. All enjoyed a special sitar concert and Ram’s talks on sound healing and the Guru prayers. On his departure day we then welcomed Swami Vasishtananda who arrived directly from his home in India. Swamiji joined us for satsang right away, and then at sunrise on Monday performed a special Sudarshan puja and homa at the Surya statue location on the mountainside, this beautiful ceremony was attended by all the ATTC students, guests and staff. The very next day Swamiji performed further puja ceremonies at the Health House where a new statue of goddess Lakshmi was installed. All were touched by Swami Vasishtananda’s devotion and inspired by his profound skill in performing the different rituals. Swami Sitaramananda continued with teaching of the Essentials of Yoga Health and Self-Healing course at the weekend. We were joined during the week by a number of Yoga Vacation guests.
The final week of the ATTC went well. Twenty-nine students graduated with two receiving the Yogi Raj certificate. Students completed a Puja workshop on Friday. We continued to receive a good number of guests for the Yoga Vacation program and Staff were busy preparing for a quick turnaround as students for the Sadhana Intensive course started to arrive.
Having said farewell to our ATTC students we welcomed the new group arriving to take the Sadhana Intensive course. We were happy to welcome 4 “repeat” students who have taken the course one or more times previously, in addition to new students. We’re also pleased to be welcoming international students once more, this time from Korea, Hong Kong and Slovakia. The course was initiated by Swami Sitaramananda on Tuesday evening. The students launched into intensive practice on Wednesday morning. On Friday we welcomed two large groups, one of 60 and one of 13 students for Yoga Vacation, meaning that at the weekend the Ashram was full to capacity.
The spirit of Sadhana was especially strong in the Ashram as the Sadhana Intensive group of 16 students completed their second week of practice. All were very steady and committed in their practice, and completed the course successfully. We were also busy with a large group of Yoga Vacation students, many of whom stayed with us for a full week, following an introduction to study and practice of the Yoga Sutras in morning and evening satsangs. This week also saw the initiation and completion of the second symposium on Yoga for Disease Prevention. Onsite speakers included Dr Ghyansham Sharma, from India, Dr. Hung and Dr. Diep from Vietnam, all of the senior teachers from the ashram, plus online international speakers Dr. Dileep Sarkar and Alyssa Wostrell from IAYT and Dr. Sat Bỉr Khalsa from Harvard Medical School. All were inspired to hear about the ever-increasing research results that show unequivocally the effectiveness of integral yoga practice in both preventing and alleviating disease and achieving optimal health on all levels. By Gurus’ grace the symposium was a success, both inspiring participants to develop their own practice and increasing interest and awareness of SYHET activities. We look forward to the development of this event in coming years. All at the ashram are well and inspired.
We said farewell to our Sadhana Intensive students, bringing to an end an almost three months stretch of international courses that began with TTC in February.
Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Asiparashaktiananda left the ashram to travel to Hanoi and a nearby retreat center in Yen Bai, where they taught a series of programs with a group of around 30 retreatants. Their trip then continued to the city of Hanoi for further programs. At the Ashram staff were busy preparing for a large group of Yoga Vacation guests over the weekend, plus preparing for the start of the Ayurveda therapist training. This week the Health House was also very busy, at the weekend hosting a group of 12 students for workshops, Satsangs, yoga classes and health consultations. Activity there is increasing week by week. Staff are well and inspired. Om shanti.
Sivananda Ashram Tapaswini, Gudur, Andra Pradesh India
Greetings from Tapaswini Ashram, Gudur. The Ashram was quiet with the summer temperatures heating up. The quiet time enabled the staff to attend to maintenance, group karma yoga and their personal practice, and we welcomed a new calf into the ashram.
The guests participated in all activities with enthusiasm. The weather was cloudy with scattered showers periodically which has relieved the heat.
We had some guests who participated in all activities with enthusiasm. The weather was cloudy with scattered showers which relieved the heat. The highlight of the week was a trip to the beach which all the guests and staff enjoyed immensely. In the evening we had Satsang in the temple along with Lalitha Sahasranama chanting. Om shanti.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tokyo, Japan
Om Namah Sivaya. The monthly program Sivananda Yoga study session was joined by a good number of students who attend on a regular basis. This program offers a good opportunity to deepen their spiritual understanding. We began a new Yoga 2 course which was joined by the students who had completed Yoga 1. They inspired each other with uplifting energy even though the class is given online. The area around the Shojiko Retreat still had snowfall although green shoots started to appear on the ground and we could hear little birds singing.
In Yoga 2 the students learned about diet from the 5 points of yoga and our online Sanskrit course started.
The following week a Kirtan workshop was held in Tokyo, joined both by regular members who are very dedicated to the practice as well as TTC graduates who have just returned back home from Vietnam. We had such a lively vibrant gathering. Online programs including the asana Open classes and the Yoga 2 course went well. Preparations for the restart of the Shojiko Retreat were hectic.
Online programs including asana classes and courses went well. We have been preparing for the reopening the Shojiko Retreat and at the same time preparing for the Japan tour program by Swami Sitaramanandaji which will be given in-person for the first time in a few years.
We had a 5-day Stress Management course related to SYHET which the students learned about self-care in depth with enthusiasm. The Yoga 2 course was completed. The students were committed to yoga practice with patience for 10 weeks since Yoga 1 had started, and they are ready for beginning a Yoga life. A good number of students joined a Jyotish talk session and were attentively listening to what is said for future trends.
The monthly program Sivananda Yoga Study Session was joined by the students who attend on a regular basis. They were so attentive and receptive to the teachings.
We also had a 2-day retreat program. The students learned how to cook delicious Vietnamese vegetarian food and enjoyed it together. Surrounded by nature, they learned and practiced pranayama in depth, relaxing and recharging the body and mind to return back to their daily life.
Spring came to the Shojiko Lake with cherry blossoms in full bloom. We had guests from Belgium visiting us who enjoyed the magnificent views and beautiful nature. Online programs have been going well. the Health Symposium started at the Da Lat Ashram in Vietnam for which Japanese translation service was provided, with some students from Japan attending.
The long winter at the Shojiko Lake slowly and gradually came to an end, and a beautiful spring has come with fresh green leaves and varieties of flowers blooming. The number of guests staying at the Shojiko Retreat has increased these days, leaving no vacancy from Friday through Sunday. They enjoy a yoga practice and nature here, refreshing themselves. For the weekend program, the Sanskrit beginner course taught by Vanidevi was given online. Om shanti.
06 Full Moon
20 New Moon
Life is not fully lived, life has not been fully realised, if you do not serve and love entire humanity. – Sri Swami Sivananda
Aṃśa avatāra – Part incarnation
Anāhata – Mystic sounds heard by yogis
Analhaq – A Sufi assertion meaning ‘I am He’
Ānanda Kuṭir – Abode of Bliss
Ānanda Svarūpa – Of the form of bliss
Ānanda – Bliss
Anātmā – Not-Self
Aṅga – A limb, or part
Anna-Dāna – Charity of food
Antaḥkaraṇa – The inner instrument; the internal organ
Antarātmā – The Inner Self
Anataryāmin – The Inner Witness