Sivananda News Sivananda E-Gurugram
The Electronic Newsletter of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres
Issue #1/2014 Serve Love Give Purify Meditate Realize Jan 1, 2014
"Without God you could not see, could not talk, could not hear, could not think. God is the maker of all scientific laws - the law of gravitation, the law of cohesion, the law of attraction and repulsion, etc. God is the law-giver." - 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

01 New Moon
11 Ekadasi
14 Makar Sankranti
17 Full Moon 
27 Ekadasi
30 Full Moon

10 Ekadasi
14 Full Moon
25 Ekadasi
27 Sivarathri
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 Master and Swamiji, the Sivananda Organization is thriving with activity. We are looking at the brighter side in the year 2014. Ashram and Centres are all doing well. Their staff are working hard to impart the true knowledge of the scriptures, as taught by Swami Vishnudevanandaji.

It is good news for all that Teachers Training Courses offered around the globe are little more than 50 this year.  We thank all of you for your continued support for us to grow.  

We are happy to announce Sita Chaitanya, from the Retreat in the Bahamas was initiated on 11th December 2013 into Sannyas and is now Swami Hridyananda. Radha Chaitanya, from the Buenos Aires Centre, was also initiated. She is now Swami Dayananda.

We wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. May Master and Swamiji give their blessings for your successful Sadhana in the New Year.

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.

P.S. 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.

Subscribe to receive this newsletter via email once per month.

When you meditate on 'OM', the mind becomes purified. - Sri Swami Sivananda

Q. What is Vairagya?

Vairagya is the opposite of raga. It is dispassion or non-attachment. It is indifference to sensual objects herein and hereafter. Vairagya thins out the fatty sensual mind. It turns the mind inward (antarmukh vritti). This is the most important qualification for an aspirant. It is the one and the only means to enter into nirvikalpa samadhi. There are four stages in vairagya:
- Yatamanam. This is an attempt not to allow the mind to run into sensual grooves.
- Vyatirekam. In this stage some objects are attracting you and you are endeavouring to cut off the attachment and attraction.
- Ekendriyam. The indriyas stand still and subdued, but the mind has either raga or dwesha for objects.
- Vasikaran. In this highest stage of vairagya, the objects no longer tempt you. They cause no attraction. The indriyas are perfectly quiet. Mind also is free from likes and dislikes (raga and dwesha). Then you get supremacy or independence. Now you are conscious of your supremacy.

Without vairagya no spiritual progress is possible. If you get vairagya, rest assured that is a sign of purification of mind (chitta-shuddhi).

Q. I am not able to practice meditation for more than ten minutes. After that my mind begins to wander on sensual objects?

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.

Q. I am in earnest search of a Guru who can emphatically say that he has realized Brahman or the eternal Truth or God. Can you give trace of such a man? May I take the liberty to ask you whether you have realized Brahman?
A. The queries you have asked are quite common to all sincere aspirants in the spiritual path. Suppose I tell you that a certain "X" is a realized soul, how can you verify my statement and how far will you be benefited by him? Realized souls are not rare. Ordinary ignorant-minded persons cannot easily recognize them. Only a few persons who are pure and are embodiments of all virtuous qualities can understand realized souls and they only will be benefited by their company. There is no use of running hither and thither in search of realized men. Even if Lord Krishna remains with you, He cannot do anything for you, unless you are fit to receive Him. Realize this point well and purify yourself by Nishkama Karma Yoga, charity, concentration, meditation, Japa, Brahmacharya and control of senses. Testing a Guru is highly difficult. Don't use your intellect here. Have faith. The real aspirant is quite free from such questions and doubts. You will be miraculously helped if you believe in my words.
Previous FAQs at
Develop the eye of intuition. Have a vision of the Infinite. - Sri Swami Sivananda


- Peacock - Intermediate Level

While in this pose the body resembles a peacock with its feathers spread out behind. Mayurasana is a balancing posture. Start in a kneeling position, then move your knees apart. Place your arms between your legs, bringing your elbows in close together and into your abdomen. Next, lay your hands flat on the floor, with your wrists together and your fingers pointing back toward your feet. Starting Pose: sit on your heels with your knees wide apart.

Keep your hands directly under your abdomen. Lean forward, lifting your hips. Put your forehead on the ground. Keep the abdomen contracted and pressed tightly against the elbows. Elbows remain close together. Feet together. Breathe. Next, stretch one leg and then the other straight out behind you. Tuck the toes under. Your weight should now be resting on your hands, toes and forehead. Touching the Ground: at this point you are resting your weight on your hands, toes, and forehead. Stay here for beginner level ...or go a step further…
Raise your head, and consciously shift your weight forward to find a balance point. Lift your toes. If you perform the movements slowly, you will raise your legs without effort. Hold for 10 seconds. With practice, you will be able to hold the pose for up 30 seconds. Parallel Body: In the final position, your body is held straight and parallel to the floor.

To come out of the posture, lower the feet then knees and sit up. Shake the wrists. Relax after in child's pose.

Activates prana to circulate from the solar plexus throughout the whole body
Strengthens the muscles of the legs, arms, back, abdomen, shoulders and neck
Tones the lungs
Tones the abdominal organs
Helps overcome constipation
Gives whole body a powerful tonic
Overcome sluggishness as well as hyperactivity

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

The lamp of faith must be steadily fed by contact with sages and vigilantly trimmed by meditation. - Swami Sivananda

Swami Vishnudevananda Instructions on Meditation:
Now just for a few minutes, dive deep into that silence. Hear the silence, see the silence, taste, smell and touch the silence. The last moment of your Life, you'll hear that beautiful silence, that melody of your soul, the sound of your own soul, the music of your soul. That Godhead, that Peace will come to you. You will leave your body with full awareness and Peace and Shanti. Now dive deep. Hear the eternal sound of Om in silence, and we'll keep silence just for a few minutes, just a few minutes...\. - 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:


From Chapter I: "Samadhi Pada - On Contemplations"

"At that time (when the thought waves are stilled), the perceiver rests in his own true nature."

Commentary: That state of pure consciousness is achieved when the mind is no longer modified by the activities of thought waves. When the waves of a lake are stilled, one can see the bottom clearly. Likewise, when the 'vrittis' of the mind subside, one's essential nature (swaroopa) becomes evident. When the mind's agitation stops, the world no longer exists for the meditator, for he is in union with the Self.

