Sivananda News Sivananda E-Gurugram
The Electronic Newsletter of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres
Issue #02/2013 Serve Love Give Purify Meditate Realize February 1, 2013
"Love and respect the Saints of every faith." - Sri Swami Sivananda

More quotes

TABLE OF CONTENTS
News
Sivananda Yoga FAQ
Hatha Yoga Tips
Yoga Sanskrit Glossary
Raja Yoga
Vegetarian Cuisine
Upcoming Events

International News - Ashrams
Yoga Camp Ashram, Canada
Dhanwanthari Ashram, India
Kutir Ashram, India
Chateau du Yoga Ashram, France
Yoga Farm Ashram, USA
Yoga Ranch Ashram, USA
Yoga Retreat Ashram, Bahamas
Retreat House Ashram, Austria
Meenakshi Ashram, India

International News - Centres
Berlin, Germany
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Chennai, India
Chicago, USA
Dwarka, Delhi, India
Nataraja, Delhi, India
Geneva, Switzerland
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
London, England
Los Angeles, USA
Madrid, Spain
Madurai, India
Milano, Italy
Montevideo, Uruguay
Montreal, Canada
Neuquen, Argentina
Munich, Germany
New York, USA
Paris, France
Porto Alegre, Brasil
Rome, Italy
San Francisco, USA
Tel Aviv, Israel
Toronto, Canada
Trivandrum, India
Vienna, Austria
Vilnius, Lithuania

SPIRITUAL CALENDAR:
FEBRUARY 2013
06 Ekadasi
10 New Moon
21 Ekadasi
25 Full Moon 

MARCH 2013
08 Ekadasi
10 Sivarathri (Night of Lord Siva)
11 New Moon
23 Ekadasi
27 Full Moon 
28 Holi
31 Easter
E-MAIL DIRECTORY
A complete e-mail directory of the Sivananda Yoga Centres and Ashrams is available at:
Sivananda Email Directory
SIVANANDA "OM" PAGE
www.sivananda.org

Online registration for TTC courses has been added. We hope to include online registration for all courses in the near future.
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OM NAMAH SIVAYA!

NEWS

Blessed Selves,
Om Namah Sivaya
With the guidance of Master Swami Sivananda and Swami-ji Vishnudevananda, the new year brought high energy into the Sivananda Ashrams and Centres around the globe. An abundance of students joined the TTCs and ATTCs commencing in the year 2013. The enthusiasm for seeking Peace through Yoga could be felt from Nassau to Neyyar Dam, from Garopaba, Brazil to Govinda Valley, Australia. A record-braking 245 students arrived to Neyyar Dam, South India, for their January 8-language TTC. Australia was home to the first TTC in Govinda Valley, Otford, NSW. This year an ATTC and TTC were simultaneously held in Brazil, with an expanding number of students. New locations for teacher trainings are presented all over the World, thanks to the guidance of Master and Swami-ji. This Spring an ATTC will be held in Rudraprayag in the Himalaya Mountains, India, while Vietnam hosts their second TTC at Chi Chu this Spring. Swami Mahadevananda will soon report his journey to China in support of a TTC there. The total number of teachers graduating from Swami-jis mission is now well above 32,000, thanks to the Swamis, teachers and karma yogis around the globe.

There are also enriching Yatras/pilgrimages planned in South India, plus an abundance of certified Ayurveda Courses around the World. Visit http://www.sivananda.org/r/en/international_schedule/courses to view and sign up for the diverse collection of these yoga related courses.

Lastly, it is heart-warming to hear of those choosing a deeper path in their Sadhana. Read the Reith Ashram International Report at the bottom section of this GURUGRAM for news of those stepping into the role of Swami and Chaitanya as they realize the spiritual journey.

May Master and Swamiji's blessings be with us always.
Prem and Om

Also,
A Message from the GURUGRAM desk:
Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves -
Makar Sankranti is a celebrated passage each year mid-January, marking the return of the movement of the setting and rising Sun along the horizon each day. Each year between the Winter Solstice and Makar Sankranti there is a period of stillness on Earth. During this time there may occur many moment of contemplation and review with the result of a list resolutions. What also may arise are a multitude of deep questions and thoughts. We would like to dedicate this month's publication of the Sivananda GURUGRAM to those multitude of questions. At the end of each section sits a question from a devotee, followed by Swami Sivananda's wise response. May you find a clue or opening of a path to Self Realization through these selected questions and answers. If you wish to explore more of these Q and As find your way to http://www.sivananda.org/publications/mailinglists/ and subscribe to the "Daily 'May I Answer That?' Spiritual Q&A Selections". Another way to explore Master's wisdom is through Swami Sivananda's book of the same name - "May I Answer That?" - Pranams

Subscribe to receive this newsletter via email once per month.

Be kind. Be compassionate. Be honest. Be sincere. Be truthful. Be bold. Be pure. Be wise. Be virtuous. Enquire: 'Who am I'?  Know the Self and be free. This is the summary of the teachings of Siva. - Sri Swami Sivananda

SIVANANDA YOGA FAQ
Q. Please explain what is meant by Cosmic Consciousness?
A.

It is a state of consciousness in which you are aware that God is all that there is, and what is more, that God is the link that connects all individuals. God is the Consciousness that illumines the entire creation. Realization of this Consciousness/God liberates one from bondage to passing phenomena, from the illusion of names and forms. This is the state of God-realization or Self-realization. After God-realization, the individual is completely merged in the Cosmic Consciousness, or God. It is like the rivers entering into the ocean; they lose their identity and you can no more distinguish the waters of the Ganges from the waters of the Godavari. The appearance of the world vanishes in the Reality of God, just as when the lamp is brought, the snake which appeared to be vanishes in the rope that exists.

Q. Swamiji, what is the technique of concentration on the different parts of the body, as advised by Sage Yajnavalkya, for the purpose of attaining Pratyahara for meditation? Please explain.
A.

The technique of concentration as given by Sage Yajnavalkya involves a process of withdrawing the mind and Prana gradually and step by step from one part of the body to another, starting from the two big toes of the feet and progressing upward by a series of successive acts of such concentration-cum-withdrawal, through the several centers of the body, leading finally to the crown of the head. By this process, the mind and Prana are totally drawn away from the entire body and finally centered in the top of the head where the practitioner dives into deep meditation.
The parts mentioned by Sage Yajnavalkya are given below:
1. The great toes
2. The ankles
3. The middles of the shanks
4. The parts above the shanks and below the knees
5. The centers of the knees
6. The centers of the thighs
7. The anus
8. The genitals
9. The center of the body, just below the waist

Q. Will not one be violating one's Dharma by embracing Sannyas and by not discharging his duties to his parents and dependents? Are one's relatives really dependent on him?
A. The notion that others depend on you is due to sheer delusion. God alone takes care of everyone. Being deluded, you think that you are supporting your kith and kin and undergo endless troubles, miseries and vexations. Even if you turn an anchorite, God will arrange everything and maintain your family. And no sin will accrue to you, provided you have intense Vairagya. Swami Ram Tirth had burning Vairagya; so he resigned his job, and leaving behind his wife and two young sons, took to Sannyas. Similarly, Lord Buddha renounced his kingdom and turned a recluse.
 
Previous FAQs at http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/faq/faq.html

There is a nothing good or evil. Thinking makes it so. - Sri Swami Sivananda

HATHA YOGA TIP

STANDING FORWARD BEND - PADA HASTHASANA
-
All Levels -

Stand upright with legs together, inhale and stretch arms up alongside ears, neck is relaxed and straight, back is straight, not arched.
Exhale, bending forward from hips. Back, head and arms are in horizontal line. Weight is now distributed evenly on the feet.
Still exhaling, and drawing belly backwards, bend forward aiming to catch hold of calves or ankles, clasping hands behind them, or hold big toes in classical foothold (index finger around big toe and thumb underneath, other three fingers are curled against the palm). If difficult to catch toes with straight legs, a tip here is to bend knees slightly, grasp toes then try and straighten legs.
The knees are kept straight. They are not over-extended. Aim to bring head to shins while keeping legs straight. With each exhalation, while retaining the pose, one can feel the muscles and ligaments stretch, enabling further reach forward from the lengthening in the muscles. The weight is now distributed forward, more on the ball of each foot to feel the stretch through the legs. An advanced variation is to bring arms behind knees and hold the elbows, with each exhalation pushing the arms lower down the calves. Another further stretch to legs - bring palms of hands under soles of feet so one is "standing" on the palms of hands.
Hold the pose in whichever variation is chosen, for up to 1 minute with slow rhythmical breathing.

To come out of the pose:-
Release the hands and bend the knees. Inhale and slowly come up with bent knees and curved back, unrolling vertebra by vertebra with arms and head hanging, or hands sliding up front of legs. Return to standing position. Head comes up last.


Benefits:

Physical benefits:

Ease stiff legs- if you are stiff from sitting for a long time in chairs, this standing pose uses the pull of gravity and quickly lengthens muscles and ligaments of the whole posterior of the body from heels to middle of the back. It stretches hips and lower back muscles. It also prepares you for a triangle pose.

