Sivananda News Sivananda E-Gurugram
The Electronic Newsletter of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres
Issue #2/2014 Serve Love Give Purify Meditate Realize Feb 1, 2014
"Truth can only be experienced by regular and ceaseless meditation." - Sri Swami Sivananda

More quotes

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
Bangkok, Thailand
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
Melbourne, Australia
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

10 Ekadasi
14 Full Moon 
25 Ekadasi
27 Sivarathri

MARCH 2014
01 New Moon
12 Ekadasi
16 Full Moon
17 Holi
27 Ekadasi
30 New Moon
A complete e-mail directory of the Sivananda Yoga Centres and Ashrams is available at:
Sivananda Email Directory

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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Blessed Selves,
Om Namah Sivaya
By the grace of God, both India and Bahamas are in full swing with high season activities now, while other Centres and Ashrams elsewhere in the Organization are all busy with well attended new courses and classes. 2014 seems to be a year where Sivananda staff are eager to work hard in bringing the teachings of Master and Swamiji to the public.

The 2013's issue of Yoga Life magazine can now be found in pdf format on A quick link: There are many beautiful uplifting articles can be found in this issue. There is a feature many of you have been patiently waiting for, on Page 18, which lists the current staff at Sivananda Ashrams and Centres worldwide, too.

This month the GURUGRAM begins a Swami Vishnudevananda Instructions on Meditation Series, with excerpts from book The Sivananda Companion to Meditation (2003).

We thank you all for your continued support and encouragement. May Master and Swamiji's blessings be with us always.

Asato Ma Sat Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya

Pranams to all.

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Regular meditation alone can give true happiness. - Sri Swami Sivananda

Q. What is the difference between Japa and meditation?

Japa is silent repetition of the Name of the Lord. Meditation is the constant flow of one idea of God. When you repeat Om Namo Narayanaya, this is Japa of the Vishnu Mantra. When you think of the conch, disc, mace and lotus flower in the hands of Vishnu, His ear-rings, the crown on His head, His yellow silken Pitambar, etc., this is meditation. When you think of the attributes of God such as omniscience, omnipotence, etc., this is also meditation.

Q. Give me a very simple, but very impressive proof for the existence of the soul.

You say in daily life, "My body", "My Prana", "My mind", "My Indriya". This clearly denotes that the Self or Atman is entirely different from the body, the mind, the Prana and the Indriyas. The mind and the body are your servants or instruments. They are as much outside of you as these towels, chairs, cups are. You are holding the body just as you are holding a long walking stick in your hand. You are the possessor or proprietor of this body. The body is your property or possession. The body, the senses, the mind, etc., are not the soul, but belong to it.

Q. I am not able to practice meditation for more than ten minutes. After that my mind begins to wander on sensual objects. Do you have words of advice, Swami ji?
A. When you develop Ruchi or taste for Dhyana and Japa, you will be able to sit longer for Japa and meditation. Before going to bed, also in the morning at 4 o'clock, and before taking meal at noon, you should do Japa and meditation. Just as you take tea three or four times a day, so also, you should do Japa three or four times a day. Do not worry if the mind wanders. By gradual practice, it will come under your control. Do Kirtan when the mind wanders much. Do Nama-smaran while walking and working also -- Sri Ram, Sri Ram. If you are not able to sit in Padmasan for long, you can sit on a sofa and do Japa and meditation. It is not necessary that you should sit in Padmasan.
Give up onions and garlic completely. Give it up entirely. Do not prepare it at all at home. If you try to reduce it, one day you will take a little, another day you will be tempted to take a good quantity! A cigarette addict who wants to reduce cigarettes, takes a very few cigarettes on some days, but on some other days he smokes heavily, with a vengeance as it were, and more than compensates for the quantity foregone by him previously. Therefore, give up onions completely. If you give nice cotton seeds and oil-cakes to your cow, it will cease to graze in your neighbour's fields, it will give up its wandering habit in search of grass and herbs. Now your mind is running after Rasagulla and Peda which it has tasted. But if you give the mind the bliss of Japa and meditation, it will no more run after worldly objects. When you develop Ruchi for Japa and meditation, the mind will give up its wandering habit.
Previous FAQs at

Truth is simple. Truth always expresses itself with the greatest simplicity.
- Sri Swami Sivananda


Tree Posture - A standing balance posture - Beginner and intermediate level

Sanskrit: vriksa or vriksha (वृक्ष, vṛkṣa) meaning "tree" and asana (आसन) meaning "posture".

Begin by standing straight and focus on a spot in front of you. Transfer your balance to one leg while breathing slowly and standing firm on the foot. Lift the other foot to place it flat on the inner thigh of the standing foot. Use your hand to help place the foot in the correct position. Your knee will be bent at a right angle to the standing leg. Keep the standing leg straight to keep balanced.
Second step: When securely balanced, release hand from foot and place both hands in prayer position at the chest. Keep the bent leg lifted and keep the chest open. The body should be straight with no lean to one side.
For the third step in this asana, lift the arms while inhaling and hold straight arms still in prayer position above the head. Keep the palms together and the standing leg firm.
Repeat with opposite leg bent in tree pose.
Tip: To help balance, spread the toes of the standing foot and stand with weight equally on the heel and ball of the standing foot for balance. The straight vertical position of the body, the neck and arms will help with the balance as well as the focus on a fixed point in front of you. Keep the arms next to the ears. For a beginner, looking in a mirror initially while performing this asana may help to correct your own body alignment. Practise deep breathing in this pose.
To take this asana to an intermediate level, the above steps are followed but the foot is placed in a half lotus position on the top of the thigh of the standing leg. Keep the arms extended above the head while breathing rhythmically. Practice deep breathing. The eyes may be closed for further concentration and practice of balance. Repeat with opposite leg in bent position.

Strengthens the leg and back muscles
The bent leg opens the hip joint
Improves balance
Keeps the mind focused and improves concentration
Brings feeling of inner peace
Very conducive to meditation

This yoga tip from the new Sivananda publication - “Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion” – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre - 2010. Other yoga tips at

He is ever blissful who longs for nothing and fears nothing. - Swami Sivananda

When a person identifies with this illusory world the ego predominates and he/she acts without wisdom, incurring new karma within -
Swami Vishnudevananda


OM: This sacred syllable, sometimes written AUM, is the original mantra. The Sanskrit letter represents the journey of the human spirit towards eternal peace.

ATMAN: The individual spirit or Self.

CHITTA: The subtle energy that is the substance of the mind.

VRITTI: Thought-wave; mental modification; mental whirlpool; a ripple in the chitta.

God has given you Buddhi to check passion. - Sw. Sivananda

A complete Sanskrit Glossary can be found at:


Chapter IV: The Yoga of the Division of Wisdom


(Krishna speaking to Arjuna)
'Even if thou art the most sinful of all sinners, yet thou shalt verily cross all sins by the raft of knowledge.'

COMMENTARY: One can overcome sin through Self-knowledge.

'As the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge reduce all actions to ashes!'

Pure Consciousness is Brahman/the Absolute. Pure Consciousness is the same as Pure Bliss. - Sri Swami Sivananda


In the next several GURUGRAMs we begin the exploraion of the ways of meditation, it's benefits and deeper meanings.

