Category Archives: Meditation Teacher

Reentry after India. Posted on April 2, 2013 by Swamiji

I am in India and it is in me. I am back’ but not fully; changed forever. – Sarvataa

I am waking early in the morning, sometimes to chants in my head. A nice call to meditation. At one point I looked around my house and thought ‘I’m home’. Then I could hear Swamiji ask ‘who is home’ ? I sat with that thought and decided I never left. I feel as though a thick layer of ‘identity’ or armor has been peeled away and my Self is closer. I am quieter, more self contained. I am also grateful for familiar food, clean air and water and readily available toilet paper. – Shanti Ellan

DSC_0571-1024x731I returned home quite sick and jet lagged, so it’s taken me a while to settle in. I have noticed that I’m more centered and peaceful and embodied! This was really evident when I taught my first yoga class the other night. There is definitely a shift from where I was to where I am now. – Padmakshi Andrea

Re-entry has been surprisingly smooth. A few days after returning from Ganeshpuri, I had a work meeting with someone who is a meditator in a different tradition. I walked in, sat down and our eyes met, and without a second’s hesitation, she said “You’re changed!” Yes, I am. It’s incredibly wonderful. I’m so grateful for the trip, for Swamiji, for her for taking us, for those who came before her and for the delicious connection with all you yoga sisters and brothers. My heart is very full. – Priya

Yes, the experiences are amazing. And yet they solidify what Swamiji has been saying for years. Or maybe it is the experience rather than hearing the words. For example, I had all sorts of valid reasons why I couldn’t meditate for long time periods: I work 8 hours, teach, family, already get up very early. Since returning home my morning meditation has increased to 90 minutes. A new timer, one that goes into hours rather than maxing out at 99 minutes, is on my shopping list. And Swamiji really IS right! Meditate more, sleep less. Nothing is more important to me than the Self and no one with whom I need to spend more time. None of this is new but my understanding certainly is. And I remain so quiet inside. – Sheynapurna

It took about a week to realize that the trip to India on the outside may be over, but the journey that it initiated on the inside continues to draw me deeper and deeper. I am taking myself less personally, which is difficult to explain but pleasant to witness. Life is simpler, and it’s not just because it is so obvious that 2 or 3 squares of toilet paper suffice. LOL! To have been immersed in that constant, simple, sincere divinity supports me in living more of the same, more of the time. That Nityananda invited us all is an astounding mystery. — Bindu

India taught me so much. Yesterday I quit my job, moved out of my house & moved to Byron Bay, looking for a house farm with my princess. India helped me grow some cojones and it growed me! Oh yes, I am still 0ne & very Conscious of my Actions. Thank you all! Any time you are welcome in my casa. – Tito

I just made a pot of rice and dal this afternoon…delicious! I am seriously missing someone cooking 3 meals a day for me. And there is Joy in the shoveling of two feet of snow today. Om Namah Shivaya. — Kamala Gross

So, for my own re-entry into “life in these United States”, the car service driver that came to pick me up said to me: I’ve only seen you once before, when I dropped you off at the airport, but now you look different: “You look as though you have seen God.” It was a good thing I was already sitting down in his car, but I nearly burst into tears. – Nancy

From Swami Nirmalananda – I hope these many blogs have helped all of you enjoy the pilgrimage with us! While India is a place on the outside, it is also a place on the inside – a holy place, the space from where your Self shines. If our trip has helped you find your vast inner spaciousness and Beingness, then we have served you well. And had a great time doing it!

If you’re thinking you’d like to come along next time, I’m planning to do a trip every 2 years – look for early 2015!

Focusing on the Divine. Posted on December 17, 2012 by Swamiji

Most people have their focus on others, especially at this time of year. Yoga says you must keep your focus on your Self – your own Divine Self. It might sound selfish at first, but it’s really about overflowing with light and love so much that others are benefited.

So how do you keep your focus on your Self without getting caught up in your emotions, reactions, needs and fears? You focus on your Divinity – not on your imperfections and insecurities. It’s a HUGE shift.

Yoga goes a step farther and says you cannot make that shift in yourself unless you’ve got the blessing and support of those who have preceded you on the path. Such a yogi, who knows their own Divinity, is essential if you want to know your own. In fact, that is what Christmas is all about: celebrating the life of a Divine Being, whose life and teachings have endured for thousands of years. Yoga says Divine Humans are always alive on this earth and always available to those who want to know.

