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. Summer in Canada was very on point. But as soon as we entered the first week of September, the Fall swiftly arrived, with rainy days and chilly mornings. As we returned to the off season schedule, guests who came during September had an opportunity to enjoy quiet Ashram life, attending afternoon lectures with Swami Vairagyananda and asana coaching with Santosha. We were grateful to welcome Swami Satyapremanandaji who came all the way from New York to give a workshop about Understanding Adversity. It is always refreshing to have guest teachers from different Sivananda Centres and Ashrams, bringing unique perspective and style to deliver the teachings in a new light. With sincere devotion to the guru, everyone was happy to celebrate Master Sivananda’s birthday with an auspicious Puja and chanting, reminding ourselves of the meaning and importance of the Gurus. The Puja was conducted outside by the Gurus’ statues as the weather was sunny on this special day. The Ayurveda team concluded their last program, after which they wrapped up their things and got ready to go back to India and their families. We thanked them for taking care of not only guests, but also staff and everyone else who needed Ayurvedic consultations and medical care this summer. With them also, we bid farewell to Swami Gayatriananda Mathaji, who returned to India. Mathaji spent 3 months with us, helping out at the Temple and inspiring us all with her dedicated services. In September we prepared the closing of the summer buildings; projects with Vyasa were completed and we wrappec up the equipment. After painting Samadhi Estates for two weeks, the painting team moved to the Annapourna building. Subramanya Temple was still busy with devotees and the Temple staff kept everything going. Core staff were more or less back to their regular duties, teaching classes, cooking and maintaining the Yoga Camp in the best possible way. Thanks to the Master Sivananda and Swamiji, we have an opportunity to be of service and help each other grow.
By mid-September it honestly felt like summer was back again, with sunny days and unusually high temperatures. Most probably it was the last time to have yoga classes on the outside platforms for this year. Our regular guest program, with Swami Vairagyananda teaching the afternoon lectures and Santosha coaching on asana and pranayama practice. Annapurna Chaitanya introduced the practice of Likhita Japa to the guests. We all gathered for a Karma Yoga night and a bonfire. Pierre had to cut down the Krishna Tree as it started to decay and later on we all met at that traditional meeting spot to collect and remove the branches. Followed by banana bread, we gathered around the bonfire to share stories and group energy we created this inspiring evening. One Wednesday morning, we went for a different silent walk than usual. Since the Camp was surrounded by mountain peaks, we hiked up to a nearby hill to meditate and observe our neighbourhood from a different perspective. Although it was not the perfect day for it, as it was very misty and we could barely see anything, it felt magical to listen to the silence above the thick layer of fog floating below us. We were happy to greet Srinivasan and Swami Paramananda, who came for a short visit to give the Art of Positive Thinking workshop. Guests who came for this workshop were intrigued and found the tools that Swamiji taught about very useful and applicable in their daily life. Everyone was grateful to have senior staff and teachers to provide their insights about the practice and bring unique energy from the Yoga Ranch. There were still many karma yoga projects around the Ashram, although the staff circle became smaller as the September days go by. Using the most of the sunny days, we fixed the roof of the Annapurna building and Subramanya Temple; varnished the stairs and Panchakarma building and took care of the garden. We prepared to move out from summer buildings and close the dorms, bath houses and cabins before temperatures drop. Slowly settling for the beginning of fall season, everyone was in a good mood and ready for many new projects on the horizon. May the Grace of Master and Swamiji bless you all.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Namah Sivaya to all. All went well at the Dhanwanthari Ashram in September. Despite heavy rains to startcthe Yoga Vacation guest number increased. It finally became dry, enabling silent walks and seemingly just in time for the beginning of celebrations of the annual Kerala festival of Onam. Nataraj and Kalyani attended the Trivandrum Centre Onam get together for the staff and teachers, reaching just in time despite considerable traffic due to the State’s Onam preparations. At the Ashram we were happy to celebrate Swami Sivananda’s birth anniversary with a Guru Puja, conducted by Suresh and Swami Janardhananda. As well as chanting kirtan and Master’s name, everyone had opportunity to do abhishekam and offer flowers to the Guru Paduka and small statue of Master. Chanting of Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya continued all day until 6 pm. A traditional feast for the occasion was enjoyed by the guests at lunch time. We thanked Master and Swamiji for all their blessings.