The Swami Vishnudevananda Instructions on Meditation Series

Swami Vishnu-devananda would say that it is not possible to teach someone how to meditate, any more than it is possible to teach them how to sleep. Sleep overtakes us only when we detach our mind from its concerns. Meditation also cannot be forced, but unlike sleep, it is a conscious state. We need a degree of willpower to remain in the state of heightened awareness that occurs when we meditate. However, at the same time we need to relax, letting go of all expectations and desires. This subtle balance between the effort needed to sustain concentration on the one side and detachment from all distractions on the other is the art of meditation. We learn to focus the mind without struggle, yet maintain enough control to avoid a drift into reverie. To attain this state of relaxed awareness we need to prepare ourselves, and there are several steps that will help us. It is important to reiterate that meditation is a process, and as such, takes time. Be gentle and patient with your mind; do not expect miracles. The more care and attention you give to the preparation, the more positive the results.

We start with basic guidelines for the beginner, in the section 'Starting Out'.
Let's begin.

It is best to have a special room for meditation, but if this is impossible, as it is for most of us, try to separate off a portion of a room, reserving it solely for your practice if you can. Maintain it as a space to be used only for meditation, clean and tidy, free from distracting vibrations and associations, and allow only those who respect its sacredness to enter.

The place of focus
Set up a little table as the focal point of the room, with a candle, or better still, a small oil lamp, light being a potent spiritual symbol. Gazing at the steady flame before you start your meditation practice will bring concentration and introversion of the mind. This gazing is actually a concentration exercise in its own right, as explained later in the book. A flower or vase of flowers will enhance the atmosphere and fill the mind with joy. Burning incense in the morning and evening has a strongly purifying effect on the energy of the space. Use natural (not chemical) incense such as sandalwood, with its calming and cooling effect on the mind, or fragrances such as rose or frankincense. If you are of a religious nature set up an image of an uplifting spiritual symbol, such as the OM symbol, the Cross, or the Star of David; or a picture of Christ, Krishna, the Divine Mother, or Buddha. Choose what
speaks to your heart and soul and helps your mind to turn within, away from worldly concerns. The powerful vibrations from repeated meditation practice will remain in the room, creating a magnetic aura, and within six months the peace and purity of the atmosphere will be quite tangible. In times of stress you can sit in the space, practice for half an hour, and experience great comfort and relief.

Which direction to face
Sitting on a clean mat (a folded woolen blanket or cotton mat are excellent for this) in front of the table, face north or east to take advantage of favourable magnetic vibrations. These directions are considered to be the most conducive to spiritual concentration.

Meditating in nature
It scarcely needs mentioning that natural environments are much more favourable to the practice of meditation than cities, where pollution from noise, traffic, electronic machinery, and the high stress levels of many of the people around can make it difficult to concentrate. If you can, try to take advantage of any opportunity to meditate in nature – on a beach facing the ocean, on a peaceful river bank, under a tree, on a mountain, with the rising or setting sun. You will find the meditation qualitatively different. If like most of us, you have to meditate in the city, you can still create a protected and sacred environment and it is certainly better to meditate in a city than not to meditate at all.

Next month...when is the time to Meditate?

Excerpts from The Sivananda Companion to Meditation (2003) - The Sivananda Yoga Centre; Gaia Books, New York.

The Inner voice speaks unto him who has annihilated his ego/false personality. - Sri Swami Sivananda


This recipe utilizes chick pea flour and whole wheat flour with corn for a tasty snack item. Can be served with chutney. Makes 24- 30 small fritters.

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup chick pea flour (besan flour)
2 ¼ cups fresh corn kernels (cut off cobs) or canned corn kernels, drained
4-6 fresh green chillies (optional)
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 inch piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled and grated
1 bunch of fresh cilantro or parsely, finely chopped
3 tablespoons oil, plus oil for frying
2 tablespoons yoghurt (plain)
½ teaspoon baking powder


Mix all ingredients, except oil, yoghurt and baking soda in a heatproof bowl.
Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil and when it is very hot pout it over the mixture in the bowl and fold in.
In a separate bowl, combine yoghurt and baking soda. Add to the corn and flour mix to bind the batter.
Heat oil for frying and form batter into little balls about 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Fry a few at a time in hot oil for 1 -2 minutes, (can be deep fried) turning them with a slotted spoon. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Any vegetable may be substituted for or added to the corn. Chop the vegetables in small pieces. As option, add cheese or tofu to the fritter batter.

This recipe from the Sivananda publication - "Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion" : Proper Diet. Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre - 2010.

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

Purity of food leads to purity of mind. - Sri Swami Sivananda

UPCOMING EVENTS - TTC, ATTC, Sadhana Intensive Courses


Feb 03 - Mar 02/14
TTC - Teachers Training Course – English
Nassau, Bahamas

Feb 09 - Mar 09/14
ATTC – English, Français, Deutsch, Espaňol, Italiano, Русский,日本語, язык, فارسی
Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India

Feb 08 - Mar 09/14
TTC – English, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese
Cu Chi, Vietnam

Feb 16 - Mar 16/14
TTC – English
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, South India

Feb 22 - Mar 23/14
ATTC – English, Français, Deutsch, Espaňol
Rudraprayag Himalaya Mountains, India

Feb 22 - Mar 23/14
TTC – English, Français, Deutsch, Espaňol
Rudraprayag Himalaya Mountains, India

Mar 02 - Mar 30/14
TTC – English
Woodbourne, NY, USA

Mar 05 - Apr 01/14
TTC – English
Nassau, Bahamas

Mar 10 - Apr 06/14
ATTC – English, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese
Da Lat, Vietnam

Mar 16 - Apr 13/14
TTC - Teachers Training Course – English
Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India

Mar 29 - Apr 27/14
ATTC – English, Deutsch
Reith, Tyrol, Austria

Apr 04 - May 01/14
TTC – English
Nassau, Bahamas

Apr 06 - May 04/14
TTC – English
Netala, Uttar Kashi, North India

Apr 26 - May 25/14
TTC – Français
Orleans, France

May 05 - Jun 01/14
TTC – English
Nassau, Bahamas

May 18 - Jun 14/14
TTC – English
Grass Valley, CA, USA

May 12 - Jun 09/14
TTC – English
Netala, Uttar Kashi, North India

May 17 - Jun 15/14
TTC – Deutsch
Reith, Tyrol, Austria

May 31 - Jun 29/14
TTC – English
London, England

See full list of International Teacher Training Courses:

See full list of International Advanced Teacher Training Courses:

See full list of International Sadhana Intensives and other courses/events:

If the mind is controlled, it is then capable of great service. If it is not subdued, it creates endless pain and suffering.
- Sri Swami Sivananda



Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada

    Om Namah Sivaya! Greetings from the Headquarters.

    Om Namah Sivaya from the Yoga Camp! In early January it was as quiet and serene a week as possible at the Yoga Camp: Sadhana Week, the one week of the year when the Ashram is guest-free. With no guests or visitors to accommodate or teach, the staff used this time for group hatha yoga practises each morning, afternoon chanting of the Bhagavad Gita, and focussing on our karma yoga. A few challenges arose at the Ashram as we struggled to keep up with sanding, salting, and shovelling as Mother Nature threw us multiple winter curve balls. The end of the Sadhana week came quickly and quietly, with an intense, early-morning advanced pranayama session, and a very uplifting and special visit by Swami Sivadasanandaji. Swami Sivadas, who arrived from Europe for a one-night stay at the Ashram, led two beautiful, vibrant, and intimate Satsangs, a slight contrast to the jam-packed and pulsating Advanced Asana class and Satsang we staff journeyed to take part in at the Montreal Centre the following evening.  This was the staff's second visit to the Montreal Centre in a week, the first being a bittersweet send-off Satsang, hours before Swami Shankarananda departed for his new position at the Rome Centre. Sadhana Week ended, and we look forward to the Ashram visitors and guests returning!

