Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya. The Sivananda Yoga Camp is currently open to restricted size retreats and TTCs only. Due to the restrictions on the number of people allowed at the Ashram, we will be able to welcome only students attending the pre-registered retreats. If you are interested in coming for the weekend only (Friday to Sunday), please register to the waiting list, shown at the bottom of the retreat description. One week before the retreat we will contact you if space is available.The next Teacher Training Course is November 15th-December 13th. Meanwhile, continue your practice from the comfort of your own home with our online classes/courses to assist in keeping you connected, inspired, and energized. Let us take this time to reconnect with ourselves through the practice. https://sivanandacanada.org/camp/Online-courses/
Meanwhile in early October, winter weather arrived early at the Yoga Camp as temperatures dropped to sub-zero Celsius. The trees were shed their last leaves in preparation for the winter. We offered the program Sivananda Yoga for Beginners, attended by seven guests. They were presented with the 4 paths, 5 points and Beginners’ Yoga classes to learn the foundation of our teachings. We had another program for Thanksgiving weekend, attended by nine guests. Most of the talks were on gratitude and the tuning to Nature. The staff completed trimming all the plants for the winter and started raking the grounds. We had a small spike in the Temple attendance. The COVID colour coding system in Quebec saw many cancellations by/of the guests in our programs as the restrictions get tougher. Both the Centres in Montreal and Toronto had to be closed again until the end of October at least.
By mid-October the winter weather continued to settle in at the Ashram. The grounds and rooftops were white with a fine layer of snow. The pristine white environment set in, the noticeable quiet soon to follow. Our provincial government extended the COVID colour coding till the 23rd Nov. We still looked forward to the upcoming TTC starting off in mid-November. Last week was a high energy, high intensity, very special week for all of us here. The Navaratri celebrations were as much for learning, reflection, assimilation, penance and resolutions, as much as it was for revelry and festivities. The mornings were filled with listening to the Devi Mahatmya and reflecting on it through the day, while the evenings were filled with Pujas, soulful chants, guests, flowers, delicious Prasads and camaraderie with the devotees and local visitors. We had the week-long retreat called ‘From Emotions to Unconditional Love: Navaratri Festival Week’. We also had a weekend retreat along the same theme: Open Your Heart with Devotional Practices: Navaratri Festival Weekend. The week-long and weekend guests enjoyed the stories from Devi Mahatmya and the devotional celebrations. The saga of refuge, surrender, transformation, and resoluteness was well received by one and all. The festivities were broadcasted on Zoom, so that people from world over could participate. We planned henceforth too offer this for all of our special programs and festivities while promoting these through our social media presences, thus bringing together our community in our special programs and celebrations. The staff were busy with the final leg of raking work, winter-prepping the infrastructure. Catering to the specific needs of the residential and local guests we had two onsite classes per day. We increased our online classes and workshops. May the grace of God and the guidance of the teachers be with us in extending our service to all who come to the Ashram. Om.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Om Namah Sivaya to all. We are happy to announce that we are accepting guests to the ashram from 15th October, 2020. Pre-booking via [email protected] is necessary. Terms & conditions apply. Visit www.sivananda.org.in/neyyardam/covid-guidelines We look forward to welcoming you back and practicing together. We are continuing classes, courses & programs online. Please visit www.sivananda.org.in/weekly-schedule
Meanwhile, at the Ashram in early October the online programs continued, with reduced numbers, as more people are getting back to work and other activities. The energy of the Ashram remains buoyant with preparation for opening of the Ashram in the coming week. The WASH (workplace assessment for safety and hygiene) team had an online meeting of all branches and have put together a concise and thorough set of guidelines for following and sharing with the public. A Neyyar Dam WASH meeting took place followed by an Ashram inspection and will be followed by further meetings to follow up on the To Do List. We are happy to see enquiries coming in and look forward to the advanced bookings. The sun was reduced by the beginning of the NorthEast monsoon. Despite this Suresh and some other staff went on a mini Yatra, taking in Palghat to visit our Trustees and Guruvayur and Mookambika Temples and were happy to find them really not busy.
