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Sivananda World News: The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashrams

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada

End of July, marked the end of a very succesful Kids’ camp. To commemorate the two-weeks camp success, during the graduation ceremony, the children did a lively asana demonstration, chanted a kirtan and presented a small theatre play about Lord Hanuman. We were all delighted at their energy and self-discipline.

The Teachers’ training course batch of July-August was completed on high notes. Some of the students stayed on for a few weeks as the karma yogis. There was various yoga vacation programmes during the month including the “Power of the thoughts” which was a dynamic and inspiring retreat. The month ended with a busy weekend for the retreat on “become the architect of your destiny”. We also started the advanced teachers’ training course with a small group of students from Italy, Japan and the US.

In between, we welcomed families for the yearly yoga vacation week. We had a group of 30 adults and 40 kids representing various cultures from Italy, Mexico, USA. Twice a day the parents got to participate in yoga classes outdoors when the weather allowed. The kids started the day with breakfast, satsang and then took part in fun activites: games, arts and kraft, training for circus exercises and yoga classes. In the aftenoons, the whole families went together for swimming and hiking. The whole week the ashram resonated with the joyfull energy of the kids and the week ended with a very sattvic talent show with an asana demonstration and a short play on Hanuman.

Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, India

There was great energy at the ashram during this month. The Yoga Vacation has stepped up with guests from over twenty-three countries and twenty states of India. The new Sadhana Mandalam course kicked off with twenty-one students, many of whom are repeat students coming for an annual recharge. Two groups of sixty to seventy schoolchildren from local Chinmaya schools visited the ashram on the occasion of Swami Chinmayananda’s samadhi anniversary. The next day a group of sixty new batch mates from the local KICMA college also visited and appreciated a talk about yoga followed by a trial class.

Various maintenance and renovation works are ongoing, including painting, renovating the office and redoing the temple path with new tiles. The new bench in the tea area is now complete. Finally, the most interesting part of the week was the temple astrology reading which revealed no major issues but recommended some expansion of the present site.

We performed a series of special pujas and havans, including Ganapati, Mritunjaya and Sudarsana homas, over three days. These were based on the recommendations of a recent astrological study of the temple and ashram. Everyone is looking forward to the Onam festival starting next week with time to enjoy the company of family and friends.

Sivananda Ashram, Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, North India

Greetings from the Banks of Ganga. We had a good month of Teachers’ training course; we started with Ganapathi Homa and completed with Lalita Sarasranama Pooja.

There were various day trip. The first one was to Swamiji’s cave in Gangotri. The journey was beautifully scenic. In Gangotri, we had a small satsang in the cave and some took a dip in Mother Ganga.
Staff also had a good hike around Uttarkashi, leading them to the historic Vimleshwar Temple and Rajarajeshwara Temple.

We have begun renovations at Vishnu Kutir to build new toilet and kitchen facilities. This upgrade will provide comfort and convenience for our Sadhus.

Our weekly medical camp was conducted to provide support to the local community residing around the ashram. These medical camps are getting busier as more and more local people are showing up.

Weather here has been bright and sunny for the past few days. Ganga has begun to recede from the ashram walls and the water levels are decreasing slowly. More yoga vacationers guests arrived towards the end of the month. As the TTC finished last week, the interim time is being utilised for the deep cleaning of the ashram.

A Stone Garden has been prepared at the ashram and those using it barefeet benefit from some acupressure to the feet. Painting of different rooms of the ashram still continues. The Mural painting of Radha and Krishna in our entrance was completed.

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

The Yoga Vacation programme went well. Guests got used to the routine, enjoying sattvic way of life along with being close to nature. They left happy, promising to be back with family and friends.

We had a Ganapati Homa and Shuddhi Puja during the month at our Sivananda Free Rural Hospital building prior to the setting up of the infrastructure to function as a full-fledged hospital. Few staff who were already working in our clinic and a few newly appointed ones were also part of the rituals.

