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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 from the Yoga Camp! For early April we easily felt like the most high-prana time at the Ashram, at least in recent memory! Staff continued to diligently work on getting the Ashram ready for the EBM, finishing up cleaning and decorating the Lodge, the Stone House, Ganga Kutir, and the Orange House. After weeks of joyful anticipation, arrivals of swamis and senior staff began Monday evening and continued steadily until Thursday. By the time the EBM meetings had begun, with everyone home, the energy at the camp had become quite magnificent: inspiring, intense, peaceful, and sweet all at once. Staff pulled together to work in great harmony and with grace and devotion, and with many last-minute changes and hiccups, we needed to exercise much flexibility. All in all the days quickly passed by quickly, smoothly, and harmoniously. As part of our program during the week, guests and staff were blessed and grateful to take part in a hatha yoga class led by Swami Kailasananda, who taught with great care, kindness, and compassion. Also an auspicious treat during the week was an engaging hatha yoga class by Swami Bhagavatananda, who correspondingly gave an illuminating 2-part talk on prana and pranayama. We also had Satsangs led by Kanti Devi, Swami Sivadasananda, and a beautiful Krishna Puja which was particularly distinct as it was the only occasion when all the EBM and senior staff were able to come together for Satsang. The spring thaw had been set into full motion just as the meetings, most of which lasted late into the night, came to a close. With our snow drift mountains disappearing minute by melting minute, a modest number of week-end guests, and a new work-study Jean-Francois, an architect from Montreal, came in on Friday, just in time for the splendid Subramanya temple re-opening for the spring. Dozens of guests, visitors, and community devotees arrived for the first Puja, with everyone working together on the procession, carrying the divinities up the snow-blanketed path. It was delightful to have the temple teeming with life again, with the long-awaited day concluding with an exquisite South Indian feast. And then, as quickly as they arrived, the EBM left expeditiously, with the camp almost shockingly still come Sunday. Most staff accompanied Swami Kailasananda and Swami Bhagavatananda to the Montreal Centre for a special asana class and Satsang, with some staying to decompress after the beautifully busy week behind us. It was truly a wonderful week. With love, staff sends wishes of peace and pranams!

During mid-April it was beautiful at the Yoga Camp: as the snow melts slowly and sweetly, we are now even able to see bare patches of land! Several guests trickled in through the week, and by Good Friday the camp was full, with all but two beds in the entire Ashram occupied! Guests had the opportunity to partake in a special japa mala workshop, led by Pierre, where they were able to learn of the power and beauty of japa practise, and then custom-design and make their very own malas with materials brought back personally from India by Pierre. The main draw was a special Easter tradition here at the Ashram: Ken Whiteley’s Easter concert held on Saturday night. Ken, a very established and world-renowned blues, folk, and gospel musician and producer, led a temple-pounding performance Saturday night. With lots of audience involvement, the concert was a mixture of bluegrass, blues, and gospel music, all divinely inspired. Ken’s bhakti, combined with his mastery of the guitar and unspeakably powerful vocals, had the 100-plus concert goers riveted and immersed in devotion and unity! Leading a slightly more mellow but powerful and beautiful Satsang the next morning, Ken interspersed gospel music with biblical readings and personal stories of his own path of devotion, and the power that yoga and God can have in transforming one’s life. In all, the Easter celebration was spectacular, closing with an unsurprisingly amazing music workshop by Ken, a children’s egg hunt led by own yoga bunny/clown Clara, and a delicious Easter breakfast feast prepared by Gauri Devi and Nikhila. Among some special karma yogi visitors were Kanti, from the Toronto Centre, and with us for the rest of the week will be Keshava, an early disciple of Swami Vishnu, who, inspired by Swamiji’s peace missions, has been working on his own peace mission, attempting to build community solidarity through environmental awareness and activism. In our constant staff flux, the camp happily welcomed back Nikhila, who has been diligently karma yoga-ing at the Toronto Centre since late January, and also Kate, from Toronto, who will be with us for a month. Leaving the camp was our work study Jean-Francois, Bridget from the US (to return soon), and on Wednesday camp staff travelled to the Montreal Centre for a very sweet and heartfelt good-bye to Yamuna, who has been Sivananda staff for three years. A beautifully dedicated karma yogi and genuinely compassionate and kind woman, Yamuna will be back in the summer, but is otherwise turning her focus onto the new adventures in her life, as she moves to rural Quebec to return to school teaching. Staff wishes her all the best, and sends wishes of peace, happiness, and Pranams to all!