As October progressed, we were happy to receive two more guests, both are taking Ayurveda treatments. The November TTC registrations continued to increase gradually. The staff continued to rotate in teaching the Ashram classes as well as hosting, teaching or demonstrating for the online classes. A new special program was Hatha Yoga Insights by Nataraj – a study of the practices in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. On the occasion of Navaratri there were two inspiring chanting programs, one Mahishasura Mardini Stotram during the week and the other Durga Chalisa at the weekend, both conducted by Parul, an enthusiastic singer and yoga teacher from Delhi. There was also Rohini’s popular Sri Yantra – Sacred Geometry of the Divine Mother workshop. The thrilling Devi Mahatyam was read throughout the Navaratri week in the Satsang and the extra Lalitha Sahasranama chanting continued in the mornings under the watchful eye of the beautiful Raja Rajeshwari Devi and in the presence of the many Gods and Goddesses on the traditional South Indian Navaratri display near the shrine. Some staff offered their study books for a blessing during the Saraswati Puja, to be returned back on Vijaya Dasami. May Master and Swamiji bless us with patience in our studies and practice. May all be well. Om.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namo Narayanaya from Uttar Kashi. The Uttar Kashi Ashram continues to be temporarily closed. Due to the lock downs announced by the Indian government, we will not be accepting any new visitors or guests to the Ashram until further notice. During this phase, we’ll be offering various classes, courses & programs Online. Details regarding this can be found at www.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. Due to the unpredictability of the on-going COVID-19 situation nationally and locally we have had to change our opening dates. We request that you contact your local Centres and Ashrams directly for their latest update. Join us through online classes, courses and programs online. Sending Prem and Om to all from our family of guests and staffs. Our thoughts are with you all and we pray that you keep well and positive during these challenging times. Namaste. Om.
Meanwhile, in October the final week of online TTC progressed smoothly with the students finishing their teaching an open class. They were also given a practice of 108 rounds Sun Salutation which was quite challenging and, at the same time, very satisfying. Advanced Pranayama session was practiced with the course culminating with a Meditative Asana Class dedicated to our Master and Guru. The final Talent Night was a memorable affair with everyone saying bye to each other and ending on a slight emotional note. TTC students commenced their classes with a beautiful Ganapathi Homa invoking blessings from the remover of obstacles. The Navaratri Puja and rituals continued at our Mahakali Temple with each 3 days being devoted to the worship of Goddess’s Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. We had Lalitha Sahasra Naama Puja, also marking the culmination of 9 day long worship also believed to destroy our basic 9 desires which is the root cause of all worldly sufferings. The students all seemed exuberant with the chance of wearing traditional outfit like sari for women and kurta for men, each one of them looking different and resplendent in their outfits. The solitary vacationer at the Ashram enjoyed all the attention being showered upon him for the same reason. Sending Prem and Om to all from our Madurai Ashram family. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Om Namah Sivaya from the Ranch. The Sivananda Yoga Ranch is currently closed to the public. Since the start of the pandemic, we put all our programs online. We are grateful for all your support and connection in these times! It has, and continues to be, an innovative time where we can see how easily accessible it is to connect & share the teachings of our Masters with people everywhere in the world! We encourage all to stay connected with the online yoga classes and online programs. Join us in meditations and Satsangs Sunday and Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm (Eastern Time). The next Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Online (TTC) Course (Yoga Alliance Certified 200 hours) is October 17 – November 14, 2020. https://sivanandayogaranch.org/
Meanwhile the staff remain at the Ashram. In October the Online Yoga Classes saw an increase in attendance. We had two special online programs – Yoga for Healthy Joints and Bones Course, with Savitri Devi and also a Sushi Making Workshop. We welcomed a new staff, Gauri, who has been staff in India for four years. We were happy to have her here with us. Group Sadhana in the Ashram was high. Everyone was in good spirits. With the blessings of Master and Swamiji all staff are in good spirits and send Pranams to all. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. Warm greetings to you from the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm. We are grateful for your love and support as the Yoga Farm continues to thrive in this challenging time. We are adapting along with you to keep Satsang with each other and to share the teachings in new and creative ways. The Grass Valley Ashram will remain closed at least until the end of 2020. We will keep you updated as events unfold as we consider the health of our guests and staff and the pandemic situation. Please visit https://sivanandayogafarm.org/yoga-classes-online/ to easily join Online workshops, classes and courses. Your generous support to Swamiji’s mission will keep the Yoga Farm strong and vital during the pandemic. Please donate here: https://sivanandayogafarm.org/donation/
Meanwhile in October Swami Jnaneswariananda led the 5-day online Meditation 1 course, introducing the Raja Yoga Meditation technique and teachings of the mind. Students also learned how to establish their home practice space. Swami Adi Parashaktiananda taught the 7-day Hatha Yoga Sadhana course, with rigorous group and individual Hatha Yoga practice and introduction to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Our weekly online Satsangs grew in popularity week to week. Swami Vasishtananda ji kept the Ashram energy strong with daily Pujas around the temples and shrines.