The Bhaja Govindam classes started mid September with Ravi Easwaran which inspired the staff and guests to seriously think about reducing their attachments. Despite heavy rain the work on the wheelchair user-friendly path to the SIH continued and also the work on the high bank at the back of the Dhanwantari Hall, where the bank / wall was taken back which will allow more light into the hall and also for plants to be grown along that side. Whilst this project continued asana classes were held place on the Dwarka and dining hall roof tops. The weather became brighter and drier as the month progressed, making a longer silent walk up the Kalipara hill possible, giving guests a wonderful view of the whole area. Friday nights every one squeezed into the Devi Temple for a Lalitha Sahasranama Satsang. The many lamps, the offering of flowers and the chanting was much enjoyed. We looked forward to the Navaratri Pujas coming soon. We said goodbye to Roxanne for a few weeks and happily welcomed back Venugopala. The staff spirits were high as they progressed in their Sadhana. May Master and Swamiji bless us with true devotion. Om.
Link to the multiple videos and photo exhibits of the Neyyar Dam Ashram, including 360 degree views and a 90-minute Sivananda class, created for us by Google Arts & Culture. The videos can be found in the gallery. https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/sivananda-yoga-vedanta-Centres-Ashrams
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 from Madurai. September was totally effervescent with festivities of Ganesh Chathurti and Swami Sivananda ji’s birth anniversary. The Chathurti Puja was adorned with several clay models of Ganesha arrayed for the conduction of the rituals. Guests and staff chanted special Ganesha bhajans during the Puja rites. The Guru Puja at the Temple had day long chanting of Swamiji’s name to commemorate his birthday. A traditional style feast with mouth watering South Indian delicacies were served on the occasion, much to the delight of our guests. With Master and Swamiji’s grace, we were very happy and grateful. Sending Prem and Om to all from our family of Guests, Students and Staff. Namaste. Om.
We would like to share a 2019 Madurai Ashram video. Please link here:
Also a brand new inspiring video about the Madurai Ashram TTC courses.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
September started with celebrating the auspicious day of Lord Ganesh’s birthday in which we offered prayers and devotional chanting with a special Homa. The guests and staff enjoyed many sweet prasads made as offerings to Lord Ganesha. The next day the staff and guests enjoyed an outing to the Centre of Discovery for Deva Premal and Miten kirtan. We began welcoming participants traveling from all over the world for the Sadhana Intensive course, led by Srinivasan and Swami Paramananda. The students will be given a unique opportunity to extend the limits of their capabilities, strengthen their stamina and develop self-confidence with long lasting effects. They were officially inaugurated into the course in an evening Satsang and the following morning with a Homa for Lord Ganesha. Over the weekend there was a polarity healing workshop, led by special guests Brigitta Rainmann and Andreas Lederman. Participants learned and experimented with healing with polarity therapy, the stars and the elements. Also a hike was offered to the beautiful ice caves at Sam’s Point located here in the Catskill Mountains. Ending the auspicious week, the Ashram celebrated the birthday of Master Sivananda with a special Puja conducted by our Ashram priest Sankara Namboodiri and the continuous chanting of “Om Namo Bhagavate Sivanandaya” by staff and guests.
