Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya. In early April we were blessed with a retreat called “Thought Power to Transform the Mind”. There was lots of interest and sincerity coming from the students, who asked many questions and participated in all activities very well. Some of the students didn’t want to leave at the end of the retreat and they promised to come back for the retreat this summer. We held a successful TTC Open House with quite a few students interested in taking the upcoming April TTC. They offered an information lecture, asana class and online Satsang. We started to offer as well a Saturday Get-Away program, where students can come for a full or half day to participate in yoga activities, Satsang and have two meals. The first student for this new program stayed with us for the whole day and left in a good spirits. We were happy to receive more inscriptions for the TTC and Sadhana Intensive.
We were blessed with an inspiring Easter Retreat. The reception was busy welcoming thirty guests from whom almost half of them came for the first time to the Ashram. There was good spirit during the retreat with many yogic activities: Satsangs, asana classes, lectures. We offered the possibility of having an osteopath consultation as well. Towards the end of the retreat, we could feel more prana and enthusiasm in Satsangs with chanting, clapping and in lectures with sharing and asking questions. Special Easter meals prepared by Bharata and Sita, as well as by different staff, were very much appreciated by our guests who even asked for recipes of certain dishes so as to be able to cook it at home. A gospel concert with Ken Whitely took place, where he played and sang his old and new songs uplifting the energy of the retreat and making everyone swing in different rhythms. We welcomed karma yogis as well as staff of Montreal Yoga Centre, Bhagirathi, coming to help during the retreat and to have small break from city life. We were very happy to welcome Saraswati, director of Toronto Yoga Centre, who came with her family and their dog Jazz. They brought lots of positive good energy and we were happy to share time with all of them. We hope to see them back very soon. Some inquiries and inscriptions about TTC, ATTC and Sadhana Intensive were coming in. There was good interest for upcoming Yoga Vacations.
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. We experienced the usual hot April weather. It continued to be bearable due as electrical storms and heavy rains rolling in to cool the atmosphere. One Monday’s lightning storm did have some impact on our internet connectivity but this was regained quite quickly. Swami Gayatriananda initiated twenty students and guests into their mantras at the Devi Temple. Shyamala finished the A&P lectures and returned to Chennai, appreciative of the opportunity to share her enthusiasm for Yoga. A big coach bus took 49 guests, students and staff for a refreshing day out on the backwaters at Kollam and an evening at Varkala. With the fourth week of TTC beginning, Nataraj launched into the last portion of philosophy and the students learnt about teaching Yoga to expectant mothers and the elderly and had fun in the experiential how to teach Kids class. The Yoga Vacationers had good experience of jala neti to which they were introduced. The number of guests for panchakarma increased during the weekends. Kritika left after helping with YCB manual editing and Mira returned after doing service at the Chennai Centre and the Gudur Ashram.
The last TTC of the season came to a happy conclusion with everyone online and onsite successfully graduating. The Ashramites were all blissful with the extra devotional activities – Bhagavad Gita chanting for Ekadasi, a beautiful Lalithasaharanama lamp Puja for evening Satsang, Gita Arati and Kirtan at the end of the Bhagavad Gita class and Poornima Lalitha Sahasranamam at the Rajarajeshwari Temple. The most novel for most was the blindfolded visit to the Temple for Vishu Kanni. The Kerala New Year, Vishu, was observed by the parents bringing the rest of the family blindfolded to begin the new year with an auspicious first vision – the Kanni which consists of a wealth of beautiful fruits, vegetables and grains, decorated with the yellow Vishu flower and lit up by oil lamps. The whole celebration was watched over by Sri Krishna, plus a mirror so one sees oneself amidst plenty. Guests and students were guided in ‘trains’ from dormitory to the Temple by the staff for the darshan and to receive a symbolic happy Vishu coin. The timing was perfect with Jaya Ganesha starting at 6.30 am in the Temple, followed by some Devi bhajans. A Kerala feast was served for lunch on banana leaves for the occasion. The guests and students felt blessed by all these experiences. The TTC exam and exam marking went smoothly and lots of appreciation was expressed at the graduation that evening. Seventeen of the students took the YCB written exam in the afternoon and the YCB practicals were conducted by Srinivas, Kalyani and Rekha who came in from Trivandrum to serve in this purpose. Suresh left along with the five STIC participants, some staff and a few kids, to travel to Madurai for the Kids Camp starting there. By Satsang most of the students and many assistants had left and it was noticeably quieter despite the increase in YV guests for the beginning of a new YV cycle. We looked forward to sharing the teachings with the Yoga Vacationers and are thankful for Master and Swamiji blessing us with so much support for the TTC.