Other benefits: Brings blood supply to the brain, helps trim the waist when accompanied by a proper diet, helps overcome constipation.

Mental benefits:

The extra blood supply to the brain, the stimulation of the spine, and the activated sense of balance bring relief from a state of low energy. This tamas or low energy is characterized by sluggishness, inertia, sleepiness, forgetfulness and depression. (This is often found in the colder northern winter climates at this time of the year as characterized by Seasonal Affective Disorder).

The hatha yoga tip is from the new Sivananda publication - “Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion” – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre - 2010. Other yoga tips at http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/asana/101tips.html

A QUESTION to Swami Sivananda:
In all matters with which it is connected, science gives us a precise account of how a particular thing is constructed and how it grows. We are also given the successive signs that mark the growth. Are there, in the practice of Yoga, any definite indication to measure the aspirant's progress--for instance, some experiences that he would have after, say, three months of practice, others which he would come upon after a year, and so on?

ANSWER from Swami Sivananda:
Various Yogas give various experiences. The practice of Pranayam and Hatha Yogic Kriyas, for instance, would give a graded series of psychic experiences. Seeing all kinds of ethereal lights and hearing certain Anahata sounds belong to this category. Here, the sages who have propounded these Yogas have given very definite stages of spiritual experience. As the Kundalini passes from Chakra to Chakra, the Yogi has certain definite, verifiable experiences. That is because each Chakra governs a particular Tattva, and its mastery, therefore, gives specific experiences.
Similarly, in Tantrik Sadhana also, they have been able to give a definite chart of spiritual experiences. Each Sadhana has its own particular Siddhi; and therefore, the experiences of all Sadhaks following a particular Sadhana are invariably the same.
But, these are all lower experiences of an inferior type. They are psychic experiences which need not necessarily denote the aspirant's spiritual progress. Even the Bhakta's experiences of horripilation, shedding of tears, etc., though they are not so perfectly graded as those of the Hatha Yoga practitioner, do not necessarily indicate spiritual progress.

When you enter the domain of the Spirit, you come into the sphere of the Infinite. Infinite are the Yogas and infinite are the experiences too. Each man's Yoga is his own. For, he has brought his own Samskaras and Vasanas and he strives in his own way to reach the goal. These two, interacting on each other, give him his various experiences. For instance, as he approaches the transcendental, infinite, immortal Self, the aspirant would enjoy great inner peace and indescribable happiness. He is not easily affected by what goes on around him. Not only this, he is able to radiate peace and happiness to all those who come into contact with him. He becomes good and radiates goodness. This is the most important sign of spiritual progress. God is perfect goodness. The aspirant who progresses towards the realization of God, therefore, grows in goodness. His evil qualities slowly vanish and are replaced by sublime virtues. If this most essential element is not there, then all other visions and sounds are practically useless. By his mere presence the advanced Yogi is able to inspire people to lead a good life, free from hatred and malice. His heart is filled with cosmic love, and therefore, he serves all spontaneously and selflessly. These are all real signs of spiritual progress.
But, beyond all these, is the ultimate experience. That is indescribable. Peace and happiness, undisturbed tranquillity of mind-- these are all great signs of progress, but they do not constitute the goal. The goal is to become God. You must become one with God. This is achieved through ceaseless practice of meditation after establishing oneself in virtue and goodness. That supreme experience, when the Yogi feels he is one with God, no words can describe.

Divine life is full, infinite, perfect and blissful. Therefore, lead the life divine.
- Sri Swami Sivananda

If your body is strong and healthy with much prana, you will have a natural tendency to produce health and vitality in those close to you. - Swami Vishnudevananda

YOGA SANSKRIT GLOSSARY

KALA -
[Sanskrit] The cycle of Time

Commentary from Swami Sivananda -

Kala is the Great Time personified. It is the destroyer of name and form. In the Hindu pantheon, there are various gods and goddesses who are members of the divine hierarchy. Just as we have our government here composed of various ministers and officers, the celestials who rule the world, too, have their own deities who control the various aspects of creation, preservation and destruction of this world. Some are in charge of the various elements like air, fire and water; some are in charge of birth, death, preservation of life and disease. Kala or Yama or Dharmaraja is the Lord of Death. The entire universe is under his control in a way; for, when the time comes, he brings about the end of the earthly sojourn of all beings. It is only the man of Self-realization who transcends this Kala and realizes his own Self. All Sadhana is meant to help us transcend this Kala, to conquer death, to go beyond time.

Kala loka - the plane that comes under the influence of Time and its secondary aspect, Space.
Kalasamhara - Siva, as the destroyer of Time

A complete Sanskrit Glossary can be found at: http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/glossary/glossary.html

A QUESTION to Swami Sivananda:
Swamiji, are the senses meant to be starved and destroyed? The ascetic ideal says so.

ANSWER from Swami Sivananda:
The Greek ideal, however, is moderate enjoyment of life. Most of the Western thinkers of the rationalistic type accept this.

Modern psychologists assert that by denying or refusing the needs of the body such as food and sex and suppressing emotions like attachment and love, people generally create mental problems for themselves. Is there any substance in this?
No; the senses have not been given only to be starved or killed. Neither are they given for being indulged in and fattened. In truth, the senses are not given for any earthly purpose whatsoever. That is the highest view that the sages uphold for spiritual aspirants. The senses are given for being utilized consciously and deliberately for the attainment of something altogether above and beyond the farthest reach of the senses. To understand the right import and significance of self-restraint, one must take a more comprehensive view of the question.

In the human being, these senses are given together with the superior, directive faculty of intelligence with its aspects such as discrimination, selection, etc. The senses are to operate under its wise supervision. The aim is not the ultimate denial of the senses, but the achievement through restraint, of a pleasure a million fold greater than that achieved through gratification. When one realizes this fact, he will understand, how, with the Yogic aspirant, this self-restraint is not a matter of bitterness or reluctant, unwilling repression at all. Understood in its correct light, it is a joyous, voluntary discipline undertaken for the acquisition of an infinitely greater and more blissful experience. Does the angler ever grudge the loss of the worm cast for catching a big fish?
Moreover, the rationale of asceticism is not rightly understood by most people. The ideal of asceticism and penance is not based upon repression. Conservation and sublimation are the principles underlying asceticism rightly practiced. The true ascetic withholds, diverts, canalizes and finally transmutes his natural propensities. The untoward repercussions of forced repression such as complex, neurosis, etc., have no place here. No doubt, modern psychologists are correct in their view about repression, but one must know that it does not apply to religious asceticism, wherein the process is sublimation and not just repression; and it must always be remembered that asceticism is a part of Yoga which provides such a marvelous system of mental training and culture that most effectively counteracts and wards off any possibility of neurotic complexes or obsessions.
It is, however, true that asceticism is very much misunderstood by the majority of persons, and unfortunately by the ascetics themselves, as a result of which we hardly come across a real ascetic in the aspirant world.

Yoga recommends a proper utilization of the tremendous faculties of undissipated senses for higher purposes of inner culture, social welfare, inventions, scientific progress, and finally, intuition. The senses are to be sublimated through restraint applied through reason and intelligent judgement. Their unlimited potentialities are to be harnessed for the greater good and not allowed to be most shamelessly dissipated for a momentary pleasure, unintelligent and animalistic. Viewed from this angle, the aspirant is asked not to starve and destroy the senses, but really to strengthen them and utilize them for his good. Dissipation, on the contrary, actually causes destruction of the senses.
The Greek ideal was enunciated as a general philosophy of life for the average humanity. Asceticism, as understood by the sages, is a distinctive discipline specially incumbent upon that class which would walk the spiritual way, the aspirant class dedicated to the goal of Self-realization. This class is vividly aware that the conception of "moderate enjoyment of life" is a conception alone and is well-nigh impossible to put into actual practice. For, the very nature of enjoyment is such that it tends to progressively increase in force each time the senses are indulged in. The habit gets man in its grip and draws him down. This has been the uniform experience of the sages. Therefore, at one stage or the other, a rigid religious self-control and denial becomes imperative in the march to spiritual progress.

The rank materialist may not care for it, but the seeker does. The seeker is marked out for a special achievement. You know how an ultra-modern acrobat, a ballet dancer or an expert boxer willingly imposes a rigid regimen upon himself to keep perfectly trim and healthy for his professional success. Mark the denials and restrictions during the training period of any serious candidate trying for a championship in athletics! His keen zest and enthusiasm serve to keep his mind in a high mood of inspiration and anticipation. What, then, should be the interest and aspiration in true asceticism undertaken as a part of the training for an infinitely greater achievement in the spiritual path?


Cling not to your ego, your lower self and limited mundane life. Soar high into the highest realms of eternal bliss. - Sri Swami Sivananda

 BHAGHAVAD GITA

Chapter V: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action

V.28. YATENDRIYA MANOBUDDHIR MUNIR MOKSHAPARAAYANAH;
VIGATECCHAABHAYA KRODHO YAH SADAA MUKTA EVA SAH.

