Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada
Om Namah Sivaya. The Yoga Camp Ashram closed from Sunday August 29 to Friday September 3, 2021.
August was very inspiring and busy at the same time. Swami Sitaramanandaji visited the Ashram with Radha Chaitanya and Karuna Devi. Swamiji guided most of the 5 day retreat, leading the main lecture and evening Satsangs. We were very grateful for her inspiring visit. Guests and staff enjoyed all the aspects of the retreat especially the Satsangs outdoors around the Masters’ statues. Swami Sitaramamda then spent a weekend in the Montreal Centre, also giving inspiration during a Satsang, with 30 people attending. Also in August the Yoga Camp participated in the annual Yoga Festival in downtown Montreal. Atmaram gave an introduction to the 5 Points of Yoga and led a yoga class. Staff from the Camp participated with the yoga demonstration and distributed leaflets. It was a very positive experience, despite the high temperatures that afternoon. We offered a week long Ayurveda Retreat, led by Dr. Sonal Bhatt, with 45 guests during the week days and 35 during the weekend. Everyday Dr. Bhatt presented a series of very professional and clear Ayurveda presentations, finishing with an Ayurveda cooking class. All the programs including Ayurveda consultations were very much appreciated. Saraswati, Anoosha, Harsha and Nalini visited the Camp for a few days in August. There was very good attendance at the Subramanya Ayyappa Temple during August. Staff from the Yoga Camp helped to serve food on the busy days at the Temple, creating a nice connection with the devotees. May the grace of God and the guidance of the Master and Guru be with us in extending our service to the aspirants, students and all others who visit the Ashram. 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
Early August saw a good number of guests leaving the Ashram; some having finished treatments, others possibly influenced by the media hype viz Covid numbers in Kerala. The Ashram locality has reasonably low increases in Covid, like much of the Trivandrum district, but our guests, once arrived, are asked not to go out of the Ashram, in addition to being required to have a ‘recently’ taken negative pcr test. The weather was mostly dry with some monsoon-like rain, so the Ashram is very green and beautiful. Dr Vishnu started his “on leave” for some time whilst Visakh returned. The paid staff were mostly on half time schedule and half pay. Nevertheless, preparations for the upcoming TTC were underway, with all accommodations being checked for minor repair needs. Our NGO online classes were still going steady thrice weekly with 20 odd girls from an orphanage place in Trivandrum and a weekly class with around 10 workers of an NGO in Ahmedabad. Nataraj had a small group for a Covid recovery course and Oshayane started a month of classes for a private group. Bhagavad Gita chanting took place for Ekadasi on Wednesdays. The staff maintained steady Sadhana in addition to their daily karma yoga.
Later in August the TTC commenced with a Ganapathy Homa, attended by everyone in the Ashram as well as the online students, giving an auspicious start to the onsite/online TTC. Nataraj taught the 2 pm lectures, Anoop the Hatha Yoga classes onsite and Parvathy the Bhagavad Gita and Chanting classes, whilst Suresh taught the online Hatha Yoga and Ravi Easwaran evening Satsang talks to cover the Government’s Yoga Certification Board additional subjects. With fewer guests, there were combined classes so the staff could focus more on the TTC. The onsite students settled in well and the online students got into their groove with the Zoom technicalities and the schedule also. One Day Off was shifted from Friday to Saturday due to the main Onam festival day falling on Saturday. On Friday night a group of staff and students created a large traditional flower decoration on the floor in the Siva Hall as a welcome for the morning. There was Om Namo Narayanaya at the Samadhi place of Swami Sivasaranananda, Swami Vishnudevananda’s mother, whose birthday also falls on this day. A plate of the Onam feast was offered there before the traditional Onam Sadhya (special food) was served to all in the dining room. We were grateful to the kitchen staff for their efforts at the Ashram before going home to be with their families on this main holiday in Kerala. At noon on Onam, the Ashram became rather noisy with some games being played in the Siva Hall, also as per the Onam tradition. The evening was finished off with the Saturday night talent show which had more participants by the end than had actually signed up! The staff are in good spirits and doing lots of karma yoga and 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. The Sivananda Kutir is open, following the MHA guidelines closely to ensure the safety and comfort of all. 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: MOH Guidelines for Yoga Institutions. We look forward to having you at the Ashram.
Please note we also 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
Meanwhile August the campaign of keeping the Ashram grounds tidy by weeding and gardening went well with the help of all our Karma Yogis and a few paid staffs. Online classes were also continued from the Ashram which includes the regular Open Class, Kids Class and Special Workshops as well. We also made slight progress in the construction of our New Reception and Office building. Ravi sir during his brief visit to the Ashram gave valuable and insightful suggestions on the progression of work. We thank the Yogic teachings from our Master and Gurus keeping all of us in good spirits.