I have dedicated my life to that knowing, having had the door opened for me by a Divine Human, Swami Muktananda. In service to Him, I share the teachings and practices that will make the shift in you – that you may be the Divine Human that carries this unto the next generation.

Keep your focus on the Divine, in this holiday season that celebrates the Divine Human.

With love & blessings, Swami Nirmalananda

Sharing Your Bliss OR Looking for Bliss? Posted on December 12, 2012 by Swamiji

Are you busy yet? This time of year keeps everyone running for weeks – all for the sake of joy. ”Joy to the World…” ”We Wish You a Merry Christmas…”

Sharing your joy, the joy that arises from within, is actually bliss, not just joy. It arises from its source – which is your own Self. Are you sharing your bliss or are you looking for bliss?

If you are sharing your joy, you might be looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, planning a wonderful meal to share with others, running errands, visiting people or attending events – all because you are so full of light. The light of consciousness arises within you, and this is the season above all others that recogizes that light and honors it.

If you are looking your joy, you might be looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, planning a wonderful meal to share with others, running errands, visiting people or attending events – all because you want other people to fill you up. The activities are the same, but the motivation is different.

Why are you doing what you are doing in this holiday season? Remember, the word “holiday” means “holy-day.”

with love and blessings, Swamiji

Know Your Own Divinity – in the midst of life. Posted on December 6, 2012 by Swamiji

To know your own Divinity – first in meditation and then in the midst of life – this is the goal. This is completely and totally accessible once you receive Shaktipat. You’re on the way. But there are complexities to the process that can confuse you.

It’s not as simple as knowing your own Inner Self while you are engaged with the World Outside. Outside has two levels – what’s really there and what you think is there, and Inside has two levels – who you really are and who you think you are. It’s the thinking that gets in the way, whether you are looking outside or inside.

Stop thinking! Do more japa.

Om namah shivaaya

Om namah shivaaya

Om namah shivaaya

Om namah shivaaya

Om namah shivaaya

with love & blessings, Swami Nirmalananda

A quiet evening at home. Posted on December 3, 2012 by Swamiji

post Shaktipat retreat, hanging out in the kitchen over a cup of chai…

a yummy stir-fry for dinner with lots of laughter around the table…

playing with the cats – actually, watching the cats watch the human who WANTS them to play…

a sweet Sunday night at the Ashram. Nothing to do except the arati and chant that begins in an hour (or less).

and to say hi to all of you.

with love and blessings,

Swami Nirmalananda

Who is supporting whom? Posted on November 27, 2012 by Swamiji

I’ve been a teacher since fifth grade, when I joined three other classmates in assisting the kindergarten teachers for several hours each day. I’ve been teaching yoga and meditation since 1976 – that’s such a long time that it even surprises me! In building Master Yoga (and recently Reawakening it), as well as creating the Ashram, I dedicated myself to serving and supporting others in their yogic process. It is a privilege to do such exalted work, and to do it as seva to my Guru.

Yet the tables have been turned on me. Now, the Ashram staff, sevites and residents are supporting me in some incredible ways. While focus turned to life support for Master Yoga, everyone has kept on doing what needs to be done. They allow me to slip into the program at the last minute, as they sit there in a sweet yogic pose – sometimes chatting companionably, sometimes sitting in silence. They pick up the slack when I cannot do my share of the dishes or meal service. They carry big loads up and down stairs for me, run errands and come back smiling. Who is supporting whom?

But it has always been this way. I was one of a seva crew numbering 300 or more, dedicating ourselves to full-time work plus more, in supporting Baba. The community I am honored to serve has always supported me, through their donations as well as their attendance at programs. The veggie garden we planted in late fall has yielded a bounty which we harvested on the day before our first snow storm. All along, as gardeners we thought we were taking care of the garden, but the garden is taking care of us.

The boundary between support and empowerment melts away as the dotted line between me and thee reveals its true form – as the formless.

With deep love & great gratitude, Swami Nirmalananda

The Downingtown Harmonium Ensemble. Posted on November 5, 2012 by Swamiji

331-214x300This weekend featured our new harmonium players, in their first public performances. Saturday night we held a satsang featuring a reading from Baba’s “Where Are You Going?” on chanting, with four harmonium players splitting the two chants, and on Sunday morning more new musicians played some of the Guru Gita chants plus the two satsang chants. I played the sticks, serving as a metronome to help them keep the rhythm and flow going.