(Krishna speaking to Arjuna)
With the senses, the mind and the intellect always controlled, having liberation as his supreme goal, free from desire, fear and anger-the sage is verily liberated for ever.

V.29. BHOKTAARAM YAJNATAPASAAM SARVALOKA MAHESHWARAM;
SUHRIDAM SARVABHOOTAANAAM JNAATWAA MAAM SHAANTIM RICCHAti.

He who knows Me as the enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities, the great Lord of all the worlds and the friend of all beings, attains to peace.

HARI OM TAT SAT
ITI SRIMAD BHAGAVADGEETAASOOPANISHATSU
BRAHMAVIDYAAYAAM YOGASHAASTRE SRI KRISHNAARJUNASAMVAADE
KARMASANYAASAYOGO NAAMA PANCHAMO'DHYAAYAH

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna ends the fifth discourse entitled: "The Yoga of Renunciation of Action"

A QUESTION to Swami Sivananda:
Why was Gita taught on the battlefield?

ANSWER from Swami Sivananda:
There was some meaning in the Lord's choosing the battlefield for the Gita teaching. Yes. He wanted to point out to us that wisdom should not recline on the armchair. If his wisdom did not accompany a man to the field of battle, it was no wisdom at all! Any man could talk philosophy "after dinner"; any man could discourse upon the most intricate points in the Yoga Shastras sitting comfortably near the fireplace. But that is no wisdom at all; it is mere lip-service to the supreme science of Knowledge of the Self. It is hypocrisy. These people generally fail when they face a trial, when their wisdom is put to the acid test of practical demonstration, when they find themselves in a crisis.
Krishna's Panchajanya roars a big 'No'! No, no. That is not wisdom; real wisdom will serve you right on the battlefield, right in a crisis, and will enable you to surmount the obstacle, resist the temptation, arise victoriously from the trial. You will convert the trial into a great opportunity for revealing your genius. For, genius is often made by crisis.

A strong character will not succumb to tests and temptations, however strong and powerful they may be. On the contrary, a strong character reveals its strength only at the time of such crises. A morally weak man talks philosophy when things are getting on the way he wishes them to; but his philosophy takes leave of him at the sight of a test. Whereas, a morally strong man may give no indication whatsoever of his strength in ordinary times, but when a great trial faces him, he reacts most surprisingly and reveals his character.

That is what Sadhaks should understand from Krishna's choice of the dreadful platform of the battlefield for His discourse. It was, as it were, a fitting prelude to the great Yoga of Equanimity that He was about to preach through Arjuna to the entire humanity.


Divine life is full, infinite, perfect and blissful. Therefore, lead the life divine. - Sri Swami Sivananda

RAJA YOGA

Chapter I: "Samadhi Pada- On Contemplations"

I.37. VEETA-RAAGA-VISHAYAM-VAA-CITTAM

'...or by fixing the mind on one who has transcended human passions and attachments'.

I.38. SVAPNA-NINDRAA-JNAANAALAMBANAM VAA

'...or (by meditating upon) knowledge gained in dreams or deep sleep'

Commentary from Swami Sivananda:
Another highly regarded object of meditation is a saint or sage who has attained liberation. A picture of an inspiring soul, such as Swami Sivananda, Buddha or Jesus, may be kept on the altar or other place of meditation. He may be focused on either visually or mentally. Many times the Truth is revealed by the superconscious during sleep. Usually this information is forgotten, and is only utilized by the subconscious. But if that knowledge is meditated upon consciously, great progress can be made upon the path.

A QUESTION to Swami Sivananda:
It is mentioned in our Puranas, that in days of yore, Akashvani was frequently heard by our ancestors who were forewarned of coming events. Is it credible? Or, was it only the voice of their own inner intuition?

ANSWER from Swami Sivananda:
There is some order in the four Yugas. The consciousness of man grows grosser and grosser as time rolls by. In the previous Yugas, man's consciousness was subtler than it is in this Yuga.

In the Satya Yuga, Bhagavan used to move amidst mankind. Human consciousness was not far removed from divine consciousness. In the Treta Yuga, man's consciousness grew grosser. Though God was not constantly moving amidst human beings, there were frequent Avataras of the Lord. In the Dvapara Yuga, man's consciousness grew grosser still; and only the immortal Brahma-Rishis like Narada, Visvamitra, etc., used to move amongst men, and also, Akashvanis used to warn people of coming events.

Now we feel that Akashvani is a very rare and miraculous thing; in the previous Yugas it was not so. Devas themselves used to move amongst men. And Akashvani used to forewarn the people regularly. Just as we have our Government, the celestials also have their own Government. Whenever they wished to communicate with mankind, they used to do so through Akashvani.

Nowadays the deity communicates with the people mainly through dreams and visions. That is practically the only form of communication with human beings that Devas have retained in this Yuga.


The moment you turn your mind Godward, you will gain immense strength and peace. - Sri Swami Sivananda

VEGETARIAN CUISINE

WHOLE WHEAT SPAGHETTI WITH MISO SAUCE -
Miso is high in protein (from soy beans) and a natural source of vitamin B12. Never boil miso because it destroys the vitamin content. No additional salt is necessary in this recipe because the miso is already salty.

This recipe blends East-West cuisines, and is unusual and delicious. For the miso sauce, use red ake miso or dark hatcho miso. If possible, make the sauce 6-8 hours in advance to let the flavours blend. Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons oil
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2/3 cup chopped fennel
3 tomatoes, diced
3 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced
½ carrot, grated
1 ¾ cups water
4 bay leaves
5 tablespoons miso
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Pepper to taste
18 oz wholewheat spaghetti
Grated cheese or nutritional yeast flakes for sprinkling (optional)

*Optional: 5-7 ounces of cubed tofu can be added at the same time as the vegetables

Preparation:

1. Heat oil in heavy pan and sauté the celery and fennel over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, green bell peppers, and carrot and sauté for 15 minutes longer.
2. Add the water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the miso, butter or margarine, and basil. Season to taste with pepper.
3. Cook the spaghetti in boiling water until al dente (tender but still firm to the bite). Drain well. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce and stir in the hot spaghetti. Add the cheese or yeast flakes, if using. Serve at once.

Previous Recipes: http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/diet/recipes.html

Other recipes can be found in "The Yoga Cookbook- Vegetarian Food for Body and Mind - Recipes from the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres"

Other recipes can be found in the Sivananda publication - "Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion" – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre - 2010

A QUESTION to Swami Sivananda:
How to remove indigestion?

ANSWER from Swami Sivananda:
Eat when you are hungry. Do not eat anything between meals. Eat slowly in a calm mood. Chew properly. Eat moderately. Avoid many combinations of food. Drink a glass of water one hour before or after food, never with a meal. Fast on Ekadasi. Eat nothing before 9 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Take care of your teeth. Just before or after a meal, avoid all exertion, mental or physical. Relax at least for half an hour. A long brisk walk is beneficial. Paschimottanasana, Halasana, Bhujangasana, Salabhasana, Dhanurasana, Mayurasana  these Yogasanas will remove indigestion. Depression of mind, cares, worries and anxieties also affect the stomach. Be cheerful. Be regular in your Japa.

More than food, water and fire, man's need is sympathy, kindness, and brotherhood. - Sri Swami Sivananda

UPCOMING EVENTS

Feb 11 - Feb 25/13
South India Yaatra
Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India
www.sivananda.org/neyyardam

Feb 17 - Mar 03/13
Ayurveda Wellness Course - English
Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India
www.sivananda.org/neyyardam

Feb 10 - Mar 10/13
TTC – English
Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India
www.sivananda.org/neyyardam

Feb 16 - Mar 17/13
TTC – English
Cu Chi, Vietnam
www.sivanandayogavietnam.org

Feb 23 - Mar 24/13
ATTC – English, Français, Deutsch, Espaňol
Rudraprayag Himalaya Mountains, India
www.sivananda.eu/en/yoga-teacher-training-in-india.html

Feb 24 - Mar 24/13
TTC – English
Rudraprayag Himalaya Mountains, India
www.sivananda.eu/en/yoga-teacher-training-in-india.html

Feb 24 - Mar 24/13
TTC – English
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, South India
www.sivananda.org/madurai

Mar 05 - Apr 01/13
TTC – English
Nassau, Bahamas
www.sivananda.org/nassau

Mar 17 - Apr 14/13
TTC - Teachers Training Course – English
Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India
www.sivananda.org/neyyardam

Mar 17 - Apr 14/13
TTC – English
Woodbourne, NY, USA
www.sivananda.org/ranch

Apr 05 - May 04/13
TTC – Français
Orleans, France
www.sivananda.org/orleans

Apr 04 - May 10/13
TTC – English
Nassau, Bahamas
www.sivananda.org/nassau

Apr 07 - May 05/13
TTC – English
Netala, Uttar Kashi, North India
www.sivananda.org/uttarkashi

Apr 21 - May 11/13
Kids Camp
Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India
www.sivananda.org/neyyardam

See full list of International Teacher Training Courses: http://www.sivananda.org/yoga-teacher-training/ttc-schedule.html

See full list of International Advanced Teacher Training Courses: http://www.sivananda.org/yoga-teacher-training/attc-schedule.html

See full list of International Sadhana Intensives and other courses/events: http://www.sivananda.org/courses/schedule.html

A QUESTION to Swami Sivananda:
What is the easiest method of developing devotion?