We performed the installation puja of Swami Sivananda’s and Swami Vishnudevananda’s life size statues at both sides of Vishnu Hall entrance that ushers in lots of positivity and happiness with anyone entering the hall. We thank our Master and Swamiji for always guiding us.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch Colony, Woodburne, NY, USA

During the month of August, the weather has cooled with beautiful sunny days and occasional thunderstorms. The Ashram was very green and karma yogis took care of the gardens and lawns. We had a good month with the Teachers’ training course (TTC) The students are very keen and enjoying the Hatha Yoga practice and philosophy classes. Srinivasanji and Swami Sitaramananda gave.
We had many special guests with John Bealieu presenting on Nada Yoga and Sound Healing; Olga Mandodari presenting on Vastu Shastra; and Durga Leela presenting Yoga of Recovery on addictive tendencies. Suba Ramesh Parma contributed a colorful and beautiful Bharat Natyam dance performance accompanied by Suresh, classical Indian singer. We had a wonderful high-spirited Talent Show from the TTC students with singing, dance, poetry, a Krishna play, asana demo, and Vedanta Magic show!

We had great yoga vacation programmes; guests enjoyed the asana classes, the sauna, Ayurveda treatments with Isvari, hiking the OM trail, and the beautiful, serene environment of the Ashram.

We are grateful to all the karma yogis who have served the TTC throughout the month with such care and harmony.‎

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA

We have a great mood among staff at the Yoga Farm. Weather is not extreme this week, staff and guests take a weekly trip to Yuba River State Park to relax. On Sunday morning, we had satsang in the lavender field, enjoying the cool morning while harvesting and taking care of the lavenders. The ashram garden is glorious and producing many vegetables and harvests.

As the weather got more pleasant, staff focused more on outdoor projects. We organised the tree cutting for safety, pond cleaning and we took care of the lavender fields. The garden is now producing beautiful melons.

The Self-healing course study group continue to meet five times a week. They studied Selfless Love, Bhakti yoga theories and techniques.

Swami Sitaramananda and Swami Adiparashaktiananda came back to the ashram. Also Swami Dharmananda and Anandamayi joined and we had a beautiful Brahmacharya initiation by Swami Vasishtananda for Anandamayi Chaitanya (Yoga Farm staff) and Vasudev Chaitanya (Yoga Camp staff).

Staff were happy to visit Samadhi Estate and the Subramanya Temple which is full of activities as well as join in a pilgrimage tour to all the shrines on the campus as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations. Senior staff and the two acharyas present Kanti Devi and Swami Sitaramananda shared many touching stories of their time Swamiji; Swami Sitaramananda shared about gurukula and guruparampara and importance of satsang and Swami Rajeshwariananda shared a slideshow of the Yoga Camp old days.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas

Namaste! The ashram is busy. By the grace of Master and Swamiji, we came to the beautiful end to a full nine month- season of our Teacher Training Courses.
There are many projects going on simultaneously, including the removal, cleaning and storage of tents and tent hut furniture, coconut tree trimming, which requires karma yogis to take turns keeping a watchful eye on the process, and refurbishing the platform around the Bala Krishna temple. We bade farewell to Swami Mehdananda Puri and Swami Paramananda Giri, who returned to India, after several months with us teaching Vedanta. We feel very blessed to have had their presence here all this time and are looking forward to next year’s program with them. The rainy season is upon us and the trees and plants are vibrant green from all the water. Staff and karma yogis are happy, well and keeping up their sadhana. Sending pranams to all.
We offered free webinars, which always draw a high attendance. Online courses are going strong, which help students who cannot visit the ashram stay connected and learn long distance. During the month, a longtime friend, Sivananda yoga teacher, and an executive at Google joined us to give an inspiring talk on how modern technology is helping us in daily life.
Guests wise, we welcomed a steady flow of guests in the last week of the month, keeping yoga classes and satsangs full. The resident Swamis are continuing to teach high and profound topics at the morning and evening satsangs. Sadhana meetings are continuing weekly, supporting the dedicated group of karma yogis serving the ashram. Staff and karma yogis are grateful for this opportunity.