The divine light and grace will descend only upon the Sattvic or the pure mind, because only a pure mind can receive it. - Sri Swami Sivananda


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

Swami Vishnudevananda Instructions on Meditation

Now just for a few minutes, dive deep into that silence. Hear the silence, see the silence, taste, smell, and touch the silence. The last moment of your life, you'll hear that beautiful silence, that melody of your soul, the sound of your own soul, the music of your soul. That Godhead, that peace will come to you. You will leave your body with full awareness and peace and shanti. Now dive deep. Hear the eternal sound of Om in silence, and we'll keep silence just for a few minutes, just a few minutes.

You sit for three hours with eyes closed. Does the meditation come? Sitting with closed eyes like a statue is not going to bring you anything as long as the play is still going on inside. Continuously the play is going on; meditation is a continuous dehypnotizing of our identity with this play, this play of the body and mind.

Meditation starts in your day-to-day life. If you cannot detach yourself from the day-to-day activities, you cannot close your eyes and meditate. If we have continuous identification with our activities and nature, when we sit, the same activities will go on. Even if you keep your eyes closed, your hands clasped, your feet crossed, still the mind is not checked. The mind will play the part and you are going to identify with the mental play. Whether you are going to work with your physical body and identify with your physical body, or if you keep the physical body still and close the eyes, it makes no difference. The mind will play its part in all conditions.

In order to detach and keep the mind away from the day-to-day portion so that when you sit for meditation you will be able to withdraw the mind, you must take the first step which is called Karma Yoga. Karma Yoga is the fundamental step on which your meditation practice is built. No meditation is possible without Karma Yoga; it doesn't matter what else you do.

Excerpt from the book: Swamiji Said – A Collection of Teaching by Swami Vishnudevananda in His Own Words

Truth is silence. - Sri Swami Sivananda


These truffles, created by Prema, one of our affiliated teachers in London, are irresistible. They are outrageously sweet, the perfect prasad. Makes 20 large or 40 small.

2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons soy milk
Hot chocolate mix for coating


Combine the confectioners sugar, chopped nuts, cocoa powder, margarine, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Slowly add the soy milk; the mixture should be sticky, but not runny.
Chill until firm, then form the mixture into small balls. Coat with the hot chocolate mix and keep in the refrigerator or a cool place until ready to serve.
Ground almonds and almond extract may be substituted for the chopped nuts and vanilla extract.
Substitute 1/2 cup unpacked unsweetened dried coconut for the chopped nuts.
Replace the vanilla extract with 1 teaspoon orange juice and 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest.
Serve at once.

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

Keep your heart tranquil, pure, empty of desires and thoughts. - Sri Swami Sivananda

UPCOMING EVENTS - TTC, ATTC, Sadhana Intensive Courses


Jan 04 - Jan 31/14
ATTC - English
Nassau, Bahamas

Jan 04 - Jan 31/14
TTC - English
Nassau, Bahamas

Jan 05 - Feb 02/14
TTC – English, Français, Deutsch, Espaňol, Italiano, Русский,日本語, язык, فارسی
Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India

Jan 05 - Feb 02/14
TTC - English, Español, Portuguese
Garopaba, Santa Catarina, Brazil

Jan 05 - Feb 02/14
ATTC - Español, Portuguese
Garopaba, Santa Catarina, Brazil

Jan 12 - Feb 09/14
TTC – English
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, South India

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 entire form of you Ishta-devata or Deity does not appear in meditation, try to visualize and part of the form, face or feet.
- Sri Swami Sivananda



Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada

    Om Namah Sivaya! Greetings from the Headquarters.
    In early December the November TTC concluded, now we are quiet and slowing down a little, to gather our thoughts and energy for Christmas and New Years. The last few days of the course were peaceful and light hearted. We covered theory of advanced pranayama followed by practice. The students felt the effects of the pranayama very much and spent most of the practice fairly quiet and reserved. By evening all of them had landed back on their feet, enjoying their last days together. The last Friday most of the students spent the day studying, taking walks, and helping us out a little bit around the Ashram. The Saturday morning the students sat for their exam, and they provided us with some entertaining answers. Although they all passed, majority of them still did not know the answer to 'what is the highest yoga', even though we sang the song and repeated the line many many times! After their exam most of the students went out, some prepared for the talent show, some helped in preparing the feast and a handful helped decorate the Christmas tree, dining hall and reception, now they are lit up and colourful, giving everybody a festive feeling as they walk inside. We had a delicious TTC feast prepared by Neeti, most of the students and staff had a food coma! The graduation ceremony was a happy affair, mainly because the group was tightly knit and very supportive of each other. Swami Rajeshwariananda, Swami Shankarananda and Swami Shivabhaktananda presented the students with their diplomas. After the graduation ceremony, we had an amazing talent show. This group was by far the most talented group that we have seen! They sang, danced, read poems etc etc. Ashram staff contributed to the show by putting together a maintenance band, playing with tools and other items found in our workshop. The talent show ended quite late, after which many photos were taken, there were countless goodbyes, and finally we all dispersed although still quiet high in energy, to our rooms. We had a very mellow and quiet Satsang. Most of the staff joined in with the shovelling, as we had over 20 cms of snow over night. By the afternoon most of the TTC students left, all except for 5. In the afternoon we packed into 3 cars and went to the Montreal Centre for the Christmas party. There were over a 100 people at the Centre, it was buzzing with energy and completely covered in Christmas decorations. Susheela returned from London, after being at their Centre for over 6 months, and is here to stay for a year now. Swami Rajesh gave Satsang, during which we had Christmas carols, a few jokes, a very funny Santa Claus who had the whole hall singing... and presents! After the Satsang we were served delicious lasagne, soup, idlli, sambar, paneer, etc. and tiramisu for dessert! Everyone was happy and well fed, meeting friends and family. All the Camp staff gave Swami Rajesh a big goodbye, as we would not be seeing her again for a while. Monday, we spent the day cleaning up, shovelling the roofs, housekeeping and finishing Christmas shopping. It then became quiet, so all the staff took some rest but also making sure we were prepared for the holiday season. We had a few guests checking in for weekends and weekdays. We were very much looking forward to seeing our family from the Ranch and NY Centre, as well as Toronto, visit us for the Holiday Season.