ANSWER from Swami Sivananda:
The easiest method of developing devotion is to hear again and again the Lord's Lilas. Each time you hear the Lord's Lilas and glories, an image of the Lord is formed in your mind. And when you go on hearing the glories of the Lord, in due course, the Lord's image in your mind gets strong and bright, even as the piece of wax which a goldsmith uses for collecting the gold particles which fall on the ground while cutting gold pieces, accumulates gold in it every day, and after some days, itself begins to shine like a piece of gold, when the maximum number of gold particles have stuck to it. And when the form of the Lord is bright and firm in the mind, the devotee has ceaseless remembrance of Him and surging devotion for Him.

Be selfless. Mentally remove everything and be free. This is divine life. This is the direct way to Moksha/Salvation.
- Sri Swami Sivananda

SIVANANDA WORLD NEWS - JANUARY 2013

SIVANANDA YOGA VEDANTA Ashrams -

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada

    Om Namah Sivaya! Greetings from the Headquarters.
    At the beginning of 2013 we held our Sadhana week for the staff where staff experienced a 7-day deepening of their practice. The Sadhana week was an uplifting experience for the staff, with two hours of asanas and pranayama every morning, as we sometimes take our practice for granted and chanting the Bhagavad Gita every afternoon. The chanting created a wonderful group energy that carried us forward everyday. We had the opportunity to have some rest in the evenings and enjoyed a satsang where everybody contributed a story/quote/experience that helped them in their spiritual journey or life. The Toboggan track was well used as we stopped to have a few runs down the hill from the temple and we also had fun snow shoeing up to Mount Condor and enjoyed the fantastic views it offered. As we did most of our activities together, it helped us come together as a unit, so we can push through the winter together. The following Monday saw the opening the Ashram bright and early, although we did not have any students for the morning class (due to the bad weather), we had over 12 students in the evening. The locals seemed to have missed their yoga classes, as throughout our Sadhana week we had people come but had to turn away. We have 4 guests now, with over 15 booked for the Bhagavad Gita workshop, we expected over 20 guests each weekend, looking forward to some new energy come into the Ashram.

    During mid-January it was getting to well below freezing temperatures here, expecting -37C to -40C weather tonight and tomorrow. We had about 15cms of snow one day, so a lot of the staff spent their day shovelling and clearing all the paths. Swami Shivabhaktananda left for Madurai to teach the ATTC. For the Bhagavad Gita workshop we saw more than 20 guests. Neeti gave an introduction to the Gita during the Weekend's Friday night Satsang, continuing during the two-hour workshop on the Saturday afternoon. The workshop concluded on Saturday night during satsang. The guests enjoyed their workshop and had a lot to think about as they were explained how the Gita shows the way one should live their life and how to practice it in their everyday life. During the week days we welcomed 8 guests, with a lot of interest over the last few weeks for the Meditation workshop. We welcomed many guests and also some locals for the meditation workshop. Apart from this we carried our daily duties of teaching, cooking, housekeeping and reception, trying to keep the energy up while we go through the cold winter. All the staff are well. Salutations for the New Year to all from the Camp. May all be well. May the Masters' grace and blessings be with us always.


Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    2012 came to a close with the last 2 days of the Yoga Ayurveda Cultural Program. Guest artistes included Sri Ananthapadmanabhan from Thrissur who gave a veena concert, accompanied by his son and Ratna Sree, the only female professional tablist in Kerala. She gave an impressive demonstration of the various intricacies of the tabla. At the beginning of 2013, hardly had the Christmas decorations come down then we were preparing for the January multi language TTC. This year we had 9 foreign language groups - Japanese, Persian, Russian, French, Spanish, German, Tamil, Hindi and Malyalam. Swami Mahadevananda and Swami Rajeshwariananda returned to the Ashram in time for TTC initiation. We also welcomed Swami Shyamananda and Mani Chaitanya for TTC teaching. A record 245 students enrolled. Fortunately many assistants arrived to the Ashram to help out.

    During mid-January, as you can imagine it is all systems go with this large TTC group plus, many yoga vacationers visiting the Ashram. For the last few years we made temporary grass roof dormitories with mattresses on the floor at this time of the year. Nevertheless, the Ashram routine continued as normal. The 'Finding Your Voice' program with Jyoti, was much appreciated by the yoga vacationers. At the end of the 3-day course, the group chanted 'Om Namo Narayanaya' to prepare students for meditation. The voice students also led inspiring bhajans. For the cultural program a Nadaswaram group performed traditional music from Tamil Nadu. Over a hundred students went on the day trips to Kanya Kumari and the jungle on Friday Dayoff. We also welcomed new staff, Max from Montreal, and previous staff Chandra Cohen and family from New York. Om Namah Sivaya from all the staff at Neyyar Dam. May Master and Swamiji bless us all this year.




Sivananda Ashram Kutir, Netala, Uttarkashi, North India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    The high season concluded at Netala. We were blessed with many vibrant energetic souls arriving for the teachings of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnudevananda. Peace and Pranams to all for the New Year. Om.



Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
    Om Namah Sivaya
    The month started on a high note with a wonderful New Year's celebration, which began with a powerful Siva Yantra Puja with our priest including the 1000 names of Lord Siva. New Year's resolutions were filled out by staff and guests alike, everyone determined to start the year on a note of inspiration and increased self discipline. The evening concluded with a midnight torch procession through the park ending with a strong arati at the temple with the powerful sound of the conch. As part of the evening was also the chanting of many of the known and less known English Kirtan of Master, with each swami leading one, including  "Everywhere is OM", "Song of Govinda", "Song of Brahman", "Is there not a nobler mission", etc... Sivadas organised an improntu theatre play "King Bharatha" in 2 languages, with only one reherseal on the same day. We also had a program with Stephen Quong about Jyothisha with inspiring evening lectures on the different aspects of vedic astrology. On the second of January we said good-bye to Swami Kailasananda and Swami Jyotirmayananda.  Swami Shyamananda also left a few days after for Neyyar Dam to translate the TTC into German. After the New year crowd, another  group of 18 students arrived for one week Yoga vacation, determined to start the year on a positive note. The landscaping project in the Ashram is being continued, the first part of it is almost completed – we now have a large paved area between the building with newly formed flower beds and lights. Girija, staff at the Ashram and a landscaper architect by profession, is now making plans for the flower beds themselves. We filed a permit for the building of a new bathhouse, which, if all goes well, should be built in the spring. OM.



Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya
    At the beginning of 2013 Swami Sitarmananda departed for India and to prepare for the upcoming TTC in Cu Chi, Vietnam, accompanied by Ananta Ch. We send our prayers for a safe and inspired trip spreading Swamiji's vision of peace and unity in Vietnam. The Yoga Farm welcomed guests for the 5-day Beginner Course taught by Lilamayi and Jayanta. Some of the guests have remained for the Intermediate Yoga Course. The programs included the Ayurveda Massage Relaxation and Rejuvenation Retreat, with guests receiving Ayurvedic therapies and consultations. Ayurvedic practitioner Ambika gave talks on daily routines and constitutions. We also had the Beginner Weekend Intensive, with many guests visiting the Ashram for the first time. Ayurvedic cook, Bharata, offered a Cooking Workshop to the staff, including a talk on proper use of spices and their benefits. 

    During mid-January guests enjoyed the Intermediate Yoga Course with Shambu das and Kailas Chaitanya, with a focus on asana variations and study of the Four Paths of Yoga. The weekend Stress Relief and Relaxation program was a great success, with guests learning about Prana, Stress, Asanas and Proper Breathing. Asana classes emphasized breath and relaxation with a special Yoga Nidra session included. The winter weather continued to be very warm, with temps in the 60s, allowing the karma yogis to get out to work on pruning trees in the garden, tending the temples and tree cutting on the grounds. Om Shanti.




Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch, Woodbourne, New York, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    At the beginning of 2013 all was well at the Ranch, after a wonderful entry into the New year, which was celebrated with joy and love, and a lot of good cheer by the staff and many guests that joined us. We opened the doors of the Ashram for a new lively beginning to 2013. Guests continued to arrive during the first week where daily programmes were given, introducing them in to the benefits of yoga and much more, reminding us of the brilliance of Swami Vishnudevananda in his approach to disseminate the knowledge of Yoga and the devotion to Swami Sivananda. Later things got a little quieter, as we hosted a couple of guests following the beginners programme. It was always wonderful to see people new to the Organisation and yoga, as they come and immerse themselves in a course like this. Another weekend programme was a beginners' introduction, also with workshops on the five points of Swami Vishnudevananda. We had a good turnout for this time of the year. One Saturday Swami Ambikananda and Mahadev Chaitanya went into New York Centre to take part in a teachers meeting, which was well attended. One Sunday an Open House was offered at the Ranch to encourage local participation, with a tour of the Ashram, a basic class, a meal and a talk on the five points, and, of course, the Boutique was open and the Sauna on. We had a good attendance, with visitors considering taking TTC, more beginners' courses and pre-booking yoga weekends with us in the future.

