Sivananda News Sivananda E-Gurugram
The Electronic Newsletter of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres
Issue #3/2014 Serve Love Give Purify Meditate Realize Mar 1, 2014
"Religion, philosophy and meditation go hand in hand. Practice meditation regularly. Meditation leads to eternal bliss. Therefore meditate, meditate." - 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

MARCH 2014
01 New Moon
12 Ekadasi
16 Full Moon
17 Holi
27 Ekadasi
30 New Moon

APRIL 2014
08 Ramanavami
11 Ekadasi
12 Subramanya/Ayyappa Temple Reopens
15 Full Moon
15 Vishu (Malayalee New Year)
15 Hanuman Jayanti
20 Easter
25 Ekadasi
29 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

All International Sivananda Centres and Ashrams report a healthy attendance in asana classes and courses, enabling staff and teachers to wholeheartedly share the profound teachings of Master and Swami-ji. After much diligent chanting from all during February's Sivaratri, the entire Organization of Ashrams and Centres report the increased prana, which may last until next year.

The 2014 Yoga Walk at Trivandrum, Kerala, South India was a positive success. Sandeep's report can be found in Trivandrum's monthly report at bottom of this Gurugram. Dà Lat, Vietnam Sivananda Centre is now up and running, offering a regular schedule of asana classes. To enable to reach to as many students, we have been guided to offer teacher training course in satellite locations other that Sivananda Ashrams. Upcoming satellite teacher training courses include an ATTC in Da Lat, Vietnam - 6 hours from Ho Chi Ming City - in March 2014 and a TTC, in Sikkum, North India in April 2014. With much diligence and dedication from senior teachers worldwide, there is an average of 4-5 TTCs/ATTCs each month during 2014. A list of all teacher training courses can be found at

This month the GURUGRAM continues a Raja Yoga series, reviewing Swami Vishnudevananda's 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.

Pranams to all.

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Meditation is a positive vital dynamic process. It transforms man into Divinity. - Sri Swami Sivananda

Q. When the grace of Guru and God is there, why is the mind still not controlled?

There must be Purushartha also. Only when you do Purushartha, the grace will come. A professor will not answer the questions for you and make you pass. The Gita says, "Uddharet Atmanatmanam". One should raise oneself. Grace only helps one to raise oneself. Everybody should work out his own salvation. You may ask, "What is grace then?". If an aspirant gets letters from his preceptor, clearing his doubts, that is grace. If an aspirant comes here, takes Ganges bath and hears the lectures here, that is grace. Many people are thirsting, even croropathis (those who possess crores of rupees) are thirsting to come and bathe in the Ganges, but all do not get a chance of coming and having their wish fulfilled. If good books are available for Svadhyaya (study), it is grace. If one enjoys good health for doing Sadhana, that is grace. If God so wishes, He can give Mukti to the whole world in an instant; but He does not do so. Grace descends only when there is Purushartha.

Q. The Lord's grace will do everything for me. Why should I do any Sadhana?

God helps those who help themselves. God's grace will descend only on those persons who exert. The Lord's grace will descend in proportion to the degree of surrender. The more the surrender, the more the grace. You cannot expect the Lord to do self-surrender for you. Be up and doing. Strive. Plod. Persevere. The Lord will shower His grace upon you. Mira abandoned everything. She renounced kingdom, husband, relatives, friends and property. She remembered her Lord Krishna whole day and night. She shed tears of Prem. She sang His praise with single-minded devotion. She gave up food. Her body got emaciated. Her mind was ever absorbed in Lord Krishna. Only then did Lord Krishna shower His grace upon her.

Q. Can truth be compromised in the sense that telling a lie is sometimes not only inevitable, but also indispensable? Will such a breaking away from truth be justified?
A. Truth is truth and falsehood is falsehood. They are as wide apart as the terminals of a diameter of a circle or the north and the south poles. He who wants ethical perfection, who loves Dharma for the sake of the Supreme, ought to stick to truth however crucial be the circumstances, however tense be the situation. Think of Harischandra ... how he stuck to truth even in the face of trials. How his name is to stand, for all time to come, for truth undimmed! Harischandra was truth personified. That is why he is known as Satya Harischandra. This single instance is enough to sustain man's living on a sound basis of truth, however disastrous and threatening be the crises one has to face. However inevitable and indispensable it be, and however much the situation demands to gain some selfish ends, falsehood should ruthlessly be avoided. Truth and falsehood cannot be linked together. Yoking of the one with the other is awfully absurd. No doubt, in the Bhagavata and other Puranas a few exceptional instances have been cited, where speaking untruth would be considered appropriate. But they are a matter of exception, they are not applicable to all times and all persons. For illuminating and interesting information in this connection, go through my book, "Ethical Teachings".
Previous FAQs at

Meditate on the Self or Atman that dwells in your own heart. Dive deep in to the ocean of bliss.
- Sri Swami Sivananda


HALASANA - PLOUGH - This month, a series of variations - all levels:

Feet apart  -  Beginners

In plough position, take legs apart, keeping arms and hands straight behind you and palms down flat on floor. Push heels to floor. Hold up to 1 minute. Come out of pose by raising legs and come out as usual.

Arm wrap -  Intermediate

Start from feet apart (above) in plough position. Lower knees to ears and fold arms over knees. Take hands to ears. Hold up to 1 minute. Keep toes flat not curled. Relax feet. Come out as above.

Hands to feet - Intermediate

Start from plough position, bring arms up to ears and reach for toes. Hold up to 1 minute. Keep knees straight.
Come out of pose.

Knees behind head -   Advanced

In plough position, walk feet away from head, then bend knees and slowly lower knees to mat behind your head. Keep arms behind you. Keep hands flat on floor or clasp them.  Hold up to 30 seconds. Raise legs till parallel to floor and come out pose.

Knees to shoulder -   Advanced

In plough position support back firmly with hands. Walk legs to left side, keep shoulders and elbows on floor. Lower knees next to left ear. Relax feet. Hold up to 30 seconds. Walk feet back to Centre by straightening legs. Walk to right side head, lowering knees next to right ear. Relax feet.  Hold up to 30 seconds. Walk feet back to middle and come out of pose.

Tip: In all the variations, remember to keep breathing slowly and rhythmically.

A deep stretch to upper back.
A deep massage of solar plexus during rhythmical breathing
Extends and balances muscles in hips

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

The self-effort of today becomes the destiny of tomorrow. Self-effort and destiny are one and the same. - Swami Sivananda

It is the prana moving from the astral body to the physical body which makes this physical body alive. -
Swami Vishnudevananda


PURUSHARTHA: self-exertion
Purushartha can give you anything. Change your habits. Change the mode of thinking. You can conquer destiny. You are now thinking: "I am the body." Start the spiritual anti-current. You can conquer death and attain the immortal seat of supreme splendour.

Even for realization, the Lord's grace is necessary. For obtaining the Lord's grace, intense Purusha Prayatna, otherwise known as Purushartha, can be voiced forth throughout the famous "Yoga Vasishtha".

By virtuous deeds and right thoughts you can disarm destiny. You have a free-will to act. By self-exertion, Ratnakar became Valmiki. By Purushartha/self-exertion Markandeya conquered death. By Purushartha/self-exertion alone did Uddalaka attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi (higher realization). By Purushartha/self-exertion, Savitri brought back her husband (Satyavan) to life.

Meditation leads to Samadhi - the super-conscious state. - Sw. Sivananda

A complete Sanskrit Glossary can be found at:


Chapter VI: The Yoga of Meditation


(Krishna speaking to Arjuna)
With the mind harmonised by Yoga he sees the Self abiding in all beings and all beings in the Self; he sees the same everywhere.

He who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, he does not become separated from Me nor do I become separated from him.

COMMENTARY: The Lord describes here the effect of oneness.

Meditate and feel the living Presence within and around you. - 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'.