During mid-September we offered The Power of Positive Thinking Retreat, taught by Chandrika. Participants learned to examine the nature of their thoughts and learn how to transform them, making way for a calmer mind and better relationships. After 2 weeks of intense tapas, including many hours of pranayama and a lot of kitchari, 11 Sadhana Intensive students had their graduation. The students were glowing with prana and full of energy! Swami Paramananda and Srinivasan traveled to the Yoga Camp for several days to offer workshops. Swami Paramananda lead a Positive Thinking Workshop and Srinivasanji led a Yoga of Relationships Course. We held a Yoga for Beginners Weekend Retreat, taught by Bhargavi. During this immersion weekend, participants were introduced to the 12 basic Sivananda asanas, pranayama and meditation techniques. This course instilled the discipline to create a home practice, improve flexibility and foster a greater ability to cope with stress and find inner happiness. Also over the same weekend there was a Yoga & Cycling Weekend Retreat, with Gangadhara. Participants explored the rolling peaceful Catskill Mountain roads around the Yoga Ranch on bicycle on this beautiful autumn weekend. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. On September 8th, Swami Vasishtananda led a beautiful morning Puja to celebrate Master’s birthday, with many prasads and high inspiration for all. The staff led Akhanda Kirtan through the afternoon. The evening Satsang featured a beautiful slide show of the recent yaatra of Swami Sitaramananda and staff visiting Divine Life Society, Uttarkashi and Gangotri. Meanwhile, Swami Dharmananda taught the Hatha Yoga Sadhana course, a preparation for the Sadhana Intensive with daily HY practice and select readings from the HY Pradipika. Anandamayi taught the Beginner Yoga course introducing the 5 Points of Yoga and the benefits of the postures. We feel Master and Swamiji’s blessings as the Ashram is thriving in the face of many challenges.
By mid-September the Ashram welcomed Dr. Marc Halpern (Siva) and Dr. Andrea Deerheart to teach the CCA Yoga Nidra Teacher Training course. This in-depth training introduces the history of Yoga Nidra, the mythology and the practical application of Yoga Nidra for physical, mental and spiritual health. The course concluded with a one-day Graceful Transitions workshop with Dr. Deerheart, applying Yoga Nidra at the end of life. Hamsa Chaitanya taught a weekend Yoga for Anxiety SYHET course, introducing students to Yoga practices and the 5 Points of Yoga, how to apply to anxiety and stress in daily life, with emphasis on establishing healthy daily Yoga routines in diet, sleep, work and relaxation. We all felt the blessings of Master and Swamiji. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. In September after the visit from Dorian Hurricane we took a couple of days to restore everything to order at the Ashram. We gave our deep appreciation to everyone for their support throughout the storm and to all of the well-wishers who reached out to check on us and see how they can help. For information about relief efforts for the northern islands of the Bahamas, you can visit this link on our website: https://www.sivanandabahamas.org/september-2019-hurricane-dorian-update/
We celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi with a beautiful Puja performed by our priest, Vishnuprasad Namboodiri. Ladoos were in abundance as prasad. We sang many mantras for Lord Ganesha. Just a couple of days later, we again convened in the main Temple for the celebration of Swami Sivananda’s birthday. Swami Brahmananda gave teachings about the mission of Swami Sivananda and Vishnuprasad Namboodiri performed a Guru Puja, featuring Swami Sivananda. Throughout the day, Akhanda Kirtan was chanted in the main Temple. To give context and inspiration about Swami Sivananda’s life and teachings, Krishna Chaitanya led several Satsangs about Swamiji, with a focus on the Yoga of Synthesis. We also experienced an exchange of swamis: Swami Brahmananda, who had been away for several weeks, returned while Swami Shambhudevananda left to spend a month in Israel. Before leaving for Israel, Swami Shambhu led a few Satsangs on topics ranging from fairness to peace to Swami Vishnudevananda’s Five Points of Yoga. Other Satsang topics this week included the Yamas and Niyamas, a program led by Iswara Chaitanya. Workshops comprised of Positive Thinking, with Parvati Chaitanya; Deep Relaxation, with Bhargavi and How to Maintain a Good Rhythm During Kirtan, with Swami Shambhudevananda.
By mid-September we welcomed guest presenters Theodore Tsavoussis, Ram Vakkalanka, and Amaraj Seepersad. Theodore Tsavoussis brought techniques from Shamanic medicine for healing the past. Throughout his Satsangs and workshops, participants learned various ways to examine the past and release its grip on the present. Ram Vakkalanka and Amaraj Seepersad continued to present on the topic of healing using the modality of Nada Yoga. Ram interspersed explanations of the effects of vibration at the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels amidst ragas designed to stimulate the different chakras. These ragas were performed mainly with the sitar. They were co-constructed with Amaraj, who played the tabla. Swami Brahmananda spoke for several days on the topic of the mind from the teachings of Swami Sivananda’s classic book Mind, Its Mysteries, and Control. During this program, Satsang attendees learned about the ways in which the mind operates and how to use that knowledge to transcend mundane life. Krishna Chaitanya presented the three-day program Sadhana: Understanding and Maintaining a Daily Practice. Throughout the course of the program, the Ashram community learned the definition of Sadhana, as well as how to apply it at the practical level. Iswara Chaitanya led one Satsang on The Art of Positive Thinking, while Parvati Chaitanya concluded a Satsang on The Joy of Sivananda Kirtan. Workshops and courses included an Essentials of Positive Thinking weekend, led by Parvati Chaitanya; Deep Relaxation with Radha; an asana workshop with Iswara Chaitanya; and a pranayama workshop with Bhargavi. May all continue to receive the blessings from Master and Swamiji. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith or Mittersill, Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. In September we had the inauguration for the TTC. The sincere and open group had a good first week. The Sadhana Days for Teachers prgram continued. The teachers left inspired and recharged. The Yoga Vacation guests explored the meditation experience and we had a September Retreat on more awareness with yoga. They especially appreciated the classes and lectures, led by Padmavati, a close teacher from the affiliated Center in Kosterneuburg near Vienna. We also had a nice outing to a nearby waterfall. Rajashree Ramesh visited and led us through the world of South Indian Temple Dance. She gave an introduction lecture on classical Indian dance and a beautiful Bharatanatyam Dance performance. All guests and TTC’s joined in for a dance workshop. All enjoyed immensely. We ended the week with an uplifting Puja for Master’s birthday. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from DaLat Ashram. In September we welcomed a group of seniors for a Beginners’ Yoga course, taught by Shakti Chaitanya. They were very happy with their experience and introduction to Yoga and plan to come back to the Ashram soon. As the Ashram was quieter we took the opportunity to increase staff training, with staff working on their musical skills, on how to teach beginner yoga courses, and on details of how to teach the Open class. Staff were inspired to see the completed slideshow telling the story of the recent Yatra to Gangotri, with Swami Sitaramananda. We celebrated Master’s birthday with continuous mantra chanting from morning until night, all staff participating, then with a special Satsang in the evening telling stories of Swami Sivananda, which was an enjoyable and inspiring experience for everyone. Swami Narayanananda left the Ashram to join the upcoming TTC in China.
By mid-September we said farewell to a group of Japanese students, visiting for a course led by Japanese staff, Shanti Devi. All were happy with their stay. We were pleased to have Swami Pranavananda with us, bringing inspiration for staff and guests. An Introduction to Meditation course, taught by Shakti Chaitanya, was a success. Staff were busy with internal training and with the preparation of the new Ayurveda rooms for the upcoming Detoxification and Rejuvenation weeks. Staff are well and inspired, thankful for Guru’s blessings. Om.a
TTC ATTC Reports from other locations worldwide:
TTC Poland: The TTC Poland went through its first week of teaching in early September. The course is taught in English, Polish, Russian and Lithuanian and we have students come from all over Europe (mainly Eastern Europe) and even Asia and South America. It is a lively and inspired group, all are very positive and quite disciplined. Besides the regular TTC classes and lectures we had a Ganesha Puja, refreshing walks along the beach – stunning sunset included – and several interesting talks on Ayurveda with Angela Hope-Murray. Angela also guided an Ayurvedic cooking workshop and everyone enjoyed the delicious results. Saturday night was story night and the Satsang hall was filled with laughter, joy and Bhakti, invoked by a variety of stories on Ganesha, Krishna and the churning of the milk ocean. We completed the week with a Puja for Swami Sivananda’s birthday and staff and students participated enthusiastically. May Master Sivananda’s love and wisdom continue to guide and inspire us always. Mid month: The TTC Poland went smoothly into its second week. Yoga vacation program started and a big group of Sivananda teachers arrived for the annual teacher’s week. Tuesday saw the arrival of our guests for our special program and for one week the evenings were filled with divine Indian music and wisdom teachings from the scriptures. Swami Durgananda and Swami Sivadasananda arrived as well, giving a potent mixture of inspiring lectures, classes and workshops and inspiring everyone among the staff, TTCs and teachers with their long-term experience and wisdom. Padmavati, a certified midwife, came from Berlin to teach a much appreciated 3-day further training to the teachers on how to teach yoga to pregnant ladies.