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

During this month, we welcomed a larger Teacher’s training group coming from various European countries, as well as from the United States and Canada. There were various guests programmes alongside, focusing on “anatomic details in the asanas and a healthy spine”, “yoga and mountain magic”, “ayurveda” and “raja yoga” with several guests teachers contributing.

The spiritual highlight was the Bhagavata Saptaha with honored guest Sri Venugopal Goswami and musicians. Guests, TTC and staff, as well as a good number of online participants enjoyed the uplifting message of the Shrimad Bhagavatam and the exquisite kirtan.

Everyone enjoyed the yoga sessions on the garden platform with the good summer weather conditions. Morning silent walks and powerful chanting in the satsangs lifted everyone’s spirits.

Ashram de Yoga Sivananda, Orleans, France

The highlight of the month was the 20th anniversary celebrations of the ashram. It brought much joy and inspiration. The European Acharyas and other Swamis were visiting. The Bhagavata Saptaha with honored guest Sri Venugopal Goswami and musicians immersed all into the sweetness of bhakti. To conclude the saptaha that Wednesday evening, there was a special event with a puja to the murti of baby Krishna. Holi was celebrated with a rain of flower petals, all coming from the ashram grounds. It was an amazing sight and brought so much joy and high spirit. Swami Sivadasananda gave the several morning asana classes to the joy of all guests. There was a brahmacharya intitiation of Madalassa and Vasishta and a sannyas inititiation of Swami Madhurananda.
Alongside, we had the August Teacher’s training course and the Sadhana intensive course. Many students attended. They were both very successful courses.
We had short yoga stays on various themes : “Power of Mantras”, “Body to Mind”. The “Yoga and permaculture” retreat was well appreciated giving hands-on learning opportunities to guests. We also had a week of “Ayurveda – The art of health-conscious living”. A number chose the half yoga vacation / half karma yoga programme, giving much support to the ashram. All guests and students visiting were happy with their stay, the development of the ashram and its dynamism. People left inspired.
Project wise, platform maintenance continued at the ashram. We are harvesting a good amount of vegetables and all our temple flowers already from the gardens.

Sivananda Ashram Dà Lat, Vietnam

The July TTC group continued steady in study and practice. Their graduation was a joyful and moving occasion. The graduation was followed by a delicious special dinner with many Vietnamese specialities.

At the beginning of the month, we were joined by a large number of Yoga Vacation guests, one group of a company based in Ho Chi Minh City. Later, a group of business leaders joined programs there for a short retreat, while another group of students coming from a company dropped in for a full day program. Guests are inspired by their experience and already planning their next visits. Staff of the ashram gained much inspiration from teaching and supporting the TTC group.

The Health House also had a busy beginning of the month, taking care of residents, providing counseling and at the weekend offering workshops for all the ashram guests.

As August advanced, the major activity was the renovation of the cooking area in the kitchen. Staff continued to improve the outside areas, cleaning, and clearing. Wood was collected for future bonfires. Many trees have been trimmed and pruned, many branches and leaves have been collected, and many areas have been cleared in preparation for new planting. Staff are busy with other preparations for the upcoming Independence day retreat, which is an important holiday in Vietnam. Repairs and upgrades were also done in the Health House.

All are busy, inspired, looking forward to welcoming guests to the improved facilities. Staff continued with daily chanting of Om Namo Narayanaya.

Sivananda Ashram Tapaswini, Gudur, Andra Pradesh India

Greetings from Tapaswini Ashram, Gudur. During the month of August, we worked on our small patch of farm land. A state government initiative programme called Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming (APCNF) where they promote sustainable agriculture, are maintaining our farm and cleaning it for natural farming without pesticides and chemicals. We sowed seeds of various vegetables and growth is looking good. As a day outing, we visited a local organic farm.
The construction work in Kaveri rooms are progressing well.

