Monthly Archives: November 2013

Luxuriating in the Gratitude, by Swamiji

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On the day after the orgy of gratitude that is our national holiday, I am grateful for the Thanksgiving holiday itself.  I am deeply grateful to see and feel the world slow down a bit. Even in their rush to go see loved ones, there’s another motivator under the hurry.  Even in the early morning lines for Black Thursday, the gratitude they formally celebrated the day before still leaves an imprint on their heart – a perfect introduction to the holiday spirit that infects the airwaves and even people’s hearts. 

These are sweet times every year, the shortening of the days, the cuddle-into-your-covers nights, the choosing to slow down a bit.  That’s one of the reasons I left southern California:  there are no snow days.  They don’t know how to turn the switch off.  That took me a long time to learn, too.

It snowed.  The afternoon before Thanksgiving, it came drifting down outside my window for a couple of hours.  Two miles away, at Downingtown Yoga it was wet and rainy, but this hillside home got big puffy flakes.  It melted on contact, making it all rather easy — beauty without the hassle.  Another thing to be grateful for.

Today I’m still luxuriating in the gratitude.  Now that I think about it, that’s every day for me, for I revel always in what my Guru gave me – a gift beyond comparison, the gift of Self.  It was the only thing I ever wanted.  And now he lets me serve Him by serving you.  Thank you for wanting the only thing I ever wanted.  It gives us a starting point, a common cause, something you’ve said matters to you too. It’s really easy to make progress — just do more yoga!

swamiji

Thank you to the many of you who sent me birthday gifts, over $1,500 in donations to honor the day I was born into this world.  I must say I enjoyed this birthday more than any in the last few decades – the bliss is growing!

Our Thanksgiving fundraiser has already achieved $15,330 in financial offerings, but we only have one more week to go – Click here to send your gift, or to send your heart photo for our slide show and poster.

With love and blessings, Swami Nirmalananda

SVA Consolidation FAQs

swami

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati

1. How will the consolidation affect my Shishya Membership?

Click here to read the answer.

2. Will I have less, or limited access to my Guru?

Click here to read the answer.

3. Are there any new discounts, initiatives, or incentives for Shishya members, such as the one’s discussed at the conference for MYF courses?

Click here to read the answer.

4. I am concerned that the teachings will be “watered down” now that so many people with diverse interests in Svaroopa are involved.

Click here to read the answer.

5. Is Swamiji going back to teaching asana?

Click here to read the answer.

6. Will there be opportunities to stay at the Ashram?

Click here to read the answer.

7. What about permanent resident opportunities?

Click here to read the answer.

8. Will having so many people with such diverse interests “lessen” the Shakti, or dilute it somehow?

Click here to read the answer.

9. I am concerned that there will be less access to courses and retreats…will there be room to accommodate everyone?

Click here to read the answer.

10. Will Swamiji return to teaching and writing about the Guru Gita now that MYF and SVA are consolidating?

Click here to read the answer.

11. How will Swamiji be able to manage all the details that come with a larger consolidated organization?

Click here to read the answer.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h

2 Thank Yous: for Monthly Donors and from a Board Member

Namaste Poster

NEW! Monthly Donor Gift – see info below…
Send us a photo of your hands for our online gallery (to jennifer@masteryoga.org), include your name and zip code.

by Peter Gallagher, Board Member

Thirteen years ago I went to a local massage therapist to relieve the tension and feeling of compression I had in my back. At the conclusion of the appointment, he told me that he was unable to tell the difference between muscle and bone in my body. He sent me to Tarlika Margery Anderson for a class in Svaroopa® Yoga.

After three classes I went to a weekend workshop given by Rama Berch. Rotated stomach pose required her personal touch to get the apparent 90 degree angle just right. The power of asana for me was the relief of my physical pain. The unexpected bonus was the relief of my mental and emotional pain.

Asana remains the steadiest, most reliable easiest practice for me. Yet something “more” continues to show up. I experience the Self in my family, work and casual relationships. I am more open, trusting and joyful.