We had a beautiful Navaratri celebration, receiving the blessings of the Divine Mother, led by Swami Vasishtanandaji. Nightly Pujas and Devi Mahatmyam readings inspired staff and karma yogis, and especially feeling Swami Vasishtananda’s devotion and open heart to show us the way. We also had many devotees join us online this year keeping the connection to the Ashram and feeling Divine Mother’s Grace. The students completed their first week of the Online TTC and are inspired to be able to connect to the teaching and with each other. Swami Sitaramananda zoomed in from Vietnam to give an inspiring talk on Yoga. The first week was a big adjustment for the students, but went well with them enjoying the Main lecture, Chanting, Gita and Hatha Yoga Classes. Their at home karma yoga was taking care of their practice space, altar, etc. The staff were inspired with their practice. The staff and karma yogis were doing well. 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. Our reopening date is scheduled for November 1st, 2020. There is still a small group of us on property who are maintaining the Ashram way of life through daily Satsangs, yoga and teachings.
October in the Bahamas saw several successful online retreats and webinars, reaching students who were curious to learn more about the health of the spine (Yoga and the Health of the Spine with Krishna Chaitanya), as well as those interested in establishing a home practice (Creating a Yogic Practice/Lifestyle at Home with Pranava Chaitanya). As a foundation for establishing a home practice, Sivakami Chaitanya gave guidance on setting up one’s abode in Creating a Sacred Space for Your Spiritual Practice. In terms of sacred spaces of the Ashram, we have enjoyed the atmosphere of the main Temple for Satsangs this week. Satsangs had been in the Sivananda Hall throughout the summer, but now we enjoy the company of the parampara murtis and the many other Temple dwellers whilst we chant the Jaya Ganesha and imbibe the stories of the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavatam. Navaratri has been the highlight of the week since it began last Saturday. The weather has reflected the strong, purifying energy of Durga with many rains and rolling thunder, and for a day or two we experienced the levity of Lakshmi with clear, sunny skies. Krishnan Namboodiri has been leading nightly Pujas in the beautifully-decorated main Temple, and our stomachs are happily full of many tasty Prasads. Throughout the day, one can overhear mantras to the Divine Mother as they are chanted by the Ashram dwellers going about their daily work. Over the past two weeks, we have hosted many online programs. For the courses last week, Swami Brahmanand began the series Practical Tools to Cultivate the Power of Concentration. Anyone who has graduated from the first level of ThetaHealing had the opportunity to join Narayan Jyoti and Shambhavi last weekend for the ThetaHealing Advanced DNA Training certification course. Jnaneshwari Chaitanya led a weekend retreat on how to live purposeful life, while Swami Paramananda taught about Finding Joy in Adversity in a Sunday webinar. Krishna Chaitanya shared tools for maintaining safety within the practice of asana, also in a Sunday webinar. This week’s new courses included The Yoga of Wisdom: Teachings on Chapter 4 of the Bhagavad Gita with Rukmini Chaitanya, Pranayama Workshop: Back to Basics with Swami Shambhudevananda (broadcast from Israel), Introduction to Vedanta: The Path to Enlightenment with Rukmini Chaitanya, Meditation and Silence in Everyday Life with Swami Hridyananda, and Essentials of Yoga I: Create a Daily Home Practice with Iswara Chaitanya. Last weekend we bade fond farewells to two of our Ashram dwellers. Ananda Prema left for the United States after ten months of dedicated karma yoga in the marketing department, producing many beautiful videos and doing tremendous work to assist with our online programming. Three days later, Shanti left for Israel after eight months in the Ashram – studying Vedanta, serving devotedly in the Temple, and elevating the Ashram atmosphere with her loving presence. We wish both of them safe travels, good continuation of Sadhana, and to see them back in the Ashram soon! May all be well and may this be an opportunity to turn inward to that which is eternal and ever-free. Om Shanti. Om.