    During mid-December staff prepared for the arrival of many guest for the upcoming Christmas celebrations. We were blessed with beautiful snow falls that added to the already white landscape and gave all the feeling of Christmas. One Wednesday we had a Christmas tree decoration evening. All the staff and guests spent few hours together putting ornaments and lights on the tree and adding finishing touches to the Krishna Temple. The Christmas season formally commenced with the arrival of the Srinivasanji, Swami Ambikanandaji, Mahadev Chaitanyaji with the staff from the Yoga Ranch and Lalita Chaitanya from the Chicago Center. Also Prahlad, Saraswati and family arrived from Toronto. The expectation for Christmas have increased and the energy of brotherhood and union amongst those present inspired and uplifted all. All could feel the strong & peaceful energy of Swami Vishnu at the Yoga Camp. Salutations to the worldwide family from the Sivananda Headquarters.

Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    In early December eighteen brave souls began their spiritual path with the Fasting and Detoxification Program, run by Narayana. Their initiation was done by Murali and Kalyani ji during Satsang. The Yoga Vacation group continued well, with both beginners and intermediate classes. For the Fasting group a gentle yoga class was introduced in the afternoons. With its gaining popularity we also offered it to the yoga vacation group. One Friday, yoga vacationers got to enjoy a day on the backwaters, ending the trip in Varkala to swim and enjoy the sunset. The progressive learning of our TTC batch continued, a number of students have stayed back and we have formed teaching groups for them. Everyday two people from each group teach and are given feedback from an experienced teacher as well as the rest of the group. They also have the opportunity to assist the afternoon beginners, intermediate and gentle classes. With that we welcome Amrita, Kamala, Bhargavi, Ishan and Vel to the Ashram, their service time ranging from 1 to 6 months and longer.

    During mid-December the Fasting/Detoxification and yoga vacation program were both in their second week and progressing well. One Friday we offered a trip to the Kanyakumari with a good turnout of guests. The Yoga Ayurveda Cultural Program commenced with a Ganapati Homa in the morning, followed by a Kattakali demonstration in the afternoon and a fine performance of Prahlada story in the evening. Guests had many opportunities for photographs to capture the vibrancy of this traditional dance style of Kerala. The following day the Vedic Maths course began with Mr. Haridas. Recent TTC graduates started teaching groups to teach under supervision. They appreciated the opportunity. We bid farewell to our work study Canelle Chinmayi and Mandira and wish them success in all their endeavours. All staff were in good spirits and send their pranams for a new year 2014.

Sivananda Ashram Kutir, Netala, Uttarkashi, North India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    The Uttarkashi Ashram still remains closed due to the floods and road damage. We are hoping by January 2014 we can re-start our operations. 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
    We offered very nice topics to our guests this month, such as "Simple Living – High Thinking", "Finding a Purpose in Life", "Breathing Techniques to Improve the Energy". Nataraj, a dedicated karma yogi from Hamburg, finished the modelling of the statue of Swami Sivananda, which will be cast in bronze. It looks very beautiful and gives a strong feeling of his presence.  The workers continued with the construction of the new bathhouse nicely. Dr Uma Krishnamurti  arrived for the certificate course "Yoga Psychology and Mental Health" and started with her series of workshops on Sundays to mark the official opening of the Christmas/New Year season at the Ashram. OM.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early December welcomed back Swami Dharmananda from the Nassau Retreat after receiving blessing of sannyas initiation. The Ashram welcomed a nice group of yogis for the Beginner Course taught by Anandi, with emphasis on the 5 Points of Yoga. Bharata Surya taught a very inspired and high energy cooking course, sharing the medicinal qualities of foods from Ayurvedic perspective. We have just completed renovating the Library with new hardwood floors and book shelves creating a very light and sattvic space. The Yoga Farm was very cold with wonderful snowfall painting the hillsides and revealing a rarely seen beauty here.

    During mid-December the Yoga Farm was very active with a Beginner 2 course, with Swami Dharmananda, with emphasis in increasing prana and offering techniques to balance the mind through hatha and raja yoga practice. This was followed by a Positive Thinking weekend, taught by Shambu das. The guests were very grateful to receive practical teachings that can be applied immediately to their life. Om Namo Narayanaya to all the Sivananda family.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch, Woodbourne, New York, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    In early December Srinivasan traveled to the Yoga retreat  to attend the EBM meeting. On the same day Mahadev Chaitanya returned back from India after teaching in the Nov TTC in Neyyar Dam. The focus was on the renovation of the staff trailer and the decoration of the Ashram preparing for our big New Years celebration. We had a big snow fall but that did not stop a brave and eager group of guests to join us for our weekend program - "Prayer the Means for Bliss". Most of the staff traveled to the NYC Centre to join in the joyful Christmas party. It was a great opportunity for the Ashram and Centre staff to reconnect and to give thanks to all of the Centre's teachers and students. 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

    Our Thanksgiving Celebration was a big success. Arjuna gave the family program that week and also cooked a delicious Thanksgiving feast with the help of our kitchen staff and guests. Gratitude was the important theme. Father William Meninger gave a wonderful series of talks on Christian Contemplation. The first TTC of the season began on December 4th, with 45 students inaugurated. The Ashram was aglow in orange as Swamis and Board members arrived for the EBM meeting, beginning December 10th. Dr Rubin Naiman gave a lecture series on the Yoga of Sleep, and the sacred and scientific practices to heal sleeplessness. A successful meeting of the EBM was held at the Retreat. It was a great honour and very inspirational for the staff to host the all the Acharyas and assistants. Sita Chaitanya was initiated into Sannyas and is now Swami Hridyananda. Karnamrita Dasi and her musicians joined us for a wonderful few evenings of ragas and kirtan. Yoga Nidra workshops with Madhavi were well attended. Brahmachari Shankara gave a program on Vedantic Meditation and the practice of Self-Inquiry. The Ashram looked very festive, with the Christmas tree decorated and Christmas lights up.