    During mid-January it was very quiet during the weekdays, with busy weekends. For our Martin Luther King Long Weekend we offered a positive-thinking theme. We had a good guest attendance. The regular classes were taught, with addition of midday chanting and coaching and a 2.00pm positive thinking workshop, which were all well attended by the guests. The movie about Martin Luther King was shown to all. A much moved and inspired audience participated, making us reflect. TTC bookings continued for the March course. The New Year was certainly coming into full swing. The staff send Pranams to all! May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for 2013.




Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
    Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves

    At the beginning of 2013 the morning and evening satsangs were hosted by Guest Speaker, Pundit Amarananda Bhairavan who spoke on the healing power of yoga. The popular New Year's detoxification program was held. The Ashram also hosted Theta Healing's new advanced course with participants attending from around the world. Srinivasan and Saraswati arrived at the Ashram for the TTC/ATTC inauguration. Srinivasan will teach in the ATTC. Mavis Gewant led the Divine Creativity program with her sacred painting workshops. The TTC and ATTC courses entered their second week of training.

    During mid-January we held the interfaith devotional singing festival "On The Wings of Ecstasy".  Participating artists included Sufi musician Amir Vahab, Sepharadim composer guitarist Juan De la Sierra representing the Jewish tradition, roots music master Ken Whiteley representing the Christian tradition and Tibetan composer Lama Karma Chotso representing the Buddhist tradition. The festival concluded on Sunday night with an energetic kirtan concert with the Mayapuris. We enjoyed all the participants with their diverse backgrounds and musical traditions. Our priest, Krishnan Namboodiri performed a beautiful Ayyappa Puja. The 3-day Vegan Nutrition retreat was lead by nutritionist Grace Van Berkum. The participants made delicious, healthy, 'mostly raw' vegan dishes.  Silvia Nakkach and John Beaulieu arrived for the popular Yoga of Sound program.  The TTC and ATTC courses entered their third week of training. Om Namah Sivaya. We send all our love to you. Om Namah Sivaya. Pranams to all! Om.




Sivananda Ashram, Retreat House, Reith, Tyrol, Austria
    Om Namah Sivaya
    We had a beautiful Christmas Celebration with a peace puja, mantra chanting, singing Christmas carols in many languages, a Christmas message, festive meal and a very funny Tyrolean Santa Claus. It was A very joyous atmosphere, with everyone participating wholeheartedly. The special program week saw the continuation of lectures and consultations with Stephen Quong, the lecture series with Swami Sivadasananda and Swami Ramapriyananda and asana workshops  with Swami Narayanananda. The Christmas Yoga Sadhana Week offered daily pranayama practice at 5.15am, Om namo Narayanaya chanting for world peace, Likitha Japa and Shanti Mantras recitation. Several students came especially for the Sivananda Beginner's Guide to Yoga receiving step by step instruction into the yoga practice. Rajyashree Ramesh gave 4 workshops on the dynamic melodies, rhythms, dance steps and hand gestures of Bharata Natyam-South Indian Temple Dance. Together with her daughter Kirthi she treated us to a dynamic dance performance. Between Christmas and New Years the main asana classes were shifted to the Village Hall to accommodate for everyone. The New Year's Eve celebration was greatly appreciated by all: An uplifting peace concert by Sri Venugopal Goswami and the musicians, a  very entertaining and  instructive theater play 'Everything happens for the best', mantra chanting, meditating into the New Year and an inspiring message by Swami Durgananda on devotion, self control and how to give more time to others. Swami Ramapriyananda, Swami Sivadasananda, Swami Atmaramananda, Swami Narayanananda and Swami Vidyananda shared special workshops and lectures on 'Yoga-Music of the Soul' with enthusiastic Kirtans, 'Yoga inspiration for daily life', a beautiful slide show on Swamiji's mission in the West, asana workshops on 'Asanas & proper muscle length and muscle strength' as well as 'Sitting and standing asanas'. A very auspicious occasion was the initiation of three new Brahmacharis and two new Sanyasis: Ishwara Chaitanya, Saraswati Chaitanya and Gopika Chaitanya. The new Sanyasis are Durga Chaitanya, now Swami Vairagyananda and Mangala Chaitanya, now Swami Mangalananda. May the Masters guide and inspire their Sadhana. The Bhagavata Saptaha decorated every evening with the wisdom of the Srimad Bhagavatam, thanks to guest of honour Sri Venugopal Goswami. TTC had a good 3rd week, students enjoyed the presence of longtime students and teachers at the Retreat House. During the second week of January the TTC went into its 4th week. Energy and spirits were up. The guests readily tapped in to this special energy and enjoyed the yoga vacation programme. The talent show had a beautiful open atmosphere, with TTC's sharing their outlook on the TTC, reciting poems, singing songs and some nice slide shows.  On Friday we had the mantra initiation with 24 students. It was an auspicious occasion.  All 30 students passed the exam with the total number of TTC graduates coming to 32026. The TTC finally came to a joyful end with the graduation ceremony and a get together were TTC's and staff looked back at a great TTC experience and talked about the options for the future in the field of their own Sadhana, teaching and possibilities for serving at the ashram. OM.


Sivananda Ashram Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    During mid-January all was very good for the Ashram. Yoga vacation started on 16-01-13 with 65 guests, which is record number of guests for Madurai Ashram. We already had 23 students in the Sadhana Intensive Course, which concluded on 20-01-13 morning, with a Lalita Sahasranama Puja. On 20th evening, the ATTC commenced. 73 students were initiated, by Prahlad, Swami Shivbhaktananda, Swami Gayatriananda and Swami Parmeshwariananda. Swami Parmeshwariananda left on 21-01-13. Master's & Swamiji Vishnudevananda's grace was felt. All the guests & TTC students were accommodated peacefully. All are well at the Ashram and conveying Peace and Pranams to the Sivananda family for 2013.



SIVANANDA YOGA VEDANTA Centres -
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum, Berlin, Germany
    Om Namah Sivaya
    The Christmas week was very peaceful with good participation in the open classes and Satsangs. Sivani came from Munich to support the centre after christmas. The new years eve celebration was taking place with a good group of students and teachers and we reached the new year in silent meditation.
    The centre was very active with preparations for the upcoming special program. We welcomed Swami Atmaramananda as well as Swami Vairagyananda, Durga Devi from Lithuania and Sita from London to help with this programme. We also welcomed a new staff, Ishwara from Southern Germany. The special programme with Swami Durgananda, Swami Sivadasananda, Swami Atmaramananda and indian music was very successful. We had the most uplifting Bhagavata Sapthaha with life music by Sri Sant Venugopal Goswami from Vrindavan. The Bhagavata Saptaha, the Asana Workshops and lectures were very well attended, students were very happy, many of them came almost every day. The highlight was the festival on the weekend. There was a teachers workshop with many of the teachers of the centre as well as a good group of other Sivananda teachers. We had parallel Asana classes in the afternoon in 3 halls. Swami Durgananda gave two very well attended and appreciated lectures on the topics of "From the unreal to the real" and "inner and outer peace"  Many  long term students came especially to these lectures as well as  teachers and new students. Students from Hamburg as well as from different polish cities joined the program on the weekend. During the whole week we had good help of many very dedicated Karma Yogis. The energy in the centre was uplifted more and more day by day. On the weekend we had mantra initiation. After the program the courses restarted and the centre came back to the usual rhythm. A meditation course started successfully and on the weekend we had a good group of newcomers for the beginners intensive course. Some stayed for Satsang on Saturday evening. OM.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Om Namah Sivaya

    Om Namo Narayanaya. Hello from Buenos Aires. Senior staff attended the Groped TTC during January see report below. Prem & Om to all for 2013.