August continued with the online part of Hatha Yoga in TTC being managed at the Ashram by Suresh ji. We celebrated Onam with great pomp which included designing floral arrangement and a South Indian style feast, the trademark of the celebrations. We had a Bhoomi Puja to mark the beginning of construction of Sivananda Rural Hospital within the Ashram premises. The day was very auspicious as the festival of Avani Avittam prevalent amongst Brahmin communities and also Vastu day fell on this date. The work was expected to get completed within 6 months, paving the way to serve the neighbouring villagers with healthcare related help, free of cost. We were grateful to Mazur family from Toronto, Canada, for their monetary assistance in the construction of this hospital which would be a boon to villagers who neglect health related issues on account of long distance travel to the city. The Puja ceremonies were graced by the onsite and online presence of Trustees and Directors.
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 August our online Satsang continued with a small group of dedicated followers. 250 pounds of sweet yellow plums were harvested and several cases of glass jars were filled with jam. This was only the beginning of the harvest with many more to come for as long as staff are willing to cut and cook them. Another racoon was relocated. The kale made a nice recovery. Fresh fruits and vegetables pour into the Ranch kitchen. Staff made every effort to maintain the Ashram grounds and keep the area sattvic without outside contractors. The weather was mild and pleasant for most of August – good for outdoor jobs. 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, in August the Hybrid TTC went well. Students completed the first week and were a very focused group. The classes worked seamlessly for both online and on-site students. The students enjoyed Swami Sitaramananda’s main lecture and Satsang talks from Bliss Divine (“Health”, “Life”, “Prana”) with many stories, humour and warmth. We moved all the Satsangs outdoors to the Krishna Temple as a Covid precaution and to have the fresh air and beautiful natural setting.
A large wildfire started mid August near the Ashram with many people in the area evacuating from their homes. Thankfully, the fire did not move toward the Ashram and was contained quickly. The staff kept great vigilance during the fire season. The TTC students dove fully into the Hatha Yoga practice, the chanting, and the Ashram experience. All TTC students attended the Durga Temple Puja on the day off, led by Pandit Mani Sharma. 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/
August 2021 in the Bahamas: We celebrated the conclusion of the July Online TTC with a graduation ceremony and an evening feast of pizza and ice cream. Satsangs consisted of teachings on the life and teachings of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda, the Srimad Bhagavatam, and how to cultivate patience. We offered a beautiful Puja in honour of Durga, the Ramayana, and the ancestors. Krishnan Namboodiri led the services, which consisted of chanting, offering of fruits and flowers, and attunement to the Divine. We began to hear the story of the birth of Lord Krishna from the Sri Krishna Lila. Krishnan Namboodiri conducted a Puja in honour of Lord Narayana, which involved a beautiful arrangement of garlands in the shape of a mandala, chanting of the Lord’s name, and offerings of fruit, flowers, and water. We welcomed back Bhargavi, who had been in the US for several weeks. The following day, Swami Hridyananda and Jnaneshwari Chaitanya left for Israel.
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 August the Ashram had the inauguration ceremony for the August TTC. The participants went harmoniously into the first week. The first teaching day started with a wonderful silent walk in the morning. A big guest group arrived for the mountain magic programme. Even if the weather was a little rainy we did the asana classes outside as often as possible and we could do some outings to beautiful places nearby. Swami Vidyananda arrived from Munich and Swami Santoshananda from Madrid. Both of them give us great support in the TTC. Kaivalya from Berlin supported us in the Yoga Vacation program. Marilyn Rossner started a continuation of her online course “The Eternal Journey of the Soul” on the topic “What have you inherited from your Ancestors?”
Later in August ten participants of the TTCOL additional module arrived. After a special welcome Satsang they joined the TTC schedule and had their own workshops on Kirtan and physical corrections. The TTCs and the participants of the module attended the kriya workshop. They also performed a wonderful talent show one Saturday. Shankara came for one week and enriched our Yoga and Mountain Magic program, wonderfully as a hiking guide. Chandrika, from Munich, stayed for two weeks and inspired us with her informative and fascinating lectures on Ayurveda and the scientific studies on Yoga. Marilyn Rossner gave an additional online weekend course with the topic “Connecting with your Spirit Guides”. Swami Vidyananda went back to Munich. Swami Mangalananda arrived from Vienna and Swami Vasudevananda from Munich.
We pray that all remain healthy and safe. OM.
Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
Om Namah Sivaya. The Ashram is closed until the end of October 2021. Due to a recent situation with Covid-19 cases at the Ashram, courses and trainings are cancelled for September and October. All Online activities continue. We will keep you informed of the evolution of our situation and apologize for these unforeseen changes.
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 August the Ashram continued to be closed to new guests. Our long-term guests continued, very motivated, with their practice and study. Our online offerings of classes expanded. We started working with some Covid-19 patients who live within quarantine conditions, in addition to offering online open classes and a Beginners’ Yoga course. Staff continued with renovation projects to improve our guest accommodation. All staff and guests joined Swami Sitaramananda’s regular Thursday evening Satsangs online. Intense rainy weather continued, restricting us to mostly indoor activities.