Mid April: Our guest numbers fluctuated, perhaps with the weather swinging from hot to cold depending on the storm clouds. A reasonable number of guests attended the lectures with Sonal. Some of them had their attendance monitored as they were registered for the YCB Yoga Volunteer Certification which required a certain amount of attendance. A quarter of the guests took panchakarma treatments at the SIH clinic. Our printer from Chennai was amongst the new arrivals for panchakarma. After at least three years of not visiting the Ashram, he said the visit was overdue for undoing the negative impact of stress and pollution from living in a big city. He will print new pictures of Master and Swamiji for the Siva Hall to replace the fading ones currently in place. We look forward to that. Swami Tanmayi left the Ashram. We looked forward to her coming again in the future. We gave a fond farewell to Athul and Aman. Their service was much appreciated. Anjali went for a two-week break, and the rest of the karma yogis adapted well to the reassignment of various duties. Initial planning for the International Day of Yoga began both from the Ashram side and in relation to requests from outside organisations.
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. We pray for joy and 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. The first TTC of the season started with 37 students, initiated one Sunday. They had a beautiful Ganapati Homa the next morning after which they started their classes. The students seemed to be enjoying the course schedule and the Ashram vibes. The Mundaka Upanishad also started which was also being well received by the aspirants.
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. In early April the SIYVAM students entered the final week of their Sangeetha Sadhana. They were getting prepared for their journey to Uttarkashi where they continued the spiritual journey with their Self Study and Sadhana. The Yoga Vacation program continued with 3-4 people who were finding great peace and solace in the Ashram environment and the daily schedule. A sense of discipline that seemed to have been lost with the pandemic was slowly finding it’s way back into their lives with the Asana practice, Karma Yoga, Chanting and the Yogic Diet.
Mid month was full of bee hive like activities due to the commencement of our Summer Kids Camp with a beautiful Ganapathi Homa. Suddenly the Ashram seemed full and loud with 102 children occupying it. It was the first time in Madurai Ashram the numbers increased over 100 for a course. All the staffs were on their toes with lots of activities, listening to the kids, reaching on a compromise for disputes with Satsangs, asana class, lectures, karma yoga and so on. Though hectic and tiresome at times it was bound to become part of the archives of our unforgettable memories. We took the children trekking to a nearby hill which was enjoyed by all including staffs where the downhill journey was given a joyous accompaniment by slight drizzle.
We ended the month on a happy note with 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. 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, Parvati taught the 5-day Beginners’ Yoga course, sharing the 5 Points of Yoga with our eager group of students. Students enjoyed the peace of the Ashram, being in nature, labyrinth walks, visiting the Temples… and the hammocks! We welcomed back MahaLakshmi after her service at the LA Centre. All the new raised garden beds were planted with squash, zucchini, tomato, basil, lettuce and more! Much landscape work took place as Ramachandra cut back grass around the cabins and buildings for fire prevention.
We were very happy to welcome Swami Adiparashaktiananda back from his time at the Vietnam Ashram. We welcomed guests for the Yogic Cleanse course with MahaLakshmi and Parvati-Ma. Students enjoyed daily asana classes, talks on the 5-Points with emphasis on diet and healthy routines and self-care practices, and Ayurvedic massage treatments. The weekend Easter program was themed “Art, Music and Creativity” with inspiring Satsang talks on Yoga and Creativity and Christ’s teachings, and a special workshop from Hasu Patel on the Yoga of Sound. We prepared for the SYHET and TTC programs. The Ashram received some rain transforming the grounds to very green and vibrant.
As April progressed we began the Sivananda Yoga Health Educator Training Module 2, 17-days immersion, focused on Anatomy & Physiology, Ayurveda, Chronic Pain, and the Intake Assessment Process. Students were very inspired as they took this next step on their Yoga Health Education journey. We also welcomed the Permaculture Design Course with 8 students led by Spencer Nielsen. This certification course combined theory with hands-on practices, working with the Ashram landscape. As part of their learning, students will create Permaculture design projects for the Ashram to implement. We prepared for the TTC – our first fully onsite TTC in more than 2 years!
