Guru’s Grace and Disciples Grace

By Barbara (Girijananda) Hess, Board Member

As a Board member, I support GeoCenters, help plan and support Local Mandali activities and support both in-person and Zoomed Mandali Travel programs. Other sevites work with me in these amazing sevas.  I feel we are the extended hands of Gurudevi and the other swamis.  We reach out to our larger community.

We are also the hands and arms of Svaroopa® yoga teachers reaching to the Ashram.  The reciprocal flow of shakti is palpable.  I have the good fortune to see the dedicated service that Gurudevi, the Swamis and the Ashram staff and sevites provide.  In turn I see the dedicated service each Svaroopa® yoga teacher provides.  Each serves their students, community and the Ashram, powerfully modeling disciples’ grace in response to Guru’s Grace.

As the pandemic took hold, it seemed as if “What the world needs now is more yoga!”  Our Ashram answered the call.  The Ashram website has always provided extensive free teachings.  But last year, Gurudevi added twice daily mantra repetition in the free Japa Club.  Our social media presence expanded, with more content for new yogis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  This outreach is a greater presence in the world, which also supports the promotion of Svaroopa® yoga in your community.  Our five swamis also offer free Zoom programs for local teachers to host for their community.  

This has been a year of challenges.  But your yoga and your Ashram have supported you through them. I can see clearly how this has supported me in these challenging times.  What I can do to make a difference is to support the yoga organization that supports me. I have offered dakshina (financial gifts) to the Ashram over the past years. I increased these gifts this past year.  I ask you to do the same.  Now is the time to gift the organization that gives so much to each of us and the world.  The Ashram is a nonprofit organization.  As such it cannot expand and grow without consistent financial support.

You play an important role.  Yoga opens a two-way door, the light shining in and the light emanating out.  You allow access inward, to the deeper dimensions of your being.   You allow access outward, shining the light of Consciousness out into the world. 

One way I truly see this two-way door is in the Teaching Online Therapeutics (TOT).  This  online teacher training is revolutionary.  Many teachers report wonderful personal benefits as well as healing benefits for their students.  I had a significant physical challenge the end of 2020.  Through the care of a Svaroopa® yoga teacher and her offering me TOT poses, I was well supported in healing.  I gave and will continue to give extra financial support to the Ashram in her honor.  It is a way to celebrate her as well as to give to the organization that gives so much.

Gurudevi says, “In supporting any organization and serving others, you put your body, mind and heart all to work at the same time.  With these three capacities all focused in one direction, you can make a difference in the world.   And uplift yourself at the same time.”

I ask you too to reflect upon the gifts flowing your way through the Ashram.  Financially supporting the Ashram allows these gifts to continue flowing to you and the world. “What the world needs now is more yoga!”

Direct a gift to the Ashram through our website donation page:

Light the Way, supporting outreach and technology

Maintain the Miracle Factory, supporting Teacher Training

Give Blessings to the World, supporting our free programs

You can donate on Facebook.  You can call us at (610) 644-7555.  Or you can send your check to Svaroopa Vidya Ashram, 116 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, PA 19335.  Thank you.

A Year of Yoga Blessings

By TC (Tattvananda) Richards

Yoga has been a blessing in my life.  I have been shifted by Gurudevi Nirmalananda and her Svaroopa ® yoga.  The moment I met a Svaroopa yogi, I immediately shifted.  Because I felt the Grace right away, I dove in.  I didn’t know that it was Grace I was feeling.  I just knew I was drawn to wanting more.  And this yoga has delivered.  It has given me immeasurable gifts.

Most amazing, these gifts are not just for me.  They are for everyone.  Svaroopa® yoga evokes your inner light.  Then that light radiates out to the world.  This is yoga’s promise.  While all yoga is good yoga, there is something more to Svaroopa® yoga and meditation.   It comes from a lineage of Meditation Masters, based in a Shaktipat tradition.  They open you to yoga’s promise of enlightenment in this lifetime.

Please join me in donating to Svaroopa ® Vidya Ashram’s spring fundraiser to radiate this gift out to the world.  What a way to send blessings to the world that has endured so much difficulty for more than a year!

Let me tell you about how Svaroopa ® yoga blessings inspired me to give back financially.  I don’t even like exercise, yet I wanted to sign up for a yoga class right away.  Let’s do some yoga.  Sign me up now — and so it began.

I started with the private Embodyment ® Yoga Therapy sessions.  Then life happened, and I needed Vichara (guided self-inquiry) sessions.  They helped me navigate through rocky times.  I knew I was getting something great.  I wanted even more.  How could I learn more about this wonderful practice?  I was guided to Gurudevi’s book Yoga: Inside & Outside.  I have never looked back.  I am changed in ways I wouldn’t have believed were possible.

