Sivananda News Sivananda E-Gurugram
The Electronic Newsletter of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres
Issue #01/2013 Serve Love Give Purify Meditate Realize January 1, 2013
"Live in Peace and Harmony with your neighbours and fellow men." - Sri Swami Sivananda

More quotes

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

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

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

SPIRITUAL CALENDAR:
JANUARY 2013
08 Ekadasi
11 New Moon
14 Makara Sankranti
22 Ekadasi
27 Full Moon 

FEBRUARY 2013
06 Ekadasi
10 New Moon
21 Ekadasi
25 Full Moon 
E-MAIL DIRECTORY
A complete e-mail directory of the Sivananda Yoga Centres and Ashrams is available at:
Sivananda Email Directory
SIVANANDA "OM" PAGE
www.sivananda.org

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

NEWS

Blessed Selves,
Om Namah Sivaya
 
A special message for the New Year from Swami Mahadevananda, Senior Acharya of the Sivananda Organization:
In this confused and chaotic times the solution for each spiritual person is to find his/her own inner peace. Meditation and Yoga show the way. Let's meditate, meditate and meditate until we find the light within. All the rest is nothing but Maya. People come and go. Politicians come and go, but our Peace remains within forever. Wishing to all of you a Happy New Year.

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

Subscribe to receive this newsletter via email once per month.

Forget the past. Begin life afresh. Face life boldly. A glorious future is awaiting you. - Sri Swami Sivananda

SIVANANDA YOGA FAQ
Q. What is your conclusive opinion about rebirth? Do you really believe that there is rebirth?
A.

Having been born a Hindu, and having the blood of the great sages coursing through your veins, do you entertain this doubt in your mind? Yes, undoubtedly there is rebirth. First of all, you have several miraculous instances of young boys and girls suddenly exhibiting great knowledge. A young girl, who has never studied any book, recites the Gita. How do you account for it except by the fact that she had mastered the Gita in her previous birth, and that by the grace of the Lord, that knowledge has come to the conscious part of her mind in this birth too? Further, rebirth is a necessity for the soul's evolution. Perfection cannot be achieved in one birth. Even to develop some cardinal virtues it might take several births. If you wish to attain Self-realization, you have to achieve perfection in all the virtues. You have to achieve perfect self-purification. So, rebirth is a necessity for the Jiva's evolution. Have you seen the caterpillar moving from one leaf to another? It will reach the edge of one leaf; then project itself; it will catch hold of another leaf, and then only will it entirely leave the first leaf. The Jiva, too, goes about like this. Even before it leaves one body, it has made another (gross or subtle) body according to its Karmas and desires; and it enters this new body with all the Samskaras and Vasanas.

Q. What is the interval between death and the next birth? Where does the soul dwell during the period between death and rebirth?
A.

The interval between death and rebirth varies from person to person. It may be two years or it may be two hundred years, or more. There is no hard and fast rule. If the attachment to the world is very intense, a Jiva may be born again immediately after death. There is a girt in Dehra Dun who has memory of her past life. She took her present birth four years after she died in her previous life. Those who have done a lot of virtuous actions remain in heaven for a long time, for two hundred or three hundred years, before the are reborn on earth. A wicked man will go to another region. You may call it hell. Or it may be a place where he may not get the objects of enjoyment that he wants. A man addicted to drinking may not get liquor there. It may be a place like a jail where one has to break the stones and do such other hard work. But if one has done virtuous deeds, if one is a philanthropist, who has dug public wells, built charitable hospitals, etc., he will go to heaven where he will enjoy for a long time.

Q. In my work of spreading the knowledge of Yoga, do you have any special advice to give?
A. Side by side with instructions on practical Yogic processes, place always stress upon the great importance of Sadachara, Yama and Niyama. Inspire the students with noble idealism. Spur them on to strive for a life of lofty virtue, active goodness and selflessness. You must stress the need for self-purification and self-mastery. The true inner Yoga is the transformation of the essential nature of man. The lower human nature should gradually give place to an illumined divine nature through a process of spiritualization of the entire being of man. This should be brought home in an effective manner, yet withal with great sympathy, understanding and insight. The aim is to attain divine consciousness.
 
Previous FAQs at http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/faq/faq.html

Practice meditation regularly. Dive deeper and deeper in the recesses of your heart. - Sri Swami Sivananda

HATHA YOGA TIP

THE FULL YOGIC BREATH
- Pranayama - All Levels -

When practicing pranayama, the control of breath increases the flow of prana in the body, renewing and recharging energy for body and mind. It is important to have mastered the full yogic breath for any pranayama exercise. To do this successfully, one must learn and practice abdominal breathing correctly. Full use is made of the respiratory muscles, filling and emptying the lungs to the maximum in a relaxed and controlled way.

Initial relaxation:
Five minutes of deep abdominal breathing is recommended in initial relaxation before yoga practice to fine tune your nervous system and prepare the body for pranayama or asana practice. For beginners deep abdominal breathing can be practiced in the corpse pose with palms on abdomen and fingers apart facing the Centre line of abdomen. When breathing, attention is paid to feeling the movement between the first rib, navel and hips. Also notice the movement in the back of the body, around the kidneys and lower back and below the waist. Feel the fingers move apart on the abdomen and hands rising when inhaling, and feel the fingers coming together when exhaling and the hands moving down with the abdomen.

Full yogic breath in sitting position:
It is best to be sitting straight in a comfortable sitting position such as the cross-legged position- Easy pose or Lotus. When the spine is straight prana can move freely. It is also important to open the chest and to relax the shoulders down from the neck and not round the shoulders forward or the chest is constricted. Sitting on a cushion or rolled up mat can help develop the correct sitting posture. Hands are in Chin Mudra position.

When practicing the correct technique, inhale, expanding gradually first the abdomen then raising and opening the rib cage, then finally lifting the collarbone without lifting the shoulders. Be aware of the breath filling up the lungs in the front and the back of the body. Exhale slowly with control and begin by relaxing the abdomen, but keeping the head, neck and spine still aligned; then lower the rib cage and then slightly contract the abdomen to actively empty the lungs. All breathing is through the nostrils.

During asana practice, use the full yogic breath with the developed muscle control learned in practicing it to improve awareness of the spinal alignment, and a few full yogic breath cycles between one asana and another to replenish oxygen and concentration.


Benefits:

For beginners and more advanced practitioners, the benefits are developing increased lung capacity, improving oxygen levels and decreasing carbon dioxide levels. Also the mind is calmed, the nervous system relaxed and concentration is improved. This helps before meditation or before or after asana practice.

"When the breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the breath is still, so is the mind still." Hatha Yoga Pradipika

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

When you do Japa, when you meditate, the mind is freed from its distractive nature.
- Sri Swami Sivananda

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

YOGA SANSKRIT GLOSSARY

SADACHARA -
[Sanskrit] Right Conduct; the an instruction guide for all on the correct routines to follow in leading one's life.

Commentary from Swami Sivananda -

Do your duties in a satisfactory manner in accordance with Sadachara. Apply yourself diligently to all kinds of your daily duties. Consult the Sastras and Mahatmas whenever you are in doubt. Build up your character. This will give you success in life. Practice daily to remove old evil habits. Establish daily, virtuous health habits. Character will help you to attain the goal of life. Character is your very being. Evolve. Expand. Grow. May the character take you to the Atmic Bliss of Self-realization. Practice of Sadachara will surely lead you to the attainment of God-consciousness. There is no happiness in finite objects. Infinite alone is Bliss. Understand the Truth through the practice of Sadachara.

1. Ethics or ethical science treats about Sadachara or right conduct, morality or duty. Ethics is the science of morals, that branch of philosophy which is concerned with human character and conduct.

2. Conduct is behaviour. Deportment, carriage, demeanour, conduct, behaviour are synonymous terms. The way in which rational beings should behave towards each other as well as towards other creatures is dealt with in the science of morals or ethics.