The whole Kerala is in a festive mood for its upcoming big festival Onam. Everywhere so much crowd people are shopping and lighting the house to make it a big event. We celebrated pre Onam with our centre outside teachers and some students.

Yoga Vacation is continuing. Morning walks are beautiful and well appreciated as always. Guests have come back with their family members after experiencing ashram life and its benefits. This motivates us also to carry on Masters and Swamiji’s teachings forward.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tokyo, Japan

For this summer vacation, we are not limited outing any longer, thereby many Japanese go abroad and many foreigners visit Japan in return. At present, most of our guests at the Shojiko Retreat are from overseas. Currently, the Shojiko Lake is embracing the best season of the year, which brings us the busiest time of the year. Countless people who are drawn to Mt. Fuji, the sacred mountain in Japan come visit to this area.

Guests and students enjoyed practicing asana or meditation, going for a stroll, climbing Mt. Fuji, or being in the nature including hot springs, and returned home to their daily life with themselves recharged. Online programs such as asana classes, satsang, etc. are going well in progress.

Preparation for reopening of the Tokyo Centre is in progress at a high pace.

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Spiritual Calendar

06 Sri Krishna Jayanti
08 Swami Sivananda Jayanti
10 Ekadasi
15 New Moon
19 Ganesh Chaturthi
25 Ekadasi
29 Full Moon

10 Ekadasi
15 New Moon
15 Navaratri begins
24 Dussera (Vijaya Dasami)
25 Ekadasi
29 Full Moon

Make life a perpetual joy. – Sri Swami Sivananda


Salutations to the Divine Mother, Durga, who exists in all beings in the form of intelligence, mercy, beauty, who is the consort of Lord Shiva, who creates, sustains and destroys the universe. Durga Puja or Navaratri commences on the first and ends on the tenth day of the bright half of Aswayuja (September-October). It is held in commemoration of the victory of Durga over Mahishasura, the buffalo-headed demon. Durga Puja is the greatest Hindu festival in which God is adored as Mother. Durga represents the Divine Mother. She is the energy aspect of the Lord. Without Durga, Shiva has no expression and without Shiva, Durga has no existence. Shiva is the soul of Durga; Durga is identical with Shiva. Lord Shiva is only the silent witness. He is motionless, absolutely changeless. He is not affected by the cosmic play. It is Durga who does everything. Shakti is the omnipotent power of the Lord, or the Cosmic Energy. The Divine Mother is represented as having ten different weapons in Her hands. She sits on a lion. She keeps up the play of the Lord through the three attributes of Nature, namely, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. Knowledge, peace, lust, anger, greed, egoism and pride, are all Her forms. You will find in the Devi Sukta of the Rig Veda Samhita that Vak, symbolising speech, the daughter of the sage Anbhirna, realised her identity with the Divine Mother, the Power of the Supreme Lord, which manifests throughout the universe among the gods, among men and beasts and among the creatures of the deep ocean. In the Kena Upanishad, you will find that the Divine Mother shed wisdom on Indra and the gods and said that the gods were able to defeat the demons only with the help of the power of the Supreme Lord. The worship of Devi, the universal Mother, leads to the attainment of knowledge of the Self. The story in the Kena Upanishad known as the “Yaksha Prasna”, supports this view. It tells how Uma, the Divine Mother, taught the Truth to the gods. Goddess Shakti thus sheds wisdom on Her devotees.
Devi worship is, therefore, worship of God’s glory, of God’s greatness and supremacy. It is adoration of the Almighty.
Devi is the conscious power of God. Navaratri is the most suitable occasion for doing intense spiritual practices. These nine days are very sacred to the Divine Mother. Plunge yourself in Her worship.

From Hindu Fasts and Festivals by Swami Sivananda

Durga Puja