By mid August the Ashram continued to be closed. We started a new program of a more intensive Sadhana practice for staff. 10 staff members took part, following a full day program of asana, pranayama, study and Satsang, starting early with a 5am pranayama class. All the group completed the full week of practice with good attendance, all were happy with the feeling of increased focus, energy and self-discipline. A second group started the same program on the following week. All teachers participated in teaching bi-lingual asana classes using both Vietnamese and English. Other online courses continued well. The program to provide teaching and counselling for people suffering from Covid-19 infection expanded. In addition we participated in a national online program that aimed to support mental health, providing daily proper breathing and relaxation classes, plus yoga asana classes. Karma Yoga activities at the Ashram continued. Each week we join Satsang with Swami Sitaramananda, live streamed from the Yoga Farm
All staff are well. 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 August the Ashram had 4 Yoga Vacationers at the Ashram and completed one online course. The Ashram schedule continued well with staff participating in Satsang and Temple chanting. Jeeva Uncle, Kamala Amma and Vignesh left for Madurai Ashram. We prayed for their safe journey and hoped to see them soon. We celebrated Onam along with Swami Sivasharanananda Mathaji’s birthday with a Sadhya. All guests enjoyed this experience. We promoted the next Online & Onsite TTC and immediately received queries.
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.
The greatest obstacles to Self-realization are desire for property, desire for wealth and desire for name and fame. Desire is born of ignorance. The fundamental desire is for a mate. Destruction of desire is destruction of ignorance. – Sri Swami Sivananda
ATMAN-NIVEDANA – self-surrender
Atma Nivedana self-surrender is Absolute Love for God exclusively. There is nothing but God-consciousness in the devotee. Even against his own wishes, the devotee shall become one with God and lose his individuality. This is the law of being. The Highest Truth is Absoluteness and the soul rises above through different states of consciousness until it attains Absolute Perfection when it becomes identical with God. This is the culmination of all aspiration and love.
In Vishnu-Sahasranama it is said: The heart of one who has taken refuge in Vasudeva, who is wholly devoted to Vasudeva, gets entirely purified, and he attains Brahman, the Eternal.
The devotee offers everything to God, including his body, mind and soul. He keeps nothing for himself. He loses even his own self. He has no personal and independent existence. He has given up himself for God. He has become part and parcel of God. God takes care of him and God treats him as Himself. Grief and sorrow, pleasure and pain, the devotee treats as gifts sent by God and does not attach himself to them. He considers himself as a puppet of God and as an instrument in the hands of God. He does not feel egoistic, for he has no ego. His ego has gone over to God. It is not his duty to take care of his wife, children etc., for he himself has no independent existence apart from God. God will take care of all. He knows how to lead the world in the right path. One need not think that he is born to lead the world. God is there who will look to everything which man cannot even dream of. He has no sensual craving, for he has no body as it is offered to God. He does not love or adore his body for it is God’s business to see to it. He only feels the presence of God and nothing else. He is fearless, for God is helping him at all times. He has no enemy for he has given himself up to God who has no enemies or friends. He has no anxiety for he has attained everything by attaining the grace of God. He has not even the thought of salvation; rather he does not want salvation even, he merely wants God and nothing but God. He is satisfied with the love of God for by that there is nothing that is not attained. What is there to be attained, when God has sent His grace upon the devotee? The devotee does not want to become sugar but taste sugar. There is pleasure in tasting sugar, but not in becoming sugar itself. So the devotee feels that there is supreme joy more in loving God than becoming God. God shall take complete care of the devotee. I am Thine, says the devotee.
There are innumerable verses in the Bhagavadgita and the Bhagavata establishing the truth that self-surrender is the only way to attain the Supreme. Krishna teaches Arjuna that self-surrender, total and exclusive, alone can give him peace and relieve him from all sins.
One who studies the Bhagavadgita and the Srimad-Bhagavata will come to know what great importance is stressed upon total self-surrender. For self-surrender is the annihilation of individual consciousness and the attainment of Absolute Consciousness. This is equal to Nirvikalpa-Samadhi or Brahma-Sakshatkara. The devotee flies to the state of the highest Mahabhava and merges himself in God. The wave subsides in the ocean. The spark becomes one with fire. The ray is absorbed into the sun. The mind merges in the Atman. The individual loses himself in the Absolute. The devotee becomes one with God. Worldly consciousness vanishes into Universal Consciousness. Man becomes God and the mortal becomes Immortal.
Whatever belongs to God becomes the belonging of the highest devotee. All his sins are destroyed. He has no duties to perform. He is mere Apta-Kama or perfected soul. He is the most blessed. To him the whole world appears as mere Bliss. There is only the manifestation of Supreme Love.
The Gopis and Bali Chakravarti practised this love. The Gopis lost themselves in Krishna. Bali, the king, offered his self to the Lord. The Gopis lost themselves in God-consciousness and attained the Supreme.
Bhava or mental attitude is more important and not the object on which you meditate. – Sri Swami Sivananda