Take What You Like And Leave The Rest by Sheynapurna (Sandy) Peace

foundations_mediumMade familiar from Alcoholic Anonymous, “take what you like and leave the rest” can apply in many situations, particularly Svaroopa® Vidya Yoga & Meditation. Although we are never, in this program, forced to ascribe to a certain philosophy, those yogis who are uncomfortable with alignment of Swami Nirmalandanda as their guru (or a guru, or any guru), can take this message to heart. The yoga you know and love is not changing.

The yoga philosophy offered has always been Kashmiri Shaivism – the same teachings I received during my YTT in 2003/4. Swami Nirmalananda can deepen the teachings, offer Shaktipat and take us further in the Self, but this is not, will not be, and has never been required of Svaroopa® yoga teachers. Take what you like – leave the rest.

Part of the 2013 India trip was held on the beautiful campus of the Himalayan Institute, and most of our fellow travelers came through that organization. The Himalayan Institute has a spiritual leader, but most of our travel mates were not very familiar with Pandit Rajmani Tigunait.

HI offers Meditation, yoga asana, ayurveda, philosophy. Some develop interest in areas they didn’t expect to like at first – and others joined the group simply to experience Kumbha Mela and India. The program appealed to them. Their students take what they like and leave the rest.

To my fellow yogis having no interest in a guru or those who have their own different guru; to my fellow yogis who are happily absorbed in their own religion or spiritual path – you can take a breath and turn to the aspect of Svaroopa® yoga that opens your body and opens your heart. Take what you like, leave the rest.

Are You Open to the Possibilities? by Bob Nogue, SVA Board Member

BobNogueI was initially drawn to Svaroopa® yoga by noticing the profound impact that it had on my wife, Rudrani.  My feeling was, “There’s something good going on here”.  I have participated through the years in numerous Master Yoga and Svaroopa Vidya Ashram events, and have had profound breakthroughs in understanding myself and in learning about seeking the Self.  Mostly the yoga has had the impact of causing me to pause and notice what was happening in my life.  Throughout that period I have been in awe of the ability of Swami to articulate very complex concepts of ancient wisdom in a way that they spoke to me and had relevance in my life and to use all the modalities of yoga to do this.

When the call came from Swami to join the founding Board of Svaroopa Vidya Ashram came, I felt a need to take this journey.  I came to understand the depth of experience and commitment that Swami brings to putting programs and organizations together, and was in awe as I came to understand better the workings of both Master Yoga and Svaroopa Vidya Ashram.  As the Board journey commenced, I found Swami to be a person not satisfied with the status quo but seeing greater possibilities for both of these organizations.  At our Board meetings, we would be presented ideas for consideration and I have to say that my first reaction was often one of, “Why are we doing this?  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Through a process of moving my own feelings to the side to allow the new ideas an opportunity to germinate and the flow of grace, I have been able to see so many of these ideas flourish into something better than what I had seen as a possibility.

The most recent changes to consolidate Master Yoga and Svaroopa Vidya Ashram evoked some of the same reactions from me.  I have had the opportunity to see and hear the intention of this change and believe that it is important that this be communicated to the broader Master Yoga and Svaroopa Vidya Ashram communities.  I know how jarring changes of this magnitude can feel to people.  I also acknowledge that this change hits some people in a place that raises concern about their livelihood.

My invitation to you is to become involved in this change, speaking up about what is going right for you and what you are concerned about.  My request of you is to become involved, with an open mind, where you are prepared to put your existing beliefs and ideas to the side and truly hear the intention of what is meant to happen here; to be open to new possibilities it may present, while having faith that it is not meant to detract from anything that you have today.

My experience has been that when I have gotten myself out of the way, I have seen wonderful new possibilities arise that I did not even see initially.  My only explanation is that this is the power of Grace brought to me through Swami.  Are you open to these possibilities?

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h

Either — Or — Both? By David (Prakash) Falbaum, MYF Board Member

PrakashDavidFalbaumEighteen months ago I was introduced to Svaroopa® Yoga due to an unresolved back issue. In the first month, I was relieved from the physical pain that had nagged me for over 10 years, through asana and Embodyment® yoga therapy sessions. What I didn’t expect was how yoga was beginning to open me into the knowing of my Self.

While my own daily practice, continued Embodyment® sessions and yoga classes kept opening my body, I needed more. My teacher suggested I begin a meditation practice and pointed me towards Swami Nirmalananda and Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram. I started looking into everything that SVA had to offer and was a little confused. Why was there one organization, Master Yoga Foundation, that taught asana and another, Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, that taught meditation? To me it seemed like the two organizations were two sides of the same coin.

