Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya. In October we were blessed to have many sunny and warm days, so many afternoon classes took place outside on our pool platform which our guests appreciated very much. The Ashram continued to work on reduced schedule, having one class at 4 pm with regular morning and evening Satsangs for the staff. We have our yoga vacation program each weekend, including 14 eager guests. In Satsangs and lectures we shared inspiration and readings from Shrimad Bhagavatam, as we had weekend’s topic focused on Bhakti, Mythology and Mantras. All guests left very inspired and grateful. Navaratri celebration finished with a most beautiful and uplifting Puja for Vijaya Dashami led by Swami Vashishtananda in the Subramanya Temple. Bharata and Sita, devotees and teachers who live next to the Ashram invited us to the special dinner to share their love and appreciation. We welcomed Francois who helped us with a project of building a small porch of Krishna kutir. Lots work was done on the grounds, raking leaves and cleaning paths and gardens. The new fence around Samadhi Estate was also done. Swami Rajeshwarananda and Swami Shankarananda continued their stay in Italy for the month of October where they are serving and teaching in several retreats and at the affiliated Yoga Centre.
Mid October the Ashram saw deep cleaning of the rooms and in the lodge building after the guests left. We were very happy to receive 26 souls for the Yoga Vacation program named “Power of Positive Thinking”. All students attended different yogic activities. They also helped with various karma yoga projects. All students left with gratitude and a sincere wish to come back soon. We were invited by the close devotees of Swami Vishnudevananda to attend a Ganesha Puja, which was led by Swami Vashishtananda. We all felt the uplifting and harmonious energy. We welcomed Kanti Devi, Yoga Acharya for South America and Canada, who stayed with us for two weeks. OM and Prem from the beautiful autumnal Ashram. May blessings of our Teachers be always with us. Om.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Namah Sivaya to all. Greetings from Kerala. Visit www.sivananda.org.in/neyyardam/Covid-19-guidelines We look forward to welcoming you back and practicing together. We continue with online classes, courses & programs. Please visit www.sivananda.org.in/weekly-schedule
In October the number of guests remained stable with departures replaced with new arrivals each week. Most of the guests attended the Yoga Vacation programme whilst a few are also taking Ayurveda treatment. Rajeev started giving the Yoga Vacation talks with feedback from Nataraj. The weather was very wet most of the month. Regardless, with the commencement of Navaratri, spirits are not down. The Temple was given extra cleaning and a traditional South Indian Gulu was set up to the side of the Raja Rajeshwari Devi shrine – 5 steps filled up with statues of the Goddesses and Gods also, like the darbur or court of the Divine Mother ready to hear her praised. Satsang was held in the Temple with Lalitha Sahasranama chanting, reading of the Devi Mahatmya and chanting of a hymn from the Devi Mahatmya also. More lamps were prepared so that all could partake in the Archana. Mahishasura Mardhini stotram were also chanted. Staff chanted the 1000 Lalitha Sahasranama mantras with archana daily using beautiful flowers from the gardens. An online TTC taster took place consisting of a class from Suresh and introductions to the main topics of the TTC from Nataraj, Ravi and Parvathy. We wished all an inspiring Navaratri.
By mid October the Yoga Vacation guest numbers remained steady with a few leaving and a few arriving. The staff kept busy with the Ashram Karma Yoga daily schedule, online teaching and special cleaning tasks. The count down to the November TTC started. Mouldy ceilings and curtains were cleaned. The huge curtains at the back of the Siva Hall altar were taken down, soaked and washed. Oshayane helped the kitchen staff to prepare masala dosa. Staff also had a chanting session to give the opportunity of more practice to the many relatively new staff. Satsang took place in the Temple with good focus on the Lalitha Sahasranama and energetic chanting of Mahishasura Mardhini Stotram. Ranga reluctantly went home for a couple of weeks for family reasons. We were happy to welcome back Satya ji after many months away looking after personal matters. Unfortunately Saju who had returned from Trivandrum the previous week, had to go into isolation and Dr Vishnu went home for isolation due to testing positive. Staff are otherwise well and putting effort into Sadhana.