Please visit our Online Program page for the latest schedule. https://sivanandabahamas.org/visiting-the-Ashram/Online-program/ We look forward to continuing to add Online programs, courses and guest speakers to our calendar. https://www.sivanandabahamas.org/travel-update/
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. The Seminar House is closed to the public. We continue to teach classes, webinars and Satsangs online. We offer live Online Yoga Classes, Workshops, Talks, Teacher Trainings and group Meditations. Receive all the latest information via our newsletter. https://www.sivananda.at/en/newsletter
In October we offered a new webinar with Chandrika on Yoga in Medicine. From India, Dr. Kamlesh taught the fourth part of his Ayurveda Nutrition course. The priest continued teaching the pronunciation of the Lalita Sahasranama and also led us in an elevating Sri Yantra Puja. The online TTC went very well. The group was very attentive and keen to learn. Klaus Falschlunger, a sitar player from Tirol, gave a beautiful concert in one of the Online Satsangs. It was highly appreciated by the students.
As October progressed so did the online programs. We taught a new webinar on Hatha Yoga Inspirations and continued evening Satsangs. The online TTC students had Ayurveda lectures with S.K. Kamlesh and Chandrika and a Ganesha Puja with the priest. All enjoyed the wide variety of talents at the talent show evening. The celebration of Navaratri with daily online morning Pujas with the priest from India continued. The participants appreciated these Pujas very much. The priest also continued teaching the Temple ceremonies. Dr. Kamlesh taught his Ayurveda Nutrition course. Prof. Marilyn Rossner continued her fascinating course on The Eternal Journey of the Soul. We pray that all remain healthy and safe. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. As a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not have yoga retreats or day visitors. For more information, please call us on 02 38 91 88 82. We continue to offer special interest courses online. You can keep in touch via our newsletter. The teachings of the Masters continued to inspire hundreds of people every day. Together, we can put to practice one of the instructions of Swami Sivananda: “Adapt to all situations”. Take care of yourself, take care of others. See you soon. OM.
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
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from DaLat Ashram. The DaLat Ashram is open.
In October our Ayurveda Detoxification Retreat continued with new guests arriving for a week of cleansing and relaxation. Swami Sitaramananda took advantage of a short break from online teaching to offer more Satsangs for the staff here on how to practice Bhakti Yoga in daily life. To help staff Sadhana, we started a new system of mentoring, inspired by the success of the recent TTC mentoring experience, to support staff and help them maintain balance in Sadhana and in karma yoga. Swami Narayanananda and Priya Chaitanya went on a teaching tour to offer TTC information days, Satsangs and courses in different locations. First stop was Ho Chi Minh City, followed by the coastal city of Phan Thiet, where they taught a 3 day meditation course. Swami Sitaramananda joined in Phan Thiet for a weekend retreat with 100 students at a beach resort. The highlight of their tour was a very special experience when we were able to do a full Puja in a nearby 9th century Cham Temple with a large 1100 year old Siva Lingam. Vietnam was a Saivite kingdom for a thousand years, we were so touched to be able to reconnect with this original history. It was a unique, moving and memorable experience for all. We concluded our short tour with a visit to the coastal city of Nha Trang, visiting and giving Satsangs at the two Yoga studios of two recent TTC graduates. We are inspired to see the hard work and enthusiasm of young teachers sharing classical yoga teaching all over Vietnam.