    TTC Garopaba/ Brazil: 
    The 9th TTC has been taking place in Garopaba, in Brazil together with other two courses, the usual ATTC and also the course entitled "Yoga for the Heart". This course, ministered by Nichala Joy Devi a very gentle woman who created the "Yoga for the Heart", a program for the teachers to adapt the traditional teachings of Yoga to apply them on cardiopaths. She teaches with the support of her partner, Bhaskar, who gives all the adaptive relaxation classes. The TTC students enjoyed the program as they develop their awareness towards the Teachings of the Masters. There were students from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, Italy, USA, Germany and Haiti. We had 10 staff to do all the translations, classes, lectures, etc. It was really a challenge because we have mostly new people as staff this year. By the grace of our Gurus everything ran well. In total there were 45 TTCs, 8 ATTC and 19 for Yoga of the Heart students. For 7 days we were very fortunate to have the companionship and the extremely joyful contribution of Gopala and Vani Devi, who brought us a special light with their presence. Vani Devi is a wonderful pianist and Gopala a tabla player. They were so inspired that they composed a special music which they played to us around the bonfire on the last Saturday. Surely the Masters were as delighted as we were. This month the food was, as usual, one of the highlights. We had two ladies running the kitchen. They cook marvelous and delicious meals. They were very creative and surprised us every day with new dishes. They loved to cook and fed us with love. The weather was wonderful. It allowed us to do abundant silent walks. The area was peaceful and gorgeous. The splendor of the rain forest astonished us, the smell and colors of the amazing flowers invaded our senses with joy. The main teachers, Kanti Devi, Swami Premananda, Radha Chaitanya and Tandava Chaitanya conducted classes and Satsangs. Jñanadevi, Rudra, Mahashakti, Hari and Dharani helped with classes, running the boutique and doing translations. Some other teachers came as work study: Yashoda, Nirmala, Uma and Anandi. Everybody was happy and very respectful to Master and Guru's teachings. Om Namah Sivaya.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chennai, India
    Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves from the Chennai Centre.

    At the beginning of 2013 all staff and students were in good spirits! Our Open Classes and Beginners' Courses continued with strong numbers. We started our new Saturday evening class, and soon we will have a twice-weekly-early-evening Kids' Class. We welcomed Karna and Mariana from Chile, and Sankara from San Francisco, arriving at the Centre for 10 days before heading to Vietnam to assist in TTC. We celebrated Karna's birthday, with a nice dinner and chocolate cake and wished him best wishes as he heads for ATTC in Madurai. Our Ayurvedic Services continued to attract patients, with much interest in Abhyanga (oil massage from Kerala) and related treatments. May all be well around the World! 

    During mid-January all were well here in Chennai. Swami Mahadevanada had a quick stop-over in Chennai on his way to China. We wish him a safe and fruitful journey. We welcomed Swami Sitaramananda, director of our Ashram in Grass Valley California, USA, and our Centre in Vietnam. She gave an interesting lecture on "Yoga for Healing Addictions". The lecture focused on teaching students how to change unhealthy habits; understand the elements that lead to addiction and use yogic and Ayurvedic integrative treatments. Much work happened around the Centre as the garden was cleaned, filled with new plants and given tender-care by Sankara, who is visiting for 10 days. There continued to be a strong demand for Ayurvedic Services. Our Beginner's Courses continue to attract new students! The staff at the Chennai Centre wishes all the Sivananda family a year full of blessings. We all remain in good health and send pranams.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chicago, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya!

    At the beginning of 2013 the Centre became busier as several new courses, including "Introduction to Meditation" and "Positive Thinking", started. We also held a workshop on stress management one Saturday, which was well received. Temperatures in the city dropped considerably, so we are experiencing some real winter.

    During mid-January, a highlight was a meeting for teachers and karma yogis. All gathered at the Centre for an asana class, satsang and the teachers meeting, plus a lunch. We were happy to have all gathered together at one time. By Masters and Swamiji's grace, all was well with courses being specially well-attended, despite the very cold temperatures in Chicago. All the staff sends pranams of peace to all the Sivananda family for 2013. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi from the Centre in Chicago.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dwarka Centre, Delhi, India
    Om Namah Sivaya
    The Centre's activities continued very well. At the beginning of 2013 we had regular classes going on and our open classes saw a rise in the student no especially the 10 am class from the last week. Our kids and prenatal classes were also good. We had an advance class on Sunday, which was attended by a few of our eager students. On the same day, Swami Mahadevananda visited the Centre. A few visiting karma yogis had prepared food for swami ji and other staff members and everybody had the opportunity to have lunch with Swami ji. He met a few staff and teachers for the first time and though it was a short visit to the Centre everyone liked it as he spent some time talking to everyone for a while. Everything is good in the Centre by the god and guru's blessings. 

    During mid-January started with a new y1 beginner's course for 4 pm with a few students attending it. On Monday, we had a Havan on account of maker shankranti a festival of kites and we also celebrated the new year with it. Later in the week the Centre saw an incoming and an outgoing of karma yogis as deev who was working as a karma yogi had good experience for 2 months before he left for his attc and pranvati a new karma yogin who is all ready to stay at the for 3 months was welcomed in the Centre just a day before Deev left. The week ended with a shatt kriya work shop which saw a good strength of eager students attending it and an advance class with a few students to it. As weather continued to be cold, we experienced yet another week of reduced footfall to the Centre over the week. Pranams from all the staff at Dwarka. We are all well and wish the Sivananda family a wonderful year 2013. Om Shanti.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Nataraja Centre, Delhi, India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    During mid-January A new beginners' course has started this Monday. Despite the continued cold climate, many open classes are full and shows  long time students enthusiasm to keep up their practice.  The Wednesday and Sunday stasngs are as usual and kids classes are are still on every Sunday. We send our pranams to all. Prem and Om from all staff at the Nataraja Centre. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for the New Year. Om Namo Narayanaya!


Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
    Om Namah Sivaya from the Geneva Centre
    Staff returned from the Retreat house in Reith inspired and recharged. We had a very lively reopening of the center after a two weeks pause. The outside-classes at the United Nations Organization started with good numbers of students as well as the pensioner's class which we are teaching in cooperation with the City of Geneva. A highlight of the month was the open day which was prepared by daily poster-runs by staff and karma-yogis. It was the biggest group we remember for an open day and Staff could feel the guidance and the energy of the masters. On a Saturday we had a workshop about the benefits of the asanas which included a power-point-show and was much appreciated by the students. Throughout the whole month we had excellent support from karma-yogis. Some of them are new and trained in different departments of the center. A photo ad text display with the history of the organization was put up in the meditation-room, giving the students the opportunity to have more information about how the teachings of yoga came to the west. The new brochure arrived from the printer and was sent out. OM.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Om Namah Sivaya

    At the beginning of 2013 The Centre remained open during the New year Holiday, but most students went away during this time making the number of students less than normal. On the positive side, we received a lot of students for open class who are tourists finding our Centre in Tripadvisor.com, as we are Top #1 in the list of "What to do in Hochiminh, Vietnam" in this site. This week the Centre started the construction for the new floor with Puja for Lakshmi and Ganesha. We expect this project will finish before the Lunar New Year In February. Early this week we welcomed our new long-term resident Lauren.  She is enjoying her stay and the teaching very much. During the weekend we had a successful Open house.  Most of the students signed up for the courses in the coming weeks. The staff are busy making the next 3 month brochure and preparing for the upcoming TTC in February. We welcome back our karma yogis Omkari, Pranava, and Sivadas from their trip to India and Nepal.
    During mid-January we saw a nice week at the HCM Centre. We are honored to welcome Swami Sitaramananda for her visit of 2 days before her trip to India for Jyotish conference. We held the TTC information day for the 1st time with lots of participants. The to be students appreciated Swamiji 's guidance about preparing mentally for the TTC which is more important  than the material preparation. During the week, Jaya Yoga workshop taught by Ananta Chaitanya also attracted lot of serious attendants. The Students learned how to meditate and relax while praticing 12 basical poses. Wednesday evening satsang with Swami Sitaramananda had full room with more than 40 student attended. Swamiji taught a great lesson about Yoga and Ayurveda, how it leads to the Oness and will lead the world to peace, health and prosperity. The teacher meeting happened this week led by Swamiji, it was a warmth energy for all teachers. This week , we also welcomed two more residents who will join us for the upcoming months and 2 of them will also take the  TTC in Feb. Staff are busy preparing for TTC . We all feel the blessings from the Divine Mother and Gurus We are all feeling the blessings of Guru's grace. Om Namo Narayanaya and messages of Peace for 2013. Pranams to all the Sivananda family.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, London, England
    Om Namah Sivaya
    During mid-January Swami Durgananda, Swami Sivadasananda and special guests were with us for a week-long programme entitled: Uniting Body, Mind and Spirit. The daily programme included special asana workshops, talks on Yoga philosophy and evenings of meditation, mantra chanting and spiritual discourses with live music. Swami Durgananda led talks on Yoga in Daily Life. The first talk drew insights from the Vedantic teachings of Vivekachudamani. The second talk drew inspiration from the teachings of Swamiji and how peace can be experienced through positive change and self discipline. Both talks used clear and simple language to convey the deeper aspects of Yoga. Swami Sivadasananda conducted a special weekend programme on the theme Postural Realignment through the Basic Sivananda Class. The programme included 2 asana workshops per day. Students had before and after plumb line photos taken to highlight the sometimes dramatic enhancements to their overall body alignment through the practice of the 12 basic asanas with Pranayama. Swamiji also led a teachers' workshop as part of the weekend. The workshop aimed at explaining scientifically just how changes in body awareness and postural alignment can occur through Yoga. The evening discourses were a spiritual highlight and source of spiritual nourishment for all in attendance. The beautiful ragas combined with the wisdom of the ancient scripture provided an atmosphere conducive to an inner experience of the wisdom of the Yoga philosophy. Despite the very cold weather and snowfall, student spirits are very high and we had strong attendance for all programmes. Pranams for peace for 2013 to all the Sivananda family from the London Centre.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    At the beginning of 2013 attendance at the Centre was steady - both regular students and also some new faces. Our weekend events were well attended - a vegetarian soup-making workshop, led by Gauri one Saturday afternoon, a Saturday night spiritual movie (Happy) and also a Clothes Refurbishing Workshop one Sunday afternoon to encourage people to re-use and renew instead of throwing away! Anandi, our new temp staff, arrived. She will assist Gauri in running the Centre while Swami Omkarananda returns to UK for a month to care for her daughter, Krishnaprem. Staff are well in spite of the many viruses which are circulating. All are well, by God and Gurus' grace. Om Shanti.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madrid, Spain
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves!
    After the prolonged Spanish end-of-the-year holidays, the centre quickly went back to its regular busy schedule. Four Y1, one Y2, one Y1 intensive, and one Y2 intensive beginner courses started successfully in January as well as an Introduction to Meditation and an Intensive Meditation courses. Jyothi happily started  teaching and assisting beginner courses for the first time, and Karuna has been gaining more practice teaching open classes in Spanish and helping out with reception.
     