We are grateful for Master and Swamiji’s presence in all these activities. We wish all the Sivananda family good health and peace of mind. All of us send our Pranams. Om.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namo Narayanaya from Uttar Kashi. 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. We are happy to announce that we are accepting guests to the Ashram. Pre-booking via [email protected] is necessary. Terms & conditions apply. Visit https://sivananda.org.in/madurai/Covid-19-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
October started with the revamping of our Dining Hall as the coming months would mark the official onset of monsoon rains in Madurai. We had already been receiving moderate to heavy rains, bringing us a much needed relief from the elevated temperatures of past few months. The work started with the removal of old thatched roof including the bamboo poles and palm trunk pillars with the staff also joining hands to help the workers. The most important highlight was the commencement of Navaratri Puja. The Puja and rituals spread throughout 9 nights is divided into 3 trimesters, each dedicated to 3 divine forms of Goddess; Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Most people seek blessings from the Goddess during this time by keeping fast throughout the festivities. We also said goodbye to Praveen wishing him all the best to continue with his Yoga teachings in Delhi Dwaraka Centre.
Mid October marked the commencement of our high season with 25 eager and aspiring yogic students enrolling for the TTC. We had a very beautiful Ganapati Homa at the Temple to invoke the blessings from remover of obstacles. The students then went in for the first class of the course, a basic asana practice class, followed by an orientation about the course, schedule and Ashram guidelines. Students have all settled down comfortably in the course, very well adapted to the routine and environment in a short span of time. A Talent Show was a power packed affair with mostly singing and a couple of dance performances, thanks to a professional choreographer amongst the course students.
Sending Prem and Om to all from our family of 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. The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch is opening cautiously for guest stays shorter than a month. We are maintaining the CDC restrictions, requiring all guests to show proof of completion of vaccination, and limiting guest stay to a maximum of 10, maintaining social distancing. We continue to offer online programs such as TTCs, courses and classes. 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 with people everywhere in the world! https://sivanandayogaranch.org/
In early October the Ranch celebrated Navaratri with daily readings from the Devi Mahatmya during the morning Satsang concluding with Ya Devi chant. As the hours of daylight decrease there is a general consensus of the futility of growth resulting in smaller leaf size and virtually no germination without artificial assistance. However there is no lack of fresh greens for Ashram staff meals and tomatoes also. Inspection and repair of buildings are underway in preparation for the coming winter months.
By mid month our online community continued to follow daily readings from the Bhagavad Gita during morning Satsang with Srinivasanji. The intense peace and quiet of the Ranch Ashram is conducive to much reflection and study for Staff. First frost date delays ensuring abundance of fresh greens still standing in the garden. Work continues on replacing furnace in the dorms.
May Masters’ Blessings and Gurus Grace be with us all. Pranams from the New York mountains. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. By the Grace of Master and Swamiji, the Ashram felt the Divine Mother’s blessings with the nightly Navaratri Pujas. We had beautiful Pujas in the Radha Krishna hall with all staff attending as well as online students. Swami Sitaramananda and swamis led Pujas. Swamiji led nightly readings from the Devi Mahatmyam, with uplifting chants, and beautiful Prasads offered by the staff. Pandit Mani Sharma led a very powerful and special Chandi Homa at the Durga Temple. Durga Temple, the heart of the Ashram, radiated Divine Mother Durga, shining her protecting energy over the Ashram. We held the West Coast Teachers Meeting with onsite and online students. Students participated in “How To Teach” workshops, with Swami Sitaramananda sharing how to deliver workshops on Positive Thinking, Holistic Health, and Prana. This included practice teaching sessions and was very helpful for students and staff teachers to develop skills in presenting these topics to students. Swami Sitaramananda’s weekly Satsang online with Asia and US continued as well as her online Bhagavad Gita classes. Staff prepared for the TTC. Many projects were in progress: winterizing cabins, painting reception, staining main Yoga deck, revamp priest hut, restore garden beds, harvesting lavender.
As October progressed the Onsite TTC students were quickly adapting to the Ashram and the TTC schedule. Swami Sitaramananda led the morning Satsangs with talks from Bliss Divine: “Health” “Life” Love” and “Thought”. Students enjoyed the lectures and asana practice and have settled in well. Swami Sitaramananda led the weekly Satsang with Asia students, bringing all together. Pandit Mani Sharma performed a beautiful Siva Temple Puja with thunderstorms and rainbows appearing after. The garden transformation was under way with Narayan, Bharati and others helping to prepare for raised bed and green house installation. A huge rain storm washed through the area, filling the ponds and creeks. All yogis and animals were happy and contented.
