Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Yogic Heart: Steady Through The Storm by Bob Nogue, Board Member

Bob Nogue

Bob 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!

I’m not a sailor, but an image comes to mind for me: a number of boats on a stormy sea, the winds are swirling around them and the waves are buffeting them about in all directions.  As the storm intensifies, they are reassured by seeing the beacon of a lighthouse at their home port in the distance.  They make adjustments to sail or rudder, knowing that they will reach safe harbour at the end of their journey.  As such, they don’t need to worry about where they are going; they just allow the beacon to guide them and enjoy the ride.  A Yogic Heart is like the beacon of that lighthouse.  It leads us to the Self and can guide the choices that we make every day as we navigate our way in the world.

I have a personal experience that shows me the power of the Yogic heart.  About 12 years ago, I was in need of some change in my life.  My corporate role involved extensive travel, long hours, numerous business challenges and a boss who motivated others through abuse and humiliation.  Despite all this, the role was rewarding from a career point of view, as I was learning a great deal and the financial rewards supported our family well.  I didn’t know how I was going to change, but I knew that this was killing me and my relationship with my family.

Grace supported me to get very clear about what I wanted in the rest of my life – I got my first lighthouse!  From there, an amazing set of circumstances unfolded over the next six months. I gained the clarity to recognize an opportunity for change that I would have considered a naïve pipe dream a few months before.  However, once I got out of the way and trusted Grace, this opportunity enabled my transformation to a whole new career that is fulfilling and provides very amply for our family needs.

Swami has supported many new and brighter lamps being installed in my personal lighthouse, each one providing clarity and direction that is better defined.  Regardless of the intensity of the storm, the beacon is visible.

Svaroopa® Yoga strengthens the output of your personal lighthouse, which is really your Yogic Heart.  Your donation creates the opportunity for Swami Nirmalananda’s teaching to reach you – which will increase the output from your personal lighthouse; thus your gift supports you and many others to feel steady through any storm.  The rewards are priceless.

Click Here to Give a Gift From Your Heart!

A Yogic Heart: Giving and Giving Back by Saguna Goss, Board Member

Saguna

Saguna 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!

Svaroopa® Yoga has given me so much.  It has cured my lower back pain, given me walking lessons, taught me how to breathe, slowed down my busy mind, given me inner peace and calm and so So SO much more.  Out of deep gratitude, I try to “pay my debt” and give back for what I have received. I offer seva and donations to the organizations that make this yoga available to me.  But I have come to realize that it is a loosing battle – I will never pay off my debt.

First, how can I ever repay for the endless priceless gifts of Svaroopa® Yoga?   Second, giving back in the form of seva and donations just gives me more of the fruits of Svaroopa® Yoga.  The tag line should be “Giving and giving back, and giving and giving back, and giving and…”

I had a sweet and profound experience of this relationship between the giving and the giving back at the Ashram’s Diwali program last weekend.  Swamiji was explaining how traditionally people offer a financial gift to Lakshmi on this celebration.  So I thought it would be nice to give a small $5 donation.  And then the fear came up!  Could I really afford this gift?  I am in between jobs right now and don’t know when I’ll find my next reliable source of income.  While it was only $5 my mind was afraid of letting go of this precious and limited resource.

Then something in me shifted and I decided that giving this donation was more important than anything else I could spend $5 on.  I knew where my priority was.  I wanted to give back to the source that has given me so much.  And as I decided to give the donation, a layer of crusty fear around my heart melted and my heart opened up both physically and energetically.  My mind became quiet and my heart overflowed with gratitude.  All of this from a $5 donation.  Amazing!  And here again I found myself giving back, while the act of giving back was giving me even more!

The relationship of giving and giving back is beautiful and sweet.  My experience is that we can only gain from it!  So please join me in making a donation as a token of appreciation for all that Svaroopa® Yoga has given us and for all that it will give us.

Click Here to Give a Gift From Your Heart

If I Could Live Next Door – by Swami Nirmalananda

 

swami

I often think how wonderful it would be if I could live next door to you.  There’d be an ease to the day’s activities, with a neighborly support and maybe a bit more.  We’d wave from our driveways or from our kitchen windows. You might share a cup of tea with me on some mornings; we might talk of consciousness into the night periodically.  I created the Year-Long Programmes to make up for the distance between your home and mine.

In the busy-ness of life, I know you cannot easily add a “course” to your week, so I tried to avoid the college course model.  Instead of creating deadlines or exams, I’ve built a program that reaches into your home and into your life, to make your yoga real — to make your Self tangible.

Recently a yogini told me, “I want to study with you more.”  She didn’t want to move in to the Ashram and she was very clear that she didn’t want to take any immersion courses.  So I explained about the Year-Long Programme now getting underway, but her eyes glazed over.  You know that glaze if you’ve spent any time around teenagers; it is a turned off, tuned out, “I’m not getting what I want” look.  Except that what she wants is found in that course!  So I thought I could at least tell you about my design for these programs — why I created this format for you.