    During mid-December Swamini Pramananda continued with her inspirational programme on The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form, Teachings on the 11th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. The Introduction to Meditation, which began on December 15, continued to December 19 and was well attended. A programme for Yoga and Self Thai Massage was held with Sundari and was found to be extremely beneficial and helpful for better mobililty of the joints and flexibility. Krishna Das, a senior staff of the Ashram held a workshop Adapting Sivananda Yoga to Your Body. Kirtan was an uplifting and inspirational experience with the return of Ragani and her musicians. From December 20-22 Dale Buegel facilitated a workshop on Prana in Life Enhancement. Dr. Buegel was a long-time student of Swami Rama and has been teaching yoga for 40 years and is known for skilful mastery of yoga postures, breathing techniques and meditation.
    "Unity in Diversity: Light the Light Shine" began on December 22 and the programme opened with a beautiful teaching of Shankaracharya, given by Swamini Pramananda. Many poinsettias and other Christmas flowers were planted throughout the gardens adding to the beauty of the holiday season. Pranams to all!

Sivananda Ashram, Retreat House, Reith, Tyrol, Austria
    Om Namah Sivaya
    During the whole month the preparations for Christmas were in full swing. We had two Karma Yoga evenings with the guests generously donating  their time to help. Decorations were put up in the boutique and the newly created storage place was organized. The big hall was set up with stage, sound, a big Christmas tree and decorations. Also the new brochure for 2014 arrived from the printer. Guests and staff pulled together in a series of Karma Yoga Satsangs to prepare the yearly mailing. We were very happy that we were able to send out the mailing in a matter of days. The Christmas/New Years TTC students arrived. They adapted very well to the daily schedule and turned out to be a very inspired and open minded group. Daily Pujas and Mantra recitations conducted by an Indian priest helped immensely to keep up the spiritual atmosphere during the first two weeks of the TTC. We are looking forward to welcoming many staffs and special guests for the upcoming celebrations. OM.

Sivananda Ashram Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
    Om Namo Narayanaya

    Early December began with the 'Bhoomi Puja' ceremony. This Puja was performed prior to the beginning of Ashram construction work, is to seek Gods blessings and also to ward off all the difficulties in our endeavour. The TTC students moved on to the 3rd week of their course, in which they were categorised into teaching groups and made to take classes. They also had classes on Anatomy & Physiology by Dr. Rashmi who left after completing her lecture schedule. We had Bhajan group from Erode, led by Rajamani mesmerising us with their rendition of chants one Thursday night. We had a trip to Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi. The trip gave the students a chance to know more about our traditional richness and cultural heritage. Our guests were enthralled by several awesome talents being showcased in their talent show. Swami Rajeswariananda and Swami Gayathriananda reached here from Neyyardam Ashram. 14 students were initiated in to Mantra with customary rites by Swami Rajeswariananda, Swami Gayathriananda and Swami Satchidananda. New students for the Yoga Vacation program started arriving. Praying for Gods grace and blessings all throughout.

    During mid-December the TTC students moved on to their final week in which the teachings and values imbibed by them during their 4-week course were put to test, enabling them to evolve as Yoga teachers. We had Lalitha Sahasranama chanting and Puja to invoke Goddess's blessings. The TTC students were given lessons on Advanced Pranayama. We had a cultural night in which Shobhana, a danseuse from Chennai entertained us with her Bharatanatyam performance. The Yoga Vacationers also had an enjoyable time with their asana classes and lectures providing them with peace
    of mind and relaxation. We had the exam for the TTC students, which saw them putting in their best effort to come out with flying colours. We had the graduation ceremony of TTC students in which they were awarded their diplomas. This was followed by a spectacular talent show enthralling the audience. An emotional fare-well was given to the students, taking back along with them loads of fond memories. May all of them have our Gurus grace upon them to spread the teachings of Yoga philosophy afar. Vijay Ji and Nagaraj Ji left for Delhi. 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:

    TTC TAIWAN: After two days of powerful initiation into the course and the purification of the Retreat place by Ganesha/Saraswati Homa and Sudarshan/Rama/ Vaastu Homa, the TTC students and teachers settled into the daily routine and the business of transmission of Swamiji 's teachings to this part of the world. As part of this beginning purification, Pandit Samavedula led us in a Vaastu  procession through  this beautiful hillside temporary Ashram in central Taiwan near Tai Chung, and we blessed  all the students' rooms and teaching spaces. Now we feel comfortable and peaceful as the teaching environment was sattvic and the outside environment was really charming with perfect weather, warm sunshine and abundant earth presence, orange orchards, gardens and birds chirping away. The TTC Taiwan students are settling into Karma Yoga, daily chanting and daily lectures and are very receptive and serious. The translation equipment works and the translators do a wonderful job, translating everything! Swami Sitaramananda leads the meditation and philosophy classes, Swami Pranavananda leads the Hatha Yoga team including Ananta Chaitanya and Deviyani as assistants, Swami Narayanananda teaches Bhagavad Gita and Kirtan and helps with Satsangs. We had an excellent sitar and tablas concert as a treat one Saturday evening and students are now moving along into the 2nd week. All was well. Students and teachers are enjoying the course. Very good sitar and tablas concert performance and wonderful TTC talent show. Weather was good allowing for silent walks in the hills among the beautiful fruit trees. The TTC Taiwan 3rd week went by fast with Anatomy, group teachings, Kriyas, silent walk, special week-end Chinese classical music performance with students singing along. We had a special full moon Puja workshop appreciated by all. Students start to shine and go deeper specially we had a week of rain and cloudy days. Staff send pranams. Om.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Bangkok, Thailand
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early December after some weeks of political instability in Bangkok, the situation has calmed down considerably. Also the weather was changing and surprisingly cool winds are bringing some relief to the city. The Centre programme continued as usual. The private class student had four sessions , taught by Mani Chaitanya and Savitri. Kavitha continued her ongoing yoga 1 beginner course, Mirabai's Japanese open class again was well-attended and Krishna taught kids' class and trial class. Less students came for the open classes , as many are preparing to leave to their home countries for Christmas. All local teachers were invited for a teachers' meeting and eight of them came for the first get-together after a long time. Mani Chaitanya thanked everyone for their support and encouraged them to spend more time at the Centre and get more actively involved in all activities. He pointed out how the Centre provides a good opportunity to keep up the personal sadhana in a conducive environment, and invited all teachers to regularly come to the Centre for Satsang, karma yoga, as well as to practice in classes and to gradually start to teach Thai and English open classes. The meeting went well, and Centre energy was high as all teachers and staff enjoyed the opportunity to exchange and catch up with each other after a long time. Om Namah Sivaya, all staff send their pranams!