3. To speak the truth; to practice Ahimsa; not to hurt the feelings of others in thought, word and deed; not to speak harsh words to anyone; not to show anger towards anybody; not to abuse others or speak ill of others and to see God in all beings is Sadachara. If you abuse anyone, if you hurt the feelings of others, really you are abusing yourself and hurting the feelings of God only. Himsa (injuring) is a deadly enemy of Bhakti and Jnana. It separates and divides. It stands in the way of realising unity or oneness of Self.

4. That act or exertion which does not do good to others, or that act for which one has to feel shame should never be done. That act on the other hand, should be done for which one may be lauded in Society. This is a brief description of what right conduct is.

5. Lord Manu says in the Smriti: "Achara (good conduct) is the highest Dharma, declared by the Sruti and by the Smriti. Thus beholding the path of Dharma issue from Achara, the sages embrace Achara as the root of all Tapas."

6. Righteousness, Truth, good works, power and prosperity all originate from conduct. You will find in the Mahabharata: "The mark of Dharma is Achara (good conduct). Achara is the mark of good. Higher than all teaching is Achara. From Achara, Dharma is born, and Dharma enhances the life. By Achara man attains life; by Achara he attains prosperity; by Achara he attains fair fame, here and hereafter. He who is the friend of all beings, he who is intent on the welfare of all with act, thought and speech-he only knoweth Dharma."

7. Dharma is extremely subtle (Ati Sukshma) intricate and complex. Even sages are perplexed. Dharma gives wealth, satisfaction of desires and liberation in the end. Dharma tops the list of the four Purusharthas, viz., Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Dharma is generally termed as duty, righteousness, etc. Any action that is best calculated to bring Sreyas (Moksha) is Dharma. That which brings well-being to human beings is Dharma.

8. All that is free from any motive of injury to any being is surely morality. For, indeed the moral precepts have been made to free the creatures from all injuries. Dharma is so called because it protects all. Indeed morality saves all creatures.

9. The conduct is the root of prosperity. Conduct increases fame. It is conduct which prolongs life. It is conduct which destroys all calamities and evils. Conduct has been said to be superior to all the branches of knowledge.

10. It is by conduct that one acquires a long life, and is by conduct that one acquires riches and prosperity. It is a means to attain the goal of life. Without good conduct no one can achieve the goal. Good conduct brings in fame, longevity, wealth and happiness. It eventually leads to Moksha. It is conduct that begets virtue, and it is virtue which prolongs life. Conduct gives fame, long life and heaven. Conduct is the most efficacious rite of propitiating the celestials.

11. The good and virtuous are so on account of the conduct they follow. The marks, again of good conduct are afforded by the deeds of those that are good or righteous. Indeed, it is by conduct that one acquires the fame that depends upon great deeds both in this world and in the next. For sooth, one may, by his conduct alone, conquer the three worlds. There is nothing which virtuous persons cannot obtain. A person of good deeds and good, pleasant and sweet speech has no peer. People regard that man who acts righteously and who does good acts even if they only hear of him without actually seeing him.

12. The man whose conduct is improper or wicked never acquires a long life. All creatures fear such a man and are oppressed by him. If therefore one wishes his own advancement and prosperity, one should in this world, follow the path of righteousness and conduct himself properly. Good conduct succeeds in removing the inauspiciousness and misery of even one who is sinful.

13. The man of right conduct has ideals, principles and mottoes. He strictly follows them, removes his weaknesses and defects and develops good conduct and becomes a Sattvic man. He is very careful in behaving with his elders, parents, teachers, Acharyas, sisters, brothers, friends, relatives, strangers and others. He attempts to know what is right and wrong, by approaching Sadhus and Mahatmas and by studying scriptures very carefully and then treads the path of righteousness or Dharma.

14. The man of right conduct always cares for the welfare of all beings. He lives in harmony with the neighbours and all people. He never hurts the feelings of others, never speaks lies. He practices Brahmacharya. He checks the evil tendencies of the mind and prepares himself through the practice of right conduct to attain the Bliss of union with Paramatman.

15. An aspirant went to Veda Vyasa and said: "O Maharshi, Avatara of Vishnu, I am in a dilemma. I cannot properly comprehend the right significance of the term 'Dharma.' Some say it is right conduct. Others say that which leads to Moksha and happiness is Dharma. Anything, any action that brings you down is Adharma. Lord Krishna says: 'Even sages are puzzled to understand perfectly what is Dharma, what is Adharma. Gahana karmano gatih-Mysterious is the path of action.' I am bewildered. O Maharshi, kindly give me a very, very easy definition of Dharma to enable me to follow Dharma in all my actions." Maharshi Vyasa replied: "O aspirant! Hear me. I shall suggest an easy method. Remember the following sayings always with great care when you do any action. 'Do as you would be done by. Do unto others as you wish others do unto you.' This is the whole of Dharma. Attend to this carefully. You will be saved from all troubles. If you follow these wise maxims, you can never give any pain unto others. Practice this in your daily life. Even if you fail one hundred times, it does not matter. Your old Samskaras Asubha Vasanas are your real enemies. They will come in the way as stumbling blocks. But persevere. You will succeed in the attainment of the goal." The aspirant strictly adhered to Vyasa's instructions and attained liberation.

16. This is a very good maxim. The whole gist of Sadachara or right conduct is here. If one practices this very carefully he will not commit any wrong act. 'To work in accordance with the Divine Will is right; to work in opposition to the Divine Will is wrong.'

17. God, Religion and Dharma are inseparable. All human beings are characterized by righteousness, and they in course of natural progress and improvement attain to the dignity of God. Man evolves through practice of Dharma according to his caste and order of life and eventually attains Self-realisation, the ultimate goal of life, which brings infinite Bliss, supreme peace, unbroken joy, highest knowledge, eternal satisfaction and Immortality. Ethical perfection is a prerequisite to Self-realisation.

18. Metaphysics rests on morality. Morality rests on metaphysics. Morality has Vedanta as its basis. The Upanishad says: "Thy neighbour, in truth, is thy very Self, and what separates you from him is mere illusion." Sadachara is the basis for the realization of Atmic unity or oneness of life or Advaitic feeling of oneness everywhere. Ethical culture prepares you for the Vedantic realization of: "Sarvam khalvidam Brahma-All indeed is Brahman."


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

Sit and meditate. Watch the mind. If the mind wanders, think that you are the witness. - Sri Swami Sivananda

 BHAGHAVAD GITA

Chapter III: The Yoga of Action

(Krishna speaking to Arjuna)
III.42. INDRIYAANI PARAANYAAHUR INDRIYEBHYAH PARAM MANAH;
MANASASTU PARAA BUDDHIR YO BUDDHEH PARATASTU SAH

'They say that the senses are superior (to the body); superior to the senses is the mind; superior to the mind is the intellect; and one who is superior even to the intellect is He-the Self.'

III.43. EVAM BUDDHEH PARAM BUDDHWAA SAMSTABHYAATMAANAM AATMANAA;
JAHI SHATRUM MAHAABAAHO KAAMAROOPAM DURAASADAM

'Thus, knowing Him who is superior to the intellect and restraining the self by the Self, slay thou, O mighty-armed Arjuna, the enemy in the form of desire, hard to conquer!'

COMMENTARY: Restrain the lower self by the higher Self. Subdue the lower mind by the higher mind. It is difficult to conquer desire because it is of a highly complex and incomprehensible nature. But a man of discrimination and dispassion, who does
constant and intense Sadhana, can conquer it quite easily.

HARI OM TAT SAT
ITI SRIMAD BHAGAVADGEETAASOOPANISHATSU
BRAHMAVIDYAAYAAM YOGASHAASTRE SRI KRISHNAARJUNASAMVAADE
KARMAYOGO NAAMA TRITIYO'DHYAAYAH

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

Bear enmity to none. Do not vex others, and do not be vexed by others. - Sri Swami Sivananda

RAJA YOGA

Chapter II: "Sadhana Pada- On Spiritual Disciplines"

II.48. TATO DVANDVANABHIGHATAH

'From that (mastery of "asana" [postion]), no assaults come from the pairs of opposites'.

