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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, Greetings from the Headquarters. At the Yoga Camp and Sivananda Headquarters the cool weather arrived in early September. The air was truly feeling like Fall. The drastic drop in temperatures brought out some jackets as the staff prepared for the change of season. This time of year also saw the end of the summer courses, with the Camp getting back to routine and preparing for the next season. Regardless, we had many guests with us, enjoying yoga, various workshops and lectures and the surroundings. One weekend we had 2 programs running. We welcomed Satya, who led a “Live a Life you Love” workshop. There were about 25 people who went for the lectures and they were all very happy. They spoke about different ways to better our day to day lives and find happiness within. In addition, Mookambika Chaitanya led a “Healthy Lifestyle for Busy People” workshop as well. People arriving from cities enjoyed spending time with Mookambika and hearing ways to adjust their busy lives back at home. The staff continued with projects and work around the Camp. Some of our construction crew began building a beautiful deck around the Krishna Kutirs and a small hut in the garden. Various other jobs were worked on as the staff worked together to get as many outdoor projects done before the cold of winter arrives. The Camp sent off Prahlada and Swami Shivabhaktananda. Prahlada returned to Toronto after the summer season here at the Camp. Having him with us during the high season is very inspiring and we look forward to his return. Swami Shivabhaktananda departed on his annual tour of South America this month. May Master and Swamiji guide him safely. We await his safe and swift return.
By mid September we could see and feel the seasons changing with the appearance of Fall colours appearing on the trees here at the Camp. After the busy summer season we started to settle down a bit and reflect on the progression of the past months. The Ashram was pleased to see guests arrive and well taken care of by Mookambika Chaitanya, while exploring different lecture topics and enjoying the beautiful nature around us during this time of year. The celebration of Ganesha Chaturthi took place at the Subramanya Ayyappa Temple. One of the devotees and his family sponsored the Puja and our priest Harisha led the ceremony. All the staff and guests enjoyed going up to the Temple and get the blessings of Lord Ganesha that day. Everyone could feel the energy of Ganesha. With the season of transformation upon us, we welcomed Pierre and Gita leading a Fall Sweat Lodge. We had many guests come ready to let go and create space in their lives. After preparing the Lodge and having the ceremony they were all feeling lighter and expressed how nice of an experience they had. In addition, we opened the doors to the Ashram for an Open House. We had about 38 people from all over the world come to experience a day at the Ashram and learn what we are about. Mookambika Chaitanya led the day with a tour, a yoga class, a talk and a meal. Some visitors decided to continue with the Beginners’ Course that started the following week. It was very nice to see many new faces around the Camp and be able to share the teachings and mission with them all. The staff worked together to continue with various projects around the Camp. Up at the Subramanya Temple, they continued to work by the Vana Durga shrine, building a brick path there. That area was beautifully transformed. There was some other painting and preparation for future projects in process at the Temple area as well. Meanwhile, down the hill at the Camp we had some other projects in progress including a new outdoor staircase leading up to the staff cabins. The staff worked hard and some were also able to partake in a staff Sweat Lodge. The change of pace brought the staff more time for reflection and Sadhana. We hope to continue with the wonderful energy here at the Camp. May all continue to receive the blessings from Master and Swamiji. Om Shanti.

Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India

Namah Sivaya to all. In early September the sadhakas on the Sadhana Mandalam started to prepare themselves to return to ‘normal’ life. After five weeks spent in the Ashram only, they had a day and a night in the jungle, near the Memoothy water falls at the foot of the sacred Agastya Hills. They also visited a local Siva Temple and finally, on their last day, they travelled to Trivandrum city for joyful Krishna Katha, discourse with bhajans, arranged by Chinmaya Mission. On Ekadasi we gathered as usual to chant the whole Sreemad Bhagavad Geeta, with Aarati and Prasad at the end. The special devotional practices continued with a Guru Puja for Swami Sivananda’s birthday, conducted in the morning Satsang giving opportunity to guests and staff to express joy and gratitude for Master’s life and teachings. A rational understanding of devotion and devotional practices was gained from a talk by Swami Saradananda from Chinmaya Mission, Cochin, about the purpose of the Temple and Puja. Simply put, for most, in order to truly experience the Divine within, it initially needs to be projected without. Chimanyi left us for Madurai and Veronica, from Russia, joined the Ashram team.
Later in September Nataraj and Kalyani travelled for 4 days in Gujarat, attending the marriage of Bhagavad Gita TTC teacher, Ravi Easwaran’s daughter. During their absence the yoga vacation program was capably managed by Suresh, Vinod and Radha. The Janma Samadhi Yatra is in the final stages of preparation. Almost the whole schedule is confirmed, the Yatris have received Yatra guidelines and a mock up of the Yatra Bus which is beautiful designed for remembering Swamiji’s peace plane. The transformation of Ganesh Kutir / conference room complex continued with the pouring of the roof slab of Hanuman Kutir and the extra room. The tiling of the bathroom wall began. We look forward to it being perfectly ready for the November TTC teachers. Kannan went to his village to visit family for a few days, whilst Dina returned from Japan and Ganapathi, a new teacher from France, joined us. The beginning of the 2018 Janma Samadhi Yatra created a lively buzz at the Ashram. Swami Janardhananada arrived to oversee the final preparations. Senior staff then started arriving as well as karma yogis and students. Kanti Devi arrived from South America, followed by Swami Gopalananda from Europe and Swami Premananda from South America. The Yatra bus was received with joy, owing to its colourful reminiscence of Swamiji’s peace plane. The first day was busy with all the yatris meeting up for introductions, guidelines and even a mock arrival for a Yatra program. This consisted of packing the bus, taking a mini drive, setting up the yatra altar in the Siva Hall and then processing in the Guru Paduka for a Guru Puja in which nearly everyone in the Ashram participated. Swami Janardhanananda gave an inspiring talk and a mini video of Swamiji’s life. At dawn, after garlanding and application of the three powders by Hari Hara Chaitanya, the bus departed with the yatra group to Nemmara village, the birth place of Swami Vishnudevananda ji. The bus was followed shortly after by two cars with Swami Gayatriananda, Nataraj, Kalyani, Sivadas, Hari Hara Chaitanya and a couple of other yatris, all keen to participate at least in the initial days of this unique event. Meanwhile Rohini arrived just in time to give support to the remaining staff. We pray for Master and Swamiji’s blessings for the bus and the yatris. May all live in peace and harmony. We thank Swamiji and Master for their protection and guidance. May all experience the magnanimity of our masters within. Pranams to the Sivananda family. Om.

Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India

Om Namo Narayanaya – Greetings from Uttar Kashi. May Swamiji and Master’s blessings be with all. Om.

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

Om Namo Narayanaya. Namaste. We were delightful with all the guests and staffs guided and guarded by grace of our Gurus this September. We celebrated Vinayaka Chaturthi, birthday of Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles. The festival is prevalent in both Northern and Southern parts of India differing only in terms of legends and beliefs. A 10 day long festival started with the installation of clay Ganesha murtis to be worshipped with rituals like fasting, chanting and offerings of Prasad. The festivities concluded with the immersion of these idols in water bodies, mostly sea water, with the belief that the Lord Ganesha returns to his divine parents in their abode of Mount Kailash. Our gardeners planted saplings with medicinal properties of neem and tulsi around our Temple area. It is a proven fact that the breeze that sieves through the leaves of neem wards of air borne diseases and tulsi is considered auspicious so much that the courtyards of ancient Indian homes had a place earmarked for it. On the infrastructural front renovation work of toilets were under progress. Preparations were also being made to welcome Janna Samadhi Yatris to our Ashram. Khilesh, our staff came back after a short visit to his hometown, stopping at Delhi Dwarka Center and Gudur Ashram enroute Madurai. All other activities went on as usual at the Ashram.
Meenakshi Medical Clinic Report: This time the Meenakshi Ashram Medical camp offered by our Sivananda Rural Hospital was a Surgery Camp. Generally the term Surgery is believed by many locals to cuts and incisions made on the body to cure diseases, but with our eye-opener Medical Camps people realized other facets of this medical branch which truly comes as a life saver for many health related issues. Surgery branch serves its purpose towards identification and prevention of progression of any disease one has fallen victim of. It promotes a regular check-up enabling people to be well aware of minuscule changes happening to their physical body which might be alarming on several occasions. Thanking our Masters for all their grace and blessings that has helped us to come a long way ahead with our genuine endeavour. Sending Prem and Om to all from the Ashramites.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA

Greetings from the Yoga Ranch, where by the Grace of the Gurus, life in the Ashram went very well in September. The Ashram received a steady stream of guests as the summer wound down. Swami Vasishtananda ji returned from India and led a beautiful Puja to celebrate Master’s birthday in the Radha Krishna Hall. Everyone felt Master’s and Swamiji’s blessing. This was followed by the wonderful Krishna Janmastami celebration at the Krishna Temple with many bhajans chanted, mantras, offerings of flowers and a reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, bringing great joy and inspiration to the group. We also began the 3rd module of the “Sivananda Yoga Health Educator Training” program with study and practice focused on Yamas and Niyamas, how to modify and adapt Yoga asanas and pranayama, and how to develop protocols for specific health conditions. Swami Jnaneswariananda and Swami Dharmananda led the sessions along with special guest teachers Mary Thompson, Arun Deva, Dr Suprabha Jain, and Jivana Heyman. Students prepared themselves for their practicum, working directly with students beginning next month.
We were welcomed by a cold and misty period in mid September which blossomed into a beautiful, sunny and warm weekend. Swami Paramananda led a successful and an extremely inspiring Positive Thinking course. The Sadhana Intensive students, also led by Swami Paramananda, increased their practice including a third session in the evening, the students realized new truths and experienced ultimate highs. Srinivasan, as part of the Sadhana Intensive, has been conducting lectures on Srimad Bhagavatam during the morning Satsangs. Rabbi Zoe led a high powered Satsang as part of the Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) celebrations. Moksha Priya also read sacred Hebrew prayers to the guests in the Ashram followed by giving traditional foods. We celebrated Ganesha Chaturti. Our resident Priest, Shankara Namboodri, conducted a Puja where blessed offerings were given. Shankara Ji made several very delicious Prasads and enlightened guests and staff alike. An uplifting presence of peace and light could be felt throughout the Ashram. One weekend guest program included a Yoga and Cycling Weekend Retreat where Swami Paramananda led a group of enthusiastic cyclists around the scenic foothills of the Catskills Mountains. For a Saturday guest program, Satyabhama conducted a lecture on the Five Points of Yoga, which was greatly received by all that attended. A nature walk was led by Sita to explore the Temples and beautiful surroundings. Staff are strong in their Sadhana and send pranams to all from The Ranch. Om.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA

Om Namah Sivaya. In late August we welcomed back Swami Vasishtanandaji and Swami Jnaneswarianandaji from India and Italy TTC. We sent our prayers with Swami Adi Parashaktiananda who departed for the China TTC with Swami Sitaramananda. The Labor Day program “Vedic Sciences for Self-Healing and Transformation” was a full house and a beautiful weekend. Swami Dharmananda and Swami SivaSankariananda gave workshops on “Sanatana Dharma”, “Intro to the Vedas”, “Kirtan and Chanting”, and “Mantra and Sound”. Satsangs were filled with inspiring stories of Prahlad, Birth of Sri Krishna, Churning of the Ocean and the 10 Incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The Vedic Counseling Course also continued with Durga Leela teaching Ayurveda; Swami Dharmananda teaching Japa Yoga and chanting; Swami SivaSankariananda on Yantra Painting and Swami Vasishtananda leading the Krishna Janmastami celebration Puja and giving Satsang talks. We thank Shree Lata Suresh for bringing 12 of her Bharat Natyam dance students (age 12-18) to the Ashram for a weekend Dance Camp. They enjoyed daily dance practice, walks in nature, visiting the Siva Temple at sunrise and giving a beautiful dance performance for all.
Mid September, and the Ashram was high energy with Om Sri Maha Ganapathaye Namah. The Ashram celebrated Sri Ganesha with a beautiful early morning Homa on the Krishna Temple deck with Sw Vasishtanandaji, this was followed by a second Puja at the Ashram Peace Gate Ganesha Shrine generating strong vibrations of peace and clarity for all the Ashramites and guests. The Sivananda Yoga Health Educator Training was very high energy. Students were inspired, immersed in 10-hour days of study and practice. We thanked our wonderful guest teachers for their contributions to the training: Jivana Heyman (Accessible Yoga); Arun Deva (Ayurveda Yoga Therapy); Saraswati (Chair Yoga); and Lara Benusis (Yoga for Cancer Wellness). Sw Jnaneswariananda taught the Yamas and Niyamas; Swami Dharmananda taught role play sessions; Mary Thompson taught therapeutic relationship and role play. The students practiced their delivery of Yoga protocols geared to specific health conditions, learned how to adapt the classical teachings to the individual needs of the person. On the grounds of the Ashram the lavender fields were healthy; the llama and alpacas enjoyed their walks about the Ashram as we prepared starts for the fall/winter garden season. We were all feeling the blessings of Master and Swamiji. Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves from the Yoga Farm. Om.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas

Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. In September we celebrated two major holidays: Sivananda Jayanti and Rosh Hashana. These two evenings were filled with Pujas, Prasad, singing and a wonderful feast. Swami Brahmananda gave teachings on the meaning of Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year). The entire Ashram community contributed to the decorations and to the preparing of all of the delicious food! Staff members presented teachings on an assortment of topics throughout the Satsangs and workshops. Pranava Chaitanya spoke on the importance and subtleties of the practice of ahimsa. He introduced the Bhagavad Gita in a series of workshops. Swami Brahmananda imparted Swami Sivananda’s teachings on “Living a Divine Life” and “The Yoga of Synthesis” over the course of several Satsangs. Shambhavi led workshops on pranayama, relaxation, and positive thinking. The Positive Thinking course gave great inspiration to karma yogis and guests alike. Om.

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

Om Namah Sivaya. We received 40 students for the September TTC. The Masters guided us in an uplifting inauguration ceremony. The students soon settled into the daily schedule of classes and lectures. The group is eager to learn and very supportive of each other. Vacation guests joined us for a September retreat with walks, asana classes and short lectures. We were grateful for the support of Padmavati, who took care of the guest programme. Her well-received teachings are emphasised by a gentle approach. We had a week long Get Together for teachers. We shared the Sadhana experience with early morning pranayama, daily pujas, workshops and longer meditation sessions. We were delighted by two lectues on Yoga and Ayurveda by Chandrika. She gave us easy to understand explanations on the basic principles of Ayurveda showing her full dedication to both yoga and ayurveda. She also presented the latest scientific studies on the benefits of yoga. Rajyashree Ramesh introduced us into the tradition of South Indian Temple dance. All were able to participate in a lively workshop and we enjoyed Rajyashree’s beautiful performance. We also enjoyed the joyful notes of Kirtans for Krishna Jayanti led by Shankara and the Music Summer School group. Karma yogis supported the Seminar House with daily duties and projects in and around the Ganga house. Staff engaged in different projects, preparing for the upcoming TTC in Rudraprayag, the vacation programme in Mittersill and we worked on advertising, social media and boutique orders for the winter season. The priest uplifted the energy of the Seminar House with daily pujas at the main altar and chanting of Lalita Sahasranama. We had a puja for Ganesha’s Birthday, a powerful Shiva Yantra puja and a staff puja for Devi at our main altar. We celebrated Masters Birthday. Some obstacles challenged us, both before and during the puja, but Masters’ energy was strong and the sounds of the Kirtans were sweet. A highlight was the Bhagavat Saptaha which filled our hearts with the universal teachings teachings and the uplifting Kirtans. OM.

Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France

Om Namah Sivaya. Beginning of September we had a further training for Yoga teachers on “How to teach Yoga to children”. The yoga vacation programme about “The power of asanas” enabled the participants to deepen their practice and their understanding in detailed workshops. Soon afterwards the course “Yoga for the family” started with many children arriving with their parents and it created a fresh and sweet energy to have them here. We offered yoga classes, Satsangs, plays and nature walks and also enjoyed helping with some Karma Yoga. Our priest and Swami Gopalananda, guided the puja to celebrate Krishna Jayanti. The next programme was « Yoga and nature walks » and guests were taken to beautiful walks near the Loire river. Over the weekend we had a TTC preparation course. We had a reduced rate week with students mostly new to the Ashram and to the practice of yoga and it was nice to see them connecting with the teachings during classes and lectures. Also a Certificate Course “The Yogic Way of Cooking” was held. With this month’s warm weather the forest platform was still a great sadhana spot and guests enjoyed practising in nature as well as beautiful silent walks. The garden is yielding nicely herbs and beans and the pumpkins are ripening. One spiritual highlight of the month was a 50 Kumbum Ganesha Chaturti Puja beautifully led by our second priest, Manoj. OM.

Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam

Om Namah Sivaya from DaLat Ashram. The Independence Day holiday was still in full swing for start September. Our guests left happy with their stay, many of them planning to return. The Ashram hosted a three week certification course in traditional Vietnamese massage, taught by faculty members of the Dalat medical college. Many staff members and karma yogis took part, all completed the course successfully and received high scores in their certification. In addition to the massage training, we had a Beginners’ Yoga course with students from Thailand who enjoyed the week very much. There were special celebrations for Krishna Jayanti and for Swami Sivananda’s birthday. Master’s birthday was celebrated with a Puja and with chanting the whole day in the Krishna Temple. We said farewell to Swami Pranavananda who returned to the Ho Chi Minh Centre after more than a month’s service at the Ashram. Sivashakti also left to serve at the China TTC. We were busy with guests joining our regular group of Yoga Vacation guests, residents and seva-study participants for Satsang, classes and workshops.
We also ran a special course for people to follow the regular Ashram program plus special workshops around the theme of art and sound, including workshops on Yantra painting, making Japa malas and use of mantra and Kirtan. The course was a success and participants were happy to find creative ways to practice concentration and to improve their meditation practice. We celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi with a special Puja. Staff and guests attended a workshop where they made individual clay models of Ganesha, many of them with quite beautiful detail. After the worship, the clay murtis were immersed in one of the Ashram ponds. We were pleased to welcome back Nitya who had been undergoing Ayurveda training in India. Nitya started a training course for Ayurveda massage, attended mostly by Ashram and Centre staff. The Ashram also held a juice fasting weekend, attended by a group of 5, a further group of ten then joined us for the regular weekend retreat programs. Staff are well and inspired. We are grateful to the Masters for this wonderful opportunity to serve. Om.



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SAKSHI – Witness

NIMITTA – Cause; Instrument

BHAV – Feeling; perception; direct experience; mental attitude; subjective state of being; attitude of mind; state of realization in the heart or mind; a right feeling and frame of mind; right intention; right imagination; right mental disposition; purity of thought. Bhava is a Sanskrit term; there is no proper equivalent in English. It means mental attitude or mental disposition. Bhava is internal feeling. There are three kinds of Bhavas, viz., Sattvic Bhava, Rajasic Bhava and Tamasic Bhava according to the nature of the quality that predominates in man. Sattvic Bhava is divine Bhava. It is Suddha Bhava. Just as thought or memory or will can be cultivated or developed by practice, so also, Bhava can be developed.

Sakshi Bhav – The attitude of remaining as a witness. Nimitta Bhav – The attitude of performing as an instrument of God. A devotee that always thinks that God does everything and they are only an instrument (Nimitta), directed by the hands of God, then this is Nimitta Bhava. The Bhavas of a Bhakta and a Vedantin differ. The Vedantin entertains Sakshi and Akarta Bhavas. The Bhakta entertains Nimitta Bhava. The Vedantin develops Brahma Bhava. The Bhakta develops Dasya Bhava, and so on.

Prayer invokes the inner potential of the individual which flow only from God. Prayer can certainly work miracles. – Sri Swami Sivananda