The most effective times for the practice of meditation are at dawn and dusk, when the
atmosphere is charged with special spiritual force. The most desirable time is Brahmamuhurta, the hours between four and six AM. In these quiet hours after sleep, the mind and atmosphere are clear and unruffled by activities of the day. Refreshed and free of worldly concerns, concentration comes without effort. If this is not feasible, choose a time when you can retreat from daily activities and calm your mind. In the evening around sunset is also a good time or just before going to bed. With the mind freed from the tensions accumulated during the day and tuned to a higher state, you will quickly fall into deep sleep after meditating. At whatever time you choose, make sure you know you will not be disturbed by outside distractions.

Next month... creating the habit of meditation.

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

During meditation you are in the presence of the Supreme Being. - Sri Swami Sivananda


A thick hearty fragrant soup that is tasty and filling. Balanced combination of pulses and vegetables..

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander  seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp fresh grated finger root
1 diced celery stick
150 grams rutabaga, finely diced
150 grams celery root finely diced
1 large diced carrot
3 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 litre hot vegetable stock or water
60 grams pot barley, rinsed
115 grams red lentils, rinsed and soaked in water 30 minutes
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley to serve


In small heated frying pan add cumin and coriander seeds and fry, dry, over medium heat 1 minute or till fragrant.
Grind seeds to powder with pestle and mortar.
Heat olive oil in frying pan and add ground spices, ginger and turmeric. Fry 1-2 minutes.
Add celery, rutabaga, celery root and carrots, stir fry 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes, cook 2-3 minutes.
Rinse pot barley in cold running water, add to pot with rosemary, bay leaves, hot stock or water, bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium and cook 20 minutes.
Drain soaked lentils and add to pot.
Stir, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes or till lentils cooked.
Add stock or water to soup if too thick.
Remove bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and serve soup while hot, scattered with chopped parsley.

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

Meditation links you with Brahman or the Absolute. - Sri Swami Sivananda

UPCOMING EVENTS - TTC, ATTC, Sadhana Intensive Courses


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

Jun 01 - Jun 29/14
TTC – English
Woodbourne, NY, USA

Jun 08 - Jun 21/14
Sadhana Intensive
Val Morin, QC, Canada

Jun 27 - Jul 25/14
TTC – English, Français, Espaňol, Nederlands
Orleans, France

Jun 27 - Jul 25/14
ATTC – English, Français, Espaňol
Orleans, France

Jun 29 - Jul 27/14
TTC – English, Français
Val Morin, QC, Canada

Jun 30 - Jul 28/14
TTC – English
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, South India

Jul 06 - Aug 04/14
ATTC – English
Woodbourne, NY, USA

Jul 06 - Aug 03/14
TTC – English
Netala, Uttar Kashi, North India

Jul 26 - Aug 24/14
ATTC – English, Deutsch
Reith, Tyrol, Austria

Jul 27 - Aug 24/14
TTC – Français
Orleans, France

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:

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



Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada

    Om Namah Sivaya! Greetings from the Headquarters.
    In early February the Ashram was a surprised one for one major reason: no extra snow! With another peaceful month at the Camp, a handful of guests were able to enjoy our regular programme and snowshoeing, with plenty of sun and temperatures hovering around -15C most days. The Camp said a bittersweet, temporary good-bye to Swami Shivabhaktananda, who will be in India for the next several weeks. He is currently in Neyyar Dam, teaching the ATTC. Returning from Neyyar Dam was Yamuna, who was happily busy doing French translation for their past TTC. The staff was glad and joyful to have her back, though it will be a short-lived reunion as she will be relocating to the Montreal Centre. We also held an extraordinary event: a healthy pie-baking workshop held by Uma, a longtime staff member and disciple of Swami Vishnu. The event, though originally intended for staff and guests, also drew visitors from neighbouring communities and even Montreal! With some participants seasoned pie-bakers, and some baking for the first time, Uma guided partakers in making Cossack, fruit, and assorted vegetable pies, which were all incredibly flavourful, delicious, and destined to disappear almost immediately.

    Mid-February continued to be a peaceful month at the Yoga Camp.  The days have started getting longer and the sun is getting brighter, hinting at the not too distant spring.  Meanwhile, unseasonably warm temperatures have brought freezing rain and left the trees covered in shimmering ice.  With a thick covering of snow still on the ground, guests have enjoyed many beautiful snow shoe walks, with bright sunshine glistening through the the icy tree tops.  Six eager students arrived one weekend to begin the two-part Thai Yoga Massage course, taking place for two weeks.  Guided by their teacher Krishna, a long-time student of Swami Vishnudevananda, students will be learning how to use acupressure and passive yoga postures to release tensions and energy blockages, stimulating the free flow of energy in the body.  We were also happy to welcome back local author Destein, who spoke at Friday evening's Satsang about non-duality, emphasizing the importance of letting go of attachment to all objects, even to ideas we maintain about ourself or our future, focussing instead on the subject, our eternal Selves.  Work continues on the Stone House renovations and extension, which we are happy to report should be finished very soon.  We are so grateful for our weekend karma yogis coming up from Montreal to help out around the Camp, especially Narayani, a devoted karma yogi over the last 40 years, who still teaches all who want to learn Swami Vishnu's art of folding the laundry. Lord Siva's blessings to all, and may happiness and peace surround you. Salutations to the worldwide family from the Sivananda Headquarters.

Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India
    Om Namo Narayanaya!

    Early February began with a Ganapati Homa for the commencement of the ATTC. All the students dove into the course program with excitement, beginning their Raja Yoga, Anatomy, Vedanta, Pranayama and Asana practice classes with enthusiasm. Energy levels remained high with daily morning Pranayama practice. An India directors' meeting took place one weekend. We were blessed by having Swamis Durgananda, Sivadasananda and Keshavananda present. The meetings proved to be intense, yet fruitful for all involved. Several guests and ATTC students went on a Kanya Kumari trip, taking some time out of the Ashram one Friday. Swami Gokulananda arrived to take on ATTC German translation. Regular karma yogi, Bheeshma joined us from Toronto.  Gopalan and Mandira have completed their staff commitment, as has Haridas who will hopefully be joining the New York Ranch. Swami Shyamananda returned to Orleans. We thanked him for his service.

    Mid-February saw the ATTCs finish their second week and are now joined by the newly initiated Ayurvedic Wellness Course group. The main event was the Yoga Walk for Health and Peace arranged by the Trivandrum Centre in the city on Thursday. Over 1500 people participated. The Yoga Vacation, ATTC and AWC students were joined by several local schools as well as the Trivandrum Police academy The program came to an auspicious end with an unexpected downpour of rain. The event was a beautiful experience for all involved. On Friday many people enjoyed the Jungle trip in nature and swimming in the natural pool under the waterfall. The weekly talent show uncovered some hidden talents, with a lovely mix of performances by the Yoga Vacationers, ATTC, AWC and the never failing Murali and Neelkanth performances. Swami Shivabaktananda along with several members of staff joined the Trivandrum Centre for afternoon Asana class and evening Satsang.  Dearly beloved Murali and Lakita have left the Ashram as staff, as their time of service has come to an end for the time being. We thank them for their love and selfless service and wish them well on their next endeavor.

Sivananda Ashram Kutir, Netala, Uttarkashi, North India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    With guidance and blessing from Master and Guru, Uttarkashi is functional and operating again, after the floods from 2013. The April TTC course is full in numbers. All courses are going on as planned. May Master and Guru be with us all. Om.

Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Mid-February had a steady group of guests. They were basically all beginners and they were introduced into the 5 points of Yoga, received a gentle introduction to meditation and we spoke about the science of the 3 gunas in order to properly explain the principles of our yogic diet. We prepared  for the cooking course to show a balanced vegetarian diet, how to use spices etc. Swami Bhagavatananda gave the class. It was very well received and guests were quite satisfied. It was a large group of guests for this time of the year. Girija went to Rudraprayag to help with the TTC. The work on the new Bath House is in the final stages, the workers put the tiles around already and the gardener is putting new plants in the area in front. Vishnupriya from Paris was a very welcome help for the busy weekends. A new temporary staff, Ivan arrived to stay for the month. Pranams to all. OM.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early February we included a 5-day Beginner Course with Karuna Devi introducing the 5 Points of Yoga to our new guests. A weekend program included the Prana and Pranayama course, with Shambu Das, and the AMRR Ayurveda weekend, with Ambika, giving talks on Ayurveda and Prana. The Ashram received much needed rain and the first signs of Spring with many colourful flowers blossoming, along with the return of many birds. We welcome our new staff member Priya, formerly of the Chennai Centre.