    Mid-January saw a busy and energetic return to a regular schedule with guests and visitors coming out of Sadhana Week. This was an especially exciting week for four of our staff who recently finished the November TTC, who were able to get their feet wet teaching their first full classes since the end of the course. Kalyani (now in Nicaragua), Maitri (now headed home to Japan), Shivani, and Bharati (both remaining as staff) were all enthusiastic and honoured to begin teaching classes that were sometimes cosy, sometimes packed. By the first Friday back, the Ashram was occupied with many guests come for one of the most special events of the year: the Snowshoeing Weekend! As if on cue, Mother Nature immediately brought us perfect -5 temperatures, a soft wind, and very gentle blanket of fresh snow. Using our Amba, Saraswati, and Durga trails throughout the stunning and heavenly Ashram property, guests were able to choose between shorter and more relaxing trails or longer and more challenging ones. Eager and energetic, the snowshoers were treated to the absolutely breathtaking views of the Laurentian mountains, rivers (some frozen, some still flowing), the awe-inspiring Subramanya temple, and the peace and serenity of the entire Ashram property. With some delicious hot chocolate and cookies between runs, guests were rejuvenated (and some a little sore!) by the end of the day, and happily took part in a soothing and gentle hatha yoga class by Narayani. After a long but invigorating day, the Ashram had a very distinctive guest for evening Satsang: Desthein, a writer originally from St-Adele (about 10 kms from the Ashram) and now based out of British Columbia. Having written four connected books on spirituality, with an almost otherworldly peace, Desthein's talk focussed mainly on the one-ness of all people and the universe; the importance of detaching from one's mind; and constantly remaining present and accepting of reality as it presents itself in each moment. Profound, thought-provoking, and deeply inspiring, guests were captivated by his energy and talk and most stayed far past our usual Satsang end-time, asking questions and engaging in fascinating discussion into the night. Now that the snowshoers have left, the temperatures have again immediately plummeted to our usual Laurentian January frigidity! Wishing you a warm and happy Salutations to the worldwide family from the Sivananda Headquarters.

Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    In early January the first week of TTC manifested with high energy and strong chanting from day one, starting with the traditional Ganapati Homa. Despite the large number of students and ten simultaneous language translations, the classes started smoothly; Philosophy lectures with Swami Sadasivananda, Hatha Yoga with Mani Chaitanya and the Chanting classes with Kalyani. The Swami Sivananda video was shown. On cultural Thursday everyone enjoyed Bharatanatyam dance performed by Bijoy Anand Shivram and the JD College of Performing Arts from Ahmedabad. We said goodbye to Amrita and welcomed Durai, Karna (Chile) and Olga for Tamil, Spanish and Russian translation respectively. One hundred TTC students and YV guests took advantage of the day trips to either Kanya Kumari or Backwaters, leaving the Ashram relatively quiet  The Ashram talent show was the first one of the TTC, an overflow of volunteers signed up, having to be wait listed for the next week. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful and creative line-up which included sitar, singing and traditional Indian dance performances. We offered s Silent walk to Kalipara Hill one Sunday morning, with meditation, another beautiful sunrise, chanting and a Devi Puja. In the evening Satsang, Jyoti, and the 'Finding your Voice' workshop participants, gave a performance encouraging the audience to join in the peaceful and heartfelt chanting.

    During mid-January the TTC was well under way and began the Bhagavad Gita classes with Nagaraj. The 'In the Name of Peace" movie was screened during Satsang, illustrating the life and work of Swami Vishnudevananda to the guests and students. One Wednesday the 15th, being the transitioning day between the yoga vacation courses, was a busy day, as many new yoga vacationers began arriving. We were honoured to experience a performance by Prince Rama Varma and talented musicians. One Friday day-off, 46 brave souls set out to the Jungle trip, confirming the crocodile myth to be true after spotting one about 10 minutes away from the Ashram. A group of TTC students and yoga vacationers went on a boat ride to the Backwaters, and later enjoying the sunset in Varkala. One Saturday brought another vibrant program filled with numerous talents, as volunteers took the stage for the weekly Talent Show and shared their various talents, including a dramatic stage performance of the Ramayana, in which roughly 10 TTC students and staff took part. The staff paid farewell to Kamala who will be joining the staff at the New York Ranch in a couple of weeks.

Sivananda Ashram Kutir, Netala, Uttarkashi, North India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    The Uttarkashi Ashram was closed due to the floods and road damage. May Master and Guru be with us all. Om May Master and Guru be with us all. Om.

Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early January we had a one-week yoga retreat at reduced rate with nine guests. The guests enjoyed their sadhana week with meditations, Satsangs, chanting, the yoga classes and the afternoon lectures and silent walks. One guest was a dog educator, he help us to train our new dog Tejas who has lot of energy and need to be chanel and train properly. The  first lesson was that Tejas has to seat next to Girija without moving, Tejas made some progress but it was not easy at the beginning.  It was the main topic during the meals "How to train Tejas", Philippe, the dog educator gave us lot of advices to gave to Tejas a good education. He told us that Tejas should have only one Master and he should receive the food and the education only from one Master. Girija took her duty seriously and gave Tejas two education sessions per day combine with walks and play. We hope that Tejas will behave properly in the futur specialy with our guests. We had also this weekend on "Yoga at Home" with few guests to guide them in their practice at the Ashram to be able to continue their practice at home.

    During mid-January we had a week on "Yoga can change your life" with a few guests. The guests enjoyed their sadhana week with meditations, Satsangs, chanting, the yoga classes, the afternoon lectures and silent walks and they left recharged from the programme. Swami Bhagavatananda came back from Australia and led the morning Satsangs. Kailas went to Vienna on the same day for a asana program for the weekend. Pranams to all. OM.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early January the Ashram welcomed a lovely program "Ganesha Goes to Lunch" with Payson Stevens and Kamla Kapur. This mult-faceted program featured Kamla giving beautiful readings of classical Indian stories and tales from Rumi with forthright philosophical discussions, and talks from Payson regarding healthcare and services in remote Himalayan villages and ecological and human concerns surrounding the Himalayan National Park. Chandika and Vaikuntha taught the 5-day Beginner course introducing first-time guests to Swamiji's teachings on the 5 Point of Yoga. 

    During mid-January the Yoga Farm welcomed first-time guests for the Beginner Level 2 course, taught by Shambu das. The guests were very inspired as the course emphasized how to increase prana and to balance the mind and emotions. The weekend workshops focused on Hatha Yoga: Variations with talks on the Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga. The Ashram continued to experience unseasonably warm weather allowing for many projects: the continued clean up around the Maintenance sheds, the planting starts in the greenhouse and garden, and a new gazebo by the Siva hill cabins.Om Namo Narayanaya to all the Sivananda family.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch, Woodbourne, New York, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    Early January was a bit quiet so the staff concentrated on finishing the staff trailer and planning of the garden for spring.  Snow arrived with some guests for the weekend "Healthy Cooking for Busy People" program with Chandana. All enjoyed on a wonderful meal made Chandana and the course attendees followed by energetic and inspired chanting. The guests departed with some of the staff, accompanied Mahadev Chaitanya, to the Centre in New York where he taught an advanced yoga class and led Satsang. Both events were filled to the maximum with not a seat or yoga mat available. Swami Ambikananda and Padmavati made a wonderful soup that we all enjoyed before the trip back to the Ranch, refreshed and invigorated.