Besides my personal experience, I see this yoga’s effects on my family.  One niece started Svaroopa® yoga classes while the other is delving into the meditation.  They have seen results right away, just as I did.  Friends have joined our Japa Club and settled into Consciousness within.  They have purchased Gurudevi’s CDs including Meditation: Deep & Easy and her Experience Shavasana & Ujjayi Pranayama recording.  These meditative tools have shifted these young women profoundly to divine inner experience.  So they shine with the light of God.  And they radiate that light into the world.

I see the effects of the Svaroopa® practices in a multitude of ways.  The Ashram is using cutting edge technology to spread Gurudevi’s teachings and the Light of the Guru through the world.  What a way to make the difference you’ve always wanted to see!

Our donations facilitate this revolution for good.  To quote one of Gurudevi’s satsang discourses, “What the world needs now is yoga sweet yoga.”  Do we ever!  Our financial support makes this happen.  Our donations shift the world to the light of God/Guru.

Direct a gift to the Ashram through our website donation page:

Light the Way, supporting outreach and technology

Maintain the Miracle Factory, supporting teacher training

Give Blessings to the World, supporting our free programs

Or you can donate on Facebook.  You can also call us at (610) 644-7555, or send us a check at 116 E. Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, PA 19335.

If you want to give the world the gift of Divine Grace, donate to the Ashram.  Light the world with Guru’s Grace.  Donate today.  Donate in gratitude.  Donate in love.  I’ll go first.  Please join me.

Grateful for Grace

By Marlene (Matrikaa) Gast

Lucky for me, I’m a Svaroopa® yogi.  Even more, I’ve had the great good fortune of residing at the Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram since July 2019.  During the pandemic, I’ve been living in a most blessed place.  I say this not because I’ve been safe from contagion, though I have.  I say this because I’ve witnessed the Ashram’s yogic miracles. 

Within 10 days of 2020 pandemic lockdown, the Ashram was offering yoga online.  Swami Nirmalananda, whom we call Gurudevi, was Zooming the blessings of yoga and meditation into homes worldwide.  I have seen how tirelessly Gurudevi and our five other swamis serve the world.  And I’ve been privy to the blessings received by community members and other seekers globally.  As another Svaroopa® yogi put it, “The Ashram and Gurudevi are important to people in this yoga community.  And she is important to people who haven’t yet met her.”

Please join me in donating as generously as possible to this spiritual organization.  I am contributing financially to this not-for-profit organization to support its worldwide work.  During an unprecedented catastrophe, the Ashram has given its all, 24/7 for more than 365 days.

Practicing since 2005, I’ve experienced the Grace flowing through Svaroopa® yoga.  Sciatica and digestive issues have healed.  Gurudevi’s teachings have evoked spiritual illumination from layers of shadow where I long lived.  In gratitude for this transformation, I’ve been a longtime donor.  This year, however, I am donating in gratitude for how Gurudevi’s Grace-full teachings have benefitted the world.

You can be sure that every bit of your financial gift will go to supporting the Ashram’s work.  It’s been essential over the past year.  As we move into another “new normal,” the Ashram’s work continues to be crucial.

Participants in the free online Japa Club have reported that repeating mantra with Gurudevi has been a lifeline.  Amidst isolation, dramatic uncertainty, and fear of death worldwide, Japa Club members opened to divine peace and calm, inside.  Moreover, Gurudevi leads participants in offering blessings to everyone in the world affected by the pandemic. 

Plus, Gurudevi created the online Meditation Club, online yoga classes, Zoomed healing sessions, meditation and chanting retreats, a philosophy discussion group, her Sunday Satsang subscription program, and training for teachers in how to Zoom their own classes. 

Yogis far and wide have benefitted profoundly from these offerings :

I live alone and far from any other Svaroopa® yoga teachers, classes or communities.  Once the magnitude of this pandemic became apparent, I realized that I really needed to “up my game” in terms of my own practices — more asana, more meditation, more japa.  The Meditation Club is helping me “up my game.”  Grace flows even stronger whenever we meditate together, even over the phone.  At the end of the meditation, we repeat mantra together, offering the benefits of mantra to all those who have been affected by this pandemic.  For me, that offering is going to the whole world.” — Caroline K.

What Gurudevi has done in this pandemic to create online ways to deliver her Grace-full teachings has been a lifesaver.” — Barbara A.