Peace and Pranams to all. Lord Siva’s blessings to all, and may happiness and peace surround you. Salutations to the worldwide family from the Sivananda Headquarters.

Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India

Om Namo Narayanaya. For early April we participated in Rama Navami. Students and staff chanted Rama nama in the morning concluding with arati and special vada (savoury doughnut) prasad for all. TTC came to a close this week with the exam and graduation on Saturday. Happily everyone passed, many with excellent marks. Nataraj was busy with outside invitations to open a nearby Siva Temple and be guest of honour at the Kerala Institute of Cooperative Management for the annual celebration. He offered yoga classes at the college for the students and encouraged them to take TTC as a career option. Sadly we said goodbye to Swami Gayatriananda and the TTC assistants. They have been a wonderful support through out the course.

During mid-April a new Yoga Vacation started on the 15th and then the Fasting and Detoxification Program began on the 16th initiating 9 brave souls. The asana classes have are proceeding as usual. One Saturday we had a wonderful talent show which was made even better with the arrival of the kids for the camp the following day. On the 20th the Annual Kids Camp started and 69 children were initiated into the programme. We welcome Reshmi, Cgesh, Tom, Gayatri, Anoop, Lalita, Archana and Sreedevi as kids camp staff. Pranams to all Sivananda Staff.

Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India

Om Namo Narayanaya. With guidance and blessing from Master and Guru, Uttarkashi is functional and operating again, after the floods from 2013. Om.

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

Om Namo Narayanaya. During mid-April we welcomed another eventful week here at the Ashram. We had the yoga vacation program starting off on Wednesday with several aspirants joining the course they took in the marvellous sites of our Ashram and the luscious landscape filled surroundings, empowering their hearts with peace and happiness. They discovered the Ashram routine helping them to break free from the shackles of stress and strain of their daily life. They realized that the science of yoga could work wonders in calming down and controlling their agitated minds. The Saturday talent show had on display interesting feats by the guests which won great accolades. The show provided the means to bring into fore the special capabilities of our guests in turn presenting the viewers with a marvellous and memorable evening. May all of us bestowed upon by the Blessings of Almighty and our Masters. Hoping their guiding light will provide us the strength to attain our targets aimed at the betterment of ourselves and thereby will open up the road to salvation. May Master and Guru be with us all. Peace and Pranams to the Sivananda family.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA

Greetings from the Yoga Ranch! For early April Mahadev Chaitanya travelled to Otisville Federal Prison to teach a special workshop and an Asana class to 40 enthusiastic inmates, who were very happy to take their first step in the yogic discipline. The Ashram hosted this week Memorial Service for our long time Karma Yogi and devote Shyam Mody. Staff of the Ashram prepared and offered an Indian feast in his honour and a few of his close friends came to share. A special Puja was conducted by our Ashram priest, Anoop, to help with the peaceful transition of the soul. Srinivasan, accompanied by Mahadev Chaitanya, and Kamela left for Canada for the EBM meeting. In their absence Radha and Ishwara led Satsang and the guest program. The Ashram was full for our special weekend program “Healthy Cooking for Busy People.”