    During mid-January the staff were very happy to complete the renovation on the staff trailer. We had homemade oatmeal cookies and high energy for the final push, Karma Yoga night, to finish off the final touches. The planning of the spring garden was finalized and seeds were ordered for both spring and summer. The marketing team is busy planning for summer promotions including our 40 year anniversary coming soon in July. During the Martin Luther King long weekend we offered the Positive Thinking Workshops, lead by Mahadev Chaitanya. They were a great success. We welcomed over 40 guests, almost all of which were first-time Ashram visitors. The Grouponprogram we have had over the winter months was the main draw for these new comers, and we will keep in touch with them so that they return. Everyone was in great spirits, the prana was high. Overall, the winter was proving to be a productive and positive time at the Yoga Ranch. Staff are well and send there pranams. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us in 2014.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
    Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves
    Unity in Diversity: Let the Light Shine Christmas and New Years Symposium concluded on December 31, with Kirtan with Gaura Vani and his musicians until 2:30 a.m. and continued again at morning Satsang. In early January the Yoga Teacher Training Course (53 students) and the Advanced Yoga Teacher Training Course (32 students) inaugurations were held on January 4th. We welcomed Srinavasan and his wife Saraswati from the Yoga Ranch. Srinivasan taught in the ATTC plus led morning Satsang programs on the Foundations of Raja Yoga throughout the month. Twenty-seven students were inaugurated for the 10-day New Year's Cleanse, Detox and Juice Fasting Experience on January 4 with Shivanter Singh, Julian DeVoe and Grace Van Berkum.

    The Neuroscience and World Religions symposium took place last week with presentations by Stepen Kaplan, PhD.,Professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College; William Waldron, PhD, Professor of Middlebury College in Vermont, researching the relation between theories of mind in various religious schools and modern cognitive science; Daniel Drubach, MD, a member of the Behavioral Neurology Divison at Mayo Clinic writing on the neuroscience of music and religion and Prantik Kundu studying neuroscience with fMRI technology with the Brain Mapping Unit at the University of Cambridge and at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, D.C. It was a wonderful 5 days of exploration between religious/spiritual practices and contemporary neurosciences. On the final night a panel discussion was held with all four speakers.

    During mid-January our Annual Interfaith Devotional Singing Festival "On the Wings of Ecstasy" was held and thoroughly enjoyed by guests and staff. The talented participants included Davod Azad, Sufi musician from Azerbaijan; Nirinjan Kaur of the Sikh family of Kundalini's sacred music; Jan Kirschner, charismatic chazzan (cantor) from the Congregation Bonai Shalom in Boulder Colorado; Tia Pittman who provided us with gospel renditions together with her husband on the keyboard. The highlight that evening was a very lively gospel duet with Tia Pittman and Cantor Kirschner; Shantala, the Kirtan husband and wife team of Benjy and Heather Wertheimer; and Vishal Vaid, Ghazal musician. Our priest Krishnan Namboodiri officiated at the Ayyappa Puja on January 14, bringing extra joy and inspiration to the entire Ashram. The Gracious Living Vegan Nutrition Retreat with Grace Van Berkum January 15-17 graduated 7 students after a successful course of workshops creating menus of sattvic vegan dishes and introducing the compassionate principles of vegan nutrition. We were delighted to welcome back Jeffrey Armstrong again who spoke this year on "The Mahabharata The Greatest Story Ever Told".  He had a very insightful and inspiring perspective on the Mahabharata speaking in great detail of Dharma, and making it practical and relevant to us on our current spiritual paths. John Beaulieu and Silvia Nakkach have returned to the Ashram to teach The Yoga of Sound and Voice Training. Many students came for their course this year which combines devotional chanting, movement and music making with the science of sound and explores the dimensions of healing with sound. Pranams to all!

Sivananda Ashram, Retreat House, Reith, Tyrol, Austria
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early January the last week of TTC went very well. The students gave an entertaining talent show.  Most of the students took the opportunity to be initiated into a mantra and receive a spiritual name. All passed the exam and we celebrated the end of this TTC with a beautiful graduation ceremony. Almost immediately afterwards Swami Keshavananda departed for the TTC in Madurai India. He will be staying on in India for the TTC in Rudraprayag. Two TTC graduates decided to stay for karma yoga for a few weeks, which is greatly appreciated. With the high season coming to an end we now focus on several projects at hand. Deep cleaning and repairs in Kailash got underway and in the office a lot of work was done on advertisments for upcoming programmes.

    During mid-January a big order of meditation cushions arrived and also the English programme. Miraculously everything fitted into the already packed basement. A small group of guests this week, therefore we are cooking for the guests in Kailash. We enjoyed the intimate and peaceful atmosphere, especially at the Satsangs and the Krishna Puja. We had some very nice walks for the Winter Magic programme. Snow is scarce and temperatures are higher than normal at this time of year, causing an almost spring like awakening in nature. Furthermore there were lectures on inner focus and yoga@home and a practical meditation workshop. The Karma Yogis were of great help with several maintenance and clearing projects. Office projects continued at a pace. Vishnupriya left to give support to the Munich Centre for a week OM.

Sivananda Ashram Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    Early January had been eventful with the conclusion of Fasting and Detox program and the preparations for the forthcoming TTC. We had the Graduation ceremony of Fasting and Detox program students. The two week long course schedule had the students feeling energetised and rejuvenated. All of them had a peaceful and soulful stay at the Ashram. We started with our preparations to receive students for the next TTC batch. We gave a hearty welcome to Janaki and Shira, Janaki is the main Hatha Yoga teacher for this TTC batch . The Yoga vacationers also enjoyed every bit of the calm and serene atmosphere of the Ashram and its surroundings. One Saturday, we had the talent show with performances filling us with awe and delight. We had the initiation of the students by Swami Jnaneshwariananda and Swami Satchidananda evening marking the beginning of new TTC. A total of 23 students have joined the course. Let our Masters grace help them in overcoming any sort of difficulty they might come across. May they become capable under the Godly guidance of their teachers to spread our Masters message of world peace and harmony. Praying for the continued blessings of God and Masters in all our endeavours.

    During mid-January the Ashram was brimming with the activities of ongoing TTC. The students getting themselves tuned to the rhythm of their course schedule went on with their practice classes and lectures with elan. Swami Keshavananda from Austria was given a warm welcome to the Ashram. He will be taking the Bhagavad Gita classe for TTC and the Yoga Vacation lectures . Jyothi who is here for the ' Finding your Voice ' program arrived. Her classes focused on voice modulation has generated loads of appreciation among the Yoga vacationers. The local people were busy with the activities of ' Makara Pongal ',a major festival celebrated throughout South India. As part of the celebrations ' Jallikattu ', an age old practice where people fight and tame the bulls, let loose in an open arena with a vast crowd of onlookers cheering the participants would be conducted. The local people here had a great time ushering in the festivities of Pongal. We had Santoor recital by Shri Haridas wtih his son giving him accompaniment . The entire audience were entranced by the recital of soulful music transferring their selfs to a higher plane. We had the Friday trip to Thiruparakundram and to Meenakshi temple. The students took in the sights of Madurai city and were busy capturing the beauty of the locales on their frames. The trip proved to be an exhilarating experience for the students. Another Saturday talent show saw various awesome talents delighting the guests and staff members. The yoga vacation students also enjoyed a calmly and peaceful state of their minds with the routine schedule of classes and karma yoga at the Ashram. We had an enjoyable and joyful week at the Ashram. May Gods blessings and our Gurus guiding light continue to be with us always. Praying for Gods blessings and guidance all throughout. All the staff send their pranams and hope all are well and contented. May Master and Guru be with us all. Peace and Pranams to the Sivananda family.