    During mid-February the Yoga Farm held a Staff Sadhana week with staff having the opportunity to practice asanas with added pranayama and workshops on Hatha Yoga, Kirtan/Chanting, and Bhakti Yoga. The staff enjoyed a trip to the beautiful Yuba River to meditate, practice pranayama and swim in the cool river water. The Ashram welcomed Tara Durga Devi to teach a weekend Positive Thinking course, offering tools for raising awareness of the nature of our thoughts and switch them to positive, including a fun and insightful practice of Laughter Yoga. Om Namo Narayanaya to all the Sivananda family.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch, Woodbourne, New York, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    In early February we offered a "Introduction to Yoga" week. We had three wonderful ladies in attendance. A heavy snowfall started one Monday night and continued into Tuesday.  All of the staff spent time each day shovelling and clearing paths.  The planning for the spring garden continued as well as projects promoting our upcoming programs this summer, including video for "The Solar Sustainability Conference" on June 3rd 2014. The men's bathroom floor in Ananda was in the process of being replaced. Our Teachers' Training Course is just around the corner and the class size continues to grow. Vishwanatha taught the "Bread Baking" Workshop one Saturday, adding a cozy warmth and fresh baked smells for the weekend guests.

    Mid-February had guests stay for week and weekend programs. Snow and a brief temperature increase made for some sunny days with slick pathways.   Staff spent more time sanding and de-icing than shovelling snow. Padmavati, from the NYC Centre, taught the "Introduction to Meditation" workshop one weekend, to a large crowd.  It is always lovely to have Padmavati with us if only for a weekend.   Renovations to the men's bathroom in Ananda are almost complete.  Our annual brochure with the schedule of events for the Ashram will be on it's way to you very soon. Staff is busy finishing any winter projects and making preparations for the spring/summer season.   We will begin the spring season with Mahasivaratari and continued building more momentum and energy through March with the Teacher Training Course. 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

    In early February the Yoga Teachers' Training Course began with 51 enthusiastic students. Niranjana arrived from Portugal's Lisbon Centre to teach in this course. Krishan Darshan and Mahashakti left the Ashram. Krishna taught in the ATTC course and gave a series of morning Satsangs on the topic of Hatha Yoga which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. We were happy to welcome Arjuna back to the Ashram for his February programs. His daily yoga classes, silent walk Satsangs and Ashram tours are appreciated and enjoyed by all our guests and staff. February 7-11  the Intermediate Yoga Course began under the experienced guidance of Shakti from the Yoga Farm. Amy Weintraub began the "Yoga for Mood Management" LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training.  This program was geared towards yoga teachers and mental health professionals. It provided strategies appropriate for clinical settings that safely release chronically held physical tension and repressed emotions as well as experience yoga techniques as tools for self care. The "Yoga for Peace Symposium - Changing the World from the Inside Out", took place featuring world-renowned speakers who have dedicated their lives to promoting peace, each in their own way. The participants include Joshua Goldstein, scholar of war and peace who talked about the overall decline of war and gave an informative lecture on the role of the UN over the past few decades; Brant Secunda, Shaman and healer who cofounded the Peace University in Berlin; Moshe Cohen, who integrates Zen and Clowning and founded the US chapter of Clowns without Borders; Elaine Valdov, founder of Yoga Peace Ambassadors and Yogis without Borders; Linda Graham, author, who integrates neuroscience and mindfulness practices; and Mirabai Ceiba, a duo with a beautiful style of devotional music blending mantras with traditional and original english and spanish songs.

    Mid-February: "Awakening the Mystic Within Ourselves" was the title of the program given by Matthew Fox, acclaimed theologian who has written more than 30 books, February 19-20.  Swami Swaroopananda held his monthly Q&A with important questions and answers on Yoga and Spiritual life on February 20.  We hosted Krishna Das for his annual "Yoga of Chant Retreat" from February 21-23. Once again, his concerts and workshops uplifted us all. The TTC students are on the home stretch as they begin their final week of studies. Staff are well and send lots of Prem. Pranams to all!

Sivananda Ashram, Retreat House, Reith, Tyrol, Austria
    Om Namah Sivaya
    The last week of January we were surprised by the return of snow, marking a restart of winter. We took the guests on several walks and had lectures in thought power and positive thinking. We took the advantage to give the boutique and reception area a deep clean. At one weekend we had series of teachers workshops on backward bending asanas and meditation postures. The students left with renewed knowledge. At the end of the week Swami Durgananda, Swami Sivadasananda and Swami Annapurnananda  arrived for a short stay. Beginning of February we had lectures on meditation, relaxation and at the weekend classes and lectures attuned to beginners. The guests repeatedly expressed their joy at being in the mountains and enjoyed the walk at the weekend. We are also gaining some new ideas for winter walks in the area by joining in on professionally guided walks organized by the Kitzbühel tourist office. Later on in February the warm sunshine and fresh snowfall made for a magical combination. The Yoga Body Check programme offered a full scedule, with a plumb line test and an introduction into the kriyas. The guests keenly joined in to try out neti for the first time. The Puja on Wednesday also was a new experience to most students. Lectures on the anatomy of the asanas and relaxation gave a more theoretical knowledge to the yoga practice. Swami Ramapriyananda left for a special programme at the Centre in Rome. Swami Sivadasananda made a brief visit departing after a most inspiring staff Satsang. The week ended with  a very successfull TTC preperation weekend. A seriously interested group of students eagerly dived into the programme on offer. At the Sunday evening Satsang we said goodbye to out staff member Saraswati who will be supporting the Vienna Centre for the coming weeks. OM.

Sivananda Ashram Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    Early February was abuzz with the preparations of TTC students eagerly awaiting their examinations. The TTC students with their training schedule nearing completion, began to put in lots of hard work for reproducing the teachings acquired by them during their training sessions. We had Lalitha Sahasra naama chanting and Puja offered to the Goddess for her blessings, creating a positive vibration and energy to help guide us through the right path in all our pursuits. We had the examination for TTC students, with all of them having worked earnestly to come out with flying colours. This was followed by a delicious feast of Indian cuisines being served, as a token of our love for the TTC students. We had the talent show in the evening with students showcasing their special talents to the audience who were awestruck with the performances. This was followed by the graduation ceremony to provide the TTC students with their diplomas, the fruit of the hard work they did to evolve into Yoga teachers. They became a part of our big family to carry on the essence of yoga teachings and thus spreading our Masters ideals among the people. The Yoga Vacationers had a wonderful time revelling in the beauty and lush greenery of our landscape. They are having a 3-day long symposium on VASTHU SHASTRA by Olga/Narayani. Swami Keshavananda left for Neyyar Dam Ashram. We wholeheartedly thank him for enlightening the students with his lecture sessions on Bhagavad Gita. We also bade farewell to the TTC students taking back with them fond memories of their stay at the Ashram. Let our Masters grace help and protect them always. Praying for the guiding light of God and our Masters to brighten up our paths.

    Mid-February saw the TTC move onto its first week with its students, some new and others of long time stint with Yoga, beginning their training schedule. They got accustomed to the Ashram and its surroundings and went on with their lecture classes and practice sessions under the guidance of experienced teachers that would enable them to propagate the message of Yoga to the needy people. On Thursday, a group of students from the Ashram went to Trivandrum to participate in the Yoga walk campaign organised by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Trivandrum, to raise social awareness about Yoga and its multitude of benefits that still remains to be unexplored. Our group joined in the walk covering a distance of 4 kms thereby contributing our share in spreading Yoga teachings and philosophy. The Friday trip had the students being taken for a visit to Thiruparakundram. The trip presented the students with a flavour of the life of local people of Madurai and proved to be an exhilarating experience for them. One Saturday we had the Talent Show with students entertaining the guests with their awesome display of unique abilities. The Yoga Vacation program brought in a fresh whiff of breath into the otherwise busy and hectic life of the students. The Ashram life gave them a varied viewpoint and experience about the meaning of life and their existence. May the blessings and guiding light of our Masters be ever upon all of us. Looking forward to a wonderful month ahead by the grace of Almighty. May Master and Guru be with us all. Peace and Pranams to the Sivananda family.