Commentary from Swami Sivananda:
When 'asanas' are mastered, the yogi is not touched by the play of duality. His will and concentration are developed to such an extent that heat and cold, pleasure and pain, good and bad, and all other worldly influences do not touch him.


Youth is a state of the mind. It is not of time or period of life. Utilize well all opportunities. You can make your life sublime. - Sri Swami Sivananda

VEGETARIAN CUISINE

NUTTY PARSNIP SOUP -
This easy to prepare, warming and satisfying, yet light vegetable soup recipe, is taken from The Yoga Cookbook, in the section: Soup Samskaras. It was devised by Stephen Cooke, a guest chef from Australia. The peanut butter adds body and a nutty flavour to the sweeter vegetables particularly complementing the parsnip. Parsnips are higher in potassium than carrots and a good source of dietary fibre. Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:
2 carrots, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
3 parsnips, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or cilantro leaves
1 ½ quarts water
1 to 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
Salt or tamari
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)

Preparation:

1. Place the vegetables in a large pan with the herbs and water. Bring to a boil, half cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
2. Leave to cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor or blender. Add the peanut butter and blend until smooth.
3. Return the purée to the pan. Season to taste with salt or tamari and add a little lemon juice, if desired. Reheat without boiling and serve at once.

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

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

Persevere and be tenacious. You will get success in everything.
- Sri Swami Sivananda

UPCOMING EVENTS

Feb 03 - Mar 02/13
TTC - Teachers Training Course – English
Nassau, Bahamas
www.sivananda.org/nassau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meditation is the divine ladder that helps the aspirant to rise to the abode of immortal bliss of Brahman.
- Sri Swami Sivananda

SIVANANDA WORLD NEWS - DECEMBER 2012

SIVANANDA YOGA VEDANTA Ashrams -

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada

    Om Namah Sivaya! Greetings from the Headquarters.
    At the beginning of December the TTC finally came to end, after a month of many celebrations, excitement, happiness and of course the difficulties that come side by side with this intense yogic experience! The last week kicked off with a Likita Japam Satsang, guided by Swami Ambikananda. All students and staff spent close to an hour writing 'Om Namo Narayanaya', to help prepare the students for the mantra initiation the following morning and also to help set the tone for their future Japa practice. About 27 students got initiated into their chosen Mantras, by Swami Rajeshwariananda and Swami Ambikananda, thus grounding them in their Sadhana even more deeply. It also the last day of teaching for the students, all of them having completed teaching a beginners and open class! They had a little bit of a spring in their step as a result, although the impending test created a sense of panic in a few!! Some staff were offered humorous bribes of cookies and brownies, but of course, the staff did not fall for the temptations! Next, the TTC's were finally introduced to advanced pranayamas. Swami Shivabhaktananda was especially excited for these classes and taught both the theory and 90 minute classes, so well in fact that some of the students felt the intensity of the pranayamas immediately after the theory class! The next morning was a quiet and meditative morning, with a 90 minute pranayama class. Watching the students walk out of the class was certainly a sight to behold, as some them walked out and stood in the sun, taking in the sunlight and letting the pranayama seep into them, basking in the awareness. Friday, and the last day off, the students divided their time between helping Bharatha in the kitchen, group study sessions in the Vagabond and dining hall with popcorn and brownies and panicking on the side a little. The Satsang was a kirtan night and open to all, so the students forgot their exam worries and took turns chanting for over an hour, rather loudly actually, and full of energy, in support of each other! And finally, we come to the last and very snowy day, where it began with the students doing their exam, some really making full use of the three and a half hours!! The students then spent the rest of the day exchanging emails, numbers and addresses, taking photos, cleaning up, last minute bonding sessions and helping in the kitchen for the middle eastern feast cooked by Bharata and Sita!!! It was definitely a night to remember for students, guests and staff, Jaya Ganesha was sung with pumped up energy and there was applause for students as they each received their diplomas! Their luck was not over as they had special Prasad - English trifle pudding - made by Swami Ambikananda and ice cream, the talent show also featured the 'Ashram Choir' led by Choir master Swami Ambikananda and a slideshow of the staff in their true inner characters! This group of TTC's were a talented bunch, entertaining us with music and skits, Quebecois humour, rumba. We also happened to find the inner poets in a few of them!!! It was a fun and energetic end to the TTC. Having been only 36 in number, these students forged close bonds and friendships, something that became increasingly obvious and wonderful to observe during their last week. TTC Departure day left the staff in a bit of a daze, as the students ran around gathering their thoughts and truly saying goodbye to each other, ready-ing for the world outside. All left by the afternoon, leaving the Ashram quiet and still, leaving time to prepare for Christmas and New Years!!

    A belated Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year greeting from the Yoga Camp!

    Mid-Late December - We have most definitely had an eventful few weeks since the end of TTC. A week of relaxation coupled with some karma yoga evenings, to give the kitchen a solid clean up as well helping with the mammoth task of housekeeping! Shortly after Srinivasan, Saraswati and Mahadev Chaitanya arrived with staff from the Yoga Ranch on 20th, in perfect timing for the snow storm that left us over 40 cm of snow to shovel through! Swami Sadasaivananda and Gauri Devi arrived with staff from the Centre on 23rd, as did Prahlada, Saraswati and the kids. It created that wonderful feeling of having a family reunion. Due to the intense snowstorm we lost power and lived in the dark ages for nearly two days, almost running out of hot water and heating! But it was a wonderful experience, we all worked together as one unit, making it possible to continue with our daily duties, with Satsang and dinner by candle light. Christmas Eve was a flurry of activity between setting up the gifts, cleaning and cooking the delicious feast attended also by many long time devotees and their families. Swami Mahadevananda led the Satsang, giving a talk on Jesus from Bliss Divine followed by Christmas Carols by Swami Sadasivananda. Not only did he entertain us with his musical skills but he also played a few songs by The Beatles for us, reminding us of the bond between Swami Vishnu and The Beatles! Marilyn Rossner and Sister Leoni conducted a mass, after which SANTA arrived! He made sure everybody got a present, leaving many smiling faces at the end of the night.

    The Ranch and Centre staff left on Christmas and Boxing Day. We still had quite a few guests with many more booked for the New Year's weekend. The week leading up to New Years Eve was filled with shoveling roofs, housekeeping, cooking some really delicious meals (lucky guests!) and enjoying the snow. By the weekend we had about 40 guests with few families as well, so it was lovely to have children running around and playing in the snow. Shankara Chaitanya and Sushila joined us from the Montreal Centre, and helped in cooking an AMAZING feast on the 31st, and the guests were treated to chocolate and lemon poppy seed cake with ice cream at the end of Satsang too! This was of course in memory of Swami Vishnu and his love of sweets. Swami Shivabhaktananda led the Satsang and pumped it up with lots of energy. Swami Mahadevananda then joined in for a talk on surviving 2012 and what it means to be a spiritual person. It definitely was invigorating. We had a talent show with quite a few talented people! Some blackberry yoga, poems, songs and dancing. The best surprise was saved for the last. As we counted down to 2013, we had fireworks being set off outside the Krishna Temple. It was a great way of saying goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013. Most of the guests left soon the next day, leaving us with a lot of house keeping but also some time to wind down after a busy season and close the ashram to guests from 6th-14th January, for our annual vacation-Sadhana Week. All the staff are well. Salutations for the New Year to all from the Camp. May all be well. Pranams for peace from the Yoga Camp Headquarters. May the Masters grace and blessings be with you always.



Sivananda Dhanwanthari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala, South India
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    For early December the TTC came to a climax with the exam and graduation. The students packed their schedules with final lessons for special classes for the elderly and children and advanced pranayama. A special Ailyam Puja and Pongal was held at the lakeside temple to celebrate Swamiji's birth star. We also did renovation work of Swamiji's lake side house. Cultural evening included a rousing Bhajan performance by Sri Rajamani Bhagavata from Erode, Tamil Nadu. The audience could not remain seated and most people were on their feet dancing to the Bhajans. We welcomed Narayana who will conduct the Fasting & Detoxification Programme.