With my legs re-aligned in my hip sockets, I feel supported and upright, whether sitting or standing.  It’s a feeling of being grounded and expanded at the same time.” — Leonora T.

My left leg [seriously weakened by abdominal surgery] now functions normally.” — Marianne S.

Reading these expressions of gratitude, please reflect on how the Ashram has supported you.  Giving back in gratitude for what you receive is the ancient yoga practice of dakshina.  There are three ways you can direct your financial gift:

Light the Way, supporting outreach and technology.

Maintain the Miracle Factory, supporting teacher training.

Give Blessings to the World, supporting our free programs.

You can donate on our website or on Facebook.  You can call us at (610) 644-7555.  Or you can send your check to Svaroopa Vidya Ashram, 116 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, PA 19335. Thank You!

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation

The whole story of enlightenment is told in these three short phrases, taglines for Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation.  This is how meditation works in our tradition:  deep and easy meditation from the beginning, which leads to bliss arising within.  Then you learn how to live in the bliss, which gives you the inner freedom that is enlightenment itself.

Meditation: Deep & Easy CD
by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Getting Beyond Your Busy Mind

Learn how to use your mind to get beyond your mind.  Easily experience the deeper dimension of your own existence through this approach to meditation. Harness the power of your mind to help you with the inner discovery of your own Self.  This inner experience transforms your mind.

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Bliss Blossoms Within

Experience the bliss of your own being arising from its inner source.  This meditative system, which makes bliss easily accessible.  How does it work?  You’re doing the same thing that the yogic sages did, steering your mind toward Consciousness.  Thus you discover that you are bliss-incarnate.

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Experience Inner Freedom

To become free from your worries, regrets and reactions, meditate.  To become free to laugh, to create and to share, meditate.  This approach to meditation takes you beyond your limitations and gives you your deeper essnece, called your own Self.   You can tell the difference the very first time.

Yoga Blessings to the World

By Ruth (Rama) Brooke

Lucky for us, we are yogis.  Luckier still, we are Svaroopa® yogis!  While all yoga is good, the Svaroopa® Sciences offer easy access to that mystical more — the Self.  Whether through poses, breathing or meditation, Svaroopis slip into an experience of the Self, effortlessly. This is a hallmark of this Shaktipat Yoga. 

You likely have familiar words to describe your intimate experience of the Self.  Words like inner knowingness, divinity, essence, beingness, bliss, expansiveness, and upward welling love and joy come to mind.  Just writing these words triggers an experience for me.  And then another quality of the Self arises — gratitude — an immense and overwhelming sense of gratitude. 

To express my gratitude, I participate in our Ashram fundraisers through financial contributions.  I ask you to do the same.  I ask with confidence and without hesitation.  Why?  Because I know the power of the yogic practice of dakshina (financial support for upliftment).

Dakshina initiates a divine cycle of giving and receiving.  They merge in the Self and become indistinguishable.  I know many Svaroopa® yogis who practice and benefit from dakshina.  Our community is naturally generous.  Nearly one quarter of our budget is funded by contributions.  Again and again, I am filled with gratitude and with the inspiration to do more.

Below are multiple opportunities for directing a gift to the Ashram.  You can:

Light the way. Support outreach and technology. 

Open the door to deep teachings for so many via Zoom, Podbean, YouTube and social media.

Maintain the “Miracle Factory.” Support teacher trainings. 

Trainings include Teaching Svaroopa® Yoga Online, Teaching Online Therapeutics, Leading Satsangs Online and the new Therapeutic Yoga Series.

Give More Blessings to the WorldSupport our extensive free teachings.  

This includes online access to Japa Club, podcasts, articles, Satsang Gems and more.

All these causes are important.  They enable Gurudevi and our five other swamis to reach directly into hearts and homes.  They can thus touch more souls than ever before.

As Svaroopa® yogis, we are so blessed.  Help extend these blessings further out into the world.  Join in the dakshina cycle with whatever amount works for you and your budget.  Yoga is a warrior tradition.  Take action.  Do more yoga!

You can donate on our website and on Facebook.  You can call us at (610) 644-7555.  Or you can send your check to Svaroopa Vidya Ashram, 116 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, PA 19335.

Giving Blessings

By Ellen (Lajja) Mitchell, President
Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram Board

When the global pandemic started, Swami Nirmalananda (Gurudevi) started our free online Japa Club and our Meditation Club.  In these daily online programs, she taught us how to give blessings to the world.  Gurudevi also quickly put into place many other online programs to serve us.  Those programs included online asana and meditation classes, Yoga Teacher Training, Meditation Teacher Training and retreats.  I feel that each is an offering from the Ashram.  Each is a way of Giving Blessings — the theme of our spring fundraiser.