    TTC Reports:

    Feb 2014

    TTC Cu Chi:
    By the grace of the gurus the fifth TTC in Cu Chi, Vietnam was successfully started with 68 students from 14 different countries. The course is being translated simultaneously into Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese. It was an intense beginning starting a temporary Ashram, purifying and uplifting the energy to prepare for the course. We had 3 powerful Vedic Homas and Pujas with Pandit Samavedula from India: one Vaastu Homa including procession and blessing of all 8 corners of the land, Chandi Homa with chanting and many different offerings for each of 13 chapters of the Devi Mahatmya, and finally Ganesha and Saraswati Homa with all the students participating. The course was inaugurated with a guru Puja and the three swamis, Swami Sitaramananda, Swami Pranavananda, and Swami Narayanananda initiating the students. This year the TTC location has been much improved and upgraded with all rooms air conditioned, new furniture and most appreciated of all a new swimming pool, imported by the owner from France. The whole place is very beautiful with many lotus flowers and well kept gardens. All in all our group of around 100 people including staff and yoga vacationers are very well accommodated. The international group of staff coming from Vietnam, Australia, Germany, USA, Taiwan, Japan, China, Israel, Philippines, Holland, Russia and England are working very hard and enjoying themselves at the same time. The first week of TTC after the Ganesha Saraswati Homa went smoothly with students getting used to the daily routine, the philosophy, and their karma yoga. Swami Sitaramananda is teaching the main lectures and the meditation. Swami Pranavananda leads the Hatha Yoga team with 3 English speaking teachers, Japanese translation, Chinese and Vietnamese translation. Swami Narayanananda teaches the Bhagavad Gita lectures, the Kirtan and the PM Satsangs. We welcomed a group of Yoga Vacationers and Beginners Yoga students. The traditional Vietnamese and Cham dance performance was so well received that the students spontaneously joined them in an impromptu talent show. Students and staff are enjoying the abundance of the land, the beautiful landscape and peaceful rice field surrounding.

    The second week of TTC went very well with students revealing themselves to be very studious with good homework, good attendance and discipline. All classes are going well. We brought the students for an outing to "Glimpse of Vietnam" to visit the exhibition about history, culture, art and crafts of Vietnam, then we taught a yoga class in the large auditorium there. On Friday,  we had as special lecturer Dr. Hung who is in charge of the department of Oriental Medicine at the University and at the same time is the founder of the association for cancer survivors. His talk was excellent addressing the causes of cancer and referring to the healthy lifestyle that is exactly what we teach. Ayurvedic specialist, Ambika Jennifer Andrews arrived from California and gave an intro to Ayurveda, Ayurvedic herbs and Ayurvedic daily routines. She started an abhyanga training for 8 students. Students enjoyed another cultural event with folk dances and songs. The students put up a very rich talent show.

    ATTC/TTC - Rudraprayag, Himalayas: The TTC and ATTC in Rudraprayag, Himalayas were inaugurated mid February. The venue, Monal Resort, is hosting us for the third time and is located at about 900 metres above sea-level nestled in a steep valley just above the Alaknanda river which is one of the tributaries of the Ganga. Throughout the year the Resort is used by yatris on their way up to the famous Himalayas temples of Badrinath and Kedarnath. 65 TTC and 20 ATTC students arrived after a 15 hours bus ride from Delhi up to Rudraprayag. It is an international group from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Poland, Rumania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US. They all got quickly immersed in the peaceful energy and spiritual vibrations of the area with the constant sound of the Alknanda and the daily Ganga Aaratis Students and staff are very much looking forward to four weeks of group sadhana in the Himalayas.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Bangkok, Thailand
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Early February saw many new students joining the two new Yoga 1 Beginner Courses taught by Uma Krishna. The open classes and kid's class were well-attended. We had a national holiday, as the Buddhist full moon festival of Makha Bucha was celebrated in Thailand. Subsequently, that weekend passed by quietly, with many students travelling outside the city. A few students joined Ja's Thai open class, which she taught at the Centre for the first time.

    Mid-February saw good attendance of the open classes and also the Japanese and Thai open classes attract a few regular students now. Uma Krishna completed a Yoga 1 Beginner Course with two happy students. He then prepared to leave for India for the next few Weeks. We look forward to having him back with us soon. While the situation in Bangkok grew more violent, we were glad to welcome three new students for the trial class taught by Savitri, as well as three students for Sunday Satsang to generate positive vibrations for peace in the world. Om Namo Narayanaya! May we always happily serve Swamiji and his vision of the True World Order. Om Namo Narayanaya!

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum, Berlin, Germany
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Many courses have started this month with good number of students. Trial classes are picking up, especially on Saturdays, more people inscribe for the Yoga 1 courses. Many poster runs were done to promote our monthly Open day, which welcomed many interested students. Cooking class named "Quick dishes for 1-2 people" introduced everyone into simple principles of cooking, spicing, 6 tastes and how to prepare tasty meal in a short period of time. TTC preparation day had a small but very motivated group of students, who went through the whole day program. We welcomed Swami Anantananda who gave a well appreciated program with Asana class, lecture about the different levels of relaxation and Stress management, and Satsang with many spiritual stories. Old and new students were very much inspired and didn't leave the Centre till later in the evening. Mira had come from Reith to help us for several weeks. OM.

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

    In early February Swami Premananda and Swami Dayananda came back from the Teachers Training Course taught in Brazil. Some of the new teachers were from Argentina and three of them started assisting senior teacher´s classes. The beginners courses started with good attendant. Swami Premananda gave a workshop on "Prana". New teachers of the last ttc have been training enthusiastically in classes. There is a new staff from Chile .She is Karen a teacher of English ,she is very friendly and demostrates her willingness. Now we are three staff and Swami Dayananda is in charge of the Centre due to Swami Premananda travelled to the south of the country. He is in Neuquen Sivananda Centre ,staying two month there to give a retreat and courses. We had full trial class and some Karma Yoguis came to help with the kitchen, the cleaning and other duties .

    Mid-February saw a new teacher from the last "TTC" kept training to give regular classes and also the " Beginners Course". There were two workshops "Yoga and the back" and " Karma and reincarnation" and a new beginners course started. Karen,the new staff from Chile, every day is getting more adapted to the Centre dynamics. We are getting ready for Shivaratri,with new volunteers to play the harmonium at the same time we sing Om Namah Sivaya. 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

    In early February was a special one for all of us here at the Centre. The Toronto Centre Director, Sri Prahlad Ji visited us and praised us in our efforts to serve the Swami Ji and his objectives whole-heartedly. We were blessed by him in the form of a special event on the evening of the 7th when he took an advanced yoga class called "Challenging Asanas with Prahlad". It felt like almost the whole of Chennai had turned up for the event and the energy was incredible. We also had a decent number of attendance in Sunday Satsang. The Centre was highly peaceful with all the classes running successfully and the students and teachers completely satisfied. Prahlad Ji's visit coincided with the visits of several other teachers also somehow and the Centre's energy was very high and the students were the biggest beneficiaries. We have got a lot of help from the three new Karma Yogis also and more are expected to come. Several students from the previous months Beginners Ladies batch joined in the Open Class batch and our numbers keep on increasing hence. The curves on the smiling faces of the yogis visiting the Chennai Centre are becoming steeper too. The staff members are working hard constantly to try to make the students feel more comfortable as soon as they enter the compound. We are constantly striving and planning how we can make them feel completely at home and comfortable and enhance their yogic experience. We are taking special care of all the plants and keeping the Centre impeccably clean and organized. All the teachers are putting their heart and soul into transferring all of their positive energy into their students. This month's Ganapati Homam, our monthly auspicious ceremony was packed full with several happy devotees who chanted and prayed to Lord Ganesha and asked for a fulfilling month ahead. The vegan prasadam (sweets) being offered at the end of the ritual are becoming a huge favourite amongst the followers. We are glad that the Ganapati is blessing this Centre is with good energy and keeping everything going on smoothly without any major problems as such. The Sunday-special Satsang also saw decent attendance and the bhakti-yogis were thoroughly enjoying all the chanting and singing and the Sanskrit mantras and the readings from Swami Ji's books. The vaastu shastra workshop held during one weekend was well attended too.
    We are now looking forward to the upcoming workshop on 22nd February by Dr R Saravanan, Health Advisor SHARAN who will be talking about the whole food plant based diet, veganism and disease-reversal through diet program followed by a special documentary screening. We are being inundated with a whole lot of inquiries about it. In fact some people from states outside of Tamil Nadu also have asked for a complete video recording of the same. We will definitely oblige.