    Mid December saw the Ashram energy settled down after the high of TTC. Notable events included the Ayurveda Medical Camp. Ten doctors were present and over 800 patients attended. Things ran smoothly due to the good organisation of all the staff. The Yoga Ayurveda Cultural Programme started with a Ganapati Homa and Kattakali performance. We also had a Bharatnatyam workshop and performance by Jothi Raghavan and Vedic Mathematics course with Vandana Arora. Yoga Vacation numbers continued to rise as we approached Christmas. Two new staff, Deepak and Madhuri and work study, Mahadev, joined the Ashram. Om Namah Sivaya from all the staff at Neyyar Dam. May Master and Swamiji bless us all in the New Year.




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



Sivananda Ashram Chateau du Yoga, Orleans, France
    Om Namah Sivaya
    During mid-December the Ashram was blessed by the presence of the Acharyas and the EBM meeting. The meeting took place for two days. Present in the meeting was Swami Mahadevananda, Swami Durgananda, Srinivasan, Swami Sivadasananda, Swami Kailasananda, Kanti Devi, Swami Sitaramananda, Swami Atmaramananda, Swami Krishnadevananda, Swami Jnaneshwariananda, Mr. Trager and Prahlad, Swami Annapurnananda also came to help with cooking, as well as Saraswati from Geneva. A Puja, conducted by Yagneshwara Dixit, started the EBM meeting on an auspicious note. The staff were happy to serve the Acharyas and provide support for the meeting. Most Acharyas immediately after the meetings to their various destinations. For our guests we offered a "Yoga and Anatomy" certificate course this month, we studied the Asanas, Yoga for the back, the nervous system, stress management, the heart, nutrition, etc. and how everything is connected to the 5 points; we also offered a "Art of Creative Visualization" course, and "How to Increase your Energy". The landscaping project between Krishnu Kutir and Château was started, and workers came with heavy machinery. This large landscaping project started around the building, and there are trucked and big machines everywhere digging, moving earth, and preparing for a new landscaped area between the buildings. It should bring a big uplift to the Ashram once finished. The preparation for the Christmas holiday period began. Many Karmayogis from France, UK, Germany and all over Europe arrived, helping the Ashram run smoothly through the busy times. Swami Durgananda, Swami Atmaramananda, Swami Krishnadevananda and Swami Annapurnananda, Chandrika (London), Saraswati (Geneva) and Karuna (Spain) also arrived. It feels wonderful to have this large Sivananda family at the Ashram! The guests started to arrive, and the Ashram went from just a few guest to a total of over 100 souls, bringing a wonderful energy to the Ashram. The guests enjoyed the programme, "The Power of Hatha Yoga", with Swami Atmaramananda. The weather was very mild, allowing for nice nature walks and outside team games (football and basketball!). The evening programme started, uplifting all through the power of mantras, kirtans and the message of the scriptures. We said good-bye to Sarada and thanked her for her selfless service for the last 3 months. The Orleans staff team sends their greetings to all! OM.



Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, California, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya
    For early December spirits were high as the TTC quickly adapted themselves to Ashram life and to receive the steady stream of knowledge from the teachings. The group has grown very supportive of one another and are inspired to dive into the philosophy and practice classes. The Yoga Farm was pleased to welcome bansuri flute player John Wubbenhorst for a classical Indian concert accompanied by virtuoso tabla player Samrat Kakkeri. The duo performed beautiful ragas with great humility and brought great joy to all in attendance. The Ashram welcomed guests for the Beginner Yoga Intensive weekend taught by Nataraj and Sivapriya. The Ashram also had the monthly Ayurveda Massage Rejuvenation Retreat hosted by specialist Ambika. Ambika gave talks on Ayurveda and consultations while guests enjoyed Ayurveda therapies and the sauna.

    Mid December saw TTC's second week is high energy - students are feeling the benefits of their sadhana and the group is enjoying the TTC. The Ashram has been blessed to receive many special guests this week including Mary Thompson and Dr. Marc Halpern from the California College of Ayurveda. The TTC Talent Show was great fun for all with beautiful music, dance, Hatha Hoopers, and poetry. A Bhakti Yoga course is currently underway and include special guest kirtan performances by Shakti Rising from Mt. Shasta and by local artist Angelika. One Saturday night featured special Bharat Natyam dance with Anuradha, whose father was a great devotee of Swami Sivananda. This week's Beginner Yoga course was taught by Lilamayi and Jayanta, with guests very happy with their first experience in a traditional Ashram. The Yoga Farm thanks Bhagavati, here for 2 weeks to paint a beautiful RadhaKrishna panel for the Radha Krishna Temple. The piece was unveiled at Satsang and received great appreciation. It is a wonderful addition to the Ashram. We also received 6 large crates containing carved stone statues from historical Cham culture in ancient Vietnam. They are yet to be placed at different temples on the land. Swami Sitaramananda flew back from EBM meeting in Orleans and joined the TTC teaching. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Om Shanti.




Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch, Woodbourne, New York, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    For early December all went very well as we got ready for the holiday season. We put up a Christmas tree and, with the help of karma yogis, decorated it beautifully. With the year coming to a close, we have been busy working on the 2013 brochure and marketing. We saw the beginning of karma yoga week. We had several guests join us as karma yogis, helping in the kitchen, on the grounds and in the garden. Srinivasan left for France to join in the EBM. Prior to his departure, Srinivasan and Mahadev Chaitanya went into New York City with several staff, and stayed at the NY Centre for Satsang and a Puja. Mahadev Chaitanya taught an asana class to the inmates at a local maximum security prison, keeping the prison project alive. Two staff members left, Bhagavate and Hamsa, after serving the Ashram for a year. They are moving to Chicago, where Hamsa will serve as staff at the Chicago Centre and Bhagavate will serve as a karma yogi.

    For mid December we welcomed back Swami Ambikananda after the end of the TTC at the Yoga Camp, which she had help teach. We are all very happy to have her back with us. It was busy at the Ashram for our Karma Yoga week, where guests were offered to stay for half price and help out with karma yoga. We had a great group of karma yogis join us for this program. They were busy helping hang the Christmas lights all around and working in the garden. We celebrated Hanukkah by lighting the menorah every night, with the help of our visiting temp staff, Sarada, who lead the lighting ceremonies every night and chanted Hebrew chants for staff and guests. The weekend program was on Positive Thinking and its necessity for meditation. Srinivasan returned from France, where he was attending the EBM meeting. He spent a few days at the New York Centre before returning home with staff. One Sunday, staff went into New York City to attend the Centre's annual Holiday party. It was a lively group of over 100 participants. We sang Christmas carols and exchanged good cheer. It was an evening of gratitude to all the selfless karma yogis that help the Centre throughout the year. The TTC continued with students diving into the teachings while the weather has been challenging with many rains. Specials included kriyas practice, walking meditation in the labyrinth, and a special afternoon lecture at Swamiji's. A lovely Navagraha homa, with priest Krishnan, was held in the Radha Krishna Hall to acknowledge the planetary energies at this time. The Yoga Farm's lively Christmas celebration (full house) was held in the Main Yoga Hall with a Puja workshop, Christmas carols, readings from Master Sivananda on Jesus, and a visit from Santa Claus himself giving out gifts for all. It was a warm and festive evening. On this very auspicious Christmas morning TTC received mantra initiation, with nearly all TTC taking part. Guests enjoyed a Bhakti Yoga course with guest presenters Shakti Rising (kirtan group) and Angelika (devotional singing). The staff send Pranams! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all.




Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau, Bahamas
    Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves
    Mid December saw lectures largely focused on various methods of healing through meditation and yoga. Laurier-Pierre Desjardins' lectures on "The Healing Power of Yoga" were extremely well received by all, especially TTC students who found it very relevant to their course. Madhavi's presentations and practice on Yoga Nidra were very popular and her workshops well attended. The Christmas and New Year symposium began on the 22nd with a lineup of diverse speakers from diverse traditions. The TTC students completed their third week of studies. Om Namah Sivaya. We send all our love to you. Om Namah Sivaya. Pranams to all! Om.


