Tag Archives: Yoga

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.

Advertisements

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!

The Importance of the Ashram’s Birthday, by Swami Nirmalananda

10-close-e1297979380284-150x150I have two birthday celebrations every year: the day I was born into this world and the day that I was born into the Self, my Shaktipat anniversary, plus on Saturday I will be celebrating the Ashram’s birthday.  This is the second time this year I’m celebrating the birthday of a yoga organization.  Master Yoga’s 21st birthday in May was a big event, yet I’m hoping our Saturday event is even bigger — our Japathon!  You can participate from wherever you are… [click for more information]

I also celebrate other birthdays, including my Guru’s birthday and Shaktipat anniversary, plus the birthdays of those in the family I was born into, as well as those wonderful beings I birthed and raised.  I’ve also birthed four not-for-profit organizations (working with many other dedicated yogis):  Yoga Alliance and YES (the San Diego yoga teachers association) as well as Master Yoga and Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram.

Consider what happens when you tell others, “It’s my birthday!”  People get excited and want to take you out for a decadent-something, or maybe create time to share some enjoyable pursuit with you.  On birthdays, people want to pursue their favorite pleasures, usually with other people joining them so it is more pleasurable.  About 30 years ago, all this stopped working for me.  I now realize why — I was no longer pursuing pleasure.  Yoga had showed me a greater goal than mere pleasure.  For years I couldn’t figure out what to do, so I ignored birthdays (mine and others). It was frustrating to those close to me.

Now I delight in birthday celebrations, mine as well as others.  The difference is that I now understand what we’re celebrating — we’re celebrating life.  In celebrating an individual life, we are celebrating the whole of life, which is the dance of “Siva being “Sakti, being this world and all in it.  As great as that is, birthday of a yoga organization is different.

The birth of a person is into limitation, the exploration of individual identity.  Shree Guru Gita says it this way:  “Birth is into not-knowingness, spellbound by Maayaa’s worldly dance…”[1]  But the birth of an Ashram begins the liberation, a process that benefits not just one individual but all who yearn to know the highest.  For this reason, the Ashram’s birthday is deeply meaningful to me.  Regardless of the level of practice you choose (poses only, meditation only, a mix of both or more from our many offerings), the whole banquet is available to you.  Whether you come to one of our three locations or you dial in from home, you are stepping through Ashram’s doorway.  Ultimately, this is a doorway to your own Divine Self.

birthday bright candles-wikimedia.orgI find a birthday to be a great time to consider, “How am I doing?  Am I accomplishing the purpose of my life?  Am I still on target?”  This turns my attention to purpose for which the Ashram exists.  This an annual evaluation looks back to see how we doing are so far, and looks forward to see how will we fulfill our purpose in the future. Our purpose is eloquently stated in the Ashram’s founding documents:

to engage in & teach the worship of Parama”siva, the all-pervasive Divine Reality, focusing on finding and experiencing the Divine within the individual human being.

Now housing the consolidated programs for Svaroopa® yoga and Svaroopa® vidya, we are even more able to help you find and experience your own Divinity.  Whether you are focused on the poses and breathing or on the meditative practices, you are focusing on finding and experiencing the Divine within you — which is you.

Thank you for your Birthday Gifts, the donations that support the Ashram’s work.  Click here to donate.

Please join us in our Japathon! on Saturday morning at 10 am (Eastern Time)!  You can do it independently or join in our conference call — click here for more information.

With love and blessings,

Swami Nirmalananda


[1] Shree Guru Gita, verse 10, rendered by Swami Nirmalananda

So Much Choice, So Little Time by MYF Sevites

349Learning, laughing, chanting, eating, shopping, and doing yoga — what more could you ask for? The Svaroopa® Yoga Conference has it all! It’s only a week away, and it’s not too late to register and find that inexpensive last-minute airfare!

As with all things Svaroopa®, choices abound. You have a choice of workshop tracks: a blissful yoga weekend, meditation in the Ashram track, continuing education updates in the Teacher and Foundations tracks. You could also chose a full-day Warrior Vinyasa pre-conference workshop on Friday and/or a half-day Inversions post-conference workshop on Sunday, both with Vidyadevi.

Choices abound in the shop, with everything that Master Yoga and the Ashram have to support and inspire your yoga practice. Find DVDs, CDs, posters, books, tee shirts and NEW exclusive items only available at our Conferences and special sales on items from Conferences past.

More choices in the popular Silent Auction! Cast your bid on sacred treasures donated by the India 2013 participants, purchased during their pilgrimage: colorful shawls, sweet murtis, Ganga-dipped items and much more. Take home a bit of the Kumbha Mela and Ganeshpuri if you were unable to attend the trip this time.