    Mid-February saw a totally busy affair with a lot of planned and unplanned activities and events and lots and lots of people visiting the Centre and energetic classes full of happy students. The Centre was graced first by the visit of a group of doctors from Canada who attended a special yoga class and they thoroughly enjoyed it and left happily for their next destination. It was their first experience of yoga and they all loved it. Dr R Saravanan, Health Advisor, SHARAN (a non-profit organization) obliged us by giving a special talk about Veganism, the disease-reversing, whole-food plant-based diet one weekend and showed an enlightening documentary also followed by an intensive question-answer session. This special event was attended by many people from all across the city and was a major success. We are already planning more such events in the coming months and the next sessions will include a little vegan meal for the attendees too. We also saw the arrival of the 23 beautiful South Indian Yatris and and the accompanying staff members and we happily organized a healthy Kerala style traditional meal (sadhya) for them and some special yoga classes too. There was a traditional Indian dance (Bharatnatyam) and music performance also organized by a group of highly talented local artists and they were all well-applauded. This special function was attended by several people from the city also along with the South Indian Yatris whose journey culminated in Chennai after covering all the major holy destinations of South India. Direct bus service right in front of the Chennai Centre has been started, so the students can come for their practice comfortably using public transport now. May the spirit of Swami Ji guide us forever. All the staff send Pranams to the Sivananda family. Blessings to all!

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chicago, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    In early February fully subscribed sessions of Positive Thinking, Yoga 2, and Yoga 3 began and are going well. We were very happy to see students coming for class and Satsang as the weather's pattern of two days of snow followed by two days of frigid wind chills continued. Often students came in saying, "I really need this." The weather cycle seems to be breaking now, and we are enjoying the last of the fresh greens from the greenhouse tunnels in the garden. More new students came in redeeming the group on for a 10-class pass, and all seemed to enjoy the practice very much. Slowly the weather is improving, so we are beginning to enjoy some more seasonal temperatures. Happy pranams to all. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi from the Centre in Chicago.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta DÀ LAT Centre, Dà Lat, Vietnam

    Om Namah Sivaya!
    Swami Sitaramananda, Swami Narayanananda, Pandit Samavedula and Devaki travelled to the beautiful DA LAT Centre for three days to do a vaastu Homa and finalize the ATTC location. The Homa and Puja turned out to be at the auspicious timing of Ratha Saptami and became a very elaborated event of 4 hours during which Swami Sitaramananda initiated to Sannyas an old vietnamese buddhist yogi monk of 75 years old who has been practicing Yoga and meditation all his life and who has been 3 years in India at his younger age. His name is Swami Sivajyotirananda. 2 Beginners Courses going on with a good number of students attending. We had an Open Lunch with some of the students and Karma Yogis. They all appreciated the Yogic cooking. All is well in Dalat.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dwarka Centre, Delhi, India
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early February two Yoga 1 batches got started. Another new meditation batch got started on Mondays. An advance classes beginners courses started on Mondays. All other courses went on smoothly as per the schedule. Anil left for the Neyyar dam Ashram for the ATTC course. The weather here continues to be cold but student's numbers is increasing now. Another 4 day meditation course concluded. All other courses and few private classes workshop were offered reflecting the students' needs. The Centre rejoiced during the evening Satsang attended by few students too.

    Mid-February started with beginners course at 10 am and 6.30pm with good numbers of students. With gurus grace all the classes, courses are going very well. We had beautiful satsang and amazing dinner, participated by students and staff. Pranams to all. Om Shanti.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Nataraja Centre, Delhi, India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    In early February we bid farewell to Lakshmana after staying at the Centre for a few months. We thank him for his service and wish him all the best for his journey. Also we would like to thank Gayatri, who returned home after teaching many classes and courses at the Centre during the last three weeks of her stay. Ajaya left the Centre to attend the upcoming ATTC in Neyyar Dam. Binoy and Praveen teach most of the open classes, and Karuna and Sri Prabhu are teaching two new Yoga 1 Beginner Courses. we started two new batches of yoga 1 beginner courses, taught by Siham and Manju Sharmaji. Binoy led Sunday Satsangs.

    Mid-February saw a highly energetic week, with many courses and activities in the Centre. Also some maintenance works have been going on, and Shiva hall has been beautifully repainted. We welcomed Sobhal from Bangalore who joined as a staff. Despite the unusual cold at this time of the year, many students continue coming for the open classes. We also started two new Yoga 1 Beginner Courses taught by Karuna and Sunaina. Manju Sharmaji is teaching the Foundation to Meditation Course for a few weeks, and Praveen taught a vegetarian cooking workshop for seven students who received an introduction to the principles of a yogic diet and joyfully put it into practice. Sunday Satsang was led by Mani Chaitanya and many new students and guests joined for his inspiring talk on why we practice yoga and how it helps to penetrate the human nature layer by layer. 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 a beautiful special programme with the South Indian priest. We had a wonderful week with inspiring daily morning-Pujas and three evening-Pujas which included two Yantra-Pujas and a Murthi Puja for Ganesha. Everyone present benefited from the pure and strong energy. On the weekends we had a TTC-information, a workshop about Stress management and a cooking class for new vegetarians which filled our kitchen to a maximum. The students were quite new and some of them came with friends and had never been to the Centre before. They enjoyed the sattvic food and the energy of the Centre as well as the information about the principles of a yogic diet. Everyone left highly satisfied. The project to reorganize and structure the office and the computer started and the search for a new Centre continued. A couple of places were visited and staffs are becoming more familiar with the real estate situation in Geneva. Fresh plants were bought for our terrace bringing spring-colors to the Centre. OM

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early February the HCM Centre reopened after the Tet (Chinese New Year Holidays) on the 7th and classes slowly started rolling again. All efforts are in Cu Chi , helping the TTC, leaving two staff at the HCM to hold the fort down. We received two new residents from Ecuador and Spain. We had an Open House with many people signing up for Beginner's Yoga-1 and Yoga-2 courses. the Centre welcomed Swami Sitaramananda and Pandit Samavedula to inaugurate the 4th floor addition, a new asana room with lots of air and space for hatha yoga practice. we did a wonderful puja to Ganesha and Lakshmi, invoking their energy and blessings. we also changed the direction of the altar in our meditation room on the second floor and included that into the puja ceremony. a beginners course in English started with a good number of students attending. Open Classes continue and the Centre is doing well. the staff enjoyed their day off by visiting the temporary Ashram in Cu Chi, where Swami Sita other other international teachers finished their first week of TTC.

    Mid-February saw full Open Classes and the continuation of ongoing courses. We were very pleased to welcome Swami Pranavananada who visited from the TTC in Cu Chi to teach a workshop on "Yoga for Back Pain". The students appreciated his knowledge and benefited from his experience. In the evening he led an inspiring satsang with many people attending for the first time. 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
    In early February a pranayama course started with 12 students. We had a TTC preparation day with 5 eager students, most of them have booked already for the course or have already decided to come. It was a successful day. Swami Anantananda went to Berlin for a weekend programme. We are preparing for the upcoming mailing, the new brochure went to the printers. Salutations to all! Om.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    In early February Swami Omkarananda arrived back in LA after a month away visiting New York Centre and family in UK. A highlight was the visit of Peace Walker, Pierrette, from Canada. For the last 9 months she has been walking alone down the west coast of US, praying for peace, hers and others, and raising awareness of the need for individual peace in order for world peace. She stayed at the Yoga Centre for 3 days and inspired many students with her humble explanation of her call to walk and the purification which she has received as a result of it. Her arrival coincided with daily morning Satsang readings about peace and happiness!
    We thank Janaki from NYC for helping to look after the Centre during January. We have several courses running at the moment - Yoga1, yoga2, positive thinking, introduction to meditation and a new course called Big History (the Big Bang, Life on Earth and the Rise of Humanity) which offers contemporary explanations of creation and the answer to the question 'Who am I? We held a yantra painting workshop. Swami Omkarananda presented a workshop ' Making Enlightened Choices".