When Master Yoga’s Board voted to consolidate with Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, I felt a shift as the two sides of the coin began to merge back together. The result is one organization, Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram continues to offer the same Teacher Trainings you already know as well as the meditative practices.

Two sides of the same coin.  Both sides take you to svaroopa, the experience of your own inherent divinity. It’s up to you to choose which side works best for you.  Or do both, like me…

I Felt Torn…by Louise Davis, MYF Board Treasurer

louiseIt was just about a year ago that we got the news that Master Yoga Foundation had considered closing its doors – it was not financially feasible to continue operating the way things had been going.  Like many of you, I was in shock! Master Yoga Foundation, serving as the source of Svaroopa® yoga education for so long, is so important to me – my practices, my business, my life! How could it – even potentially – go away? Luckily, Swami Nirmalananda and a very dedicated Board took on the process of ”Reawakening”.

One of my first actions was to call then Treasurer, Shuchi (Sue) Cilley and say “how can I help?” Quite honestly, I had considered and had been encouraged by others to fill the vacant position of Board Treasurer more than a year earlier but didn’t think I was up for the task (that old “not good enough” issue kept rearing its head). A couple of months later, I was invited to join the Board. How could I say no?

As much as I wanted to serve Master Yoga Foundation, there was a part of me that also wanted to serve Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram – that had been part of my earlier indecision about joining the Board. I receive so much benefit from both organizations. I often felt torn about where to prioritize my time and money. Like many of you, I have a limited budget of both time and money for trainings, retreats, seva and donations. What, several years ago, went to Master Yoga, now had to be allocated between the 2 organizations – and I wanted to support both.

As the Board began to look at options for Reawakening, we kept coming back to the question – why two organizations? There was so much duplication – communications, websites, and administration.  And yet, there is only one source for the teachings and amazing technologies of the of Svaroopa® sciences. Ultimately, the decision to consolidate was easy. We always had in mind “how do we best serve those who serve by sharing Svaroopa® yoga?”

We still have limited resources – so many choices, so little time! But I believe you can feel more confident that the consolidation will eliminate the duplication, streamline operations, and give you more value for your tuition, SATYA dues and donations. Are you excited about the new initiatives ? Still have questions or concerns ? We’d love to hear from you. We are here to serve you!

One Organization~One Source, by Marlene Gast, MYF VP of Communications

ImageAs an MYF Board member, I voted for Master Yoga’s consolidation with the Ashram because I want others to be as lucky as I have been in receiving the authentic teachings of yoga on a path of Grace.

When Swami Nirmalananda formed the Ashram, I was already very involved in the Master Yoga organization. It was all because Swami Nirmalananda has been my Teacher — with a capital “T” — since I took her weeklong Core Opening Squared yogimmersion at Feathered Pipe Ranch in Montana, September 2004. How lucky could I get? She gave me my first Belly Up adjustment in Lunge. Then there was more good fortune. In July 2005 Swamiji, then called Rama, was the Primary Teacher Trainer in my Foundations of Svaroopa® Yoga course. I had already trained as a yoga teacher in another style, but Svaroopa® yoga had captivated me with all of the wonderful spinal opening poses. Even more intriguing were teachings about Consciousness. My former style talked a lot about Prana. But what was Consciousness? How does it relate to Prana? I could feel myself on the edge of Knowing, and still I didn’t know what that was. Swamiji patiently answered my persistent questions. Clearly, she was the Teacher I’d always been seeking, even though I never imagined that I was seeking a guru.

More good fortune —Swamiji taught selected sessions throughout my YTT. In 2007, right after my Level 2, I answered a Master Yoga call for sevites, and became editor of Tadaa! in its original quarterly form. I was supposed to be serving Master Yoga, and I wanted to give back, because I had received more than I can even talk about here. But in serving as editor, of course, I received more. Seva is a delicious cycle: You give of your capabilities as best you can, and the seva keeps opening you to Self and personal growth, and then you want to give more! But then you get more!! When called to the MYF Board this past winter during our Reawakening, I had no second thoughts. Of course, I would offer whatever service I could to Master Yoga. It was formed to serve those who serve others by teaching Svaroopa® yoga. What better calling?