During mid-April we offered the wonderful Easter and Passover weekend retreat. A large group of devoted guest came to celebrate with us the beginning of spring honoring both the Jewish Holiday Passover and the Christian Easter. We all joined together for the Passover meal and celebration. The ceremony was led by Rabbi Zoe B. Zak who served as the Rabbi of the “Temple Israel of Catskill” in NY. We all enjoyed Rabbi’s Zak explanations about the meaning of Passover, her angelic singing voice and beautiful accordion playing. Cantor Judith Steel, who has been Rabbi Gelberman’s cantor for many years, has been a very close friend and support of the Ashram for a long time. Her presence was a great Joy for all. Staff send Pranams to all! May the Gurus’ blessings of be with us in 2014.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA

Om Namo Narayanaya. For early April Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Dharmananda went to the EBM meeting in Val Morin. The good news is that the EBM has appointed Swami Sitaramananda as an EBM member. After the EBM meeting, the Swamis went to the Nassau Yoga Retreat and started teaching the Ayurveda and Yoga Wellbeing Counselors Course with Durga Leela. Radha, an affiliated teacher from Mount Shasta, taught a beginners course to many new guests and was assisted by Govinda das. Also we offered a Yoga of Change course which was simultaneously being taught by Shambhu das. He was very inspired by teaching this course and using the materials provided by Swami Sita. On the weekend we had a Beginners course taught by Priya. Ambika also joined us to teach workshops on Ayurveda. We continue with the building of the new Siva cabins. They are in the final stages now doing the flooring, utilities, and painting. We rebuilt and painted the deck in front of the Radha Krishna hall. We also painted the decks in front of the office and boutique. The gardens are providing plentiful greens and all the flowers are all in bloom. Long-time devotee Shambu has taken on himself to clean all the weeds from the entire pond. We continue to thrive here in Vrindavan by Guru’s Grace.

During mid-April Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Dharmananda taught in the Nassau Yoga Retreat. At the Yoga Farm, we had a course on Meditation and Mantras taught by Swami Pranavananda. Students were all very inspired by the teachings. Most of the classes took place outdoors at the Krishna temple. Over the weekend we celebrated Easter with many special guests and a lively Easter egg hunt. Dr. Fred Luskin from Stanford University gave engaging talks on forgiveness and compassion. Naina Shastri gave a beautiful dance performance on Saturday night. Dr. Siva of the California College of Ayurveda joined us and gave a few talks about the journey of healing. We are happy that the new Siva cabins at the foot of Siva hill are coming to the final stages now with the flooring, instalation of utilities, and painting. Spring cleaning and TTC preparations are proceeding with good enthusiasm: We have power-washed and are now staining the main yoga platform and it is looking great. The gardens and orchards are looking good. All the grass is growing fast so we are daily using the weed wacker and lawn mowers to keep the lawns in good shape. We are all doing well here in Vrindavan by Guru’s Grace. Om Namo Narayanaya to all the Sivananda family.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas

Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. For early April we had an interfaith symposium entitled Meditation as a Path to Enlightenment. It included talks by Tulku Sherdor, Rabbi Ted Falcon, Pastor Don Mackenzie, Alan Godlas, and Swami Brahmananda. Stacie Dooreck taught a Chair Yoga Training course. We had a Yoga for Beginners five-day immersion course. Kumari taught Healing the Aching Heart workshops and Yoga for Calming Panic and Anxiety to the yoga vacation guests. Isvari shared the Secrets of Ayurveda with staff and guests in two Satsang presentations. We dove into the Ocean of Devotion with an Ecstatic Kirtan Retreat led by Gina Sala and Daniel Paul. Swami Brahmananda finished off the week with two inspiring evening talks on the steps toward Moksha. The construction of the new staff room was completed this week, to everyone’s delight. This new space is larger, better lit, and has a second computer work station. An air conditioning will be installed as a final touch in the coming week.

Mid-April began with a beautiful Passover Seder lead by Swami Swaroopananda. The Seder meal which was prepared by Bharata, Iswara and Shankara with the help of many karma yogis, was delicious. The evening was a lot of fun as we chanted and read from the Haggadah starting with the blessings, stories of the Exodus, the meal and lots of singing. Swami Sitaramananda arrived to the Ashram this week. She taught a 3 day meditation intensive course as well as co-taught, with Durga Leela, the Ayurveda and Yoga Wellness Counselor Certification course. Master Ou was here to teach his 4 levels of Mystical Qi Gong and offered Healing treatments to staff and guests. We finished the week with an Easter Sunrise Service with lots of singing by a gospel choir from Nassau. Bishop Williamson, Swami Swaroopananda, Swami Sitaramananda and Marilyn Rossner presided over the service. Staff are well and send lots of Prem. Pranams to all!