    TTC Reports:

    Jan 2014

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Bangkok, Thailand
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early January, while Bangkok was preparing for another round of political protests starting, we had a relatively start tot the month and used the time for basic maintenance in and around the Centre. Among other repairs, all rain drains of the building were replaced. Since the beginning of the year, we have been noticing increasing interest in yoga 1 beginner courses and thus could offer two new courses: the weekday batch is taught by Uma Krishna, while Savitri is teaching the weekend intensive yoga 1. Mirabai taught a joyful kids' class, and all children beautifully colored mandalas to take them home. Satsang was well-attended, with Satyadev from California joining us before traveling on to Vietnam for assisting in the upcoming ATTC. We said goodbye to Amm and thank her for supporting us in the Centre for the last three weeks.

    During mid-January daily life in Bangkok was dominated by the political protests which started again. Car travel was hampered, and partly became impossible. As a consequence, student numbers in the open classes remained low during the weekdays, as people preferred to spend time in the security of their homes, with schools and some offices closed. For peaceful proceedings of the protests, we have been chanting Om Namo Narayanaya during morning Satsangs. The student numbers slowly increased again and we had well-attended open classes, advanced class and Satsang, for which two recent graduates joined us after completing TTC in India. Krishna started teaching a new yoga 1 beginner course. All staff are well, and the local karma yogis continue supporting us regularly. Om Namo Narayanaya from Bangkok! Om Namo Narayanaya!

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum, Berlin, Germany
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early January a week long special program was very successful. Fully packed asana workshops, inspiring lectures on yoga philosophy and most beautiful Satsangs with musical accompaniment by indian musicians, everything was most appreciated by students, teachers and staff. 2 highlights amongst others were the two very joyful indian concerts which opened everybody's heart. Swami Atmaramananda leaded us through the whole program, Swami Sivadasananda came to teach for two days and Students and teachers were very happy to see the acharyas in Berlin. Spirit in the Centre was very good, with the support of many dedicated Karma Yogis we went smoothly. Acharyas and musicians went to Hamburg for a one day program in our affiliated Centre there. The peak was with teachers workshops, lunch for everybody, lectures and indian music. Energy in the Centre was nicely uplifted and gives us a good start in this new year.

    During mid-January the special program was successfully concluded with an asana workshop, lecture and a last well received Satsang with musical accompaniment by the indian musicians. Swami Annapurnananda left together with the musicians to London, the next station of the special program. The prana was high in the Centre and participation in courses and classes was very good. Two yoga 1 courses started with good student numbers and several higher courses started after the Christmas break. We offered a small headstand workshop one Saturday with two joyful Satsangs that weekend. Swami Atmaramananda left after giving a lot of support and guidance to the staff, teachers and close students. Everybody was happy and thankful to have him here for two weeks. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Om Namah Sivaya
    During mid-January it was a quiet summer at the Centre. Students come to class in spite of the intense heat, and new students continue to sign up. This week, karma yogis collaborated by cooking, gardening and cleaning at the Centre. One of the professors of our regular yoga classes began to assist in the classes for seniors; right now, we only have two professors who can give that class. We held the "Conquer Fear" workshop. Gaston, our Chilean staff member, is active and enthusiastic. May Master, Guru and Mother's blessings bring peace and love along the world. Prem & Om to all.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chennai, India
    Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves from the Chennai Centre
    Early January full of excitement, because of the New Year celebrations and the festive mood, also because of the fresh energy that the new Beginners Batch with a good number of students has brought into the Centre. We saw lots of happy faces, beginning their life's journey onto the path of Yoga. We saw the transfer of Sri Bharatha from Chennai to the Madurai Centre. He was a great help and we will miss him and his inspiring presence here. The Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu honoured us with a visit one Sunday evening along with his family. We gladly welcomed them and proudly served them the 'Satsang Prasad' as well. He was well appreciative of the Centre and its facilities. in the end, he promised to help us in securing the Sivananda Ayurvedic Kendra License as soon as he can. We are eagerly waiting now for a fully-licensed Ayurvedic Kendra inside the Centre. The street lights work has almost finished and soon the road facing the Centre will be bright and illuminated all through the night and the problems that the students were facing due to lack of proper lighting in the vicinity will be removed once and for all. Meanwhile, all the staff members have been working tirelessly towards further spreading the message of Swamiji to the people of Chennai and teaching Yoga with smiling faces.

    During mid-January we celebrated the start of the local New Year here in Chennai (Tamil Nadu) with the Ganapati Homam and a formal 'Pooja' along with the auspicious pyre and sacred 'yantras' drawn by the priests who performed the whole ritual with purifying and uplifting chants and several scores of people from all over the town attended the function and the hot 'prasadam' served at the end of the ceremony to all was a favourite amongst all those who were present that very special morning. The main festival of Tamil Nadu, Pongal, saw a little drop in the attendance in the classes at first (it's a 3 day long affair), but towards the end of the week, all is well and rosy again. In fact, all the cleaning and decorating and celebrating this special harvest-related official state-festival has infused the Centre with a fresh positive vibe and the staff is also shining with glory in its splendour and looking forward to a healthy and prosperous new year teaching yoga to the people of this beautiful city and spreading the word of Master & Swamiji. Quite a large number of eager students have signed up and began practicing yoga in the two new batches started in the previous week, the first one being the 'Weekend Beginners' and the second 'Ladies Beginners' which saw a healthy number of attendees. Both the batches are bringing fresh faces and fresh energy into the Centre along with broad-smiles after the classes. All the other classes are going on fine as well including weight-loss, weekend kids, gentle yoga and last but not the least, the open classes. We are eagerly awaiting the updated website with a complete overhaul in the design and structure along with all the content updates to be uploaded soon and also for the newly developed CMS (Content Management System) which will give us the complete control over the contents of the pages, schedule, workshops and other updates that need to be made pretty often, right here with us at the Centre. That should put an end to the delays and confusions caused once and for all. May we always happily serve Swamiji and his vision of the True World Order. All the staff send Pranams to the Sivananda family. Blessings to all!

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chicago, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    Early January went well despite extreme cold, the highest temperature in Chicago was 13 below zero (F) or 25 below zero (C). Though many activities in the city stopped for the day our classes continued, specially hardy students attending, We also started a full meditation course. We attended a conference at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago which was held to commemorate the 151st anniversary of Swami Vivekananda's famous address to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, which is widely considered to be the first introduction of Yoga to the West. Swami Narayanananda gave a talk on Swami Sivananda's Yoga of Synthesis which was well received by participants.