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. April 2022 in the Bahamas: We remembered Arjuna, who left his body. Arjuna dedicated decades of service to the organization. Every year he would take time away from his active yoga life in Canada in order to come to The Bahamas, bringing with him a sense of humor, great devotion, and inspiration to students of all ages and walks of life. His stories and presence will be missed, and we pray for his safe passage from this life, as well for the solace of his family.
The annual Easter and Passover Symposium, Healing from Within, took place in-person for the first time in two years. Swami Swaroopananda led an evening of questions and answers about Yoga and the spiritual path. Acharya Shunya and Chef Sanjai came to present an Ayurveda detox course, as well as to lead Satsangs and workshops on the Divine Mother in Roar Like a Goddess and dharma talks from the Bhagavad Gita. They spoke about Ayurveda as part of the symposium. Dr. Raymond Moody and his daughter visited for several days while he presented research and discussions about life after life and near-death experiences. Dr. Marilyn Rossner came and gave several Satsangs and workshops on the topic of life after death, sharing readings from the spirit realm with attendees of the workshops. Gauri Devi Marta Gil came to lead the Family Week, in which nine children ages 5-13 participated in yoga classes, Satsangs, and karma yoga projects around the Ashram. Passover was a grand celebration, with nearly 150 people in attendance. Swami Swaroopananda led songs and teachings from the Haggadah about the spiritual significance of the Exodus, and everyone enjoyed a delicious feast that had been prepared by Omkari, Bharata, and their team of helpers. Bishop Trevor Williamson and his choir of about 30 members voyaged across the harbor in the early hours of dawn to present the service for Easter morning. Lively gospel music filled the Garden Platform and after the service, the choir members enjoyed Easter treats such as ice cream and hot cross buns. The April TTC and ATTC students were immersed in their studies as well as enjoying the weekend’s holiday festivities. Vacationers were engaged in the programs with several seen in the kitchen every morning before the sunrise to help to prepare the Ashram breakfast. Over the past several weeks, there have been many arrivals and departures of karma yogis, and we wish all of them good success in their Sadhana.
Mid month throughout the Ashram, ripe sapodilla fruits could be heard falling to the ground and the tamarinds beginning to come to fruition. The flowers were vibrant and the ocean displayed a wild beauty with thundering waves and steely-blue waters. We concluded the annual Easter and Passover Symposium with workshops and Satsangs, led by Dr. Marilyn Rossner about life after death and bade farewell to many of the guests who had joined us for the week of celebration. Around the Ashram, the atmosphere was much quieter but the guests and students were still engaged with the Satsangs and workshops. Several programs were led by staff members: Kirtan – Chanting the Divine Name with Swami Hridyananda, Prana and Pranayama with Swami Shambhudevananda, Satsanga and Swadhyaya with Rukmini Chaitanya, Swami Sivananda on God with Swami Brahmananda, Guru with Jnaneshwari Chaitanya, Sadhana with Swami Paramananda, and The Story of the Sheep Lion with Kumari. Raju Ramanathan, a vacationer who had studied with Swami Vishnudevananda and met Swami Sivananda, gave a couple of workshops about chakra healing. Other workshops included Yoga: The Science of Happiness with Pranava Chaitanya and a yoga nidra workshop with Elle from the TTC.
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. In early April the group of eight very inspired Yoga Teachers participated in the Further Training “Breath Work”. They studied basic anatomy, experienced expanded breathing for expansion in asanas, relaxation, sensory perception and concentration and practiced in teaching simulations and correction workshops. This course was the start of a series of six further trainings for yoga teachers. The yoga vacation guests worked on their mobility and experienced how yoga works for a healthy heart. The participants of the weekend program went deeper into the topic “Yoga and Thought Power”. Although winter “returned” to the area the guests enjoyed nice walks and the daily snack outside on the Ganesha platform.