Sivananda Ashram, Retreat House, Reith, Tyrol, Austria
    Om Namah Sivaya
    In December we had good attendance for a further teachers' training weekend 'Teaching Yoga-the next Step' and the 7-day certificate course 'Healthy Cooking with Ayurveda' with Sanjay and Anjani Kulkarni from India.. Besides the lectures the participants enjoyed the daily cooking classes with a variety of recipes. During the certificate course 'Yoga and Stress Management' we explored modern stress research and the effects of yoga techniques, ow to manage one's own stress and how to help others. From mid of November till mid of December all the guests were accommodated at our Kailash guest house, which made for a cosy atmosphere. The new brochure for 2013 arrived. With the combined effort of all we were able to get the mailing ready.

    Mid of December our winter TTC started with a beautiful inauguration.
    We had very keen guests who came to recharge in the fresh, crisp mountain air. They enjoyed the individual corrections in the asana classes. A new TTC started with the beautiful inauguration with 28 eager students. With bookings up, compared to last year, the further preparations for Christmas and New Year kept everybody busy. We all looked forward to sharing this special season with guests and visiting staff.

    At the start of the Special Holiday Programs we welcomed Yagneshwara whose Pujas heightened the spiritual vibrations, the students also enjoyed some insightful workshops on the South Indian Temple Traditions. We were also happy to have Vedic astrologer Stephen Quong in our midst. His lectures on the vast field of Vedic Astrology were most insightful, along with the opportunity for a private consultation. Swami Sivadasananda gave a lecture series on the' Many Benefits of Yoga'. The asana workshop specials 'Asana and Proper Breathing' with Swami Narayanananda were well attended. The focus was on the training of the basic pranayama, vital capacity and the flow of prana. More guests, staff and karma yogis arrived for Christmas, slowly filling up both the hotel and the Kailash guesthouses. Meanwhile the TTC had a good first week. The beautifully decorated Yoga hall with a brand new stage and a big Christmas tree were the perfect setting for a festive atmosphere. Happy Holidays to all. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for the New Year. OM.




Sivananda Ashram Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    All are well at the Ashram and conveying Peace and Pranams to the Sivananda family for 2013. OM.



SIVANANDA YOGA VEDANTA Centres -
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum, Berlin, Germany
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Classes and courses were running smoothly, the monthly open house saw a good group of Newcomers. Some of them stayed for the whole day and participated in the different events to learn about the various aspects of yoga. We had a further training day for Sivananda Yoga teachers which was well received and a teachers meeting, both were very successful, everybody left inspired and uplifted. Together with dedicated Karma Yogis we did several maintenance projects, we painted 2 walls in the main asana hall and one wall in the kitchen. The preparations for the Christmas party were supported by many dedicated Karma Yogis, who helped with cooking, packing of presents, and decorating the centre. The party itself was very successful with the classical schedule with Christmas Carols, Santa Claus, theatre play and Christmas dinner. Everybody was happy and left full of joy. Swami Annapurnanda went to Orleans to help in the Ashram for Christmas and Ishwara returned to Reith. Lakshmana, temporary staff for almost a year has finished his service. During mid-December classes and courses were running smoothly, a good Yoga 1 course started. The student numbers were a bit lower but there was a good activity in the Boutique, people came to buy Christmas presents and vouchers for courses. Dedicated Karma Yogis helped with maintenance projects and deep cleaning. Swami Annapurnananda went to Orleans to help with the special program. Merry Christmas! May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for the New Year. OM.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Om Namo Narayanaya. Hello from Buenos Aires. For early December we had all normal activities running as usual. One weekend Swami Premananda and Radha Chaitanya left for Montevideo to participate in the staff meeting led by Kanti Devi with staffs of all the South American Sivananda Yoga Centres. The schedule for the next year was planned. We programed Teachers Training Courses 2013 and special activities and also we evaluated each Centre separately. Each Centre had sent a report before and it was analyzed and explained during the meeting. It was very nice to share the weekend and Christmas Satsang in Montevideo.

    Mid December was busy, helped by karma yogis involved in the preparations of Christmas Satsang. They made a beautiful job sorting and decorating the Centre and preparing everything. The Satsang started with Satsang led by Swami Premananda. After Satsang we enjoyed asanas demonstrations, where practitioners showed there flexibility and concentration in the practice. Then we had a theatre play about "Churning the Ocean", story told in the Srimad Bhagavatam. Ending the show, spiritual chants and also popular songs were sung by a group of students. Before the vegetarian snack we raffled coupons for courses, asana mat, cd and other stuff. Also we gave as gift to all the attenders a book entitled "Bhagavad Gita for busy people" by Swami Sivananda. Everybody felt happy and grateful. Later in the month was the Christmas celebration. As we do every year the main focus in celebration of Christmas Eve was the Satsang led by Swami Premananda. Christmas Eve dinner was shared later with a group of teachers and students. The delicious meal had been prepared by staff and yoga teachers. About midnight we started meditation and mantra chanting. Also some foreign students sang Christmas Carols typical of their country. Everybody enjoyed the celebration in a warm and spiritual environment. Prem & Om to all for thé New Year 2013.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chennai, India
    Om Namah Sivaya to all Blessed Selves from the Chennai Centre.
    Early December finds all well at the Chennai Centre. We had a visiting Sivananda Teacher from the Japan Centre - Rukmini. She was very helpful around the Centre and taught a few classes for our Japanese students. She will go and assist the TTC in January in Neyyar Dam. Swami Mahadevananda arrived at the Centre for a quick stop-over on his way to the Paris EBM. There is increasing interest in our Sunday Kids' Classes with 20 kids attending. Our Y1 & Y2 Courses continued with strong interest from new students. Our pre-natal classes have expanded to include weekend classes. We are preparing for some exciting workshops this month, including Healthy Cooking and a Sadhana Morning.

    Mid December saw all staff and students well! We welcomed Bharati, from Hong Kong, as a new staff. She was a welcomed helping hand here at the Centre. We started a new Beginners' Course for a local IT company called Extreme Networks. This class will take place twice weekly and in coming months will evolve to include weekly open classes. One Friday we welcomed Lakita and Murali who came from Neyyar Dam to run a Healthy Cooking Workshop. This workshop taught vegetarian cooking for optimal nutrition and healing. Everyone delighted in tasty food and learned many useful healthy cooking tips! Our Saturday local community children's class continues with strong interest; over 40 children in attendance.

    The end of December saw classes a bit smaller as many students went home or are traveling for the Christmas Holidays. However, Saturday afternoon local community kids' class had 46 children in attendance, filling the Centre with smiles and lovely faces. We were blessed to have four visiting Swamis from Brahma Vidya Peetham in Uttarkashi. During their brief stay they led Gita Chanting in honour of Gita Jayanti, and also gave an inspiring talk during the evening Satsang. The evening Satsang was led by Mr. Nagaraj, who spoke of the essential teachings of the Gita and how the Gita can be used as a guide in our daily life. The Centre hosted a well-attended Headstand Workshop.
    The staff at the Chennai Centre wishes all the Sivananda family a very Happy Christmas and a New Year full of blessings. We all remain in good health and send pranams to all the Sivananda family.

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Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Chicago, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    For early December we started a new Yoga 1 course, which was fully subscribed, plus, a Kirtan workshop. Both groups remarked on the uplifting and stress-relieving nature of these practices, which they are finding particularly welcome at this time of year. A karma yogi helped us by creating some new poster designs as we began to work on promotion for courses and workshops that will begin in the New Year. All continued well, and were are now preparing for our special holiday Satsang and potluck, which will be on this Sunday, the 16th.