    Mid-January was fairly busy, despite inclement weather. Several new courses started with very good attendance. Lalita Chaitanya left to spend time with family in Iowa. Happy pranams to all. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi from the Centre in Chicago.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dwarka Centre, Delhi, India
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Early January began with a new Y1 batch in the morning. We witnessed the coldest days here till now which had some affect on the numbers of the students coming to the Centre. The Centre is planning to conduct few new workshops and activities to break the winter's jinks. Beside this all other classes like kids, gentle and pre-natal yoga was being conducted. .

    During mid-January another new yoga 1 course started. The Centre performed a Hawan on the accounts of the Sankranti , which was attended by many jubilant students. The weather remained fairly cold. All the classes and courses went on as per schedule. Satsangs held on Sunday evenings were participated by all the staff and few students. Pranams to all. Om Shanti.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Nataraja Centre, Delhi, India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    Early January, with weather continuing cold and foggy, our students' determination to come for asana practice was further tested with a large construction site on the road right in front of the Centre obstructing the entrance and making it impossible for students to park their cars. Yet, we started three new batches of Yoga 1 beginner courses, taught by Sunaina, Jyoti and Sriprabhu. We welcomed Swami Keshavanandaji who stopped over in Delhi for one night and led Satsang. We also welcomed Vishnudas from California, who stayed with us a week.

    During mid-January it was rainy and cold, with temperatures down to 1°C. Students were keeping up their regular practice, and we started a new Yoga 1 beginner course taught by Saudamini. Praveen now started teaching open classes and was enjoying the experience. Many staff and long time students continued coming to the Centre to spend a few days with us. While we said goodbye to Vishnudasji, Gayatri from Belarus arrived in Delhi to stay with us for two weeks. Om Namah Sivaya from Delhi! We send our prayers to all. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all. Om Namo Narayanaya!

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
    Om Namah Sivaya from the Geneva Centre
    In early January the Centre reopened after the Christmas-closure and we had a good start with well visited courses and classes as well as many phone calls and bookings for upcoming courses. A Y2 started, plus a Pranayama-workshop with a good group of students. Our teachers and students who returned from the Retreat House in Reith and the Ashram in Orleans are very inspired and happy to share their experiences amongst each other. Lakshmi arrived from Vilnius to stay with us for 10 days. Staff actively started to look for a new and quieter place for the Geneva Centre after staying in the same place for almost 40 years.

    During mid-January a Y1 and the pensioners' class which is held in cooperation with the City of Geneva started with good groups of students. We had a successful open day with 4 teachers supporting us with teaching and reception. The day went smooth and we all took time to talk to the new students which left happy and contented, many of them booking for upcoming curses. Another highlight was a lively children's class with 13 young souls and a patient teacher. We had nice support from Lakshmi from Vilnius. A lot of time was dedicated to the search of a new Centre: We visited two places and a lot of research was done via internet. Also a mailing was sent out to involve our students, karma-yogis and teachers. Satsangs were strong with good attendance and chanting which was enjoyed by all. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Om Namah Sivaya
    During mid-January the Ho Chi Minh Centre was doing well. We are still blessed with the presence of Swami Pranavananda and Ananta Chaitanya, visiting from the Yoga Farm. Swami Pranava started teaching a Meditation Course with 9 people attending. The students are inspired to learn and enjoy Swami Pranava's experience in teaching meditation. everyone in Vietnam is getting ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year (called "Tet" in Vietnam). Classes were still popular, but many local citizens are making their way back to their home town to celebrate the New Year with their families. The reconstruction of the 4th floor addition continued. The spirits were high in Vietnam and the preparations for the upcoming TTC in Cu Chi (1 hour outside of Ho Chi Minh City) went well. All the staff were happy, with the Guru's blessings. We send Pranams to all the Sivananda family. Om Tat Sat.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, London, England
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Mid-January as most auspicious with the start of the 7-day special programme "Reconnecting to the heart". Swami Durgananda's presence in the Centre and her insightful lectures one weekend on the topics "Sublimating mental habits with yoga" and "Vedanta: we are all one" were a source of inspiration and support for the continued sadhana of staff, teachers and students. We were happy to welcome Swami Sivadasananda at the Centre for a short visit. Swami Kailasananda gave four elevating evening lectures which were greatly appreciated and Swami Narayanananda gave daily dynamic and instructive asana workshops which were enthusiastically received. The evenings were beautifully enriched by discourses on the meaning of life accompanied by classical Indian music. A meeting with the architect took place to discuss a new  project consisting of the renovation of the staircase in the middle house, the merging of two separate lofts and an enlarged reception and seating area. We thank Swami Durgananda, Swami Sivadasananda and Swami Kailasananda for all the energy shared through the teachings, the guidance of staff and the practical support received with the various projects in the Centre. Om.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all. Pranams.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madrid, Spain
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves!
    Early January started with a national holiday, which marked the last day of reduced winter holiday schedule at the Centre. In the afternoon, Karuna returned to the Centre. Very recharged after a full week of yoga sadhana and rest in Reith. Lakshmi also came back to work after being away on holiday for a week. We continued on a full schedule with all classes well attended and with many phone calls and visits with inquiries and registrations for the upcoming beginner and philosophy courses at the Centre. We took down the Christmas decorations around the Centre and stored them in the basement for next year, after which we did a thorough clean up of both floors of the Centre. Karuna and Jyothi took turns offering the evening Satsangs, which were increasingly well attended by teachers and close students returning to the Centre after the winter holidays, creating a cheerful and uplifting atmosphere at reception. The atmosphere at the Centre remained very positive and dynamic with students and teachers happy to be back and new visitors looking forward to starting practicing at the Centre.

    During mid-January the following new courses started: a Y1, a Y3, an Intensive Y2, and a new Intro to Meditation course. Karuna was happy to resume teaching her beginner students after a winter holiday break for them and Krishnapriya enjoyed assisting and learning a lot in the pregnancy yoga and trial classes she assisted. We had a number of new karma yogis –last year TTC graduates from Rudraprayag, who came to the Centre for karma yoga and classes. Lakshmi led staff while they re-sorted, rearranged, and decorated where needed different sections of the boutique, introducing at the same time the new boutique items brought from Reith. The carpenter finished working on the new clothes stalls and cupboards in the boutique, which, combined with the staff's artistic efforts, now add new freshness and neatness to the Centre boutique. One Saturday, the Centre held its first Open Doors Day in the new year, which went very smoothly and in a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Quite a few of Saturday's first time visitors asked about or registered for starting beginner courses, and there was also a lot of interest in the upcoming winter retreat. A big group of visitors returned to the Centre to attend the evening Satsang. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madurai, South India
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Early January started 2 beginners' batches, one ladies' and the other open class. Bharatha from Canada arrived at the Centre to help us. He stayed for a couple of months and will take care of the Centre while Yashpal was away. Some of the staff members went for the TTC initiation ceremony held at the Meenakshi Ashram. 

    During mid-January we saw fewer number of students due to Pongal holidays which is the biggest and the most important harvest festival in Tamil Nadu. We had a special Satsang, conducted by Bharatha, and attended by students and staff. He shared his experience with Swami Vishnu and impressed us on the benefits of Karma Yoga and talked on Karma. The classes and courses are going on well with the grace of the Satgurus. All the classes and courses continued well, by the Guru's grace. Pranams to each and everybody in the Sivananda family. Om Shanti.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Milano, Italy
    Om Namah Sivaya from all staff in Northern Italy.
    During mid-January we started a Yoga 1 course and a Yoga 2 course. We held a 3-hour asana class. Staff and students are well. Pranams to all.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montevideo, Uruguay
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early January we slowly returned to the usual routine of classes in this warm summer. We started a beginner´s course with 11 people which is a great number by the time we are. Students returned to classes especially in the afternoon and evening.