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. 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/
October 2021 in the Bahamas: The beautiful celebration of Navaratri. The Sivananda Hall was decorated splendidly for the nightly Pujas. The Ashram dwellers prepared delicious offerings with great devotion. Every night we heard the next installment of the Devi Mahatmyam, sang the Ya Devi chant, and heard the Soundarya Lahari poem of Sri Adi Shankaracharya in praise of the Divine Mother. Throughout the morning Satsangs, we sang Kirtan to the Devi and then hear about the life and teachings of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda. Around the Ashram, work projects prepared the area for reopening mid-December – the big focus was the cleaning of the tent huts. We were also very happy to welcome Krishna Victor, who joined the karma yoga group to help with the preparations.
We continued the study of the Mandukya Upanishad with Swamini Atmaprakashanandaji via Zoom. During the Satsangs, Rukmini Chaitanya and Jnaneshwari Chaitanya continued to share stories from the Srimad Bhagavatam and the Mahabharata throughout the Satsangs, and we heard regular Satsangs about the life and teachings of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda. W we made good progress on cleaning and prepping the main house. We also cleared out the beach huts and took down the storm boards to make the huts ready for the outside work crew to paint and renovate. We bade a fond farewell to Swami Prema and Kumari, who travelled to Israel for a few weeks. We look forward to seeing them in the Ashram again 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.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. In early October the Ashram saw the participants of the October TTC arriving in beautiful sunshine. The inauguration took place together with 4 students of the TTC Online. This was our first hybrid TTC. The morning class and the two lectures were taught on site and online at the same time. The main lectures were also attended by the Spanish and South American online group. A small guest group attended the program “Asanas – Strength and Flexibility”. We celebrated Navaratri with an optional Puja in the evening. The new arrived TTCs like the Pujas very much. The online morning Pujas are conducted by Yagneswara Dixit from Bangalore and the readings of the Devi Mahatmyam are done by the Centres and Ashrams. Swami Sivadasananda and Swami Narayanananda visited the Centre in Vienna for 3 days.
TTCs started teaching each other in separate groups in English and German. During evening TTCs and guest could enjoy an inspiring online lecture on “Yoga and Science” with Chandrika. A group of guests arrived for the Yoga and Thought power weekend. They were focusing on the mental effects of the asanas. Dr. Kamlesh from Lucknow, India gave a free online lecture on “Ayurveda for physical and mental health”. Swami Narayanananda started a new online course “Expand your asana experience“.
All staff are well and send greetings to all. We pray that all remain healthy and safe. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. In October we started the online TTC. The students settled well in their routine. They had their exams and all did very well. Swami Jyotirmayananda gave evening Satsang in Paris. Swami Bhagavatananda gave online Satsang from the Ashram introducing the Navaratri festival and observances. The month was carried by the energy of the divine mother. The Temple was deeply cleaned and Puja items polished. All staff were allocated tasks to participate. Every morning after Satsang, there was a full Puja for Mookambika in the Temple. We joined the European online Navaratri festival with hosting from Orleans. Swami Kailasananda went to Paris where she gave a workshop and Satsang at the Centre. Swamiji and the Paris staff hosted the European online celebrations of Navaratri in Paris before returning to the Ashram. At the Academy, the students continued with their third lecture. The academy students had their second forum with Swami Bhagavatananda. The students were grateful for the exchange. Minor maintenance continued in the Château and the construction of the kitchen/dinning hall continues. Meanwhile, we continue to participate in the online European activities.
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 early October the Ashram started a new online Sadhana program, for TTC graduates, which proved popular and very helpful for participants. They joined us for early morning pranayama practice at 5am, followed by Satsang and participation in a yoga class. Students expressed their great appreciation for having this support and encouragement for their practice. Our offering of online courses expanded. The Ashram also saw the start of the celebration of Navaratri. Staff were daily preparing beautiful flowers, deity clothing and Prasad, making each of the Pujas a wonderful experience. We read daily Devi Mahatmya and chanting Mahishasura Mardini stotram. All those attended felt the uplifting energy of transformation. Navaratri time was accompanied by very stormy, rainy weather. All staff traveled to the local hospital for their first vaccination against Covid-19. The Ashram remained closed to guests for the time being.
