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