    In mid-February, everything was running smoothly with good energy at the Centre. Attendance at asana classes is steady and all courses are well attended. We had a very informative weekend with Saraswati who introduced chair modifications for the Sivananda class. Students were inspired to share what they had learnt with elderly friends and those with movement challenges. Sun salute performed in a chair is still quite a workout! May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all. Pranams.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madrid, Spain
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves!
    February was a very dynamic and eventful month at the Madrid Centre with a number of new courses starting and events taking place, among which a cooking course with Gauri and a much anticipated by teachers and students alike Bhagavad Gita course with Swami Atmaramananda. Priest Yagneswara came to the Centre for a one week visit during which he performed daily morning pujas, a purification ceremony and three beautiful evening Pujas: a Ganesha puja, a Lakshmi-Narayana yantra Puja and a Sri Yantra with Lalita Sahasranama - all of which were well attended by a devoted group of close teachers and students, as well as new visitors of the Centre. In the beginning of the month, Swami Atmaramananda left for a meeting in Munich which was followed by a weekend program in Holland. One of the Centre's monthly projects was sorting out the books in the Centre library and arranging them on the new book case which was completed in the beginning of the month. The entry of the office area looks very fresh and nicely organized now. The main project at the end of the month was the three day winter retreat in 'La Hospederia del Silencio', which attracted a friendly and enthusiastic group of more than 30 participants – Centre teachers and students as well as a good number of new, first time participants. We enjoyed a lovely spring weather with lots of sunshine and perfect Spanish blue skies, and we all came back from the retreat much recharged and inspired. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madurai, South India
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early January we began with a morning beginner course. We had a Teachers meeting with 9 teachers  in the presence of Natraj ji followed by an energetic Satsang with Kalyani and Natraj ji with Teachers, Students, and  many guests. Soon after Satsang we were invited by Dr. Leena Lalan one of the teacher and old student in the Centre for the dinner  in her Hotel. Every one enjoyed the food. On the same Night we said good bye to Usha who were serving in the Centre for past five month. She done a wonderful job and fulfilled her commitment we expecting her back in near future. Everything is going fine with the grace of god and our Satgurus. 

    Mid-February started with new batch in morning beginner course on Mondays. We offered a workshop of jala neti and neti sutra with the good number of students attending. We offered one more time kriya workshop with 8 students. Everything is going well with the grace of our God & Satgurus. 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.
    All staff and students are well. Pranams to all.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montevideo, Uruguay
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early February it was very quite at the centre due to outside summer activities. Kanti & Chandra came from TTC/ATTC and Yoga Vacations program in Garopaba, Brazil. They arrived with Yashoda ATTC Student and long time student from Rio, who came as 2 months temporary staff. Shankari arrived from Madrid, to have her month of vacation working as staff in Montevideo, an angel. She also had as staff in Porto Alegre for 2 months in 2012. Lalita who has totally alone January with Karma Yogis teachers, felt more relaxed. He had a hard month with a secretary paid staff not attending to work, without any reason, not replying any message or call. The Masters blessed her and all flowed normally. Classes and beginners courses are ok. The weather is of summer but unpredictable. Many things are organizing with the new energy. Painting, programs, nice meals etc...

    Mid-February we had a workshop administered by Kanti Devi.  The theme was "How to Increase Your Energy", with a good group of people attendeding. There was a large group for the Open Class. The regular classes and the Beginners Course also happened regularly. The Karma Yogis Yashoda, from Brazil and Shankari from Spain have adapted well and are doing a good job. Lalita, who was responsible for all the activities concerned to the Centre during the month of January, felt a bit relieved with the help. Shankari was painting the columns of the mail asana hall in dark yellow, giving a nice feeling and good taste. Also she is painting a screen that divides the front hall to areas. Yashoda has been working on the library, cleaning and organizing the books. She cleaned the pujas and altar materials closet. She was also translating the Sivananda Upanishad into Portuguese. Om and Pranams to everyone in the Sivananda Family from the staff at Montevideo.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In early February regular students have continued to come to Centre to practice asanas and attend Satsangs. A Yoga 1 started with 10 students attending, it was inspiring to see people starting their yoga journey with openness to learn. New children have been attending the kids class, and have appeared to enjoy the experience together. Satyadev departed to continue with his travels, we are thankful for his contributions at the Centre. Swami Shivabhaktananda spent time in the Centre before heading to India, providing guidance to staff in preparation for his time away, his support and presence continues to be greatly appreciated. W we are pleased to have more people attend the open classes in the evenings, it created a good flow of energy. A Yoga 2 commenced on Tuesdays after the group of students completed the beginner's course they continue to demonstrate their enthusiasm for their new found practice. A Yoga 1 also started on Thursdays with a large group of 12 students eager to learn and practice yoga. We appreciate the new students at the Centre for their spirit of pursuing further peace in their lives, it's a good reminder of the voyage of yoga that we began and are all on. Yamuna arrived from the camp, where she will now be staff at the Centre, her joyful presence is welcomed. The Centre was pleased to have Sita from the Camp to teach a Lebanese cooking class with considerable care. Uma from the Camp also attended and she shared some enchanting stories of when Swami Vishnudevananda would ask for the stuffed vines leaves from Sita, the connection to the food was that much greater upon hearing this. A headstand and variations workshop was held, the small group made large progress giving them further encouragement to continue to practice.

    Mid-February saw open classes and courses operating well. Tejas from the Camp came for Wednesday Satsang, he spoke on the theme of 'Stress Management' sharing practical methods to alleviate stress. The talk allowed everyone to be involved and discuss. This created a light energy and fellowship between the people there, as they could relate to each other. The Centre hosted a 'Juice and Silence' programme. A small group of 12 people attended. The day consisted of organic juices and broths to cleanse the body. It started with an open class and finished with a Ganesha Puja, with a tratak session, a chanting workshop, meditation and more in between. Chandrika from the camp came to support for the day. It was good for the students to connect with her and encouraged them to go to the Camp for a weekend break. The day enabled the individuals to gain space and time to reflect. It was also a cleansing time for the Centre. Friday morning the Centre had a big clean up in preparation, which raised the vibrations. Yamuna, with a team of karma yogis, started to paint the changing rooms on the lower ground. It has shifted the energy and the students appreciate the feel. The Centre is ever grateful for the students that continue to practice and share their beautiful energy. These dedicated individuals allow the Centre to have a purpose and light. We are thankful to Master and Swami ji for their continued inspiration and presence. 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 Open Day as well as beginners courses and Open classes continued to be well attended. There was a new one day retreat with the title "The Yogic Deep Relaxation". The participants stayed for the whole day of Yoga practice and learnt about the various levels on which the yoga helps us to relax and prevent stress. The highlight of the month was a two day special program with Swami Sivadasananda. He gave two well appreciated asana workshops with a special focus on pranayama. The topic of the two Satsang lectures were "dharma – harmony in action" and "mantras – cosmic sounds of silence". One close teacher took Mantra initiation. On the same weekend we held our yearly teachers meeting for all the active teachers of the Centre. Swami Sivadasananda presented a lot of interesting points how the practice of asanas helps to balance the body on many different levels. A Bhakti & Kirtan Course with a lots of Chanting of the classical Kirtans draw a lot of attention and continued for another 4 weeks. Swami Vasudevananda and Resident Amba left for Rudraprayag, India to support in the Yoga Teachers Training Course. 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!
    Mid-February was very busy, with new courses starting. Two new philosophy courses, the "Bhagavad Gita – An Overview", and the "Upanishads – An Overview", began, with excellent registrations. We would also like to announce that Swami Sadasivananda has left the New York Centre and the Organization to pursue a new direction in life. His contribution in New York has been immense and he has built a vibrant and inspiring Centre over the ten years that he has served here. He will be sorely missed by students and staff alike and we wish him Godspeed in his new direction and know that the Gurus' blessings will be with him always. 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
    The highlights of the month were the teachers' weekend and the Yoga Festival. The month started with the uplifting programme for the teachers given by Swami Kailasananda, Swami Gopalananda and Sita (from the Sivananda affiliated Centre in Hamburg) were there for the programme. The Centre was very alive with the teachers' weekend and the regular classes. The Masters were present sending many hands to help and giving inspiration to everyone. Big family for the morning Satsangs with the teachers who stay over the night and some others who came early. Beautiful and inspiring asana classes, Satsangs and workshops. All the participants appreciated the teachings and felt more in tune with the Masters. Cheerful atmosphere after the Satsangs with many close students, teachers and karma yogis. There was a period of calm after the teacher's weekend and a then another powerful "storm" for the Yoga Festival. The Masters sent many new comers, many regular students and many karma yogis to assist everywhere. 625 visitors were there for all the activities of the day. Apart from the regular classes of the morning, there was a Mantra workshop and an
    introduction to yoga with asana demonstration. We had also a big trial class with 101 students and a big Intermediate class in the afternoon with three more extra classes improvised in small asana rooms. At 4:30PM the house wasbfull with classes in all the asana rooms, an introduction to Meditation in the Meditation room and a demonstration of vegetarian recipes in the reception area. Swami Kailasananda gave an inspiring Satsang on the topic of the mind from the book "Swamiji said". There was a joyful mood for the chanting and the 125 participants of the Satsang felt uplifted with the words of the MAsters. The day after, Swami Kailasananda finished a weekend programme with a beautiful asana class and an inspiring Satsang on the topic of karma from Vishnudevananda Upadesha. The month ended with a mantra initiation for several students. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Porto Alegre, Brasil, South America
    Om Namah Sivaya from Brasil

