Category Archives: Consolidation

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.

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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

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

Five Years Ago compared to Today, by Saguna (Kelly) Goss, MYF Board Member

 

                     

My first Board meeting was the in-person Board Retreat five years ago, when Rama Berch informed the board that she would be taking sannyasa vows and becoming a monk.  She was interested in teaching more about meditation, the Guru and Grace and wanted to open an Ashram.  The board decided that it would be best if there were two organizations.

saguna-kelly-gossThere were many factors that played into that decision.  One factor was giving Swamiji the freedom to establish the Ashram exactly as she wanted without having to fit within the confines and structure of Master Yoga, a Yoga Teacher Training school.  Swamiji could create an organization focused 100% on knowing the Self.  While this gave Swamiji an open slate, it also meant that she started from scratch and created an entirely separate administrative and board structure.

Another factor the board considered was the interests of different students.  There are so many different practices to choose from within the yoga system: poses, breathing practices, chanting, meditation and worship.  Five years ago, the idea was that we could best serve the students by separating them into two camps: poses and breathing versus meditation and Guru.

It was obvious, almost immediately, that it was not possible to divide the interests so simply.  Within a few months I was leading a committee that was charged with deciding where we draw the line in the sand between Master Yoga and Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, specifically about where Vichara Therapist Training should be taught.  Vichara is a key tool for teachers to have to deal with students’ minds; however, it is a practice focusing on the mind!  Additionally, in my personal practice I found the line between the two organizations difficult to create.  I remember re-taking Foundations a couple of years ago and having a very difficult time not diving deep into meditation during the whole program – was this a Master Yoga program focused on poses or a Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram leading me to my Self?

Not only is it impossible to divide yoga practices into two groups, it doesn’t serve the students we originally identified, those interested in only some of the practices.  Having two organizations adds complexity and duplication.  And specifically for Svaroopa® Yoga, a yoga practice based on a lineage of Gurus, it is important to have the flow of Grace flowing through all practices.  Whether Swami Nirmalananda is your Guru, or you prefer to see her as the originator of the poses and breathing practices that you love, having her oversight will make the yoga more effective for everyone.

So yes, this is a big change.  Five years ago we made the decision to be two but now, today, the way to best serve you is to be one!  I’m looking forward to this change and to be better able to serve the growing community of Svaroopa® Yogis!

The Time Has Come – by Kanchan Mohn, SVA Board Member

Kanchan Connie MohnBringing Master Yoga’s teacher training and asana programming under the umbrella of Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, Swami Nirmalananda’s home base,  is a “no brainer”  to me.  It is alignment with Grace, a returning home, to family, to the safety and security of the womb.

Svaroopa Yoga is a Grace-born yoga; Grace born through Swamiji. There is no denying or hiding that fact and to try to do so only weakens the yogis’ and yoga’s connection with Grace, and in turn, the yoga and the organization supporting the yoga is weakened. We’ve watched this happen to Master Yoga. In a recent survey, eighty-five percent of the yogis interested enough to respond supported consolidation.

Its time has come.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h