Photos from the India trip will be projected onto a screen in a side-dining room, and you may well feel as though you are there.  To enhance the visual experience, India trip participants will be on hand to describe their personal experiences. Swamiji will be announcing her plans for the next trip. Perhaps a visit to the “India” dining room will propel you and prepare you to make the journey.

Another side dining room calls out to all Mentors and Mentees. Could you pick your DTS Mentor out of a crowd?  You spent some intense hours together by phone.  What is your Mentor like in person? Don’t you want to put a face to a voice? If you are a Mentor, imagine sharing lunch with the Svaroopis that you have coached into full-fledged teachers!

After seeing photos of India, get a new photo of You! As a Svaroopa® yoga teacher, you should have a new “head shot” every year. This year’s conference makes that easy with a booth featuring a professional photographer. Ladies, pack a scarf in your favorite color!  Gentlemen, don’t forget your favorite teaching shirt!  Then sign up “attendants” to fix your hair and to converse with you during your photo shoot.  Swami Nirmalananda says she always does this to ensure photos with a natural, spontaneous quality.

Yoga is all about you.  This conference is all about you, and the ways in which your yoga organization serves you. It’s all about the choices you make in deepening your experience of yoga, and of your Self. All the choices lead you back to You. Shiva is always having fun being You. Have fun!

Collaboration?

By Swami Nirmalananda

Why collaborate?  I love it when the deeper answer coincides with the practicalities. I actually don’t do anything without this inner and outer integration.

The deeper answer is that Master Yoga runs on Grace, just as the Ashram does.  With the formal separation between them, it’s been a little like “Siva and you — you are “Siva, but you don’t know you are.  The good news is that Master Yoga never lost the Grace, largely due to our Teacher Trainers, especially Vidyadevi and Karobi, who continued to work closely with me.  Even when I wasn’t physically in the classroom, I always knew what was going on and was able to offer input and blessings.

Our new levels of collaboration are pumping the flow of Grace into Master Yoga in a whole new way.  I can see a type of enlivenment reaching into the corners, like sunlight shining onto a plant in the corner at the dawn.  Both Boards continue to meet and develop answers — sometimes they have to come up with the questions as well!

The practicalities dictate efficiencies, both for better responsiveness to yogi’s needs as well as to handle your money respectfully, for the organizational funds all come from you, thus we think of it as your money.  This also draws the two organizations closer and streamlines activities, including programs as well as our shared Business Manager.  We’ve already seen a reduction in the number of emails and other communications needed, both internally as well as coming to you.  Our goal is transparency — to keep you up-to-date without burying you in TMI (too much information).

Comments — click here to offer your input into the collaboration question.

Social Media, the Svaroopa® Yoga Way: From the mundane to the sublime

by Sarvataa Christie

Sarvataa

Sarvataa

My life is seva. My focus is deepening my Guru-disciple relationship. My use of social media also includes these practices.

When I first realized Swamiji was on FaceBook, I hesitated sending a friend request. Finally, I did, and I was so excited (and nervous) when she accepted! I was afraid She would really see me. Little did I know, She sees me anyway; really sees me. How wonderful! Swamiji says that she loves to get to know us in this personal way through FaceBook. I certainly love visiting her page! This was one of many steps toward a deeper relationship with my Guru.

I love sharing SVA videos, daily E-Quotes, photos, blogs and various other SVA content on my FaceBook page. It brings a deeper understanding for me and accessibility to my students and friends.  It keeps me connected to my yoga community; each time there is a “like” for something I’ve posted, I have that chance to connect with a fellow Svaroopi, my yoga buddies.   As a bonus, I am reminded to visit that post again myself; layering it in there. It is even more delicious when a yoga buddy posts the E-Quote, too — yet another chance to contemplate it and deepen my understanding (or just remember what it said!). It is the gift that keeps on giving!

As Sharada Macdonald added, “The posts still my mind, and social media usually activates it.” It is such a treat to utilize the external to turn inward!  Sharing Svaroopa® yoga via social media is a way to focus on the highest thoughts; thoughts of God, the Divine and the Guru.

Svaroopa® social media turns the mundane into the sublime.  It is a way for me to stay in touch with my community, my yoga family,  to get and to give support, to keep up to date on what’s happening with our global community and to deepen my relationship with Swamiji. It’s an easy and fun way to market my teaching schedule, as teaching is part of my practice of seva.  When I receive something in my inbox from the E-Group, it brings me inward every time. How sweet!

Succession Plan: A Bequest to the Community

by Amala Cattafi-Heinlein, SVA Board President

Amala2

Amala

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