    During mid-December it was quiet leading up to Christmas, as most of our regular students were preparing for or travelling home for the holidays. Temperatures dropped significantly in the nights, and staff spent the week on garden maintenance and decorating the Centre for Christmas. Our young students in kids' class especially enjoyed the colorful decoration in the trees in front of the Centre entrance, and happily received their small Christmas gifts. Mani Chaitanya travelled back to New Delhi for the Christmas programme and the upcoming TTC in Neyyar Dam. We bid farewell to Kavitha who returned to New York after serving in Thailand for the last few months, and we thank her for her dedication. Also Savitri left for India to assist in TTC in Neyyar Dam. Former staff Amm was temporarily back at the Centre until after the holidays. SYVC Bangkok wishes all a merry Christmas! Om Namo Narayanaya!

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum, Berlin, Germany
    Om Namah Sivaya
    December started with a good yoga 1 course and several higher courses and good participation in courses and classes. Highlight was the Christmas party, which was well prepared due to dedicated help of many karma Yogis: Presents for children were organized, calendars where nicely packed, the tree was decorated with the help of the kids from Kids Yoga, the preparation of the Christmas meal and the rehearsals for the Christmas play. The Christmas party itself was very successful, more than 100 students + many kids came to enjoy the evening. Chanting, music, food and of course the Christmas play. The topic of the theatre play was "everything happens for the best" and it was very well received by all. Everybody left happy and inspired. In addition we focused on several maintenance projects, some rooms and the kitchen was painted, deeply cleaned, kitchen chairs and one cupboard was exchanged. It looks nice and sattwic again. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early December Classes and activities are running as usual, we are very happy with de Sannyas Iniciation of Radha Chaitanya, now she is Swami Dayananda, she took Sannyas in Bahamas on the 11th of December. We had the end of the year Satsang with 80 students, we had as usual a asana demonstration, a play and Christmas Choir. All students were very happy and grateful.

    During mid-December classes and activities continued as usual. We had less students becouse of the proximity of Christmas and the Summer Vacation. We recieved Swami Dayananda, who took recently Sannyas in Bahamas, and we said goodbye to Devaki who returned to Colombia after one month as staff. May Master, Guru and Mother's blessings bring peace and love around the world. Prem & Om to all.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chennai, India
    Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves from the Chennai Centre
    In early December it was a calm one here at the Centre. Highlights were the welcoming of a new batch of beginners' students, a pleasant increase in weight-loss students and growing interest in "on-site" yoga classes at neighboring businesses. The staff here continues to focus on their sadhana, looking forward to the coming week.

    During mid-December we started with the beginner's batch in the evening on Monday. A Headstand variation workshop was conducted. The numbers of student dipped a bit owing to the Christmas holidays. The Centre also decorated the Christmas tree with lights; few of the students also joined the decoration work. Chennai Centre wish all the Sivananda family a very happy Christmas and the New Year. Pranams All the staff send Pranams to the Sivananda family. Blessings to all!

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chicago, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    In early December Courses are coming to a finish as the holidays approach, and we are beginning to get registrations for courses that begin in the New Year. We had our holiday Satsang and potluck, featuring a visit from Mrs. Claus. All continues well while Swami Narayanananda was away, and we are now preparing to close the Centre for a week so that we may celebrate the holidays with our Sivananda family at the Ranch and the Camp. Happy holidays and pranams to all.
    Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi from the Centre in Chicago.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dwarka Centre, Delhi, India
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early December 2 weekday beginners courses completed, and the 2 new beginners courses starting drew many students, forming larger classes. Kids and gentle yoga classes continue as usual. A new meditation course started, and meditation courses are being very well-received, with many inquiries for them. A weight loss workshop was conducted and well attended. We bid farewell to Sarah who left for Rishikesh and will be headed to Neyyar Dam after, and said hello to Shakti, who was with us for a day, coming from the Nataraja Centre, before heading off to the airport. Satsang was attended by the staff and some students and enjoyed by all.

    During mid-December a weekend beginners course started and 2 weekday beginners courses ended. Kids and gentle yoga classes continue as usual. Vishnu left for Rishikesh on a short trip. Satsang was attended by staff and a few students and prasad enjoyed by all. The weather was crazy cold. Vijay is also back at the end of the week from the TTC in Madurai Ashram, to everyone's delight. Pranams to all. Om Shanti

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Nataraja Centre, Delhi, India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    In early December Christmas was approaching, and Milan with all other staff decorated the Centre beautifully with many colourful lights in the reception area and Vishnu hall, creating a festive atmosphere for the upcoming holidays. A new yoga 1 beginner course started on Monday, and our former staff Shruti was enjoying one of her first yoga 1 teaching experiences. We welcomed Shakti from Madurai Ashram, who stopped at the Centre for one day on her way home to Colombia.

    During mid-December we were glad to welcome Mani Chaitanya back to New Delhi . The Centre was buzzing with renovations and preparations for our Christmas celebration. Temperatures are now dropping by the day and the Centre's stone floors are storing the cold inspite of the heaters running continuously during class time. A new wooden flooring was installed in Shiva Hall, where our beginner courses are taught, in order to make students comfortable during asana practice. Kids' class teacher Manjuji had a last round of rehearsals for the kids' contribution to the Christmas programme. She was also teaching one yoga 1 beginner course, with Kishor teaching the second batch we started . Poonamji held another well-received vegetarian cooking workshop. All students enjoyed the preparation of soups and traditional halwa, which was ideal food given the current cold temperatures in New Delhi. Savitri arrived from Bangkok for a few days before assisting in TTC in Neyyar Dam. 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
    Highlight of the month was the Christmas Party. The Christmas-message about inner rebirth, the chanting of Christmas-carols, a Children's- and a back pipe-performance and the theater-play about King Bharata which was performed by a group of 10 teachers were very well received. There was lots of laughing and clapping and everyone felt connected in the spirit of Yoga. We also took the opportunity to thank the teachers and karma-yogis for their support. After a delicious meal and a present – a book with slokas from the Bangalore Sanskrit Academy - everybody left in high spirits. We also had an open day with an attentive and interested group of students. Two workshops about Yoga@home and Stress management had good attendance and allowed the participants to develop a deeper understanding of Yogic principles. The general brochure 2014 arrived from the printer and was sent out. Another focus were updates of the homepage and the preparation of the newsletter. OM.