Every Guru has a special group meeting, for those who have been studying the longest.  It’s usually a weekly meeting, in person, often in the Guru’s office or bedroom, to discuss subtle points or even current news.  To find the yoga in the yoga.  To find the yoga in life.  It’s a rare and precious opportunity to participate in such groups!

Because I have been serving a widespread community for more than 20 years, I wanted to create the same intimacy, but use technology to dissolve the miles between us.  I also wanted to throw the entry doors wide open, so people could pick their participation level depending on their time and finances.  My plan was to get the Grace in and under your skin, and the teachings so interwoven in your life that you begin to breathe yoga.  For that, frequency is the key!

I knew that weekly might be too much for your schedule, so I opted for 10-day gaps (mostly).  Every 10 days, you get a new communiqué.  First comes an article, usually 5-8 pages of teachings with stories and graphics.  In about ten days, you get an audio recording; it’s like you’re sitting in the room when I’m giving a lecture, except you can press rewind when you want to, and you can listen to it multiple times.  Ten days later we have a group discussion in a conference phone call (not recorded).  Here I ask you questions, so you will describe your experiences and your understandings; I can meet you there and give you a boost to the next level.

It all comes together in the Weekend Workshop near the end of the course.  After studying for months and having such meaningful conversations with your yoga-buddies and me, we gather together for a weekend immersion in the theme.  For me, it’s like starting the program on Day 8 of a 10-day retreat!  Everyone is already so deep:  so deep within their own vastness, and already so deeply bonded with each other at such a profound level.

The retreat is followed by one more article, audio and phone call, smoothing your reentry into a world that you see with new eyes.  The last phone call is so heartwarming, reflecting on all that has been accomplished as well as reveling in the new level you’ve reached — which is the beginning for your next step.

The multiple enrollment levels serve as planned; they give you the ability to choose what works for you.  Perhaps you want only the articles (Option 1).  Or you can add the audios to the articles; this is Option 2.  With the phone calls, you are in Option 3, in the every-ten-day flow with articles, audios and phone calls.  The full enrollment is Option 4 – the whole of it!

I bring this up because, in a few days, you lose Options 3 & 4. I Am Shiva has recently begun, with the first article and first audio already published.  You can still enroll for the whole course, any time before the first phone call, which is Wednesday November 13.  If you miss that date, you may only enroll in Options 1 or 2.  And you’re welcome there, if that level serves you best.

So I’m inviting you to move in next door…  Join me in the “I Am Shiva” course.  Now is the time!

Comings & Goings

With our focus on the prep and presentation of the conference as well as the follow-up, we are catching up in reporting our comings and goings.  The Consolidation still underway means we are building a local staff, who can work together as well as take yoga classes together, based in Downingtown — at Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center.

It is perfect to be announcing our new team during the celebration of Diwali, the beginning of the new year in yoga, as well as the opportunity to thank several dedicated Svaroopis their service.

kim Abplanalp1

Hrdayaa

Thank you to Barbara McCarthy for serving as our Enrollment Advisor after Caroline Kennedy. Unfortunately, Barbara is not able to continue.  Welcome to Hrdayaa Abplanalp, a long-time Svaroopi who has been a leader in the Master Yoga community for over 15 years. Hrdayaa (her-da-YAA) was the first SVA Enrollment Sevite, serving the Ashram in its founding year and beyond, and will now serve you as your new Enrollment Advisor for Teacher Training and yoga programs.  When in doubt, call Hrdayaa!  610.644.7555, extension , or email her at programs@masteryoga.org.

Our local Ashram-Master Yoga staff is expanding, creating a cohesive team who has the luxury of working together on site.  Welcome our new staff members, who have already begun their staff Svaroopa® yoga classes.

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Akima

Akima Redding serves as Enrollment System & Traffic Coordinator for the organization. As the name suggests, she’s our enrollment system expert and is the staff member who processes your SATYA memberships, payment plans, monthly donations and provides clarity in the two systems’ workings. While Traffic Coordinator may call to mind a whistle, stop sign and safety vest, Akima directs the movement of the communications (including this blog!) that you receive on a regular basis, working both with staff as well as sevites to support our continuing commitment to transparency as well as to make Swamiji’s teachings easily available.

As Household Assistant, Nick Duchnesky has joined Ashram Chefs Jen & Chris in the kitchen. He provides them assistance prepping for, serving and cleaning up after meals, grocery shopping and cleaning other areas at the Ashram.