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria

Om Namah Sivaya. At the beginning of the month the Advanced Teachers´Training started. The students immersed themselves into the teachings of Jnana and Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga Sutras, Anatomy and advanced asanas and pranayama. Throughout the course they enjoyed their studies and were very steady in their attendance. We had a beautiful Puja for Ram Navami and some stories from the Ramayana. Swami Durgananda spent some days here and gave a lot of guidance and support. The Sanskrit part of the course was completed under the able guidance of Nina Fallwell and all passed the test. Many staffs and workstudies for Easter. The hotel and your own guest houses were fully booked. Swamis from different Centres were present, teaching and sharing the inspiration. Swami Durgananda gave an insightful and elevating lecture on the Changing Nature and the Unchanging Existence reminding us of the goal of yoga and the purification which is necessary to reach it. Swami Sivadasananda taught 5 special asana workshops which were relaxing, challenging and informative at the same time. All classes were packed with students. Sree Krishna, priest from Bangalore, prepared a beautiful Sudarshana Yantra in the big yoga hall and performed a powerful Puja chanting the 1000 names of Lord Vishnu in his strong and melodious voice. He also attended to the altar in the Ganesha hall, giving an oil bath to the statues and doing the daily worship. Nina Fallwell gave a Sanskrit course for the guests explaining the Mantras in depth. Sunday night was again special with the Swamis on stage chanting the Sunday prayers with full vigour. Besides all programme the guests enjoyed walks and daily snacks and some relaxing hours on the Ganesha platform. OM.

Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France

Om Namah Sivaya. Swami Bhagavatananda gave a “Yoga and Stress Management” certificate course and shared precious information about the three bodies, the gunas and the Raja Yoga technics to deal with stress. Our guest count is now increasing, so we shifted the classes and Satsangs to the Main Krishna Kutir Hall. Gauri came from Paris to give the vegetarian cooking workshop, and helped with the kitchen preparation for the Easter programme. Some of the guests came with their children, so we had kid’s classes for a few days, which brought a nice fresh prana to the Ashram. Ram Navami was celebrated on the 8th; our priest, Yagneshwara, came back from India in time for the occasion and he brought with him a new priest Sree Krishna. We also celebrated Hanuman Jayanti, which was the first Puja in this newly constructed shrine. Swami Kailasananda came back from the EBM meeting, and we welcomed Swami Gopalananda, Swami Jyotirmyananda, Narada, Sudha and Radha for the Easter celebration. The Easter retreat was very successful with a lively group from London and many guests from all over France, including many familiar faces. The new bathhouse was inaugurated by the priest, and is already in full use. The guests love it. Much work was done this month in the gardens and the park, there are hundred of tulips blossoming everywhere and the Ashram feels like a little heaven with wonderful energy. Pranams to all. OM.

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Spiritual Calendar

MAY 2014

10 – Ekadasi
14 – Full Moon
24 – Ekadasi
28 – New Moon

JUNE 2014

09 – Ekadasi
13 – Mariamman Flag Hoisting
13 – Full Moon
22 – Pongala Festival
23 – Ekadasi
27 – New Moon

Perfection, freedom, independence are attained only by direct experience or wisdom of Atman. – Sri Swami Sivananda



Prana assumes five forms viz., (1) Prana, (2) Apana, (3) Samana, (4) Udana and (5) Vyana. Of these five, Prana and Apana are the chief agents. The principal Prana is called Mukhya Prana. The Prana, joined with Ahamkara, lives in the heart.

The seat of Prana is the heart; of Apana, the anus; of Samana, the region of the naval; of Udana, the throat; while Vyana is all-pervading. Vyana moves all over the body.

The function of Prana is respiration; Apana does excretion; Samana performs digestion; Udana does deglutition (swallowing of the food). It takes the Jiva to sleep. It separates the astral body from the physical body at the time of death. Vyana performs circulation of blood.

The aim of Life is to realize your unity with the Self. – Swami Sivananda

Complete glossary can be found at: