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. In August the Ashram was alive with energy. We were able to welcome many families and share in some fun and engaging activities. Family week is always such a special time here at the Yoga Camp. We had close to 300 people, many being children, spending quality time together and grow spiritually. Seeing these children in a yogic environment is truly inspiring. Arjuna, Omkari and Kundalini, and their team, created a great program that included a few outings and fun activities. Alongside the Family Week the Teens Camp was still running where a very special group of teens worked extremely hard, doing such a great job. They created such a strong bond with each other. It very nice seeing such young kids growing up in a safe and educational environment where they are able to escape the stresses and anxieties they may have at home. The Teaching Yoga for Kids and Teens course finished in the middle of it all. The TYKT students were very pleased with the program, taught by Saraswati. They had the chance put the teachings into practice since Family Week provided the students. The Camp was also full and busy with two weekend programs. One was a Prenatal Yoga course and the other was Vastu Shastra. Sarada ran the Prenatal course, with nice feedback from the participants. The students thought it to be very practical and informative compared to other teachings they had received. For the Vastu Shastra Program we had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Olga. She brings with her such nice energy and passion for her teachings, transmitting it into her lessons. The Ashram also started the Ayurveda Massage and Therapy certification course in August, along with the TTC refresher. We had the arrival of Swami Sivadasanandaji and Ananta from Europe, who came to lead the Refresher. We had an eventful Satsang with the Teen Camp graduation ceremony and Ken Whitely’s concert. Everyone enjoyed of the festivities and entertainment. The teens make an Asana demo to show what they had learned throughout the 2 weeks program. They also prepared a interesting slide show to share what their days were like from their point of view. They were extremely creative and funny. After their graduation ceremony we had the honour to hear Ken Whitely, a great performer, singing beautiful and moving songs. It was a pleasure having him here with us. Lastly, the staff has been keeping up very well throughout the summer. Although the summer months were very busy and much work needed to be done, everyone pulled together, making sure the Camp ran smoothly and the guests were happy and well taken care of.
By mid August the Camp was moving along with the day to day duties with everyone enjoying the summer season. The weather was relatively nice. The Camp was a bit more quiet after the rush of Family Week. The staff continued with their regular duties and the outdoor projects. There was a joyous evening at the Ashram celebrating Krishna Jayanthi. The night was spent chanting and worshiping Krishna. We also had some wonderful plays. Krishna coordinated a beautiful play telling the story of Krishna while Mirabai put together a choir that accompanied the play. Many of Krishna’s favourite sweets were made by the staff as the Prasad. Vyasa and his crew worked daily on building the new massage rooms behind the Orange House, progressing very nice. Some other projects in the works were the Ayurveda Consultation Building and the Storage building next to the Krishna Temple. Everyone was working very hard and the handwork was showing. In addition, the gardens were kept beautifully throughout the entire summer. The guests expressed on how beautiful the Camp looked and the enjoyed wonderful scents while walking through the gardens. We are incredibly happy to welcome Hasu Patel, offering her talents and knowledge to our guests. Hasu gave a wonderful performance, blending just perfectly with the Bhakti Yoga topic of the Satsangs. The program was positively received and the guests were able to learn and take home some tools to help them with their spiritual practice. Needless to say, there was much activity at the Ashram in August. May the Grace of Master and Swamiji be with all. Om Shanti.
Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India
Namah Sivaya to all. In August the Sadhana Manadalam gained momentum into the second week as students settled into the practice. The monthly Medical Camp happened, with a good turn out. Kalyani and Pamakshi returned to the Ashram. We welcomed new staff, Aditya, from Hyderabad for six months. Krishnapriya returned to Russia after six months service. We wished her well in her higher studies.
A new Yoga Vacation batch started plus the observance of India’s Independence Day on the 15th of August. The Sadhana Manadalam group went into their third week, feeling light after completing the Shat Kriyas and purgation. Nataraj started to give them some anatomy and physiology talks related to yoga. We extended condolences to our book-keeper, Manikanadan whose mother died of natural causes. Ajith Shanti came with seven priests to complete the Astrology Pujas for the purification of the Temple and Ashram. There were daily elaborate Pujas for five days. New kumbhs (spires) were fitted to the Devi and Hanuman Temples and Krishna received a new taller base, promising to infuse new energy into the Ashram. Staff performed Guru Pada Puja under the direction of Swami Janardhanananda ji. We thanked Swamiji for his loving presence, teaching and guidance. Pranams to all the Sivananda Family.
Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India
Om Namo Narayanaya – Greetings from Uttar Kashi. In August the staff finished the Ashram preparation before students and support staff arrived for the 4th TTC of the season. 37 students were initiated into the course. Some of them had to exert determination to get to the Ashram as the roads were not in good shape due to the excessive rain of the late, resulting in landslides in places. The TTC teaching staff were Swami Parameswariananda for the main lectures and chanting classes, Vijay from Delhi for the Hatha Yoga classes, Swami Hariomananda for Bhagavad Gita, Dr Sunitha for Anatomy and Physiology. Assisting staff were Dhanya from Thailand, Bhavana and Lakshmi from Dubai, Hari from Hong Kong and Suren Rao from India. We looked forward to working together and seeing the students grow during the coming weeks.
Mid August started with Maha Mrtyunjaya Homa. The rain stopped for some days, allowing the normal heat of the summer months to be felt. The better weather allowed 28 students and some staff to visit Gangotri and the remains of Swamiji’s cave after erosion from high waters of the Ganges. And despite the floor (what remains of the front room) in front of Swamiji’s cave being over head height, we were able to climb up. Having the opportunity to sit in and experience the peace of Swamiji’s cave made everyone happy. The students were introduced to Kriyas and started the teaching groups. All are well. Pranams to all. Om.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Om Namo Narayanaya. In August our staff kept up their spiritual practice extremely well especially with their Karma Yoga duties. They had a great time clearing stones and rocks of all sizes from around the area near the Temple to allow for the tilling tractor to aerate the soil before sowing of vegetable seeds. Also many of them tried their hands at pruning of Bougainvillea hedge in front of the reception block. It was worth remarking that though for the first time for some, the trimming came out really good. Anyhow, group Karma Yoga always works wonders. The new batch of Yoga Vacationers started arriving while some from the previous one decided to stay longer. With our Masters blessings, the guests were connecting easily to the positive and energetic vibes of the Ashram, taking in the charm and peacefulness prevailing all around. We received a fair share of rain bringing relief from the raised atmospheric humidity levels. Occasionally we were faced with power supply problems owing to branch cutting work undertaken by the State Electricity Board to prevent damage to their current cables, due to pretty hard wind blowing. The Talent Show was entertaining as the new guests sat in awe of such an idea of talent display, helping one to familiarize others with the innate culture and tradition of one’s native land.
We celebrated India’s 70th Independence day anniversary on the 15th. After the morning Satsang we had the guests and staffs gather outside for flag hoisting, with the National Anthem being played in the background. This was followed by distribution of sweets to all. We had a makeshift arrangement of a bamboo pole and rope for the ceremony which was later taken down. We had a field visit from the students of Lakshmi School, but this time it was from their upper primary section. By looking at the kids, we stumbled upon the realization that we have lots to learn from them. As Swami Sivananda ji quotes “Forget like a child any injury done by somebody immediately”. Tatiana returned after getting her visa renewed and continued serving at the Ashram. Thanking the Masters for their blessings being showered upon all. With Prem and Om from all Ashramites. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. Om Namah Sivaya from the Ranch, where by the Grace of the Gurus, TTC Week 1 went well with the inspiration of Swami Hridyananda’s presence and program, “Developing Strength through the Yogic Method.” The Youth Yoga Retreat, led by Ekajyoti and Gauri Devi, saw the students remarkably engaged, learning about yoga and chanting, as well as having Temple tours, hikes, and crafts. We welcomed Padmavati, who arrived from the Yoga Camp to lead a Meditation Course. It was wonderful to have Padmavati with us. Other programs were “Yoga & Hiking”, with a group hiking to Gertrude’s Nose at beautiful Lake Minnewaska. The Youth Retreat delighted us with a talent show. Swami Hridyananda traveled to New York Centre to spend some time and lead the Sunday-evening Satsang. The Youth Retreat had their graduation, and the Meditation Course with Padmavati had their inauguration. Mahadevi (Maria) traveled to Chicago to serve at the Centre through the end of the month, so we said goodbye with gratitude to her and to departing staff Jagadamba, Christina, and Nischala. Another highlight was Krishna Jayanthi. We had an inspiring and uplifting celebration that included meditation, chanting, a play, and Pujas that went through midnight and featured many varieties of Prasad. The TTC course moved into Week 3, which included lectures on Anatomy & Physiology and practice of Kriyas. Early mornings were beautiful so we had a few morning Satsangs on the Barn Platform, with the sun rising over the Catskill Mountains. Shyam and Mohini led a weekend program called “How to Maintain Your Practice Amidst a Busy Life.” Staff are well, feeling grateful for the grace of the Gurus, and sending pranams to all. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
Om Namah Sivaya. Happy Krishna Janmastame Blessings from the Yoga Farm! In August the Ashram celebrated the birth if Sri Krishna with a beautiful Puja at the Krishna Temple, led by Sw Vasishtananda-ji, with much inspired chanting and the story of Krishna’s birth. The celebration continued all the way to midnight. The 10-day Yoga Ayurveda Counselors Course, with Durga Leela and Sw Dharmananda, was excellent. Students are learning how to work with various health conditions (physical, mental, emotional) and to apply Yoga practices and Ayurveda routines to guide people back to an integral state of health. The Stress Relief and Relaxation workshops with Rudra were greatly appreciated by the students, as they learned what stress is and how Yoga practices help to alleviate stress and support healthy lifestyle. We thanked Bhagavati for creating two beautiful vibrant paintings for the Krishna Temple. One of Sri Krishna with flute, and second of Sri Krishna and Radha dancing under the moonlight. The lavender fields, planted in April, grew fast with healthy and happy plants. The llamas and alpacas were peaceful offering a great joy for the guests. The new Krishna cabin construction continued.