Sarvataa Christie’s name may already be familiar to you as she has been a dedicated Svaroopi and sevite for many years. In addition to her sevas, Enrollment Team and E-Group Moderator, Sarvataa is joining the staff as Personal & Events Assistant. She’s already shined the light of clarity on several areas and relieved Swamiji of several administrative projects as well as helped prepare for several special events.

Our ever-growing Seva Team has expanded with several new sevites, even while we are saying thank you to some who are leaving their positions.

Thank you to Niranjan Matanich who has kept the Downingtown Yoga website up-to-date for the past couple years,  Niranjan continues to coordinate the SATYA Q&A for Swami Nirmalananda, collecting your questions and assisting you with archival information in between the publication dates.  SATYA members, send your questions to questions@masteryoga.org.

We are sorry to see Joanna McNeal leave, as she helped build Master Yoga’s seva program by serving as Seva Coordinator, helping many of you find the right seva spot for you.   It all begins with a questionnaire, where you tell us about your skills and interests, so we can find something that feeds you while you are giving to the Ashram-Master Yoga.  Email seva@masteryoga.org if you would like to offer your time and energy to support this work.

Rudrani Nogue was an Assistant Editor for Tadaa! supervising and editing the SVA articles since its inception in January.   Rudrani continues to serve on the Ashram’s Board of Directors.

The simple word “welcome” does not seem an appropriate word as none of these yoginis are strangers to seva, but are merely stepping into new positions:

Saguna Goss, who serves on Master Yoga’s Board (for many years), is increasing her seva practice with bookkeeping support, Downingtown Yoga website maintenance, and document organization.

marlene

Marlene

Karuna Beaver, who has hosted MYX programs and a Shaktipat retreat in addition to performing on-site seva at the Ashram, is joining the staff of Tadaa! as the Assistant Editor. She’ll be supporting Editor Marlene Gast in planning articles as well as coordinating writers and proofreaders.

Ekamati Tsurutani, a former E-Letter writer, is now supporting bookkeeping by helping organize and file E-documents.

Shanti Catacchio, one of the Svaroopis  who brought you September’s Japathon!, is joining the Community Outreach Team. She’ll be supporting yogis who are signed up to receive communications but are not getting them due to tech obstacles.

Gayatri Hess, another Japathon! sevite, is joining our Communications Team. She’ll be helping typeset the communications like “Spotlight on Your Yoga” and “INSIDE Yoga” that you receive in your emails.

While we know that comings and goings are part of life, it’s a little like bittersweet chocolate – to say thank you and goodbye to those who are departing for various reasons, and welcoming so many staff and sevites in new positions.  This last two months have been a whirlwind of “Sakti!  Consolidation makes things hum!  As the year winds down, we’ll be finalizing our internal systems and getting everything ready to serve you in 2014!  We plan to serve many, especially with the Discounts in our 2014 Initiatives!

A Yogic Heart: Living in Continual Gratitude, by Swami Nirmalananda

1311 Diwali Lakshmi pujaWe celebrated Diwali yesterday at Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center.  The hundred or more candle flames gave off so much heat that we had to turn on the air conditioning!  Surrounded by such scintillating light, each yogi began to glow with their own inner light, more and more as I explained about the Divine Gift of Abundance.  Termed Lakshmi in Sanskrit, and honored as a beautiful Goddess, Lakshmi is the energy of abundant blessings, the givingness that makes you want to share.

At the satsang, I spoke about the earth, who we call “Mother Earth.“  Ideally you plant things at the right time, and even place the seed or bulb in the earth at the right depth and with the right end pointing up, but She is so giving (and forgiving) that everything grows, even when you get it wrong.  Then, when a tree or bush bursts into bloom, the giving forth of flowers is Lakshmi.  The fruits, grains, beans and veggies are all Lakshmi’s gift to us – not only to humans, but to feed all the creatures of the Earth.  This is why the harvest festival in India is dedicated to Her.  A time to say thank you.

This is also why we ask for your financial support at this time of year – to say thank you.  We say thank you to you for your interest in yoga.  You can say thank you to us for the yoga offerings we bring to you.  Gratitude is part of the relationship.  If you weren’t interested in Svaroopa® yoga or meditation, I would have no one to share these amazing teachings with!  If I wasn’t supported by such fantastic Teacher Trainers and administrative staff, I couldn’t offer such an array of programs.  And if we didn’t come together to make those programs available, you wouldn’t have a place to dive in so deep.  There is gratitude in every direction.  A Yogic Heart lives in continual gratitude.

Please contribute to the stream of donations, large and small, coming from many yogis – a stream that supports our non-profit swamijiorganization.  You have options to support MYF programs, SVA programs, Ganeshpuri Music School or our General Fund – you get to choose where your money will go.  Click here to offer your gift of gratitude.

Send us a photo of your hands in Anjali Mudra (prayer position).  We’ll add your heart-full hands to our online gallery – click here to see it as it grows!

 

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h