It is natural for me to be thankful at this time of year. I was born on Thanksgiving. A few years ago I began making small, safe monthly donations to Master Yoga because I was thankful for what I had received. Sometime later, I thought I could be a little more thankful and I increased my monthly donation.

Peter

Peter in Anjali Mudra
Send us a photo of your hands for our online gallery (to jennifer@masteryoga.org), include your name and zip code.

Two years ago I was asked to do seva. I agreed and promptly put it off for a year. Last year I joined the Master Yoga Foundation Board because I was thankful for the gifts I had been given. This year’s increased monthly commitment of time and money has propelled me into fears. As promised the container has gotten larger. I can be present even during a storm. The unexpected benefit is a growing sense of community and gratitude.

I invite you to participate in your own experiment. Make a one-time or a monthly financial gift from the abundance of what you have received from your asana practice. Increase your current gift to sustain and grow this practice for others. Sit back and observe how your gift continues to give to you.

Click Here to Give a Gift From Your Heart!

Hands & Hearts – irresistible!

Your photos are irresistible!  The online slide show gets a little longer every day, but you lose track of time watching it, so it doesn’t matter.  Time doesn’t count if you’re not counting it.

Now we’re making it into a poster, to say thank you for your donation at this Thanksgiving time. New monthly donors will receive a free 16”x20” poster of many yogis’ hands in Anjali Mudra, with Swamiji’s hands in the center (at the “heart” of the poster).  If you are already a monthly donor, simply increase your monthly gift and you will receive this wonderful thank you – our “Namaste” poster.

Choose any category for your gift, dedicated to supporting meditation programs (SVA) or asana programs (MYF), our Ganeshpuri Music School or a general donation that empowers the Board to determine where your generosity will best serve.  Click here to make a donation – choose “monthly” instead of “one-time”, and set up the amount you desire by changing the “quantity.”

Swamiji

Swami Nirmalananda’s hands

Thank you for your heart-felt practice of yoga.  That’s what makes serving you such a pleasure for us!

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h

Downingtown Yoga & Meditation Center – Upcoming FREE Events & More

downingtownSaturday Nov 23, Free Newcomer Classes
Choose to come at 1:30 or 3:30 pm (or you can even take both classes)

Enjoy a free class while you help us train our new teachers!  They’ve been studying for over a year and are now teaching under the supervision of one of our grads – come and let them show you their stuff.  Come and let them show you how easy it is to change your body, calm your mind and open your heart.  Click here to reserve or call us at  610.644.7555.

Sunday November 24, Swami Sunday (FREE)

Join us for our last meditation program in 2013, led by Swami Nirmalananda just before she leaves for her annual India retreat.  A morning full of chanting, chai, great conversation and profound teachings – culminating in a sweet and deep meditation.

8:30-10:00 am – “Srii Guru Gita
10:30 am – 12:15 pm — Satsang with Swami Nirmalananda

Private Yoga Therapy

A great way to fit your yoga into a busy holiday schedule, pick your time and reap the benefits of many yoga classes in just one hour.  Devaraja, Kanchan and Sarvataa will work with you to make immediate changes in the way you feel, as well as to give you easy things you can do at home for yourself.

Holiday Special
$55.00 per session through December 12 2013

Jan 24-26, Shaktipat Retreat with Swami Nirmalananda

“An experience of my Self at a depth I didn’t even know was possible. I feel truly blessed to have had that time with Swamiji and my fellow yogis.” – Theresa Reynolds

Receive the initiation that Swami Nirmalananda is known for:  the awakening of your own potential to know your own Divinity.  A Kundalini master, Swamiji has been empowered to give you this boost into cosmic consciousness, a tangible experience of the Reality Within.  Let her open you up to you.