Mid month, the Ayurveda Yoga Counselor Course with Durga Leela was completed and immediately the Ashram welcomed many students for the Yoga of Recovery 3-day retreat and 10-day Counselor course. The course focused on Ayurveda, Yoga and 12 step practices, and how to holistically work with those in recovery, developing lifestyle practices and routines from Yoga, Ayurveda and 12 steps combined with philosophical wisdom from these traditions. Ishwari Devi and Parvati led the Beginner Weekend workshops while we welcomed Steven Weiss for the Art of Asana Alignment workshop, sharing techniques for safe asana practice. Swami Vasishtananda performed a beautiful Rudra Puja, taking place during the eclipse, to uplift the mind and invoke Lord Siva’s auspicious blessing. Krishna 3 cabin construction resumed in full force. The Ashram is now selling wonderful homemade herbal teas made from the garden herbs, thanks to Sankara and karma yogis. Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves, from the Yoga Farm.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves. August started with an inspiring 4-day program, titled “Living a Divine Life”, which was presented by Swami Shambhudevananda during morning and evening Satsangs. We welcomed Fred Luskin, the Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Projects, who gave the beautiful program “Yoga and the Art of Forgiveness”. We welcomed back Swami Brahmananda and the Ashram priest Krishnan Namboodiri from their travel to Colombia. Swami Brahmananda started his program “The Practice of Karma Yoga”. We welcomed Jim Gelcer, a singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, who presented the wonderful program “Building Bhakti: Chanting from the Heart”. Parvati Chaitanya taught a 5-day “Essentials of Yoga I Course” and Narayani Chaitanya started a 5-day “Essentials of Meditation Course”.
We celebrated Krishna Jayanthi with a beautiful Puja conducted by the priest in the Bala Krishna Temple of the Ashram. Priest then travelled to India to return for the Navaratri celebrations. Beth Spindler, a certified Yoga Therapist and a yoga practitioner since childhood, arrived to the Ashram, presenting the 5-day program “Yoga Therapy: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Medicine” during Satsangs and noon workshops. We welcomed Theodore Tsavoussis, who has earned professional certification in energy medicine and has worked with indigenous shamans and wisdom keepers in the Andes and the Amazon. His program was “Healing the Light Body: Exploring Shamanic Medicine”. We welcomed Sandhiya Ramaswamy, an Ayurvedic practitioner, educator and chef with her very informative program “Ayurveda: The Key to Health in Mind, Body, and Spirit”. Parvati Chaitanya taught an “Essentials of Positive Thinking” weekend course. Om.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat House, Reith/Kitzbühel Tyrol, Austria
Om Namah Sivaya. During the Yoga Summer Days, we had asana workshops on the fascinating topic of Myofascial Connections in the Asanas. We also enjoyed hikes in the mountains, especially a beautiful excursion to Labalm, a valley surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery in a conservation area. Krisha Jayanti was celebrated with an all evening programƒ, including an uplifting Puja, different stories on the life of Krishna highlighting his many expressions of divine love and kirtan singing till midnight. The August TTC meanwhile went well. The group was eager to learn and very supportive of one another. Prema came to give a further training for yoga teachers on the Major Asana Cycles. The students appreciated the precise instructions and awareness to detail. We also had the Get Together, Sadhana Days for Yoga Teachers. The 5-day special started with early morning pranayama and workshops on the integral practice of yoga. Daily Pujas in the Ganeshahall uplifted the Ashram energy, in the afternoon we had asana coaching sessions and in the evening the group came together for some especially lively kirtan rehearsals. We also had several further education courses this month. Dr. Anjani and Sanjay Kulkarni inspired us again with a course on Ayurveda and Lifestyle Ailments and lectures at the Satsangs on healthy diet and Ayurvedic lifestyle. Shankara led the Yoga and Music Summer School course with devotional energy. Mantra chanting, practice of kirtan singing and simple steps to playing the harmonium were introduced. Dr. Rubin Naiman came to teach a four-day course on the Yoga of Sleep. He opened-up the sometimes hidden and forgotten world of sleep and dreaming to us by addressing sleep problems as well as focussing on the deeper spiritual aspects of sleep and dreams. We were most grateful for his presence. And finally the scientific perspective was highlighted in a course on How Yoga Works. Chandrika, Cordula Interthal, gave us a broad overview of the scientific evidence on the physical and mental benefits of yoga as a complete system. The course provided us with modern insights into the ancient science of yoga. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. After the successful end of the TTC and ATTC July the energy in the Ashram was high and positive and immediately the students arrived for the next TTC in August. The arrival day went very well with most of the staffs and karma yogis involved in the reception, boutique and guiding the new TTC’s to their rooms. The inauguration ceremony and a powerful Homa with the priests was helping the students to nicely settle in and they soon got accustomed to Ashram life. The vacation-program on how to improve strength and flexibility allowed students to dive deeper into the asanas and Kamala gave her Yoga Psychology course. We were glad to have her here, she was telling nice stories about Swamiji in a Satsang and commented the power show of Swami Vishnudevanandas mission`s pictures in an authentic way, inspiring the listeners to follow the path of yoga and to continue Swamij’s mission. A nice group of guests arrived for the 60-years anniversary celebrations. We decorated the Temple with an educational exhibition with photos of the Masters, the project helps to lift the energy in the Temple by bringing us closer to Swamiji’s mission in the West. The treasure hunt in the Ashram on the theme of the inspiring and eventful life of Swamiji was enjoyed by all participants and the theatre play about his life, performed at the Temple by the Paris Sivananda theatre team was a big success. A beautiful Bharatanatyam dance- performance with Anusha motivated the students to participate in the dance workshop which followed the next day. The Temple anniversary was celebrated with powerful Pujas and a Homa was held in the honour of Swami Durgananda’s birthday. Prema arrived for a further Training for Yoga Teachers about how to practice and correct the major asana cycles. Mid August we welcomed the participants of the Sadhana intensive as well as the staff who arrived to support the course. Angela Hope Murray came for lectures on Ayurveda. Another highlight of the month was Krishna Jayanti, which was celebrated with a beautiful Puja in the Temple with the priest. Towards the end of the month Dr. Rubin Naiman arrived for lectures and a certificate course on The Yoga of Sleep. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam
Om Namah Sivaya from the Da Lat Ashram. The Ashram underwent a considerable change or energy as the TTC ended and the start of preparations for the arrival of a large group of students from Taiwan. Several TTC students stayed on at the Ashram, some as temporary staff. The group from Taiwan was led by the director of the affiliated Ashram in Taiwan, Lakshmi, along with her husband Vishnu. Hamsa Chaitanya, director of the Los Angeles Centre, joined us for some days to help with translation. The group of 22 visitors enjoyed a very full schedule. In addition to Satsang, classes and workshops at the Ashram they made a tour of the town, local Temples and waterfalls. We were blessed with fine weather for the duration of their visit. An early morning silent walk up to the mountainside to watch a beautiful sunrise was enjoyed by all. Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Narayanananda left the Ashram for a visit to India. The Ashram then prepared for the arrival of a large group of students from HCM Yoga Centre. Several TTC students came back and stayed at the Ashram, as temporary staff. During this week we have less of residents and yoga vacationers, so the staff focussed on their Sadhana and training through classes and workshops everyday. Om.
CHITTA: The subtle energy that is the substance of the mind.
VRITTI: Thought-wave; mental modification; mental whirlpool; a ripple in the chitta.
Pure Consciousness is Brahman/the Absolute. Pure Consciousness is the same as Pure Bliss. – Sri Swami Sivananda