    In early February Kanti devi, Chandra, Tandava Chaitanya and Iashoda (a new Staff at South America) arrived from the TTC at Garopaba on Sunday 2/2. Kanti Devi, Chandra and Iashoda went back to Montevideo. Because of the incredible hot weather that was happening in Brazil Kanti Devi decided to install two more air conditioners at the Centre plus something to protect the windows from the sun. The Centre was with good assistance besides February be a low students month. We started a beginners course with 11 students. Ashoka from Italy arrived. He just completed the TTC at Garopaba and is now the temporary Staff of the Porto Alegre Centre. He was taking care of the Ganesha Temple, helping at the clean up, cooking and started to help at the classes, soon he will teach Hatha Yoga by his own. The Centre saw lots of movement for February. We finished a beginners class.

    During mid-February we started a beginners class with 6 students. Ashoka is a very good help.The new brochure is ready to be printed and the new program is already on the web. 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 February we saw slighter class and course attendance due to the rains and bad weather. One weekend was sunny and warm so people took advantage to be outside.

    Mid-February started a 2 new courses, Yoga 1 and Yoga 3, our English class on Saturdays is now very popular and students enjoy very much that class. All the rest is well. The staff are fine. 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 February was steady with classes and learning. We gave the 2nd of our Yoga 1 Course to an enthusiastic group of students. A new resident, Venu arrived and will stay on for a while. We had a nice showing of the documentary "History of Yoga".  One Sunday we were blessed to have Swami Mangalanda come and gave a kirtan workshop then later that evening he brought in a full band and we enjoyed a very vibrant and energetic concert. The audience joined with enthusiastic clapping and everyone clearly enjoyed the bhakti devotion. We ended on a sparkling and positive note.

    Mid-February saw a steady pace of classes and learning.  We gave the 4th of our Yoga 1 Course to an enthusiastic group of students. Arjuna is still settling in slowly and receiving care from a group of caretakers through in home support services, but has joined us for a few Satsangs, and now has a hearing aid which has been very helpful in helping all us of communicate with him better.  Our Wednesday evening Satsang was great as always and we had a few newcomers join us.  Jaya Lakshmi's father Jesus arrived for a visit and will stay for a while. Sunday satsang was a very pleasant sharing of stories about Sivaratri, as we introduced our upcoming festivities and had many people share their experiences and knowledge.  We generated a lot of interest, and especially among the residents. The month ended on a congenial and pleasant note. 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
    May the blessings of Master and Swamiji be with all during 2014. Pranams.

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

    Early February was smooth, except for a big snow storm. There was a steady flow of students to open classes, courses of Yoga 1 and Yoga 2, Saturday morning kids classes and workshops during the weekends. Kamakshi conducted pre natal classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. All the students were very happy with the class and their progress. Saraswati and Upasana developed a strong connection with children and youth from a Residential care Centre here in Toronto and started a new initiative within the Centre, where they come for class every Monday at 4.15. The children, from varied age groups, were pleased with the activities and yoga, especially the homemade snacks and cake! Apart from the regular daily duties, we did regular poster runs, especially to promote our Family Day Open House and Yogic Parenting Series. We had a few enquiries about it, and hope to have a full house for the program. Our vegetarian meals served to students and teachers every Tuesday and Thursday evenings continued to be very popular. We had one new guest drop in to the Centre, who just to have some company for dinner, and he turned out to be very interested in yoga and meditation. We hoped he joins us more in the future. One Friday morning we had another surprise during Satsang, a young investment analyst, who just moved two blocks away from the Centre, and was looking for something, anything, between 6-7 in the morning. He caught on to chanting very quickly, had many questions about meditation and came back for Monday morning Satsang and bought yoga pants! It is always nice to have students join us for Satsang, as it gives us more inspiration and motivation for what we are doing. One Saturday Saraswati led a Puja and prepared a delicious lunch of tortillas, beans and guacamole, which made some staff happy, as they needed a change from dal and rice everyday! We also had two kids classes, taught by Upasana and Bhakti, for two age groups, 6-8 and 9-12. Most parents enjoyed the open class while the children attended activities and their yoga class. Saraswati 2 conducted a headstand workshop, plus, Anantya wrapped up a Yoga1 weekend series, in time to beginning a Yoga2 weekend. We also started yoga 2 meditation, taught by eVena. We have quite a few students signed up for the course already. We had a Satsang, attended by over 15 teachers and students, led by Saraswati one Sunday night. Prahlada left for India to teach TTC and attend construction matters. Nikhila came from Yoga Camp to be here until his return from India. The staff were also focused on their Sadhana, making sure to keep the energy of the Centre positive, being engaged with the students and moving forward with Swamiji's teachings.

    Mid-February saw the yoga 1 and yoga 2 courses continuing. We had a few teachers and students missing, as there was a sick bug going around, but they all came back. On Monday, during the day Shankara and his father fixed a new counter top for the kitchen, everything was cleaned and prepared for tuesday night for Vijay, who as always cooked a very delicious north Indian meal. The morning open classes continue to bring in a lot of students, as do the afternoon lunch classes. Thursday morning, Kanti Devi, Saraswati and Nikhila cleaned the kitchen and reception area, giving it an Ashram style deep cleanse. Thursday night was an invasion by the local Japanese community, Saraswati 2 cooked a delicious Indo/Western meal, and we had 8 japanese students stay back for the meal, who all very graciously stayed back to help with clean up. Friday was a cheerful day, for two reasons, firstly because the weather was absolutely brilliant, the sun was out, sky was clear, the birds were chirping and it was lovely! Secondly, purely because it was friday, the end of the week! We had nearly full open and advanced classes, and many of the students and teachers stayed back for Satsang conducted by Saraswati 1. We cleaned the Centre and conducted puja for all the altars, followed by open and kids classes at 10.30. The kids never fail to bring in a great force of energy in the mornings, we have no choice but to just flow with the energy! There are 2 more kids classes left for this session, with a few weeks in-between before we start the next. Kanti, our resident prepared a delicious Indian meal (staff here are all well trained in south Indian cuisine) for lunch, Anoosha who was visiting from Montreal joined us with her university friend, as did Harsha, Saraswati, Mayavan and a few teachers. At 2 pm Mayavan conducted a hip opening workshop, and judging by the walk the students did on their way out, it was successful! We had 10 students, and a few staff attend the workshop. Wendy taught the Sunday afternoon Yoga 1 course from 12-1.30pm, a very popular timing, as there were 12 students signed up for it.  At 4 pm we had advanced asanas class, the free trial class, and The Yogic Voice workshop with Ausar. The voice workshop proved to be very popular, Ausar gave them a deeper understanding of their voice, did some voice asanas, and helped the students get more in tune with themselves. Maheswarie conducted the Sunday Satsang followed by Kitcheri cooked by Bhakti. We had a few new students sign up for memberships and 10 class passes, and for the trial class on Sundays we see that many people are bringing their friends along, so word of mouth is doing well for advertising. The staff are putting in more energy for advertising, pushing for new courses and doing poster runs. We are also focusing on our sadhana, and directing all our energy to the students and the Centre. Pranams to all. Om.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala, South India
    Om Namah Sivaya!