Seeing, Caring and Sharing by Rudrani Nogue, Board Member

Rudrani

Rudrani in Anjali Mudra
Send us a photo of your hands in Anjali Mudra (prayer position). Please include your name and zip code. We’ll add your heart-full hands to our online gallery – click the picture above to see it as it grows

A Yogic Heart is big and open because it is filled from our inner infinite Source. A Yogic Heart provides us with an opportunity to live our lives with an expanded capacity to see, care and share.  We are able to see people and situations at a deeper level and to understand what is really going on. A Yogic Heart allows us to care about ourselves, and to share with and support others in an easier and bigger way.  A yogic Heart keeps you engaged in your life without becoming caught in the drama of your life.

I learned at a very young age to do whatever was expected of me. For decades I did whatever I felt I “should” do, by going through the motions, but my Heart wasn’t in it. I was pretending and I wasn’t being who I really am. In hindsight, I realize living this way separated me from my Heart, including my inherent joy and my ability to sing. It made life much harder than it needed to be.

Through practicing the Svaroopa® Sciences and through the Grace of the Guru, I have found joy, my singing voice and my Yogic Heart. As this Svaroopa® path and practices have so generously been shared with me, I joyfully and gratefully share them with our Svaroopa® community and beyond.

Some ways I gladly share my Yogic Heart’s growing capacity are by chanting daily, supporting students in and after class, supporting students to become teachers,  co-hosting weekend workshops, leading group meditations as seva, co-editing “Tadaa!”, serving on the SVA Board and supporting the Svaroopa® sciences through monthly donations.

The ways that I am able to see, care and share now would not have been possible without uncovering my Yogic Heart. And, as I recognize and honour my true Heart I also recognize and honour the true Heart of others.

On this path your yogic Heart is ever expanding in its capacity to see, care and share. I invite you to show your caring through a generous donation, supporting our teacher and the Svaroopa® path.

What is a Yogic Heart? by Amala (Lynn) Cataffi, SVA Board President

Amala

Amala in Anjali Mudra
Send us a photo of your hands in Anjali Mudra (prayer position). Please include your name and zip code. We’ll add your heart-full hands to our online gallery – click the picture above to see it as it grows!

For me, a yogic heart is an ongoing love affair with Grace. That flow of Grace is the essence of Svaroopa® yoga. I have chosen to partake of all of the limbs of yoga that the Svaroopa® sciences offer: asana, meditation, seva, and gladly, boldly, into the deepest teachings of all.  Whether you choose any or all of these limbs, the Grace is always showering you and aiding your personal process. My love affair is expressed outwardly through my giving (dakshina) and my giving back (seva).

During the last India trip this was so vivid for me. We had just finished the Maha Abishek at the Nityananda temple. This ancient ritual honors Nityananda as a form of the Divine – the formless in form. As a Board member, I helped perform the ceremony, but I had a strong sense that the experience was not about me.  It was not even for me, but was about giving and service.

When we left, we were given fruit and flowers that had been on the huge murti (enlivened statue) of Nityananda during the ceremony. There were 2 Indian women outside who had obviously not eaten well in some time, and I gave them the fruit, even though I secretly wanted it. Immediately, I was propelled into a state of peace and love that I had never before known or experienced. It was so overwhelmingly beautiful that I could almost not move or speak! I could have stood there in bliss all day!

Every time I donate money or time, I open myself further to that flow.  It does not always manifest in such a “POW!!” experience, but giving is something that opens you up like nothing else… Talk about core opening!

Come and share the experience of a deeper core opening than you have ever known. Give to support that which has given YOU so much to be thankful for!

In service and gratitude…Amala

Click Here to Give a Gift From Your Heart!

Changes in YTT/ATT Courses – by Swami Nirmalananda

Two days after Teacher Training programs were consolidated under the Ashram, our first program began — Foundations Review, leading to YTT Level 1.  I knew the “Sakti[1] shift would affect the students, so I had to set up a system that would make it seamless.  It’s like the astronauts blasting off from Earth; how do you subject them to all those G-forces and still make it easy?  That’s what Grace does: makes the hard easy.  That’s my job description.

The challenge was that I couldn’t add more teachings nor remove any poses, not if I wanted them to get the comprehensive education that a Svaroopa® yoga teacher needs.  What could I do?  I wove japa into their day in two short segments, one before lunch and one before dinner.  Five minutes of out-loud mantra repetition together, honoring your own Divine Self by repeating the mantra…  It’s been amazing!

