Tag Archives: Board of directors

Comings & Goings

by Swami Nirmalananda


Last Saturday night’s ceremony was deeply meaningful to all who attended, featuring Swami Nirmalananda’s head-shaving to celebrate her departure from being President of both Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram’s and Master Yoga Foundation.

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We’ve been fortunate to benefit from her continued teaching for the Ashram, even while leading Master Yoga’s Reawakening.  She’s led the February India trip as well as our Year-Long Programme and Shaktipat Retreats, and continues her many free programs and calls.  Yet we’re looking forward to having her return to Shrii Guru Gita project and other projects that have been on the back burner.  The Ashram Board has asked Swamiji to continue as a Board Member.

Monthly Donors & Shishyas may request a lock of Swamiji’s hair from the ceremony.  Simply mail a SASE to Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, 1400 Hampton Drive, Downingtown PA 19335. We will send the care packages out on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here for information on how to become a Shishya member.




We are happy to announce that Sharada (JenMarie) Macdonald is now serving both sister organizations as Business Administration Manager.  She is assuming many of Swamiji’s Master Yoga administrative responsibilities to provide needed support for their hard-working staff while continuing to lead the Ashram staff and sevites.

Sharada has worked closely with Swami Nirmalananda for more than two years, as well as providing assistance with some key projects in Master Yoga’s Reawakening.  With Sharada serving the Ashram as well as Master Yoga, it means we are deepening our collaboration between our two sister organizations, providing cohesive leadership as well as economies of scale, recognized as necessary by both Boards.

We are very excited about Sharada’s proven skills and dedication as well as her ability to build a team, with both staff and sevites, and how this will support our community.  If you have any questions, concerns or congratulations, please contact our new Board President, Amala Cattafi at amala@svaroopavidya.org or Sharada at sharada@svaroopavidya.org.


Succession Plan: A Bequest to the Community

by Amala Cattafi-Heinlein, SVA Board President



While Swamiji plans to remain embodied and to actively teach, support and foster our spiritual development for the foreseeable future, she recognizes that how she does it will change over time. While she envisions herself teaching into her 80’s, she, along with the Board, is focusing on the sustainability of her teachings. Our teachings. We have created a Succession Plan.

Later this year, Swami Nirmalananda will unveil a program for those who wish to take vows. Her vision is clear: create a vowed order of teaching monks, who choose to live by certain standards and maintain a certain level of practice. This will allow her to take the vowed community deeper, through teachings and practices that require this level of personal commitment. Eventually, there will be a published list of authorized teachers, which Swamiji will hand-select from the vowed community. These yogis will be authorized to succeed Swamiji and carry on the teachings.

The vowed order will include several levels of vows, for those who want to deepen their commitment and practice, but plan to continue in their current home and relationships. All of this will is available within the model provided by the ancient sages. Details will be available at the end of 2013 or next year.

Ashram garden marigolds photo by Sarvataa Christie

SVA plans to invest in the monks that Swamiji is preparing for the next generation. This is about the sustainability of the teachings, not of the buildings. We have the house in Downingtown, plus we will likely purchase an additional building to house our public programs and provide resident housing for the monks and guest accommodations for visiting yogis. In addition, we recognize some people will choose to create their own home in the neighborhood, so we plan to choose an affordable neighborhood with access to public transportation. When Swamiji has left her body, SVA’s material assets will be liquidated, and the money will be donated to the authorized teachers who have set up their own non-profit organizations in order to carry the teachings forth.

Ashram garden marigolds photo by Sarvataa ChristieThis is just as Swamiji herself has done, and Muktananda before her — it is perfection! This is a labor of HER love for us, and for her Guru, as it will be a labor of love and devotion for those who follow.

None of this is happening immediately. The Succession Plan is a process—you’re getting a glimpse of what’s ahead so you can plan your process in conjunction. When the vowed order is ready to begin later this year, you will be invited to consider your participation in the level that works for you. I recommend that you dive deep and let it take you where it will. Whatever that is, it will be perfect!

Click here for the Board’s FAQ. If you would like to add a question, click here to email it.

For personal contact and questions beyond the FAQ, please click any of the Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram Board Member names below to directly email them. They are happy to respond:

Amala Cattafi-Heinlein
Bob Nogue
Rudrani Nogue
Kristine Freeman
Kanchan Mohn