    On the 19th of January, the centre had its first Open Doors day for the year with 53 new students visiting the centre for the first time. They attended with interest the program which included a trial class, a lecture on the 5 points of yoga, and an introduction to meditation. A few of the first time visitors enrolled for all three beginner level courses offered at the centre and there was much interest about our upcoming retreat and the TTC in Rudraprayag.
     
    On the 20th of January, the centre welcomed Jyotisha expert Stephen Quong for a 4 day program in Vedic Astrology, which included three lectures and private consultations with students and visitors of the centre.
     
    After a month of  teaching in ashrams and centres in various parts of Europe, Swami Atmaramananda returned to Madrid on the 21st of January where he was eagerly anticipated and warmly welcomed by staff, teachers, karma yogis, and students at the centre.
     
    We all hope that the dynamic and positive atmosphere in the centre at the start of the new year will continue into the rest of 2013.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madurai, South India
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Staff from the new Sivananda Centre Madurai send their pranams to all the Sivananda family. Om Shanti.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Milano, Italy
    Om Namah Sivaya from all staff in Milano.
    Om Namo Narayanaya. Pranams to all.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montevideo, Uruguay
    Om Namah Sivaya
    At the beginning of 2013 we had very hot days, resulting in night classes having higher attendance. We began a Thursday course for beginners with twelve people attending. Gopika spread with flyers around and she is helping us with teaching the classes. too. We had Satsangs with a good number of people. We continued the pregnancy and regular classes.

    During mid-January we had a better assistance from students. Gopika went to the city to do the poster runs. We also did maintenance work, bringing cleanliness and order in the Centre. We also updated some administrative tasks. Regular classes and pregnancy class remain regular. The Friday Satsangs had a good number of students. Staff send pranams to all the Sivananda Family. Om.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Om Namah Sivaya
    At the beginning of 2013 we started the new year with renewed energy with many new people and regular members coming for the open classes. We also had a influx of children for the Sunday Kids Classes. Their playful, light energy was welcomed. When the Christmas decorations were taken down the Centre was looking a little bare!! A Yoga 1 started with 13 new motivated students, we are pleased that a new graduate from the November TTC (Val Morin), Sundar, taught the class. He was feeling very inspired to serve this group. A meditation course started, facilitated by Sankara Chaitanya. The students range from a 17 year student to an Engineer all seeking to find balance and peace in their lives. The design of the French and English brochure for 2013 was completed and printed. We are excited about the varied programmes being offered to the students ranging from Silence and Juice Fasting Day to devotional Sufi music concerts. The weather took a turn here and the snow quickly disappeared ... for now!! We have even have people travel on their bikes to classes. We feel thankful for Swamiji's and Master's grace.

    During mid-January was fairly constant flow of students for the open classes and courses, which ran well. People continued to purchase annual membership and sign up to courses such as Yoga 1 & 2.  The Centre was filled with positive energy. We offered a day's programme of Fasting and Silence to which we received 14 students. The day consisted of offerings of organic juices, broths, an open class, readings from Master and Swami Ji, Yoga Nidra, Om chanting, Lakita Japa and Meditation sessions. It ended with a beautiful Ganesha Puju, conducted by Priest Siva, from Montreal. The students looked peaceful by the end of the day and so did the karma yogi's helping. It is the second time the Centre has hosted this day, consequently it felt as though the vibrations of the Centre had been raised. We offered a South Indian cooking workshop, delivered by Neeti, from Yoga Camp, presented with lots of enthusiasm. There were 10 participants. The food was created with lots of love and energy and by the end of course the students enjoyed the shared meal. There was also a headstand workshop, for those who wanted to improve their asana practice. The participant numbers have increased for Satsangs on Sundays. It was very wonderful to see the yoga community grow. We were blessed to have many karma yogis help with the operation of the Centre. Many shared that they are thankful to have this Sivananda family in Montreal. It is beautiful to know that the Master and Swami Ji have provided this community, sense of belonging and spiritual Centre for those who need it. The weather changed quickly. The temperature dropped to minus 20 Celsius !! We hope that students will still continue to practice at this time to support them through the cold period. We feel thankful for Swamiji's and Master's grace.  Pranams to all the Sivananda family for 2013.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Munich, Germany
    Om Namah Sivaya from the Munich Centre!
    We started into the New Year with our traditional New Years Eve celebration. We performed a puja, listened to spiritual stories, meditated into the New Year and filled out resolve forms. In the first weeks of January we had an Open House, a cooking class and a one day retreat with the title "Prana and Pranayama – the Art of Breathing". We also started a Raja Yoga course and had a special programme "Indian temple ceremonies" with a South Indian priest. Since January we are also offering an additional Gentle Class on Tuesday 8 p.m. In the next weeks we are looking forward among other activities to a preparation day for the yoga teachers training course and a special programme with lectures, asana workshops and satsangs with Swami Atmaramananda. OM.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Neuquen, Patagonia, Argentina
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    Greetings from Patagonia, Argentina! At the beginning of 2013 activities in the Neuquén SYVC went very well. New people come asking about the schedule of yoga and meditation. We had a Friday Satsang, busy with new people who meditated for the first time. Classes and activities continued. Saturday was free and open class on the coast of Rio Limay. It was very crowded. The weather that day was very nice with a refreshing morning breeze, in contrast to the days of extreme heat of late. In short, all was normal and auspicious.

    During mid-January it was very productive. New students came to take classes. We sold boutique-items, cleaned the rooms, studied the scriptures, did kirtan and the yogic routines in the Centre, all with joy, devotion and cooperation. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all. Pranams.






Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, New York, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    At the beginning of 2013 we started several new courses with a good number of students in each, including Yoga 1, 2, Meditation and Positive Thinking and advanced courses with Swami Sadasivananda, "All Things are Possible"- Advanced Positive Thinking. We welcomed a group of FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) students with a great response and curiosity about our Ashrams and Teachers' Training Course. One weekend we held a Teacher's Meeting, with 27 teachers attending. Swami Ambikananda and Mahadev Chaitanya came for the meeting. We discussed the Centre in its many facets, reviewed last year's activities, went over new activities/courses and classes of the Centre. We also discussed the importance of their participation as active teachers. It was a time of re-commitment, inspiration and renewal. We began to introduce teacher evaluations and feedback plus, development meetings, for continued growth and tuning. It was a great coming together for all staff and teachers.

    During mid-January we had ongoing courses and classes with great attendance! One weekend we held several classes that were all well attended. One Saturday was a full house, which began with our Open Class and a special Inversion and Balancing workshop taught by Ted, senior teacher in the organization. We then opened the doors to 14 Japanese students who began a Yoga 1 course with our newly trained teacher Karuna. She brought together her students and created this beginners' course with great zeal and generosity. Gauri Devi lead a Macrobiotic Cooking workshop, with 16 students, including 3 deaf students with an interpreter. It was a successful day with great joy and teachings. Joe, continued to rebuild the boutique, one step at a time. We installed the new desk, very simple and clean design, made of light wood. We are all very happy with this. Om Shanti. All staff are well, sending blessings to all other staff. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for the upcoming year.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Paris, France
    Om Namah Sivaya
    New Year's Eve was a warm and joyful celebration which was attended by close to 40 students. In a joined effort, staff and karma yogi's had prepared a delicious feast which was completed with the celebration of Swamiji's birthday. The resolution forms were filled in, the chanting of the Om Namo Narayanaya mantra was vibrant and we meditated into the New Year. The first week of the year started with a special program on Vedic Astrology including three informative lectures exploring the planetary influence on a person's life and character traits.  Paris enjoyed this month the serenity of a silencing blanket of snow with the snow covered streets calming down the city.  We welcomed during the Open Day a new group of students to the centre who were very receptive to Master's teachings. Many booked for courses and classes afterwards. The new brochure arrived and two week-end satsangs were dedicated to the mailing – students loved it and expressed their joy in the communal karma yoga. A well attended meditation course started and a workshop on breathing and prana contained practical advice on how to increase one energy level through the yogic lifestyle. OM.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Porto Alegre, Brasil, South America
    Om Namah Sivaya from Brasil
    Senior staff attended the Garopaba TTC during January see report with Buenos Aires. Pranams and Peace for 2013, from all the staff at Porto Alegre Centre.