    During mid-January the students continue coming and enjoying regular classes. Because of the full summer season, occasionally we are visited by some foreign students to take classes. We had the second class of beginners in the morning. Everyone is very happy keeping a very positive attitude. We are getting calls from people interested in starting with the yoga practice in February.Om and Pranams to everyone in the Sivananda Family

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early January the weather in Montreal warmed, which has enabled more students to attend open classes regularly. A yoga 1 began, 10 students enrolled Radha taught the class with clarity and enthusiasm, the group appeared to be relaxed by the end of the class. The January half price membership offer at the Centre has appealed to many regular and new students, we hope this will keep them motivated in the year ahead to continue with their practice. Swami Sankarananda departed to the Rome Centre, many people came for the Satsang to wish him well and thank him for his prana, efforts and support for his time in the Centre. Swami Ji`s presence will be missed, though we wish him well in the new venture. A surprise visit from Swami Shivabhaktananda and staff from the Camp were welcomed, as usual their energy was vibrant. Gauri Devi from the Ashram made some delicious Baklava for prashad, that was enjoyed by all. It has been an auspicious occasion for the Centre as we were honoured to welcome Swami Sivadasananda. A special 2hour workshop `A flexible back, key to health' was taught, with great humour and precision. Over 50 students participated in the workshop, including regular students, teachers, karma yogi`s from the Centre, staff from the camp and even new students!! Swami Shivabhaktanada assisted the class, the students appreciated the time and care that was offered.The knowledge shared will support daily practice for all yogi`s. After the class Swami Sivadasanada continued with the Satsang, some Sunday chants, which were sang beautifully and a talk on Yoga was given, this enabled new students to learn further about the different aspects of yoga and how to practice. It was also a time to refresh for yoga practitioners and gave a opportunity to reflect. The evening ended with a meal for everyone, and time where they could connect with each other. The vibrations were so high and the warmth of Swami Ji was very prominent, people wanted to stay for as long as possible. We were thankful for Swami Ji`s presence and cherish the time we shared.

    During mid-January open classes and courses were consistently attended, the morning classes in particular are well attended.The January half price membership offer at the Centre has continued to be a good opportunity for students to re-commit to their practice for the year ahead. A `Headstand Workshop' was offered one Sunday, the 10 students that attended gained further confidence with their practice and within. Swami Shivabhaktananda spent a few days at the Centre, his dynamic presence raised the vibrations of the Centre. This was particularly felt during the Satsangs, where attendance was high. Students and staff appreciated his elaborations on the readings by Master and Swami Ji, given with great thought and humour, this allowed for accessibility of understanding for all . We felt thankful for Swamiji's and Master's grace. Pranams to all the Sivananda family at this time of year.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Munich, Germany
    Om Namah Sivaya from the Munich Centre!
    In early January we had a good start into the new year. Prana is high and many students were coming to the Centre. Monday, 6th January was the last of the holidays of the Christmas season here in South Germany. Swami Vasudevananda and Gopika returned on this day recharged and inspired from the Christmas / New Year program in the Sivananda Yoga Retreat House in Reith, Tyrol, Austria. We sent the new brochure for the period January to September out in three parts: all those who had given us their email got it by email, the others by regular mail and all those who had not been here for a long time got as a reminder a postcard including a voucher which can be used when coming to a yoga class. One Saturday we had a TTC preparation retreat with a group of very motivated students. Our Open House was one of the biggest ones in the last years. We were especially happy that a good number of students made bookings for the upcoming courses.

    Mid-January saw a lot of prana at the Centre. We had good attendance for our classes and courses, among them the second part of a beginners course one weekend. We were at the Yoga Expo – a big yoga fair here in Munich. Swami Atmaramananda came from Berlin to hold a number of workshops and teach classes at the fair. A good team of our teachers helped us to run our information stall and to give information about the TTCs, yoga vacation programs and the Centres. We also had a special program with priest Yagneswara Dixit. He performed daily Pujas among them a Sriyantra Puja, a Navagraha yantra Puja, a Ganesha murti Puja and also a Hanuman Puja. He also gave two workshops on the Indian temple ceremonies. Swami Narayanananda travelled to London for one week. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Neuquen, Patagonia, Argentina
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    In early January the students are present regularly in the classes and the meditation. Meeting teacher was donates by the presence of Vyasa, Gaury, Shankara, Jayadevi, Gopy, Lakshmana and Parvati. The agreements were reached in the cleanliness and the daily attention to the public, putting as the aim to generate the energy in the classes, in the Centre and the diffusion together with the order and the cleanliness for the integrity of the Centre. The teachers consented in the offer of the classes in the river and it was approved by the municipality in the time of January and February.

    Mid-January was very peaceful in the Centre and all the activities were fine. One Friday Satsang was very inspiring and full of energy. The weather was hot and the city becomes slow. A highlight was the first open Saturday morning class, with 25 students. Staff are well and sending their pranams. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for 2014.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, New York, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    In early January we started the New Year with new classes, courses and workshops. We had a very successful programme with a cooking workshop, and a special advanced asana program with Mahadev Chaitanya who came down from the Ranch with  a team of staff. The courses are going well and the Centre has picked up some momentum. We are actively training new teachers to fill in some of our gaps. We welcomed Swami Omkarananda from the Los Angeles Centre for a few days. Lindsey, a karma yogi, has joined us for a month as temporary staff  and Swami Ambikananda is here from the Ranch.

    Mid-January passed well, with focus on the new brochure and inspiring new teachers to come to the Centre. We are spending some time training up newly-graduated teachers, and taking some of the more established teachers to higher teaching levels. The City was quiet with a long weekend holiday as well as with the cold and snow settling in. New Yoga 1s and 2s have started, and we are busy posting ourselves on the web joining all sorts of listings. The staff are well. Om Namah Sivaya from all the staff here at the NYC Centre.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Paris, France
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early January it was back to the normal schedule, uplifting with the presence of the priest Yagneswara Dixit. Heperformed daily Pujas in the morning and 3public Pujas in the evening.  One Siva Puja, a Yantra Puja for Lord Vishnu and a powerful Puja with a beautiful Sri Yantra, many lamps and the Lalita Sahasranama.  We had an Intensive day with a cooking class. Everyone appreciated the practical advise and enjoyed the meal. There was a cheerful and calm atmosphere in the kitchen with many karma yogis assisting. On the same day there was also a headstand workshop, a beginners' course starting,  a large trial class and full open classes. The Centre was very happy to welcome Gauri after one month away.

    Mid-January started in an auspicious way with a a Siva Puja with the priest and the arrival of Swami Kailasananda who came back from Australia. The priest left as well as Swamiji. A meditation course started. The Centre is very happy with the good news of the visit of Swami Durgananda, special guest and some of the European Swamis for a special Satsang. We had a calm but successful Open house. The Masters send many hands to help, many students for the regular classes and some new visitors for the activities of the day. 330 students were there that day. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Porto Alegre, Brasil, South America
    Om Namah Sivaya from Brasil
    Pranams, from all the staff at Porto Alegre Centre for the New Year.