We were happy to welcome vacation guests, yoga teachers and staff for a wonderful Easter retreat with inspiring morning Satsangs on yoga and health plus the evening Satsangs on spirituality and religion. In the morning asana classes the guests explored and expanded the basic sequence. The afternoon classes focused on breathing and the different body systems. The guests enjoyed lectures on the integration of body, mind and soul. Two further trainings for yoga teachers were part of the retreat. In the course “Yoga in Medicine” the yoga experience was transformed into actual health in real life to get a glimpse of medicine examining yoga and learn how profound the impact of all aspects of yoga is for body, brain and mind. “Expand your Asana” was the first part of a series of trainings for yoga teachers in which expert and creative handling of mistakes, limitations, adaptations and variations in the asanas from sun salutation to forward bends was taught. The course was based on the new Sivananda Asana Adjustment Manual. Guests and staff joined the daily morning Pujas with Yagneswara Dixit as well as Sudarshana Yantra Puja and a Siva Puja. His presence was uplifting for all of us. A group of online students joined the Satsangs, Pujas, lectures and separate online asana workshops.
By mid April, the Easter retreat finished with longer holding of the asanas in the morning class. In the farewell get together the students got some inspirations for their practice at home. Padmavati from Vienna arrived to support us for a few days with the guest programme. The participants of the last further training of this spring series arrived to the Ashram. They had a joyful course while learning how to teach yoga for children and how to adapt classes playfully. Meanwhile the guests enjoyed longer hikes and some walks. The topic of the asana classes and Satsangs was relaxation and stress reduction.
All staff are healthy and happy to welcome long-time students and new guests to the Ashram. 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 April 2022. Our TTC students were in their last week of the training. There were successful introductions to advanced pranayama and the last teaching groups were taught. We had a lamp Puja and a mantra initiation with a very high participation. The students from the online TTC module left the Ashram after a small graduation ceremony. The TTC students had their exams and they all passed with flying colours. We concluded the day with graduation, a festive and colourful meal and a photo show from the TTC experiences. We also had guests on their “Dynamic Asana Week” programme. They were well stimulated with the practice and left recharged with much inspiration to continue their practice at home. Online we continued with online Satsang on Wednesdays and Sundays as well as morning Pujas with Yagneshwara on Mondays and Wednesdays before he travelled to Paris Centre and Reith.
Other highlights of April were the preparations of the Ashram to welcome the guests and teachers for the Easter weekend. At the beginning, while we organised resources to cater for the weekend, we completed the “Magic of Yogic Breathing” workshop with a group of very nice guests. It was part of our week long retreat to bridge the previous TTC to Easter. The programme went smoothly, and the guests were positive about their experience. Some of the guests were inspired to stay over for Easter. We welcomed a good number of guests for a three night Easter retreat and teachers for “How to Teach Yoga to Children” program with Parvati. The guests had lectures with Swami Kailasananda and Swami Bhagavatananda. We offered an archana for at the Hanuman temple to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti. By the Grace of the Masters, we were blessed by beautiful weather. We could teach indoors and outdoors everyday to cater for the needs of everyone. The Ashram was beautiful; the grounds were full of activity and in a gentle way. Everything fell into place. People left full of gratitude, recharged and inspired. Renewal was felt for all, guests and staff.
April was a special month for the ashram in Orleans, France, marking a strong turning moment for the year. While the grounds got greener by day and the birds lively, we had a successful and smooth Teachers’ Training Course ending in the first half of April. We followed with guest programmes and teachers training. During Easter, the ashram came fully alive with a beautiful guests programme and « How to teach yoga to children » course. We also had a week of visit from our Sivananda Yoga Academy student towards the end of the month. A new group of students have just joined a teachers’ training course now to close the month. Finishing touches were added to the events calendar with many beautiful programmes planned until the end of the year.
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 April the Ashram saw the final week of both the TTCOL Asia and the Sadhana Intensive course at the Ashram. The courses finished well, the Sadhana Intensive participants gaining a lot of strength and inspiration from their practice and study; the online TTC students, in China, Japan, Korea and Australia also very inspired and appreciative of their experience. Graduation ceremonies for each of the courses took place. In addition to these courses our Ayurveda team was busy supporting a group of guests who were here for a 1 week detoxification program. We said farewell to Swami Adiparashaktiananda, who was heading back to California after two months of steady service at the Vietnam Ashram. Swami Sitaramananda accompanied him for the first part of his trip home, including a short visit to the coastal town of Vung Tau to offer some Satsangs there. We were happy to welcome Shakti Chaitanya back to Dalat after a two month stay in the California Ashram.