Our special program and teacher’s week ended with a blissful Raga concert. Swami Durgananda, Swami Sivadasananda and our Indian Special guests left the next day, leaving everyone sorry to see them go. The TTCs got busy with the study of anatomy and physiology during the main lectures. On the day off, we organized a visit to Kluki, an ancient traditional polish village, that has been transformed into an outdoor museum, followed by a trip to a part of the beach which has huge dunes. Students greatly enjoyed themselves with sliding down the dunes, a picnic on the beach and some hardy ones even went for a swim in the icy Baltic sea. The Priest arrived and we had a lovely Krishna Puja, filling the meditation hall with sweetness and Bhakti. Om and Prem to all.
TTC Chengdu/China: The TTC in Chengdu China first week went well after a few days of adaptation to new environment and to the food. Students were very interested in learning about the Gurus, and enjoyed movies about them and the Sivananda Yoga movie. For the three-day Moon Festival weekend, we are happy to welcome dr. Ramkumar from Coimbatore, India who gave 5 Satsangs and two workshops to the students and to the Yoga vacationers on Ayurveda and Yoga ( 15 indicators of health, diagnosis tools, Agni, food, digestion system, types of mind according to Gunas ). We experienced light and laughters, and students became more relaxed and enjoyed themselves. The Yoga vacations students left by the end of the 3-day holiday knowledgeable and happy. We brought the whole group to the side of river for one morning meditation walk. During this week, four students of SYHET on their last year, Rukmini, Lakshmi, Sivani and Saraswati did many health intakes for their practicum, mentored by Swami Sitaramananda. Ganga Chaitanya gave workshops each day to train TTC karma yogis on how to teach Hatha yoga. Omkari did abhyangas to those needing her services. Some of the last SYHET Distance learning classes also were going on.
The second week of TTC went well with good weather allowing outdoor classes well appreciated by all. All classes are well attended and students opened up to waves of information and knowledge coming at them. TTC is already a big leap for regular students to yoga, but for many in this group in China, it was their first exposure to classical yoga, to philosophy and to kirtan. They all chanted nicely and gratefully and many got up in headstands. The joyful talent show they put up for Saturday testified to their spirit as a group, as well as ready students enacting the story of sheep lion and the 3 types of teachers / students. They also had a patriotic song at the end since it will be national holiday commemorating soon 70 years of the country. Kriyas was done on a sunny day by the river and Hatha yoga workshops continue for yellow and white TTC graduates who also attended afternoon lectures, yoga classes and karma yoga in the spirit of TTC refresher for now many graduates in china. It feels as if a solid and eager Sivananda community is building up in China!
08 Vijaya Dasami
Purity is the secret of God Realization. – Sri Swami Sivananda
MOKSHA [Sanskrit]: Liberation; freedom from transmigration; liberation.
The term, Moksha, is particularly applied to the liberation from the bondage of Karma and the wheel of birth and death.
KAIVALYA MOKSHA [Sanskrit]: Final emancipation. Isolated freedom.
At this stage the Jnani at once reaches Jivanmukti, the state of becoming one with Brahman, while living. Kaivalya Moksha is also called Pralaya.
God is watching your thoughts and movements.. – Sri Swami Sivanandaa