Centro Yoga Vedanta Sivananda, Rome, Italy
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves
    In early January we focused on lots of publicity for the first Open House of the year.  We welcomed Swami Sankarananda at the Centre, teachers and students were very happy to see him back in Rome. Swamiji arrived just on time for the Open House, bringing lots of energy that helped to have a very successful program. We had a good teem of teachers and karma yogis who helped nicely in the Open House. Many people registered for the beginners courses. There was a good attendance in classes and courses. May the blessings of Master and Swamiji be with all. Om & Prem.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, San Francisco, California, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves
    Early January was quiet and peaceful. We had two new residents join us. Vishnudas departed for his month long journey of Sivananda Ashrams in India and JayaLakshmi is still away for her 10 day trip to the Mojave desert.  Gajananum started up our Bhagavad Gita study for evening Satsangs.  One Sunday evening Narayan gave a wonderful and inspiring talk on meditation and deepening of our meditative practice and leaving us on a peaceful and positive note.

    Mid-January was quiet and peaceful.  JayaLakshmi returned from her time away and VishnuDas reported from India that his stay at the Ashram in Rishikesh, India is going excellently.  We were happy to have Raguram, a former staff member here, join us for 3 days.  New students joined us for Gajananam's Bhagavad Gita class. Lalita, a TTC grad from Austria, joined our residency program and will live with us for one month. Narayan gave a wonderful and inspiring talk on non-violence focussing on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life work, and played parts of a speech delivered by Dr. King.  We all felt peaceful and united from the inspiration offered by those powerful words and concepts. 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 from the Tel Aviv Centre.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tokyo, Japan

    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves
    In early January the Centre was back in full swing after the Christmas holidays. All of the staff have been rejuvenated after their respective breaks. We started a new Y1.  Open classes are in full swing with many people buying new year cards.  New courses are picking up good number of registrations.  Satsangs are well attended. We have been joined by Lucia, a recent graduate of the latest TTC in Val Morin. She is here temporarily for now while our new staff, Bhakti, is away in Japan. We have mounted a new TV, donated by our teacher Narayani, in the boutique, allowing us to display photos and video from the various Ashrams and Centres from around the world. Course attendance has been very strong in the new year. New students are holding true to their New Year's resolutions and are very excited and energized to be in the Centre. May the blessings of Master and Swamiji be with all during 2014. Pranams.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Om Namah Sivaya
    During mid-January, by the grace of God we had a very busy time in Toronto.  We have started a new Y1 and Y2.  Our meditation course began and was, as usual, packed! Saraswati is leading it and continuing Swamiji's teachings to new and eager students. Our resident staff, Kanti, held a chanting workshop. She taught the basics of Kirtan and forming a melodious voice full of devotion.   Morning Satsangs are getting very good response, while the evening Satsangs are packed with many new people joining in.  There were many staff movements, Prahlada first went to Montreal and came back then again off to Bahamas for a day and back. Swami Shivabhaktanandaji and Gauri came for a day to have a special meeting about Camp website and inspiring us with their presence in the morning Satsang then went  back to the Yoga Camp.  Bhakti came back from Japan to stay for another two weeks at the Centre, and she is quite enthusiastic and wanting to learn.  Sankara kept everyone busy with his little projects, keeping the Centre clean and Sattvic. Our new staff, Lucy, is baking cookies and goodies for the delight of students and staff, while Saraswati 2 is feeding every one with her cooking skills, her harmonium playing is getting better every day. The Centre is too busy and full at this point in time, and we are putting lots of energy in to poster runs to attract more students. Pranams to all. Om.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala, South India
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    Early January began with two basic courses commencing on Mondays with morning and evening sessions at 9.30 a.m. and 6.15 p.m. respectively. All other classes went on as per schedule. A meeting was held to review the progress made by the Invitation Committee of Yoga Walk campaign. A workshop on Kriyas was conducted one Saturday at 7 a.m. in which the students were introduced to our ancient cleansing methods meant for the proper functioning and health of the internal organs. In the evening there was a follow-up class for meditation students, who had earlier attended the 6 day long  course at the Centre. We had Sunday Meditation and Satsang at 6 pm, led by Nagaraj ji.

    During mid-January we saw the beginning of a Monday basic course at 6.15 a.m. as scheduled. We had Ganapathi Homa to mark the commencement of Malayalam month, Makaram. 'Laksha-deepam' (Lighting of One Lakh Lamps),a religious ceremony at Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple once in every 6 years as part of Special Mantra Chanting was held.The entire temple architecture including the pavement would be adorned with lighted lamps numbering to lakhs, and hence the name. We gave a warm welcome to Mani Chaithanya one Saturday. There was a Yoga asana class by him on the same day at 4 p.m., which was attended by a reasonable gathering of students and teachers. This was followed by Meditation and Satsang led by him at 6 p.m. He talked about the purpose of coming for asana practice and Satsang as a means of attaining happiness of the mind. Mani Chaithanya is presently at Neyyar Dam Ashram for the January TTC. Despite his busy schedule at the Ashram he took some time out to come to Centre and give a class for which we thank him wholeheartedly. Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vienna, Austria
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early January, as Christmas holidays ended on the 6th January (Twelfth Day) many students came to courses and Drop Ins to continue with their practice. Also the trial class was very well attended. Many Karma Yogis supported the Centre. Our new Brochure and a Yoga reminder post card for our bulk mailing arrived in the Centre just in time. Both bulk mailings were completed in two Karma Yoga Satsangs. Further the renovation works on the wooden floor of the Asana Hall were finished – with a very good result. Students and teachers alike are enthusiastic about it.

    During mid-January two special courses Creating the future by right action (Bhagavad Gita) and Asanas – strength and flexibility started. A highlight was the special programme Yoga Inspirations with Kailas from the Ashram in Orleans one Saturday. It was his first visit to Vienna and many students and teachers came to participate in the two Asana classes. Many participants also joined the evening Satsang, where he presented a beautiful slide-show on the activities of the Ashram in Orleans. Everybody left the Centre highly inspired. Drop in classes were well attended, and many newcomers came to the trial class one Thursday. Both bulk mailings (brochure and New Year postcard) were successfully sent and the staff are looking forward to welcoming all students. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
    Om Namah Sivaya, from Vilnius
    In early January we noticed that at the beginning of the Year people are interested in some positive changes in their lives, so many were calling and registering for the courses. A nice course Yoga 1 with 9 students started. Satsangs were attended mainly by new people – a very good sign that students want to expand. One Friday very nice a new reception table was placed in the reception. Which was donated by some teachers. The weather started to change into more normal winter weather. One Sunday we had a very successful Open Day. Participants were very much interested in Yoga.  14 registered for Yoga 1, and a few registered for Yoga 2 and other courses. At the end of the day people didn't want to leave, they had many questions and were very thankful for the knowledge received .

    During mid-January, in spite of very cold temperatures reaching minus 15 celsius, the Centre was very well attended - up to capacity on some days. While Ishwara Chaitanya is helping in Berlin yoga Centre, many karma yogis and teachers are supporting the Vilnius Centre. One Saturday we had a nice cooking class with yoga teacher Bharata. Students were very inspired after the course and some of them directly wen to buy the right  spices in order to start cooking at home. OM.

Belief determines conduct. Thought determines character.. - Sri Swami Sivananda

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