By mid April our attention shifted again away from courses and towards taking care of groups of guests. We welcomed 2 groups organized by the “Ozen” meditation club. The first group were mostly returning guests, some of whom have been here several times, with an according sense of ease in joining in and benefiting from Ashram activities and Yoga life. More challenge was presented by the second group, all of them newcomers and many of them beginners in yoga and meditation. We noticed, as many times before, the power of just one experience of a Yoga class to bring about a noticeable positive change in people’s attitude and degree of comfort. The group enjoyed their days here, despite outdoor activities being curtailed due to rainy weather, and we would hope to see many of them again. In addition to these visiting groups we were joined by a small group for a week of Ayurveda detoxification. Staff of our Ayurveda house continued with steady and focused service to all participants, who left refreshed and with a sense of renewal. All staff are well and grateful for this opportunity to serve.
We welcomed back the group of SYHET students who started the course in January this year for the second residential module of their course. We were happy to celebrate the graduation of the remaining 7 students from the previous SYHET group who had delayed finishing their practicum requirement. Each of them gave a touching testimonial about their experience over the past two years of study and practice. The main teachers for the second module are Swami Jnaneshwariananda, teaching anatomy and physiology, based at the Yoga Farm in California, and Mahavidya (Mary Thompson) who has been able to travel from her home in California to Vietnam. She was the first international special guest to visit us at the Vietnam Ashram since the start of the pandemic. Mahavidya taught the Ayurveda component of the course. Participants in the course were spread over the world, with a group in California, a group in Japan, one student and China and the group here in Vietnam. Translators worked hard to serve Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese speakers. We took advantage of a few quiet days between catering for large groups and the beginning of the SYHET module to organize a staff outing to the beach. 25 staff were accompanied by Swami Narayanananda and Daya Chaitanya. The group spent two nights at a beachside camp in a very unspoilt area of the coast, enjoying swimming, relaxing, and Satsang on the beach morning and evening. They returned to the Ashram refreshed and recharged, in time to prepare for the SYHET arrivals. All are grateful for Guru’s grace.
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 April the Ashram was quiet with two Yoga Vacationers. Staff were busy with Karma Yoga and most of the time was spent on gardening. We chanted Lalithasahasranama Stotram in the Temple. We felt the commencement of summer with the change in weather, especially during afternoons. We celebrated Vishu, marking the beginning of Malayalam New Year. We did beautiful arrangements of Vishukkani with Konna, fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, coconut and many such auspicious items which are thought to bring good luck for the year ahead. Our two Yoga Vacationers joined us for the viewing of Vishukaani first thing in the morning. Ragesh left the Ashram to serve in Chennai Centre. We wished him good luck. The Yoga Vacation program thrived. Staff were occupied with Karma Yoga and keeping the Ashram clean. Our old staff Niranjan gifted us a beautiful Nataraja statue which is now seated in Vishnu hall after Abhishekam Puja. Promotions continued for Kid’s and Teen’s Camp with students registering with us already.
Staff were doing Karma Yoga and 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.
03 Akshaya Titreeya (Vamana Incarnation)
Keep your heart tranquil, pure, empty of desires and thoughts, then alone the divine light and Grace will descend. – Sri Swami Sivananda
CHITTA SUDDHA – Chitta: consciousness; Suddhi: purification. Chitta Suddhi: purity of heart and mind, a fundamental for progress on any spiritual path.
Chitta is pure, universal consciousness, which becomes clouded or impure by thought and ego.
Do Nishkama Karma Yoga for some years to attain Chitta Suddhi and purify the heart. You must develop humility, the spirit of self-sacrifice, Kshama, mercy, Visva-prem. These virtues can be acquired by selfless service – Karma Yoga. You must have the qualifications Sama (peaceful nature), Dama (self-restraint), Sarva-sanga-parityaga (freedom from all sorts of attachments) and perfect obedience to and implicit faith in the teacher before you.
When you have Chitta Suddhi you will have no attraction for sensual objects, worldly desires, unholy ideas, sexual Vasanas. Anger, vanity, hypocrisy, egoism, greed, jealousy, etc. will not arise in your mind. Even in dreams you will not entertain these thoughts. The signs to indicate that you have attained Chitta Suddhi are virtuous divine qualities such as mercy, cosmic love, forgiveness, harmony and balance of mind. Then you will have sustained lasting Vairagya.
Deep beneath the noise and storm on the surface, deep beneath the surging mental waves, there is that stupendous ocean of peace and stillness. Realize this through deep and intense meditation. – Sri Swami Sivananda