So how is voting to consolidate Master Yoga with the Ashram serving Master Yoga? I’ll paraphrase Shuchi (Sue) Cilley, MYF Board President: Master Yoga will have a better future as part of the Ashram than we could ever look forward to with Master Yoga separate.  The two organizations that are becoming one have always been individual doors to the same mind-blowing store of teachings; the organizations have always been essentially the same. Yet there has been an artificial wall between them, dividing the practices that work with the body to open within to Self, and the practices that work with the mind to recognize Self beyond the mind.

Practically, I voted for consolidation because it makes sense operationally. Consistent systems streamline effort and save time and money. The duplication of operations comes at a high cost on many levels. During the MYF Reawakening over the past year, while our Teacher has continued teaching in phone courses, in retreats, in selected sessions of MYF training programs, she has also devoted untold hours, for free, to shore up MYF operations. Having one organization bringing into the world the authentic teachings of yoga and meditation from the very same source — Swami Nirmalananda — just makes sense. It frees her to bring us all in the Svaroopa® community the teachings for which we yearn, whether we enter through Master Yoga asana programs or through the Ashram and meditation. One set of operations provides a sturdy foundation to support an abundance of options from which to choose, and there is no wall blocking any of them from the Grace of the Guru.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h

Consolidation Compliments & Thank Yous

Rama_pose-Mukti 07Originally we intended to publish more FAQs about the consolidation of MYF and SVA, but we were surprised to find that there weren’t many questions! Instead, we received many lovely compliments and thank yous that we’d like to share with you:

“Thanks to all that made this consolidation possible. I think it is a positive move.”

“Thank God!  I feel the love.  I cried when I read the article.  I have been wondering, waiting…still unclear why that happened, what sort of logic…but that is the past…We can become closer now…”

47So simple – makes so much sense!”

“Infinite Love & Gratitude”

“My gratitude to the Board members, past and present and all who have served through this period of transition…which now that I think about it has been going on since Rama Berch came back from India and decided to call the style of yoga she was teaching Svaroopa.”

“Easiness and less duplication…more grace!”

“Ah, the wonders of yoga! Thank You again and again!”

“Unification will benefit each of us in ways yet to be explored individually and collectively.  Yay!”

If Not Now…When? by Rudrani Nogue, SVA Board Member

rosemarynogueMost often my nature is to sit back and mull over any decision I make for a long time. However, as a SVA founding Board Member, the decision to consolidate Master Yoga and the Ashram was a clear and quick decision.

From my perspective, the time had come to end the artificial separation of Master Yoga (MYF) and the Ashram (SVA). Guru’s Grace is the “magic potion” that flows freely through SVA, yet not so freely though MYF.  However, the asana practice originated through Swamiji, by the Grace of her Guru Muktananda. The Svaroopa® yoga asana and Ujjayi Pranayama practice are supported through Grace.   Just as you cannot take the heat and light out of the sunshine, you cannot take the Grace out of Master Yoga. It is an inherent part of it.

For me, the separation of MYF and SVA was awkward, both creating duplication and a sense of duality. Within the embrace of consolidated programs, we continue to train and support asana teachers and therapists. This will not change. With all the programs under one umbrella, the Grace will flow more easily.

We are all family and can live in the same house. As part of the family, asana teachers will have total choice around what Svaroopa® practices to pursue, support and/or receive training in.  As your needs and interests (or not), you will be easily able to follow your interests all within in one organization. Day to day, month to month, year to year and decade to decade my practices have morphed and continue to grow and change. I have been on the path since 1999 when I entered Teacher Training. Today I have a large teaching practice and teach meditation, as well as serving as a Meditation Group Leader.

I practice asana every day.  As well, my readiness for all the other practices available through SVA has grown over time, as my understanding expands. Over time meditation, japa and chanting have become key practices for me as I search for and find my own true Self.

In the end consolidation will simplify things. Importantly, in the end it will simplify things for Swamji so she can return to more writing and teaching.  And for those of us who have been working with two organizations there will be ease in working with just one.  This will be one website, one menu of offerings for training and retreats, and fewer requests for donations (but donating will continue to be very important!).

Even if you have no intention of moving from whatever your entry point into the Svaroopa® Sciences has been (perhaps asana, philosophy or meditation), the consolidation will not inhibit you from choosing what you want from the menu of practices and following your own path.

At the root level both organizations have always shared the same intention of uncovering the true essence of your being….your true Self. Both organizations simply offered different practices that give different access points to the Self. In hindsight it is easy to see that we never needed to be separate. Realigning to be one organization makes perfect sense to me.   I hope it does to you too and that you will come into our joint organization as it develops, with your questions and ideas as well as an openness to your inner Bliss!

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h