    In early February two new basic courses started on Mondays at 9.30 a.m and 6.15 p.m with considerable number of students joining for the classes. The weekend classes moved onto the second week of their course schedule. All other classes went on as per routine. We conducted a kriya workshop with good number of students. There was a Volunteers Meeting on Yoga walk led by Prahladaji, in which several aspects like sponsorship and transportation of participants were dealt with. He presented to the gathering a summary of the Yoga walk campaign and also invited suggestions from them. This was followed by an Advanced Pranayama and Yoga asana class by Prahladaji at 4 p.m. He told the students that advanced posture means holding the basic posture long enough through proper breathing. After the class, Prahladaji left for Neyyar Dam. There was Meditation and Satsang led by Sandeep at 6 p.m.

    Mid-February saw two new basic courses were started on Monday in the morning at 9.30a.m and in the evening at 6.15p.m. The weekend batch moved onto its final schedule of classes.On Thursday morning we had Sudarshana Homam with puja and special prayers to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Centre's new building inauguration. We had months of our hard work and perseverance being paid off by the massive success of our Yoga Walk campaign. On Thursday at 4p.m, the walk was flagged off by Sri. P. Vijayan IPS, DIG Armed Police Battalion. The event saw the joining together of around 1400 participants with students from 13 different schools including Student Police Cadets and also students from Neyyar Dam and Madurai Ashram along with the Centre students and other participants as well. The walk from East Fort upto Kanakakkunnu palace spanning a distance of 4kms had the participants wearing T-shirts with Yoga walk logo and carrying carrying placards upholding the benefits of Yoga. A demonstration float accompanying the walk had students giving Yoga posture demonstrations. A huge stage with elegant lighting was erected for the concluding programs with Jail DGP Sri. SenKumar IPS as our Chief Guest, Rev. Fr. Felix CMI, Founder Director of Central Institution on Mental Retardation and City Mayor Smt. Chandrika as our venerable Guests. We also had Prahladaji, Natarajji, Swami Sivabhaktananda and Swami Gokulananda gracing the occasion with their esteemed presence. Prahladaji gave a talk on Yoga and its wide array of benefits with the accompaniment of demonstration by the students. We had dinner served to the people who had gathered to support our cause ensuring the success of our campaign. We offered a 4:00pm asana class by Swami Sivabhaktananda followed by Meditation and Satsang led by him at 6p.m. This was followed by Thanks-giving celebration to the Yoga walk volunteers wherein they were applauded for their dedication and hard work towards making the campaign a success among the people. As a token of thanks they were served a sumptuous dinner and were also presented with the Volunteers Group Photo taken during Yoga Walk.Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi.

    2014 Yoga Walk Report: The much awaited day of the Yoga Walk campaign finally dawned on Feb 20th bringing along with it the fruit of days of  hard work of our dedicated volunteers. We had around 1400 participants from various quarters contributing their part in making our campaign a huge success.The participants included students from 13 schools of the city and also students from Neyyar Dam and Madurai Ashram as well walking with placards upholding the benefits of Yoga.The venture provided us with a platform to reach out to the masses, helping in popularising Yoga and its Philosophy. The event began with the flag-off by Sri. P. Vijayan IPS, DIG, Armed Police Battalion. We had a float accompanying the walk in which the ATTC  students from Neyyar Dam Ashram gave Yoga posture demonstrations. The walk with the participants wearing the T-shirt specially designed for the occasion with the Yoga Walk logo caught peoples attention and we had several of them enquiring about Yoga and our organization. After reaching  the final destination of Kanakakkunnu palace grounds,  the concluding programs at Nishagandhi Auditorium had Sri SenKumar, IPS, Jail DGP and Father Felix as our chief guests along with City Mayor Smt Chandrika. We also had Prahladji, Natarajji, Swami Sivabhaktananda, Swami Satchidananda and Swami Gokulananda sharing the dias. We had our guests sharing their personal experiences about Yoga with the audience. Prahladji talked about Yoga and its key benefits with the accompaniment of yoga posture demonstration. He also thanked all the people who had gathered to witness and support our campaign making this a grand event.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vienna, Austria
    Om Namah Sivaya
    On the first Monday morning of the month close students participated in a strong Siva Puja which was the final Puja of the Priest's special programme in Vienna. This month two school classes of teenagers came: one for a yoga class and another one for a separate cooking course later on. For many of them it was their first yoga experience. Especially the final relaxation was appreciated very much, because they could feel how deep they were recharged afterwards. Many weekend programs brought inspiration to students and staffs alike, among them a big TTC prep, a cooking course for new vegetarians, a seminar on deep relaxation and intensive courses on introduction into meditation and thought power. Swami Gokulananda came from the Berlin Centre. Many students and teachers remembered her and spent the whole day at the Centre, participating in the programme and doing Karma Yoga. Especially the evening Satsang was very well attended, the chanting was very powerful, the lecture lively and inspiring. Many Karma Yogis supported the Centre in the kitchen, in office work and especially in painting the Asana Hall. The walls are now painted in a light orange, adding even more warmth to the colour of the wooden floor. The feedback on the redesign of the hall is enthusiastic. OM.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
    Om Namah Sivaya, from Vilnius

    Early February classes were well attended. A Yoga 1 beginner's course with a very nice group of people started. Yoga 2 and Yoga 3 courses began on Mondays and Tuesdays. We had a cooking course with 15 students, who were happy to learn how to cook various vegetarian dishes using the spices and food ingredients in creative way. We were very happy to have two resident Yoga teachers as work studies:  Polish Yoga teacher Sundari. She will live in the Centre and do Karma Yoga for 4 weeks. Estonian teacher Lakshmi stayed for a week. Our main concentration was on the maintenance project and preparation of the brochure for the Saptaha. One weekend we had a Crash course with a nice group of students. As part of the preparations for the upcoming May Saptaha, we started important maintenance projects in order to make the Yoga Centre more functional. The workers began to install an extra shower in the ladies changing room. The main focus was on the preparation and promotion of the Ayurveda program with Angela Hope-Murray at the end of March.

    Mid-February saw us preparing the Yoga Centre for more comfortable stay of the guests, students and staff during the upcoming Saptaha in May. Workers almost finished the installing of the shower in ladys changing room. Also the roller blinds were installed in the reception and office for safety and in the rooms upstairs for more comfort. Many students attended open classes, Satsangs and courses. New Yoga 1 , Yoga 2 and Yoga 3 courses started, so all our rooms are used fully. On Saturday we had TTC preparation day. 4 students came and all of them are thinking to go to TTC in Ustka, Poland  this year. Ishwara Chaitanya left to Berlin Centre to serve there for two weeks. Our Karma yogi from Poland, Sundari, served full-heartedly and always in a good mood, no matter she cleans, washes or cooks. OM.

Sit silent. Calm thy mind. Make it pure. Have one-pointed devotion. You will enjoy eternal peace and bliss. - Sri Swami Sivananda

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- Swami Vishnudevananda