I also added a daily candle ceremony (arati). At the course opening, we honor the Divine Light within each student as well as in the Masters of our lineage.  One of the Teacher Trainers performs this traditional ceremony during the course opening mantras.  It only takes about 90 seconds but it transforms the room and everyone in it.

We also open with an arati every morning, with the YTT students getting the chance to sign up and learn how to do this.

Reports on How the Changes Are Working

Mandy Dixon

Mandy Down’s hands in Anjali Mudra

Teacher Trainer Vidyadevi Stillman says, “I have noticed that the practice of japa before meals helps the students in a number of ways. If stuff comes up in the classroom or in their lives (hearing from family and friends from home), they handle it with more ease and Grace. They are experiencing more equanimity — mentally, emotionally, and physically. There is a new level of support for the internal process they go through, the inner clearing of the stuff that gets in their way.  They are more inwardly settled. It’s truly amazing to see them completing their japa before their meal, and sitting with hands together in Anjali Mudra. They keep their hands much longer at their hearts and sit longer in their own Self all day!”

“The japa pulls them away from whatever they are caught up in as we approach their meal breaks,” describes Teacher Trainer Karobi Sachs. “They are caught up in their bodies or minds — engaging with a new, challenging pose, worrying ‘Can I do this?’ Japa pulls them back to the Self so easily, so quickly!

“After the Newcomers Class, our group went out to eat at a local restaurant and one person asked, ‘Shall we do Japa before the meal?’ It was clear that these practices are beneficial and meaningful to them! It’s nice for us Teacher Trainers to do japa before lunch and dinner, too, to also settle into ourSelves.

“In the mornings, the arati to our Guru photos and murtis brings a cohesiveness to our day’s practices in a new way. I’ve heard students say that their meditations are much deeper, and they are getting so much out of the chanting and meditation.

Many have told me, ‘I’m really enjoying the meditation; it’s really working for me.’ In the most recent training, they saw Nirmalananda on the first day, instead of closer to the middle of training as in the past. I could see that her presence shifted them/settled them deeply from the start.”

Prakash (DavId) Falbaum took the recent YTT Level 2, and he recalls, “As I drove into the Exton parking lot, it literally felt like driving up to the Ashram. I could feel that same flow of Grace, now at Exton. I began my week with Vidyadevi’s “Deeper, Deeper” Half-Day Workshop. Through my 10 days of training that followed, the biggest thing I noticed personally was a change in how I handled my resistance. When I hit resistance, I didn’t care; every time I hit my resistance, I expected to get upset, but I didn’t. I was able to deal with it and stay internal. I feel that has a lot to with the flow of Grace.

“For example, after working on Navasana most of one morning, I couldn’t just muscle through it. I finally had to use my abs, and I needed extra props. Normally I resist extra props, which I had to accept from Vidyadevi. In the past I would have gotten angry at myself. But this Level 2 had an atmosphere that was so very light. I just accepted where I was, and moved through the process. Also, I found that four hours of sleep per night was enough, and didn’t get tired.

“It was wonderful to see Swamiji three times instead of twice as in Level 1. With the MYF-SVA Consolidation she has the freedom to visit and offer teachings in programs more easily. I can see they will just get better when they become residential.”

This Stuff Works – in a Wonderful New Way

With the “bookends” of japa and arati happening morning, noon and night, no one ever gets far away from their own Self.  The bootcamp approach to Teacher Training, so well known in every Western style of yoga, has been softened.  It’s a warm-hearted approach, a deep-hearted approach, a tail-lengthening and core opening way of learning core opening.  The interweaving and consistency, outside and inside, is a true joy to behold — tangible in the eyes and the breath of the teachers-in-training.  They’re a whole new breed.


[1]   Pronounced shak-ti; this is the Sanskrit transliteration form I’ve been using for the last three years as it is computer friendly and easy on the eyes.  Read more about the Velthius transliteration here.