In my first Svaroopa® yoga class about 15 years ago, I knew this yoga is different from others.  My teacher asked, “Do you feel different?  What was your experience?”  I responded that I felt taller.  And there was something else as well.  I felt more grounded, more embodied.  Those experiences and more have kept me coming back.

What first drew you to Svaroopa® yoga?  What has kept you coming back?  Have your Ashram’s online offerings benefitted you?  If you answered “yes,” I invite you to join me in Giving Blessings back to the Ashram.

I attended my first Shaktipat Retreat with Gurudevi in 2012.  In May 2020, I attended Gurudevi’s first online Shaktipat.  I was skeptical at first.  How can I have an intensive from the comfort of my own home?  The online orientation for an at-home, online program took me through the process.  I was given vegetarian recipes to support body and mind.  I was taught how to set up my space.  During the retreat, an Ashram swami checked in on me daily.  The result?  One of the most powerful Shaktipat experiences that I have had!  Grace flowed unimpeded from the Ashram through Zoom.  Grace permeated me and my sacred space, my home.  I am so grateful.

My gratitude for Gurudevi and the Ashram has motivated me to give, and it continues to motivate me to give.  Giving back in gratitude is itself a yoga practice: dakshina. Please join me in this practice, which benefits the giver as well as the Ashram.  There are three ways you can direct your financial gift:

Light the Way, supporting outreach and technology
Maintain the Miracle Factory, supporting teacher training
Give Blessings to the World, supporting our free programs

Our Giving Blessings campaign starts today!  A gift from the heart is precious. Please join me in Giving Blessings back to Gurudevi and the Ashram.  When I give from my heart, I’m the one who reaps the benefits.  I feel the abundant Grace that flows to me.  May you, too, delight in this blessing.

You can donate on our website and on Facebook.  You can call us at (610) 644-7555.

 Or you can send your check to Svaroopa Vidya Ashram, 116 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, PA 19335.

Ashram Nachos

By Swami Samvidaananda

These easy vegetarian nachos are an Ashram favorite. 

They’re crispy, cheesy, nutritious, delicious and fun!

Servings: 8–10

Protein: 20–22 grams per serving

Servings: 8–10

Protein: 20–22 grams per serving

6 Tastes

Sweet: tortilla chips, cheese, avocado, zucchini

Salty: tortilla chips, cheese, salsa

Sour: sour cream, salsa

Astringent: tortilla chips, refried beans, cheese

Pungent: salsa, jalapeños

Bitter: lettuce, cilantro


  • 1 family size bag yellow corn tortilla chips
  • 1 can vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 jar salsa (of your choice)
  • 1 16-oz bag shredded Mexican cheese (we use a mix of cheddar, jack and asadero)
  • 4-oz shredded cheddar cheese (~1 cup)

Optional Toppings

  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • diced avocado
  • sour cream
  • pickled jalapeños
  • chopped cilantro
  • more salsa


  1. Preheat broiler to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread tortilla chips on a large baking sheet lined with foil or a Silpat baking mat.  Keep them in a single layer, though they may overlap.
  3. Place level tablespoons of vegetarian refried beans, about 4 inches apart, on top of the tortilla chips.  You won’t use the whole can of refried beans.  Warm the remainder in a small pot to serve as a side.
  4. Add a teaspoon of salsa next to each spoonful of refried beans.
  5. Sprinkle the Mexican cheese in a thick layer over the chips.
  6. Sprinkle the Cheddar cheese evenly over the Mexican cheese.
  7. Broil until cheese is melted, bubbling, and browning.  The corners of the chips along the edge of the pan will be dark brown but not burnt.  It’s best to stay there while they’re broiling.  Don’t walk away!

Serve with your choice of toppings.  We also serve steamed zucchini and the rest of the refried beans on the side.

Coming Home to the Self

By Nancy Wittenberg
Interviewed by Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain

Last March, I decided to sit down and do a mantra meditation.  I’d been away from it for several years, during which I was doing an active, verbally guided meditation.  I sat down, closed my eyes, and began repeating the mantra I received from Gurudevi.  In that moment, I knew I had returned home.  It was amazing how incredibly peaceful I felt.  I immediately realized that mantra meditation served me much better than what I’d been doing.  I began to feel more grounded and centered in the Self.

Then my many vichara sessions inspired me to return to asana practice.  I needed to address my osteoporosis.  With my body healing, a daily meditation practice was the next step.  Joining the Meditation Club has helped me delve deep, keeping me on track every day.  This combination of Ashram practices is powerful.  It has triggered my interest in the Year-Long Programme.