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

    In early December it was a good one for the Centre with many students attending the regular Open Classes and many students continuing with Yoga-2 Courses after finish Yoga-1. Saraswati temporarily left the Centre to travel to Dalat in the Central Highlands to prepare for the Opening of the new Centre there in January. she was working on advertising and getting the Centre ready to receive the students in January. Jayanta and Ganga taught a workshop on Prana and Pranayama. the students enjoyed learning more about Prana and practice Pranayama more intensely. All was well in Ho Chi Minh City.

    During mid-December was another good one for the Centre. We welcomed Sha, a new resident from the US. Open Classes and Beginners Courses continued and a new Yoga-2 course in Vietnamese taught by Ganga started. The staff share all duties equally and enjoyed the cooler weather before Christmas. Preparations for the Opening of the new Centre in Dalat in January are going well. All the staff were happy, with the Guru's blessings. Pranams to all the Sivananda family for 2014. Om Tat Sat.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, London, England
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early December we had a positive thinking course starting with a very inspired group of students. The main event was the Christmas party. It was beautifully prepared by all the Karma Yogis and staff. Swami Kailasananda came on her return from the EBM meeting. She gave a beautiful Satsang with a Christmas message for all the attending yogis. This was followed by an asana demonstration and the Christmas play about Narada and Maya. It was very very funny and at the same time quite deep. There were good special effects when the river flooded and everything was washed away. After the play we had the Xmas carols, the presents and then the dinner which was delicious. All students left with a joyful heart.

    During mid-December the upcoming Christmas holidays resulted in a calm week in the London Centre. There were several interviews with candidates for the London TTC, people took advantage of the reduced price for a booking before the end of the year and we are happy to see the number of TTC students for the June course gradually growing. Work on the new bathroom was advancing very well and after many weeks of preparing the ground work, the space was now taking shape as a bathroom with tiling being done and bathroom equipment being installed. Swami Anantananda and Nadapriya left to the Ashram in France for the Christmas programme. Om.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    Early December was with many activities - the usual first weekend of the month Open House and Chanting workshop on a Saturday, plus Deaf Yoga and two Ecospiritual events. We did Puja to Saraswati for our monthly community Puja at Satsang. We prepared for the annual Holiday party on Saturday - always a very popular event.

    During mid-December our holiday party went very well with a full house, joyful community carol singing, bountiful food and friendship. Everyone received a gift and it was reassuring to see the return of some old faces! At Sunday Satsang we did a beautiful meditation on Christmas, relating to the birth of Jesus as the birth of love within our own hearts. Sales for the winter sale have been brisk and we look forward to a good start to the New Year. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all. Pranams.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madrid, Spain
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves!
    In December, the busy pace of the Madrid Centre slowed down a bit to reflect the holiday spirit of the season. Most main projects revolved around the preparations for the much anticipated Christmas festival, which took place on 14th of December and gathered more than 100 close teachers, students, and visitors of the Centre. Under Gauri's expert guidance, our enthusiastic team of close karma yogis prepared a wonderful evening meal. The busy Christmas program started with a short meditation followed by an inspiring Christmas message delivered by Swami Atmaramananda and cheerful Spanish Christmas carols for which all visitors joined in enthusiastically. Then there were presents to young and old from Santa Claus, an inspired theatre performance by our close teachers and students, and the evening of festivities concluded with a beautiful piano performance by Jyoti followed by a delicious Christmas evening meal for all. Many close teachers and students came to join staff for the festival night as well as first time visitors of the Centre. Everybody left the Centre in high spirits and with a lot of appreciation for the beautiful evening together. In the beginning of the month. Swami Atmaramananda went to support the Christmas festival at the Sivananda Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania, and after that he joined the Christmas activities at the Orleans Ashram in France. Jyoti and Krishnapriya both went home for the Christmas holidays, and Lakshmi and Karuna stayed to take care of the Centre until the end of the month. During the holiday season, the Centre, which was staying open all days except on Christmas and New Year's days, has been very well attended by students and teachers taking classes and coming to Satsangs as well as by first time visitors and visiting students and teachers from outside of Madrid. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madurai, South India
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early December the Morning beginner's course began on Mondays. All other classes continued well at the Centre and outside as well. We went to the Ashram for Bhajan Sandhya. Some of our students joined us and enjoyed the programme. Madurai has become cooler with occasional heavy downpour. We welcomed our new staff, Akash from the Madurai Ashram, to help us out. He seems to be settling down with the Centre's routine. All was well with the Grace of our Satgurus. 

    During mid-December we started a new project with Madurai Velammal Medical College with 15 medics. We are expecting the faculty members to join after covering these students. In our other project, we completed successfully the second batch of TVS school teachers with 34 students. The third batch was expected to commence after XMas and New Year Holidays in the first week of Jan. Our profound thanks to Delhi Nataraja Centre for donating to Madurai Centre time to time. Recently we received with thanks Rs. 30000 for purchasing a display TV for the reception for displaying the benefits of Asanas, Pranayam and programmes about our Ashrams and Centres worldwide. Our staff members were invited by MS. Saroja who had organized a special Puja at Azhagar Kovil and Pazhamudircholai - the sixth house of Lord Subramnya. She was a benefactor of the Temple. We received the close darshan of Lord Vishnu (Azhagar) and Muruga (P. Cholai). We went to our Madurai Meenakshi Ashram for the graduation ceremony with many of our students. We enjoyed the feast and the talent show. 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 Milano.
    In early December Swami Jnaneswariananda traveled to the EBM meeting in Nassau. Keshava and karma yogis organized a very nice Christmas party. Eighteen of our students and teachers had a very good time. The kitchen was painted, repairing the water damage from the broken pipe.