Every harmonium course I’ve taught before was a half-day program. This time we had the luxury of developing more chants as well as preparing for the public programs. I hope everyone will make their harmonium part of their sadhana, singing out the mantras and their love for God, and perhaps sharing it with others.

Thank you to our guests who came to support the musicians’ debut! The chanters were strong even when the harmonium players were finding their way. It was a big help. And it was fun to see the harmonium players find their groove…

With love and delight, Swamiji

“Aftershocks” Of MTT Upgrade. Posted on March 16, 2012 by Jyoti (Rebecca) Yacobi

The MTT Upgrade course has many layers interwoven within it. The virtual classroom during the phone calls prepared us beautifully for the weekend retreat that brought together the three months of preparation. Tantra was alive with the interweaving of learning and teaching, understanding and experiencing, transmitting and expressing. Any course that Swamiji teaches is filled with wisdom, majesty, mystery and Grace, so how is this course different?

This course had the effect of breaking up the densities in my being, breaking down stones into pebbles, and pebbles into sand. The “after shocks” are still reverberating within me: I feel the breaking apart of identities, ingrained patterns and beliefs, a shattering of sorts of the old sense of self. The treatment originates from within – the mantra – given and facilitated by the Grace of the Guru. I am never without it. It is light and portable, yet explosive and powerful, able to transform iron into gold, density into lightness, spaciousness into presence, the known into knowable, ether into sound, sound into form.

The MTT Upgrade gave us the vehicle of the mantra as the way to the Self. The power of the teachings became so vivid, so personal, so real once I spoke the words and expressed my personal experience when we presented the talks to one another. The teachings become alive when I am able to express them and to integrate them in a personal way. The mystery becomes reality, the shimmering effervescence of the boundary between form and formlessness.

I have waited lifetimes to be able to express the Truth that lies within all of us, that IS all of us. The doorway opened by the Grace of the Guru.

More From MTT Upgrade. Posted on March 14, 2012 by Tanmayee (Theresa) Reynolds

The MTT Upgrade program I just completed offered much more than anticipated from an Tanmayee-Reynolds-150x150academic perspective, and it provided me with several personal experiences that have forever changed my understanding of the limitless potential of meditation as a practice of experiencing the Self. It is not just about learning how to teach your students more about the tool of mantra. It also provides a much deeper understanding experientially of the power behind the use of mantra, along with numerous ways of working with it to bring your meditations – and those of your students – to a more profound level of knowing the Self than ever before.

MTT Upgrade. Posted on March 14, 2012 by Svaroopa Vidya Ashram

As a studio owner in Boise, Idaho, and a Svaroopa® yoga teacher of 10 classes weekly, I find Marlene-Gast-300x225traveling to Pennsylvania a bit challenging. So in the spring of 2011, when I first read the email about an upgrade for my Meditation Teacher certification, I didn’t give it much thought. Even though more than half of the course was offered through phone conferences, there was still a retreat in Pennsylvania in February 2012.  I had been teaching meditation classes four times per year since Autumn 2009, and the series seemed to be effective for students.

But then Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver, CSYT, whose studio is also in Boise, took the first MTT course offered by Svaroopa®Vidya Ashram in June 2011. Returning home, she offered to teach the “enhanced meditation” series at my studio, and I, along with many of my meditation students, took the course. Truly, my mind was blown by the deeper experience into which the empowered mantra propelled me.  And my meditations continued to be deeper than ever before. So I enrolled in the MTT Upgrade.

The phone conferences with Swamiji and fellow MTT students were profoundly informative as well as deep experiences, as we received the deeper teachings. We were given plenty of time for our homework, such as practicing a new mantra technique and writing a report, which we submitted online. Before the next phone conference, each of us received the collected reports, so that we all shared in the experiences of each other.  As part of the next call, Swamiji offered teachings that illuminated the experience of each person. The retreat itself was a restorative immersion in the river of grace. Everything felt so easy: the meditation periods, giving our talks in pairs or small groups, and receiving the best, most helpful feedback imaginable. And miraculously, even though it was late February, my cross-country flights were easy and on time, in perfect weather.

Om svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah,

Marlene Gast, CSYT