    Mid December we welcomed Hamsa, who has joined staff for a couple of months. We had our special holiday Satsang and potluck, which filled the Centre with joyful energy. The event was well attended, the food was wonderful, and everyone enjoyed the fellowship. "This is my favorite holiday party," said some of the students. All continued well, by the grace of the Gurus, as the registrations appeared for January courses. Courses and classes went well, by Master's and Swamiji's grace. All the staff sends pranams of peace to all the Sivananda family for 2013. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi from the Centre in Chicago.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dwarka Centre, Delhi, India
    Om Namah Sivaya
    The Centre's activities continued very well. Pranams from all the staff at Dwarka. We are all well and wish the Sivananda family a wonderful year 2013. Om Shanti.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Nataraja Centre, Delhi, India
    Om Namo Narayanaya
    For early December a new Yoga -1 has started this Monday evening with 10 students. Lots of new courses are planned for the upcoming months and the new color brochures are getting ready. Ayurvedic treatment prices have been revised and new system will be incorporated from next year onwards. Prenatal brochures are supplied to nearby clinics and having lots of inquires. Maniji took off for few days to visit temples along with Swami Rajeshwariananda from Neyyar Dam. All staff are doing well with their Sadhana.

    Mid December saw two new beginners courses. A Headstand workshop was taught by Sajeev and more than 10 students attended the workshop and highly appreciated the details and their progress. One Saturday we had Ayurvedic Cooking taught by Doctor Mamta and all enjoyed the hot meal after that. We welcomed Durairaj for a short visit and have been teaching and getting more training of the Centre activities. Sunday Satsang was attended by some new students as well as many teachers. The Centre energy is high. The bright sun brings solace during the cold day and Sunday Garden Karma Yoga went well with more cleaning and preparation for Christmas Eve.

    Towards the end of December two new beginners course started this Monday. A Hip-opening workshop as well as Kriya workshop were attended by few students. Wednesday and Sunday Satsangs saw more teachers. Lots of Karma Yoga was done by the teachers for the Christmas arrangements. One Sunday Christmas carols were practiced by the children, along with Manju Sharmaji. Prem and Om from all staff at the Nataraja Centre. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for the New Year. Om Namo Narayanaya!




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
    Om Namah Sivaya from the Geneva Centre
    The highlight of the month was, of course, the Christmas-party: The program included a theater-play which was performed by a group of teachers, a children's performance and music from a back pipe as well as a self-composed songs about a yogis' life. It was a joyful celebration with happy and also very moved students. On the other weekends we had an Open Day and a TTC-information. Another main focus was the work on the brochure and the preparation of the mailing. Also a new wireless credit-card-machine was installed at the reception and the storage-space of the boutique was increased with a new shelf.

    Mid December saw courses and classes continuing as usual. The Y1 intensive and the Y2-course ended with good attendance and students inspired to continue their practice. The database was updated and after final corrections of the brochure we started to prepare the mailing. All activities were well received. The Centre was prepared for the Christmas and New Years closure. Mangala left for the Retreat house in Reith to support the Christmas program and to recharge. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for 2013. OM.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Om Namah Sivaya
    For early December we saw a good week here in Ho Chi Minh. The weather cooled down a bit. We saw many students signing up for courses after the Open House. We started several new courses in Yoga 1, as well as completing some Yoga 2 courses. We had a Pranayama workshop with a good number of students attending. We completed the Positive Thinking course. The students were happy with the course and came away with many tools to use in daily life. Siva Das and other karma yogis helped us to take care of some maintenance projects for the Centre. We had a new resident for one week, Meegan, visiting from Australia, who travelled abroad for the first time to celebrate her 50th birthday. Hamsa, a staff for one month, also left the Centre. We chanted Om Tryumbakums for her safe travels. She will return to the Centre in the second week of January. We also welcomed Ganga, who arrived back from the US after spending several months at the Yoga Farm and Los Angeles Centre. All is well by God's grace.

    During mid-December we completed the English Yoga 1 course. We had a Kirtan class and the class on Essentials of Yoga practice and Philosophy. The students brought their friends along to the class and they were happy to learn about the basic fundamentals of Yoga philosophy. We continued to run several Yoga 1 and Yoga 2 courses in Vietnamese, with a good number of attendants. We continued with the course on Yoga for Stress management. We also lead a Yoga Retreat at the TTC location in Cu Chi, in the countryside outside of Ho Chi Minh city. We had 10 students on the retreat. The focus was on Prana and Pranayama. It was a wonderful time for all, practicing together in nature, surrounded by the green, tropical gardens and rice fields. Padma and Vani Devi were the main teachers of the retreat, and covered many topics, including 5 points of yoga, meditation and positive thinking. Jnaneswari and Ganga taught asana and pranayama and about prana, the mind, pranayama and how to increase the prana through 5 elements. All the students, teachers and Karma Yogis were happy with the retreat and to have the time away from the city to practice together in nature.
    We welcomed back our resident, Scott, as he returned from his short trip to Thailand. We started a Yoga 1 Course and another meditation course, well attend by the students. We also had a great workshop on Make Handmade Gift for Holiday, taught by Saraswati. Students enjoyed the workshop very much to learn how to make gifts themselves. During the Holiday, we closed Centre from Dec 21-24 for Staff retreat. We say goodbye to our Staff Jnaneswari and prayed for her safe trip back to US. We are all feeling the blessings of Guru's grace. Om Namo Narayanaya and messages of Peace for 2013. Pranams to all the Sivananda family.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, London, England
    Om Namah Sivaya
    For early December a highlight was the annual Christmas party with around 150 students. The festivities included a Satsang, beautiful carol chanting, a lively theatre play on King Bharata, a talent show and a delicious Italian meal with christmas cake. The atmosphere was very positive and friendly. All the students and teachers received as a gift a beautiful calendar with images of Swamiji in the 12 basic asanas. The children delighted in Santa's surprise visit and the gifts they received. It was a chance to reunite with teachers, karma yogis as well as old and new students.
    Our December special offers are off to a good start with students taking advantage of the free classes for new members. We continued uploading the 2013 course information to Mindbody, working on the web site and sent out the December newsletter. The flyers arrived for our special programme in January with Swami Durgananda and Swami Sivadasananda. Preparations were made to renovate the Shanti Kutir and the Pergola which begins next week.

    Mid December saw the arrival of the Christmas time as fewer students were in the Centre. One Saturday, Bhima and Manisha led a successful cooking workshop with 10 students on the theme A Journey through Indian Vegetarian Cooking. This was the first time that the students had hands on cooking. It went very well and the students were very happy. The London 2013 brochure was finalised and sent to the printer. The new information was uploaded on the website and entered in the MindBody so students could start booking. Renovation works started on the Shanti Kutir, upstairs Asana hall windows and Pergola. Swami Krishnadevananda went to France for the EBM meeting. Pranams for peace for the New Year to all the Sivananda family from the London Centre.


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Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya!
    For early December staff and volunteers are preparing for the annual holiday party. This was a big event for the Centre and students and teachers look forward to the caroling, presents and potluck dinner. Swami Omkara is still in the UK with her daughter who is very sick. We pray for Krishnaprem's return to good health and Swami Omkara's speedy return to the Centre. The Centre is in the midst of teaching a Yoga 2 course and a positive thinking course. Weekend events included Yantra Painting workshop, creative cooking for the holidays workshop, and a Yoga of Recovery workshop for tips and tools to a sane and sober holiday season.