    During mid-December the classes and courses slowed as Christmas drew nearer. Many students for holidays already mid-month. We held a Surya Namaskar workshop and our monthly 3-hour Sunday morning class. Staff and students are well. Pranams to all.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montevideo, Uruguay
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early December it was quiet at the Centre after the Christmas Satsang 7/12. The weather was hot and the mind of the students was on holidays and running the end of the year. Whoever came to classes appreciated the peacefulness of the Centre. During this quiets time we worked on the preparation of TTC, ATTC, Yoga Vacations in Garopaba - Brasil in Jan 2014.

    During mid-December we had very hot and humid weather, with few students at the Centre. The students who came enjoy the relaxing of end of the year stress classes. We continued to busily prepare the Garopaba TTC/ATTC/Yoga Vacations programs. We are enjoying the long summer days with 13 hours of light daily. Om and Pranams to everyone in the Sivananda Family.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early December Montreal was becoming increasingly colder outside and with Christmas fast approaching there were smaller groups in the open classes, which has been a usual pattern over the last few years. Sushila joined the staff team in Montreal once again. Swami Sankaranada Ji went to the Camp, with our Centre's staff, for the TTC graduation in the Krisna temple. The prana and spirits of the students were high. The Centre then prepared for the annual Christmas party, making decorations and preparing the Italian feast, with the support of many karma yogi's. Over 120 attended. Swami Rajeshwaranada spent time talking about the true meaning of Christmas, which felt like a timely period to be reflective and thoughtful. Next, a message from Swami Sivananda was shared for all to hear about devotion to others. It enabled the attendees to be grounded before the celebrations began. Swami Shivabhatanada and the rest of the Ashram staff attended this special event, along with teachers and their families, recent TTC graduates and many students. The group brought adynamic joyful presence. The gathering allowed people to reconnect with each other and reconfirm the community that the Centre has created, and appreciate the mission of Swami Sivananda and Swami Vishnusdevananda. There was lot of chanting, carol singing and even an appearance from a humorous Santa, who instigated everyone to sing and lot's of laughter. The evening ended with a large feast. The Centre was filled with warmth, which compensated the coldness outside. 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!
    The year coming slowly to an end we also had our last cooking class with the title "Power Source Proteins"; the participants learnt how to easily cook protein rich dishes suited for yogic vegetarians. The last big event of the year was our Christmas party. Many old and new students came. The party took place in our beautifully decorated yoga hall – we also had a very nice, large Christmas tree. The party started with a short Satsang, kirtans and – of course - Christmas carols. We were very happy that Santa Claus found time in his busy schedule to pay us also a visit. One of the highlights of the party was the theatre play – this time it was based on the story of Jadabharata from the Srimad Bhagavatam, who renounced his kingdom, went as an ascetic to the woods, got attached to a deer, was reborn after his death as a deer …. Apart from the spiritual message the play had also many funny moments – the audience laughed a lot! The party ended with a delicious, festive dinner after which everybody left very happy and in high moods. We are already looking forward to a lot of special activities in January – among them an Open House, a preparation day for the yoga teachers training courses and a programme on Indian temple ceremonies with a South Indian priest. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Neuquen, Patagonia, Argentina
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    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 December we were very happy to welcome Srinivasan who gave a beautiful workshop entitled Devotion, Vedanta and the Art of Peace which was very much appreciated by the students. We also held our last Headstand workshop of the year. We had a very busy week preparing for the Christmas Party. One hundred and twenty people came to celebrate with us, all in joyous mood. The building resounded with Christmas carols, Santa Claus paid a flying visit and gifts were received by all. Staff from the Ranch came and we thank all the karma yogis who spent many hours decorating the Centre and cooking for the sumptuous Feast. Our classes are beginning to wind down now as the cold and snow set in and Christmas approaches and we are using the time to do some early Spring Cleaning. Om Namah Sivaya from all the staff here at the NYC Centre. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for 2014.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Paris, France
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early December Swami Bhagavatananda and Swami Shyamananda came to the Centre on Monday for a meeting with people of the ministry of cults. The meeting was positive and left a powerful energy with a Puja celebrated by the Swamis. On Tuesday Swami Kailasananda went to London, her stay at the Centre gave inspiration, support, prana and joy to everyone. Swami Gopalananda went to Orleans on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Kailas came from Orleans to give a program. He gave two inspiring asana classes and a beautiful Satsang. Swami Bhagavatananda arrived on Friday to coordinate a photo shoot for the next brochure. We had a headstand workshop with a motivated group of 16 students. Swamiji gave a lovely Satsang on the topic of Santosha. The preparations of the Christmas party continued...
    there were many short and joyful rehearsals of the Christmas play. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Porto Alegre, Brasil, South America
    Om Namah Sivaya from Brasil
    In early December we had the Satsang for the end of the year. We had 25 students that came for meditation, chanting, the documentary about Swami Vishnu in the name if peace and delicious food made by Rukmini. Pranams, from all the staff at Porto Alegre Centre for the New Year.

Centro Yoga Vedanta Sivananda, Rome, Italy
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves
    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
    In early December Radha Krishna Das arrived to serve as staff and help us prepare for our holiday party.  We had a recent TTC graduate come also for a 2 week stay as a resident. On Wednesday night we had quite a thorough review of the Bhagavad Gita, covering all chapters in an exhilarating review, using Swami Sivanananda's words as a guide.   We said farewall to our beloved staff member Maha Shakti on Friday, who departed to return to Canada. We worked assiduously for our annual holiday party, making by hand bracelets with beads from one blessed mala to give to those attending our party.  Everything culminated in a wonderful time, with the blessing of a visit from Swami Dharmananda and over 15 students visiting us from the Yoga Farm.  They put on a very nice play based on a story from the Upanishads. We ended on a powerful note as the final chant was sung, with over 60 community members united and celebrating together, with the grace of our Gurus. Pranams to all from San Francisco Centre for 2014.