The daily celebrations of Navaratri, with Pujas in the Krishna Temple, all ceremonies were prepared with love and great care. Daily reading of Devi Mahatmya gave inspiration and reminded us all of the ongoing process of transformation. On Vijayadashami Day, staff brought items for blessing, and four aspirants received mantra initiation and their spiritual names. The SYHET Asia students, most present here and some online, continued their intensive study and practice. They received lessons on current common medical practices taught by 6 doctors from the local medical college. In addition we received a visit from Dr Hung, a specialist in Oriental medicine who traveled from Ho Chi Minh City to deliver his classes on cancer prevention. We were happy to welcome also Ram Vakkalanka, who spoke on sound therapy and gave practical experience with a sitar concert. Anatomy and physiology lessons continued, taught by Dr Sharma, Swami Jnaneshwariananda and Swami Pranavananda. Classes covered the different systems of the body, pathology, and the complementary contribution of Yoga practices to health and healing. Alongside the SHYET group, we welcomed a group of 30 guests from the Ozen meditation club. Many of them were new to Yoga but took to the different practices right away, and were most appreciative of their learning experience here. Staff are well and thankful for Guru’s grace. Om.
01 Full Moon
A spiritual seeker’s attitude should not be narrowed down by any kind of distinction, be it of class, religion, caste or colour. – Sri Swami Sivananda
HATHA YOGA: Ha – the energy of the Sun, masculine energy, active energy; Tha – the energy of the Moon, receptive energy, cool energy. Yoga (Yuj) – union; the union of universal consciousness with individual consciousness.
Hatha Yoga is a systematic course of exercises, dealing with Shat Karmas, Asanas, Pranayamas, Mudras, Bandhas and exercises on concentration and meditation. Hatha Yoga is a path toward creating balance. Hatha Yoga is like the tortoise that supports the World. It relates to the restraint of breath (Pranayama), Asanas, Bandhas and Mudras. ‘Ha’ and ‘tha’ mean the union of the sun and the moon, union of Prana and Apana Vayus. ‘Hatha’ means any tenacious practice till the object or end is achieved. Trataka, standing on one leg, (a kind of Tapas) and similar poses are all Hatha Yoga practices. Hatha Yoga is inseparable from Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga begins where Hatha Yoga ends. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are interdependent. Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are the necessary counterparts of each other. No one can become a perfect Yogi without a knowledge and practice of both the Yogas. Hatha Yoga prepares the student to take up Raja Yoga.
A Hatha Yogi starts his Sadhana with body and Prana; a Raja Yogi starts his Sadhana with his mind; a Jnana Yogi starts his Sadhana with Buddhi or intellect and will.
A Hatha Yogi gets Siddhis (psychic powers) by uniting Prana and Apana and by taking the united Prana-Apana through the six Chakras (Centres of spiritual energy) to Sahasrara at the crown of the head. A Raja Yogi gets Siddhis by Samyama, i.e., combined practice of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi at one time. A Jnana Yogi exhibits Siddhis through pure will or Sat-Sankalpa. A Bhakta gets Siddhis through self-surrender and the consequent descent of grace. Kriyas, viz., Neti, Dhauti, Nauli, Basti, Tratak and Kapalabhati belong to Hatha Yoga. All need not practice these Kriyas. Those who have got much phlegm in the body should practice these Kriyas. Learn these under an expert Hatha Yogi. Hatha Yoga is not the goal. It is only a means to an end. Take to Raja Yoga after possessing good health.
Do Asana, Kumbhaka, Mudra and shake the Kundalini. Then take it to Sahasrara through Chakras in the Sushumna. O children of light! Will you drink not, will you drink not, the nectar of immortality?
Brother! Attain good health. Without health how can you live? Without health, how can you earn? Without health how can you get success in Yoga or any undertaking? Possess wonderful health through the practice of Hatha Yoga. Drink the nectar in Sahasrara and live in the immortal abode of Siva.
No Hatha Yoga, no success,
Not Hatha Yoga, no Samadhi,
Not Hatha Yoga, no health,
Not Hatha Yoga, no Veerya,
Not Hatha Yoga, no beauty,
Not Hatha Yoga, no long life.
– Sri Swami Sivananda
You are in the hands of God. He holds the string. He is the Sutradhar. – Sri Swami Sivananda