Centro Yoga Vedanta Sivananda, Rome, Italy
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves
    During mid-January after a very successful Open House, we had a busy week starting new courses, Yoga 1s, Yoga 2s and Meditation with plenty of interest in more courses starting over the next few weeks. We are beginning to promote our TTC and doing active poster runs around the city. The weather has been quite rough with storms and much rain, which has deterred a few of our regular students. We had very peaceful and joyful Sunday Satsangs. The staff are well. The staff were well and sending their pranams and best wishes for a peaceful 2013. May the blessings of Master and Swamiji be with all. Om & Prem from Roma.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, San Francisco, California, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves

    At the beginning of 2013 lots of new events wer held with energy moving into 4 new courses starting; Yoga 1 and an intermediate class Yoga 2.5, and Positive Thinking and Meditation courses 1 and 2. Wednesday night Gita study continued as normal, as we begin to finish Discourse 3. One weekend we hosted a special workshop "Healing on the Edge" with Dale Borglum (Ram Dev), the founder of the Living and Dying Project, a group that brings consciousness and spirituality into  caregiving and hospice. Over 3 talks, the last during Sunday Satsang, Dale discussed how the practices of meditation and acceptance of death can help us lead more fulfilling lives and deaths.

    During mid-January the Centre's programs continued, coming into the second week of courses. Bhagavad Gita Study on Wednesday nights continued with the conclusion to the 3rd discourse.  For Sunday satsang, Narayan Chaitanya commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday with a reading of Dr. Kings Nobel Prize acceptance speech as well as a reading of a relevant talk of Swamiji's from Upadesha regarding the mission of the TWO. Pranams to all from San Francisco Centre.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tel Aviv, Israel
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Blessings and Peace to all of the Sivananda Family for 2013 from the Tel Aviv Centre.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tokyo, Japan
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves

    At the beginning of 2013 the student numbers are slowly picking up as most people are back to work after the New Year. We had a new Yoga1 system starting, along with Yoga2, which are really a standard eight classes of Yoga1 divided into two parts, but putting more emphasis on learning things slowly and surely, step by step rather than rushing for advanced asanas such as headstand. It seems to be attracting students who are more serious about learning yoga. Padmavati Masako from US came to gave an energetic Kirtan workshop one Saturday, which was well attended. The students were not shy about chanting, even though it was the first time to chant Kirtan for some of them.

    During mid-January we had about 20cm of snow one day, which is a quite considerable amount for Tokyo, causing some disruption for the public transport, etc. The road became icy, and it seemed to have affected the attendances of the daily classes. A new Vedanta study beginner class started on Thursday afternoons, in which Sri Cetanaji in Kyoto taught us gathering at the asana hall via Skype. We had a short, but lively discussion with a cup of tea afterwards. This was slated to be a regular class every week. May the blessings of Master and Swamiji be with us all for 2013. Pranams and Peace to all the Sivananda Family.






Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Om Namah Sivaya

    At the beginning of 2013 we started two Yoga 1 courses, one in the mornings and one in the evenings. All our open classes had a a very good attendance and one day we even had one class that was completely full so we gave another open class at the same time in Shambudas Hall to the rest of the students that couldn't fit in the regular class. We welcomed Ganesha and little Kai, from Val-Morin, who joined us in Friday Satsang with some chanting. They stayed for a weekend, bringing innocent and playful energy to the Centre. We offered our regular Puja and the advanced class which was getting more and more popular among our regular students.  We have been experiencing a very warm trend in Toronto which allowed lots of people come to the free trial class and advanced class. After the classes we held Satsangs with Saraswati, where she talked about the importance of prayers and surrendering attitude towards God, in any culture and religion. The Satsangs were followed by tasty soups prepared with love, that everybody enjoyed.

    During mid-January our daily morning Satsangs continued to bring people to inspire their rest of the day. A Yoga 1 course started on Tuesday nights with a good number of students. Open classes went very well with a big number of students. Our Saturday morning classes were especially at full capacity, mainly because a lot of parents came to take the open class while their children take the Kid's Class. Saraswati and Mayavan started the classes for the elder kids (age 9-12) and Vidya and Kalyani with the younger group (age 5-8). Saturday afternoon Yoga 1 started with good attendance and some of our recent beginner students joined us in a Headstand Workshop. More regular students joined us afterwards in the advanced class.  On Sundays, we had full house, as we continued with the Yoga 1 course. More students from the University of Toronto and people from the neighbourhood were curious and began to attend more and more of our free trial class each week. We started few weeks ago to post our flyers and posters in shops, coffee shops and restaurants around the Centre area. We also had a special intermediate and advanced workshop on Inversions, with Janaki, our regular advanced class and finally Satsang with Saraswati, who talked about the true sense of practising yoga, as a system. Saraswati proposed to begin focusing at each of the evening Satsangs on one of the limbs of Ashtanga, to explain it in detail, in all different levels and ways of practice. Everyone agreed that it would be a great opportunity to understand more the teachings and apply them constantly in our daily sadhana. Peace and Pranams to all the Sivananda family for the New Year upon us. Om.






Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala, South India
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    By the grace of our Guru's all the activities of the Centre continued smoothly. Our staff wishes all in the Sivananda family a peaceful and guided 2013. Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vienna, Austria
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Nineteen students joined the New Year's celebrations in the Centre, quite a few of them came to the Center for the first time. 2013's program started full of vigour. 13 Yoga courses started, among them two beginners' courses, a meditation course and several higher courses. Students kept pouring into open classes and courses after the Christmas holidays. Swami Vidyananda returned from assisting in Reith at the TTC and many Karma Yogis supported the center especially in the beginning of the month. The Open Day was very successful, attracting many new students who also inscribed for the upcoming beginners courses. A South Indian Priest arrived for a special program and performed 2 Pujas daily, one in the morning and the other in the evening. Ganesha, Krishna, Sarasvati, Laxmi, Vishnu and Durga were all worshipped - the latter two with a Yantra Puja each. The energy was rising from day to day and students, teachers and staff took the chance to begin the New Year elevated and energized and participated in high numbers. Shortly after, Stephen Quong arrived for a special program on Vedic astrology. He gave 3 interesting lectures which were well attended. Finally our new center brochure arrived and with the help of many Karma Yogis and a Karma Yoga Satsang the bulk mailing was prepared and sent out. OM.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
    Om Namah Sivaya, from Vilnius
    Peace and Pranams to all the Sivananda Family from the Vilnius Centre. OM.


A QUESTION to Swami Sivananda:
Swamiji! I find a few places like Nagore, Shirdi, Tiruvannamalai and Rishikesh ever full of Shanti and a kind of spiritual bliss. May it be, Swamiji, that these places which have had the impress of the saint's personality, his Tapasya and Siddhi, on the very atmosphere, retain that sanctity for a long time?

ANSWER from Swami Sivananda:
Yes, yes. And not only that. The saint himself may live in those places. The liberated sage has the option to merge in Brahman or to live in a subtle form and carry on the work of Lokasangraha, guiding aspirants, awakening in people a religious fervour and so on. This motive is manifested in some Jivanmuktas in accordance with God's supreme will. Therefore, the place in which the saint practiced Tapas and attained Siddhi, which might again be chosen by the invisible spirit of the saint as its permanent abode, becomes the abode of the saint's divine qualities-- peace, bliss and wisdom.

A QUESTION to Swami Sivananda:
Can a person really help others in this world, or is it that such an idea is due to a delusion in the mind? Is it not true that a man can rise or fall only as a result of his own Karma and that the Karmas of others can have no effect on him? Are not the circumstances that a person meets with earned by his own actions? Can a person take initiative and change the circumstances of himself as well as of others?

ANSWER from Swami Sivananda:
Surely one can take the initiative. He can do good to himself and to others. He can determine the circumstances and environments. Just see how much one can do for others, how much one can really assist them in the relative plane. One can impart knowledge to the illiterate and the ignorant, extend monetary help to the poor and the needy.

One can educate the orphans and contribute to the institutions that take care of the children. Indeed, one can spend not only his entire earnings, but something more! Why should there be any doubt in regard to one's being really helpful to others? Take the example of Gandhi-ji. Did he not do immense service and good to the nation and to the world at large?


Let your life be a radiance of purity, love, sacrifice and selfless service. - Sri Swami Sivananda

 
 

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