Everything has happened gradually, one practice leading to another.  After I signed up for Gurudevi’s Year-Long Programme, I began attending her Swami Sundays.  I also started to listen to Gurudevi’s free discourses any time of day, especially when out for a walk.  Everything she says resonates deeply inside.  I get wonderful moments of inner recognition, which is so incredibly blissful.  The depth of these teachings has been helpful in getting me back to Svaroopa® yoga.

This past year, I took a Shaktipat Retreat, the New Year’s Retreat and, most recently, the Yogify Your Life course.  During it, I’ve learned to get to bed at the same time every night.  A regular bedtime has helped me to get up earlier.  Then I can get several practices in during the early hours of the day.  This consistency continues to give me a better understanding of my capital-S Self.

I notice that how I am in relationships is shifting.  I have a greater awareness of how I’m interacting with people.  I am in a more peaceful and centered state.  I am trying to see everyone as Shiva.  I can witness my mind, especially when it goes into a judging and comparing mode.  Instead of getting caught up in thoughts, I try to bring myself back to mantra.  I come back home to my Self.

Overall, I have a greater awareness of so many things in my life.  My progress through the poses is changing how I stand.  Now I can bring my head in line with my spine.  I am no longer in the future.  Rather, I am in my own Presence.  When I am in the “doing” mode during activities, I now can choose my state.  The openings I’ve gotten from vichara sessions and mantra repetition have been incredibly powerful.  These practices are deeply infused with Guru’s Grace.  They continually open me up to my inner Self.  I am so grateful.

So Close, Yet So Far

By Satguru Swami Nirmalananda

You know the feeling so well — it’s not time yet.  I felt that way near the end of my senior year in high school, nearly done and yet going to school every morning.  And that ninth month of pregnancy lasts much more than four weeks, right? 

Here we are again.  They tell us that the COVID-19 vaccines will be available for everyone in the USA within 5 weeks.  It might take a little longer to get them all distributed, but life is certainly going to change soon.  When?  We don’t know.  How?  We don’t know.  What do you want it to be?  You probably don’t know that either.

Ideally, your yoga taught you how to be good at “I don’t know.”  You’ve experienced it when doing a yoga class or set of poses.  You simply don’t know how your body is going to be until you get into the flow of it.  Ditto for meditation.  When you sit, you don’t know what’s going to happen inside.  All you know is that, by the end, you’ll be better.  Guaranteed.  What an amazing guarantee this is!

I’m treasuring these last few weeks of cocooning.  It’s a precious time with dear ones.  For me, I’ve been cocooned with five more swamis.  It’s been an amazing way to deepen their process, especially in the first year since they took sannyasa initiation.  We just have a few days more.  It’s so sweet.

I can feel the undercurrents, subtle stirrings that will blossom forth with the spring.  Our first crocus popped out today.  More are on the way.  Similarly, our first group of yogis came in for a retreat last week.  Masked and distanced, we had an incredible time — deep and profound, fun and bliss-filled.  Another group comes in a couple of weeks.  Yep, the momentum is starting to build.

But it’s not time yet.  It’s close, so close… but not today.  Maybe not tomorrow or the next day.  So what do you do?  Live in the present.  The future will come whether you want it to or not.  Be here now.

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation

How do you understand something that is so powerful, yet easy?  It’s like Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation defies the laws of the universe — if something is powerful, it’s supposed to be hard and take a long time to master.  And if something is easy, it’s not going to work well nor will it last.  But Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation works well, will last your whole life long, is powerful and easy.  

The only way you can understand is to try it.  So we want you to give it a whirl!  But first we have to entice you in, so we’ve written these short descriptions to get you interested.  They describe what you will get when you meditate with us.

These are taglines, which can be used by Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation teachers to make themselves easy to find, for there are millions of people looking for a better pathway to meditation.  We can help you find your Self.

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Open to Inner Bliss

Experience the Bliss of your own Beingness in meditation.  The sophisticated tools of Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation give you easy access to the deeper dimensions within.  

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Deep & Easy

Plunge into the vast inner realms of your own Divine Essence.  No inner struggle, no patience needed.   Do it the way the sages of India have done for thousands of years.  It works as well today as it did then.

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Reveals Your Divine Essence

Discover what’s hidden within, the eternal dimension of your own being.  Follow in the footsteps of a Meditation Master, one who lives in the knowing of her own Divine Light.  Do what she did to get what she got – the experience of your own Divine Essence.

Learn more