The Ashram’s first online Sadhana course was completed this week after 21 days of steady practice for the participants. We were happy to have their participation in our Satsangs every morning. A new course will start after one day’s break, most of the participants will rejoin, happy to have support for their practice at home. Other online classes started, including a course in compassionate communication, taught by Swami Narayanananda, which included a group of students from Japan, and a Yantra painting course, taught by Saraswati. All 108 online classes were taught by Ashram staff. We were happy to have Swami Sitaramananda lead our Satsang and staff meeting, with all Ashram staff participating via Zoom. Swamiji also led our evening Satsang on that day. Successive storms provided continuous rain in Dalat for many days.
All staff are well and in good spirits. anticipating and looking forward to receiving guests and students again soon. We were grateful for Guru’s grace during these challenging times. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Tapaswini, Gudur, Andra Pradesh India
Om Namah Sivaya. Namaste. We are delighted to welcome you to Sivananda Tapaswini Ashram. Our Ashram will follow the MHA guidelines closely to ensure the safety and comfort of all. Every guest/student must arrive with a negative Covid-19 (RT PCR) test. The continued practice of social distancing and limited class sizes are to meet these requirements. These guidelines will be posted in all our India Centres and Ashrams. Please familiarize yourself with these safety precautions. https://sivananda.org.in/gudur/Covid-19-guidelines/
In early October the Ashram concluded the last week of the current TTC, all students both online & onsite graduated. We had a lively graduation ceremony where students shared their TTC journey. We thanked the Masters for guiding us through each and every course. We were blessed once again with a girl calf who was born one Sunday night, we now have 10 cows in the Ashram. On 7th Oct, Navratri, the nine-day long festival dedicated to Goddess Durga commenced. Ashram Temple was decorated beautifully with lights and flowers for this festival. Every morning, for these auspicious nine days, different Prasadam was prepared for the Goddess and two SIYVAM students are chanting Durga Saptashati Stotram. Staff and guests along with Swami ji chanted Lalitha Sahasranamam and Mahisasurmardini stotra. This kept the energy very positive and uplifting for us. We had a few SIYVAM students with us, some have come with their family members. We continued to preparie the Ashram to start the one year SIYVAM course. Yoga Vacation course went well with 4 guests.
IYVAM group was getting along and adapting to Ashram life well. They were busy with the schedule and at the same time enjoying the chanting classes at 12 noon everyday. We started a small library in Mandakani Hall with inspiring books by Masters. Evenings were spent in the Ashram Temple chanting Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Dakshinamorthy Stotram. We had a beautiful Devi Puja and also Satsang and chanting. The cows enjoyed their time. The three calves were always seen playing together. Yoga Vacationers joined us from Kadapa and Vishakapatnam. We started getting ready for the upcoming TTC starting 31st Oct.
Praying to Masters to bless us so that we continue on this selfless path.
We continued to offer classes, courses & programs online. Details regarding this can be found at https://sivananda.org.in/online/Ashram/. 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. May Master and Swamiji bless us with true devotion and blessings be with us all! Pranams. Om.
04 Deepavali (Diwali)
04 New Moon
Dwell in the Divine. Live and move in it. Get absorbed in the Divine Flame. – Sri Swami Sivananda
KSHURASYA DHARA – the razor’s edge
The Katha Upanishad refers to the spiritual path as the kshurasya dhara, the razor’s edge.
uttiṣṭhata jāgrata prāpya varānnibodhata | kśurasya dhārā niśitā duratyayā durgaṃ pathastatkavayo vadanti || 14 ||
14. Arise, awake. Having reached the great teachers, learn from them. The edge of a razor is sharp and impassable. That path, the intelligent say, is hard to go by.
Commentary: Stop not until the Goal is reached. Approach the wise teachers and learn from them. The spiritual path is like the sharp edge of a razor and difficult to tread alone. The importance of the human teacher cannot be overestimated. “Study of scriptures without a Guru, for mere intellectual knowledge alone, will only lead to ajnana — ignorance,” says Lord Vasishta.
Lord Vasishta also says, “If higher knowledge is not already in the soul, then rebirth continues and there will be no other recourse than to suffer cause and effect. Even striving for light will not bestow any real benefit, for to seek enlightenment without the mantra, the teachings and the guru, is like trying to grow crops only at night.”
It is in the nature of man to strive for happiness, but all the happiness which he can gain by his actions is only of limited duration. – Sri Swami Sivananda