    Mid December saw the annual holiday party for teachers, students and friends of the Centre. Many teachers and students helped with preparation and organization of the event which was greatly appreciated. There were 50 people in attendance with lots of great healthy food and presents from Santa for everyone. Guests enjoyed singing carols and the talent show. We continued with our Positive Thinking course and Bhakti Yoga course. We also held a lovely Friday morning Puja to the Divine Mother. The Centre staff and students welcomed the return of Swami Omkarananda. She was happy to be back at the Centre and is preparing for her next session of the Gita and a Positive Thinking Course to begin in January. The Centre completed the last session of a Meditation and Positive Thinking Course. The Centre was quiet as everyone in the city prepared for the holiday season, however, we had time to plan for the next quarter of courses and events. All are well, by God and Gurus' grace. New Year blessings to all. Om Shanti.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madrid, Spain
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves!
    Mid December saw the Christmas party. About 90 students came to celebrate at the Centre, including a few children of teachers and close students. Santa Claus was in a very good mood and all received gifts of Calendars for adults and a hat and a scarf for children. The Christmas Carols were sung with full devotion. The evening ended with a very good rendition of a play about Nachiketas, the young child devotee who approaches the Lord of death, Yama to learn from him the secret of immortality. All participants were then treated to a delicious satvic feast and all left smiling and content. OM.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Madurai, South India
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Mid December we started 3rd Meditation course, with 14 participants, and also morning beginner course with 8 students. Sunday Satsang and Gita class was energetic with many new guest and students. We were receiving many people for Gita classes. We completed the 7th chapter. With Gurus blessings our Centre activities, courses and classes went well. Evening Y1 course started on Mondays. We also started 4th batch at the Apollo Hospital, with 25 participants. Staff Sadananda left the Centre after completing his Karma yoga commitment with the Sivananda Organization for six months. Swami did great service from every angle. He now has some idea for his village people. We wish him all the best for his future planing. One Saturday we all went for TTC graduation in Meenakshi Ashram Madurai. All the staff did great job in the preparation for Christmas. Sunday Satsang, Geeta lecture, Corporate class and all the activities went well, by the grace of Gurus. Staff from the new Sivananda Centre Madurai send their pranams and Happy New Year greetings to all the Sivananda family. Om Shanti.



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



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montevideo, Uruguay
    Om Namah Sivaya
    For early December we decorated the Centre and put up the Christmas tree. Jagadamba distributed leaflets, spreading news of the Centre activities. We started three courses for beginners. We held the end of the year Satsang, with great harmony, and students preparing a sample of asanas. The choir of the Centre was presented with great joy and were attended by two Franciscan sisters. There was also a draw for 5 books and 5 asana mats, and a Upadesha. We had the presence of Swami Premananda and teachers of schools in Buenos Aires and Porto Alegre who came to the annual meeting of staff. We had a Homa led by Swami Premananda. Kanti Devi traveled to Paris for the EBM meeting. Regular classes, pregnant and Satsangs continue normally.

    Mid December saw Jagadamba returning to Buenos Aires. We worked on the final preparations for the courses that will be held in Florianópolis, TTC, ATTC, Yoga Vacations and Yoga of the Heart. On Wednesday we had a drawing for a week's holiday in Garopaba for students and teachers. A 3-day Massage Thai course was given by Mirabai, with sixteen participants. Regular classes Satsangs continued normally with fewer students because of the date. Staff send pranams to the Sivananda Family. We wish you all a Happy and yogic New Year.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Om Namah Sivaya
    During mid-December we were honoured to host the annual Christmas party for the community at the Montreal Centre. We were very pleased that Swami Mahadevananda could bless the Centre and people with his presence. 

    Leading up to celebrations, a momentum began which enabled many karma yogis plus new graduates from the recent TTC in Val Morin to support with the preparations. The 130 guests consisted of adult and children students, teachers, karma yogis, friends of the Centre and Ashram staff. The events of the evening started with a Satsang and inspiring talk from Swami Mahadevananda. It continued with a talent show lead by Ben, which included bagpipe player, opera singer, professional circus performer and of course a show from a few children! The evening ended with an appearance from Santa Claus and a Italian meal of lasagna, pesto baguette, fruit salad, tiramisu!! There was a feeling of positive energy and the vibration levels were raised immensely. We felt thankful for Swamiji's and Master's grace.  Pranams and Happy New Year to all the Sivananda family.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Munich, Germany
    Om Namah Sivaya from the Munich Centre!
    Mid December saw our Christmas Party. We were happy to have Swami Durgananda and Swami Sivadasananda with us who returned from the EBM-meeting just the day before. Swami Durgananda reminded us in her address that the message of Christmas is the same as the message of yoga: to develop love and compassion and to aspire to know our own Self. Swamiji also thanked all the teachers and karma yogis who have made it possible that the Centre can offer its service since 38 years in Munich. She said that one of the greatest gifts we can give is the gift of time. Swami Sivadasananda sang with us a very inspiring and quite rare Vedantic song of Master. After the visit of Santa Claus, who brought presents for the kids, we had the theatre-play – this year a new play written by Swami Bhagavatananda based on the story of Master Sivananda "It is all to the best". After a delicious meal and with a present – a calendar with asana pictures of Swami Vishnudevananda – everybody left in high spirits. Swami Durgananda left us to go to the Christmas programme in the Ashram in Orleans / France. Swami Narayanananda, Swami Vasudevananda, Sivani and residents Lakshmi and Amba went already to the Sivananda Yoga Retreat House in Reith / Tyrol, Austria. The staff took turns during the next two weeks – some being in Reith and some in the Centre which was open also during the Christmas holidays except on 24th December. The Centre was open during the Christmas holidays. In the weeks before Christmas we had our last Open House and a weekend meditation course. Furthermore we held a workshop with the title "Yoga @ Home" with a lot of practical hints for the daily yoga practice. The Christmas Party was like always one of the highlights of the year – the programme included inspiring addresses of yoga acharyas Swami Durgananda and Swami Sivadasananda who were with us for the party, Christmas carols, a visit of Santa Claus, a theatre play based on a story written by Swami Sivananda and festive meal. We are looking forward to start full of prana into the New Year with a further teachers training day, a cooking class and a programme with a South Indian priest. We also prepped for our traditional New Years Celebration. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for 2013. OM.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Neuquen, Patagonia, Argentina
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    Greetings from Patagonia, Argentina! For early December it was quiet because people travelled for the holidays and New Year. The Centre always remained enthusiastic and positive attitude.

    Mid December saw peace in the Centre. We continued to conduct classes and undergoing maintenance and daily cleaning. One Saturday we had two special activities at the Centre - a free yoga class along the river Limay on the Walk of Costa. People were satisfied with the class. Afterwards we had a lunch to say goodbye to the year with teachers and karma yogis and also celebrated the birthday of Sankara. All ended well. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for 2013. Pranams.






Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, New York, USA
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    For early December we held a Karma and Reincarnation workshop with Swami Sadasivananda. Twelve students enjoyed the wisdom and teachings of the workshop. We began a new Yoga Intermediate course with 12 students, all very enthusiastic.

    Mid December saw the Annual Holiday Party. We celebrated with over 100 students for the Sunday evening Satsang and potluck. We prepared with festive decorations, around the Centre and on our Christmas tree. Many karma yogis helped us with meal preparation and decoration. One student, lead us in a series of Holiday Songs. Srinivasan returned from Europe and stayed with us for a weekend, leading the Satsang and giving us a holiday message on the importance of virtues. Santa joyfully lead the students into some songs of the season and made sure all received a gift. The Ranch staff joined us for the festivities and we were all grateful to share in the evening of joy! Om Shanti. Happy Holidays! All staff are well, sending blessings to all other staff. May the Gurus' blessings of be with us all for the upcoming year.





Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Paris, France
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Mid December saw the visit of the Acharyas after the EBM meeting. Swami Mahadevananda arrived with Kanti Devi and Swami Jnaneshwariananda. Swami Sitaramananda arrived with Mr Trager, Prahlad and Mahadevi. They enjoyed their first visit of the Centre. Swami Sitaramananda left early morning the next day and Kanti Devi stayed for the weekend and had a chance to see a little of Paris. It was an inspiring experience to see many of Swamiji's disciples in a short time. Swami Kailasananda came back from the Ashram after the meeting and led two inspiring evening Satsangs on "The Meaning of the Prayer" and "Karma and Reincarnation". Continuation of lot of arrivals and departures during the end of the year. Shambu joined as temporary staff for few months and is adapting very well to the rhythm of the Centre. Swami Jyotirmayananda went to Orléans to help with the preparation of the Christmas celebration. Narada went to London to visit his family for Christmas. Sivadas, from London, arrived to help with the preparation of the Christmas celebration of the Centre because Sudha could not fly back to France from Colombia due to of health problem. Classes and Satsangs continued well. Pranams and Merry Christmas to All. The Swami's and staff of the Sivananda Centre in Paris send their best wishes for an inspiring New Year. OM.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Porto Alegre, Brasil, South America
    Om Namah Sivaya from Brasil
    For early December, during the summer, the Centre became quieter. We continued working in the Organization of Garopaba 2013. Tandava Chaitanya went to Montevideo to the Christmas party and a meeting with the directors of South America Centres. Brahmani, a teacher, stayed at the Centre.