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 December two Yoga1 courses started with good number of students. We had a very busy time, beginning with Surya namaskar 108times charity event for a magazine for the homeless Big Issue Japan, organised by a karmayogi Saraswati, then on a Pair yoga workshop was attended by many, including a few sets of families with small kids, at the same time Jyotish workshop was going on, which was the last in series by Ms Keiko Ito. Satsanga was attended by twenty TTC graduates mainly from Okayama and Thailand, and we had a good chanting session.... it was actually the beginning of the year-end reunion retreat organised by Okayama graduates Gopala and Tai. The participants cooked nice indian curry for forty guests, and all enjoyed a small talent show and celebrated Tiffany's marriage etc.. Ten of them stayed at the Centre and we had a lively Satsanga and asana class led by Shambu on Monday morning. The afternoon was spent doing karmayoga, cleaning the asana hall and waxed the wooden floor almost perfectly. Then more people came and had dinner in the evening, all enjoying seeing one another six months after the course. So hard to leave, taking classes and helping the Centre routine, five people stayed until Tuesday afternoon. We wished well for Takuji who had to leave for his work commitment. His service was great help for us although for a short time. May the blessings of Master and Swamiji be with all during 2014. Pranams.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early December we wrapped up a few more Yoga 1 and a Yoga 2 courses. We are happy to report that most of the students intend to come for more courses and open classes to further their practice. During week Prahlada visited Bahamas for the EBM meeting and has returned.   Much effort was spent on preparing the Centre for the annual Christmas/Hanukkah party. Top-to-bottom cleaning and decorating by our dedicated karma yogis and staff helped to put the Centre and its students in a festive spirit. Our party last night was a great success! Ken Whiteley regaled us with some of his classic songs and then led everyone in singing Christmas carols together, which was always a delight! Then we moved onto the "famous" Sivananda Talent Show, which proved to be funny, inspiring and moving in turns. After that, we had Arati and Santa came to deliver gifts to the children, karma yogis and staff. Then the food! Everyone brought their culinary talents to the party and delicious food and desserts were enjoyed by all. Everyone was in a great mood and the staff are still cleaning up the Centre on the next day.  We wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Holidays

    During mid-December we had a very busy week, with Prahlada starting an Asana Jaya course for the consecutive 5 days with room full of students.  Students learned the true teachings of Hatha Yoga practice to deepened their practice.  Open classes were full, while courses were all winding up for the year.  Dr. Sonal gave an Ayurvedic Cooking workshop. Sankra, Saraswati2 and Bhakti have painted the kitchen and reception, which looks beautiful now.   We have now closed the Centre for Holidays and staff are headed to the Yoga Camp in Val Morin.  We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Om.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala, South India
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    In early December we saw the beginning of two basic courses, one in the morning and another in the evening at 9.30 a.m. and 6.15 p.m. All other batches went on with their usual schedule. We had Kriya Workshop in which the students were introduced to our ancient cleansing techniques. Kannan from Thrissur, who graduated from the previously concluded TTC at Neyyar Dam joined the Centre as staff on Friday. While Jishnu, who had been at the Centre for the past 3 wks left for his home. Another discussion about YOGA WALK was held at the Centre in which the volunteer groups and their co-ordinators were finalised.This was followed by Meditation & Satsang led by Surendran.

    During mid-December we began with Ganapathi Homam to mark the beginning of Malayalam month, 'Dhanu'.We had one basic course starting on Monday at 6.15 a.m. Workshop on Head stand was conducted on Wednesday at 6.30 a.m. with a view to remove fear and inhibitions of students towards the posture. We had a meeting on YOGA WALK, in which the committee co-ordinators alone were asked to attend. This was followed by Christmas special Satsang led by Nataraj ji. We had a decorated crib, an X-mas tree and stars to adorn the Satsang hall for the celebrations. The program was attended by a vast crowd including a group from Neyyar Dam Ashram. We had Santa Claus distributing sweets and gifts to the assembled crowd. A huge cake was also cut on this occasion. All of us had a memorable and joyful eve of celebrations at the Centre. In the evening Satsangs we sent our prayers for and good wishes to each member of the Sivananda family. Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vienna, Austria
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Highlight of the month was the Christmas Celebration. Over 100 students joined the festivities. Especially the heart-opening Christmas message, a professionally presented violin concert and the traditional theatre play appealed to all the visitors alike. Very readily many Karma yogis helped preparing the successful event. Also a big renovation project started in our Asana Hall. The yellow carpet was taken out and the wooden parquet floor below was being repaired and renewed. It then will have the same warm and shining look as the adjacent meditation room. We put a lot of effort into the making of the new brochure and sent it to the printer. The new brochures will be available in time when the courses are starting again in 2014. So it will be a good welcome for the students returning to the Centre in the New Year. Swami Vidyananda who had been supporting the Centre for several weeks returned to Reith. The remaining Vienna Staff left for Reith on Christmas Day morning. With exception of 24th to 26th of December the Centre was open, thanks to Karma Yogis and close teachers who kept up the Centres' basic activities. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
    Om Namah Sivaya, from Vilnius
    In early December we offered a Yoga 3 course with a small group of students started. Yoga 1 and Yoga 2 courses began on Tuesday. The open classes were well-attended. We had a cooking course with 14 students, who were happy to learn how to cook various vegetarian dishes using the spices and food ingredients in creative way. We had a very strong snow for the first time in this winter. Slowly it was getting colder. A festive mood was created by the Christmas tree outside the Centre, which was decorated very sattvically with white small lamps by Ishwara Chaitanya. We are preparing everything for the Christmas party and special program with Swami Atmaramananda that will take place at the end of December. Students are enthusiastically registering for it.

    During mid-December in spite of the Christmas time the yoga Centre was well attended. The courses and open classes were running as usual. On Tuesday we had a Headstand Workshop with a small group of students very interested in learning or improving this important posture. On Monday Jnaneshwara (Berlin) came for one week and helped a lot with computers, teaching and preparation for the special events. The main event of the week was the special program with Swami Atmaramananda. On Friday we had a teachers meeting. We saw a very successful Christmas party was organized. 81 adult and 24 children attended the feast. The students and teachers came from other cities of Lithuania also. The program continued with a seminar on the topic : "The Law of Karma and  free Will". We had a nice big Satsang, asana class and very inspiring lecture, which encouraged many to reflect on their lives and do the firm resolves for the next year. Yoga Centre felt strong support of the karma yogis. The teachers and students donated generously for the improvement of the Centre. We bid farewell also to the resident Surya. She supported the Centre with karma yoga nicely two last months. OM.

The Absolute is beyond thought, beyond thinking. - Sri Swami Sivananda

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