    Mid December saw a nice Christmas party, with 10 students and teachers. We received a lot of calls of people wanting information about our classes and the TTC Garopaba 2013. This was very unusual at this time of the year. We planned changing the altar from the room at the front of the Centre and moved it to the asana room. We now have more space to reception and boutique. Radha, a Karma Yogi worked on this project. Pranams and Peace for 2013, from all the staff at Porto Alegre Centre.





Centro Yoga Vedanta Sivananda, Rome, Italy
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves
    Mid December saw a very time at the Centre. We welcomed back Swami Rajeshwarananda from her stay at the Camp teaching TTC. We prepared for and had our Christmas Party, which was full of joyous students who sang carols in French, Spanish, Italian and English then, ate a delicious meal prepared by staff and guests alike. It went on till well past midnight. The following day we had a information stand at our local Street Festival, and handed out many leaflets, with some very genuine interest shown by the locals. Kartikeya demonstrated the asanas and staff and students handed out leaflets and talked to all those who showed interest. The staff are well and sending their pranams. We send our best wishes for a peaceful New Year. May the blessings of Master and Swamiji be with all. Om & Prem from Roma.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, San Francisco, California, USA
    Om Namo Narayanaya, Blessed Selves
    For early December we decked the halls, decorating the Centre with lights and decorations and courses continued under the light of the Yule tree. Bhagavad Gita study continued with Gajananam. We were blessed to once again welcome Swami Padmapadananda in town for a few days on business. One Friday morning Swamiji conducted a beautiful Devi Puja. Narayan Chaitanya and Raghuram sent out many letters and books trough the Prison Yoga Outreach Program to our incarcerated students nationwide. A new resident, Andrew, arrived at the Centre. One Sunday evening Satsang there was an excellent concert by Bansuri master John Wubbenhorst, and Maestro Tabla player Samrat Kakkeri.

    Mid December saw two courses concluded, Positive Thinking and Meditation 1. Yoga 2, Yoga 1 and our Gita Satsang on Wednesday nights continued. We spent in preparation for our annual holiday Satsang. We set out extra decorations and prepared the feast. A band from the Farm arrived at the Centre with Swamis Padmapadananda and Pranavananda and a group of staff. The program for the Satsang included caroling, bhajans, and a talent show. Highlights included plays from both the Farm and Centre residents, a visit from Saint Nick and the debut performance of Puja Candy Machine. A student from the Prison Yoga Outreach Project, recently released from a 5 year stint in State Prison came and shared gratitude for the Satsang, letters, and books he received during his incarceration. This inspired donations for the Prison Project and raised nearly $1,000. We held a house meeting to go over the details of living in the Centre with the staff and residents. Several new residents had just arrived within the last day or two: Lenka, Natalie, and Jamus, and it felt like a nice introduction to have a meal and talk with everyone together The current courses, Yoga 1 and Positive Thinking and Meditation 2 and Wednesday night Gita study continued. On the Solstice the Centre closed so that staff and residents could attend a group meditation in Union Square for world peace put on by the group Unify simultaneously all over the world. After the main festivities of the Christmas Satsang and the students beginning to leave for the Holidays. Happy Holidays and Pranams to all from San Francisco Centre.





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




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Tokyo, Japan
    Om Namah Sivaya, Blessed Selves
    For early December we saw the new web reservation form on our website was attracting more students. Two classes of Yoga1 began with good attendance as a result. The trial classes were busy. The ratio of people who signed up for Yoga1 afterwards has much increased recently. The Headstand workshop was also popular. A special charity event "Surya Namaskar 108 times" was held one Saturday, well attended by twenty people. The profit went to help the refugees living in Japan.

    Mid December saw how it was getting colder and dryer day by day in Tokyo. 10am and 2pm open classes are well-attended. The Pelvis Workshop was popular with ladies. The monthly Bhagabad Gita lecture was attended by sixteen students, the group has been growing bigger each time. Special event on Sunday evenings was a slow asana class accompanied by a live sitar playing traditional music. The last half hour was allocated just for meditation. It was a wonderful experiment and the students requested an encore in the future.

    Later in December a cold wave of weather hit the northern part of Japan. We also had frost and thin ice formed in our garden. The Centre was quiet as many students were getting busy before the holiday season, which gave us time for the end of the year cleaning of the whole Centre and hold karma yogi meetings, which were attended by fourteen karma yogis. Sivananda raffle tickets for the New Year attraction were very popular. All activities went well by the grace of the Gurus. Happy Christmas to all from Tokyo Centre. Om shanti. May the blessings of Master and Swamiji be with us all for 2013. Pranams and Peace to al the Sivananda Family.






Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Om Namah Sivaya
    For early December we were busy, even though everyone was getting into festive mood. Yoga courses continued to wind up, as Open classes continued to be full. Satsangs were getting more popular. Our beautiful brochure was just printed. We also prepared the upcoming Christmas party. Prahlada went to Italy for the property acquisition and the EBM meeting.

    Mid December saw all the courses finished for the year and people registering for new courses in New Year. Our website was updated and very user friendly now. Classes continued to be full, while Satsangs ran with full strength. Saraswati was working hard with Masao to get everything ready for the weekend Christmas party. Prahlada returned from his trip to Italy for Ashram acquisition and EBM meeting in Paris, just in time for our annual Christmas and Hanukkah Party, with Ken Whiteley. We had over 150 people attending the program on a very unusual warm evening for December. We had Satsang, followed by Ken leading us in to Christmas carols, taking every one in to Festive spirit and mood. Then we had an amazing talent show with our students and kids followed by a potluck dinner. Every one at the party has received either a calendar or a Yoga Life magazine and left happy. We have promoted the Yoga Camp heavily during the party and people are making plans to go to the Camp for Christmas and New Year. We will be missing Masao, who was at the Centre for 2 months, with his constant presence and enthusiasm which will be missed by all. He has gone back to his family in Vancouver we wish him all the best. Peace and Pranams to all the Sivananda family for the New Year upon us. Om.






Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Trivandrum, Kerala, South India
    Om Namah Sivaya!
    By the grace of our Guru's all the activities of the Centre continued smoothly. Mid December saw two beginners batches with sufficient students. One Sunday we had Ganapathy Homa. In the evening we had public Satsang with Swami Gayathriyananda at 6:00pm. A Merry Christmas to all. Our staff wishes all in the Sivananda family a peaceful and guided 2013. Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi.




Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vienna, Austria
    Om Namah Sivaya
    Mid December saw our Prasad workshop. 5 classical Prasads were lovingly prepared by the participants, also some Kitcheree and all was offered at the altar. We had Arati together and then joined for a simple meal full of divine sweetness. Our program planning for 2013 came into its final stage, also work was started on designing the new Centre brochure. Swami Vidyananda left Vienna for assisting with the TTC in Reith. May Master and Guru guide us all through the coming year. OM.



Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
    Om Namah Sivaya, from Vilnius
    Mid December saw the continuation of our classes and courses as usual. We received students for the workshop of Creative Visualization. Practical lessons followed the theory. Students had many questions and were happy to learn more about thought power, meditation, positive thinking and mantras. In December we also were in the middle of negotiations with the owner of a small independent house for a new location for the Centre. Peace and Pranams to all the Sivananda Family. OM.


Forget and forgive. You will have peace. You will become divine. - Sri Swami Sivananda
 
 

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