Monthly Archives: June 2014

India Retreat: Travel Tips by Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Priya Kenney

Priya Kenney

When you decide to go to India, what preparations come first — and soon? Even now is not too early to obtain or renew your passport, if needed; apply for your visa; and decide which of the recommended immunizations are appropriate for you. For more advice, I called Priya Kenney, and she offered tips based on her 2013 India trip with Swamiji.

First, fly with the group. You will, of course, book your own India flight. However, Priya says, “Flying with the group is a very sweet way to establish retreat community starting at the boarding gate.”

Book your flight as soon as possible. For our group flight, book the United flight number on the Retreat web page for the February 7th departure date. That flight lands you in Mumbai in time for the Retreat start on February 9th. Recalling her 2013 flight, Priya says, “It was great to see ‘pods of yogis’ sitting together throughout our svaroopa plane! Then sitting together to await flight connections in Europe — even just charging our phones together — cultivated camaraderie, with the sweet shared sense of being fellow travelers on a pilgrimage.”

If you will fly from your home to Newark, Priya advises planning for generous time between any connecting flights. She says, “International travel can take more time than you’d expect. You need plenty of time after landing in Newark to get to the gate for our group flight on United Airlines. You also need plenty of time between any connecting flights to Newark, for weather delays etc. Also, on international flights, the airline can sometimes close the flight well before the published departure, so arrive at that gate with plenty of time to spare, and plan to enjoy a restful wait, and to do japa!”

One preparation that gave Priya stamina and solace throughout her travels was uploading every one of Swamiji’s chants to her iPod. Priya says, “I listened to them the whole way. Those chants are so full of Grace, and that carried me. Listening to them when I was half falling sleep was especially supportive and soothing.” Besides an iPod, or course, you can upload chants from Swamiji’s CDs to any smart phone, laptop or an iPad. Then all you need are earphones. Just remember your charger!

Regarding packing, Priya says, “I started packing weeks in advance. That way, I experienced so much ease in beginning my trip. That was important for making the transit smoother. I wasn’t exhausted from having to sort through a mountain of last-minute details.”

The point of extra packing time is not about fitting in a great amount of clothing; rather it’s to make effective decisions about what to bring. Even though you’ll be away from home for two weeks, you don’t need to pack much clothing. First, choose your walking shoes; they are very important says Priya. After that, pack essentials but leave ample room for clothing that you’ll be able to buy in Ganeshpuri shops. While you are certainly free to wear Western clothes there, the cut and fabric weight of the traditional salwar kameez are appropriate for every occasion. The Punjabi-style pants (narrow ankles, full knees) and knee-length tunic are comfortable as well as elegant. Priya says that, in her experience, when you purchase a salwar kameez outfit in the US, the neckline can be cut too low and the fabric can be too heavy for the Indian climate, even in February. Yet, for early morning travel in open air vehicles to Nityananda’a Abhishek ceremony, you’ll want a light jacket or a shawl.

For your suitcase, other useful items might be granola bars, a bag of nuts and even protein powder for your blood sugar if that’s an issue for you. Your own mosquito repellent can prove useful, too, until you can buy the local stuff, which Swamiji recommends. However, before you travel, you don’t need to worry about exchanging US dollars for rupees because you can do that easily at the Fire Mountain Ashram upon arrival.

Priya found that the transportation arranged by Iqbal and his crew from the Fire Mountain Ashram from the Mumbai airport to Ganeshpuri was extremely smooth. She says, “After we turned in our forms at the immigration desks, we retrieved our luggage from baggage claim, and it was a short walk through a terminal lobby to the parking lot where Iqbal was waiting for us with his bus. It was quite easy.”

Click here for more information about our February 2015 India Retreat ‑ Ganeshpuri’s Grace.

Click here to support your ashram and your practice.

 

 

2015 Calendar Dates

Your 2015 Calendar Dates are now available! Get ahead and start planning your training for next year.

 

Jan 14-18 ~ EYTS – Top-to-Tail Jan 22-25 ~ DIY: Heart Openers
Jan 28-Feb 4 ~ ATT 262: Yoga Therapy – Treating Pain

Feb 9-19 ~ India Retreat – Ganeshpuri’s Grace
Feb 21-25 ~ Foundations
Feb 22-27 ~ Embodyment in Australia
Feb 27-Mar 1 ~ Yatra to Downingtown Feb 27-Mar 1 ~ Experiential Anatomy in Australia

Mar 6-10 ~ Foundations in Australia
Mar 6-15 ~ YTT Level 2
Mar 10 ~ Year-Long Programme begins
Mar 14-15 ~ Weekend Workshop – Australia
Mar 18-22 ~ YTT Module #1A – Daily Practice
Mar 20-22 ~ Shaktipat Retreat
Mar 25 ~ Yogify Your Life (phone course begins)
Mar 25-Apr 1 ~ ATT 402: Deeper Practice

Apr 11 -16 ~ Embodyment
Apr 17-19 ~ Experiential Anatomy
Apr 23-26 ~ EYTS – Foundations Review
Apr 26-29 ~ EYTS – Deceptive Flexibility

May 1-3 ~ Shaktipat Retreat
May 7-10 ~ DIY: Knots in Your Neck
May 12-17 ~ Foundations
May 19-24 ~ YTT Module #1B – Lower Spinal Release May 29-June 7 ~ Level 4

June 16-19 ~ EYTS – Foundations Review
June 19-28 ~ Level 1

July 7-12 ~ ATT 201: Leading Half Day Workshops
July 14-19 ~ Foundations
July 22-26 ~ YTT Module #1C – Upper Spinal Release
July 28-Aug 2 ~ Meditation Teacher Retreat & Continuing Ed

Aug 5-9 ~ EYTS – Embodyment in Poses
Aug 21-23 ~ DIY: Strength & Flexibility
Aug 28-30 ~ Year Long Program Retreat

Sept 2 ~ Leading A Discussion Group (phone course begins)
Sept 2-6 ~ YTT Module #2A – Abdominals
Sept 11-20 ~ Level 3
Sept 25-27 ~ Shaktipat Retreat
Sept 28-Oct 5 ~ ATT 463: Yoga Therapy: Neck & Shoulders

Oct 10-15 ~ Embodyment
Oct 16-18 ~ Experiential Anatomy
Oct 20-25 ~ Foundations
Oct 23-25 ~ Shaktipat Retreat in Australia
Oct 24-25 ~ Weekend Workshop in Australia
Oct 27-Nov 1 ~ ATT 262: Yoga Therapy: Treating Pain in Australia

Nov 1-5 ~ Retreat with Vichara
Nov 8-15 ~ ATT 403: Lower Spinal Release
Nov 18-22 ~ YTT Module #2B – Backbends

Dec 4-6 ~ Regional Conference – Full Spectrum Yoga

 

*Housing & Meals Rates Apply

When the Guru Received Shaktipat by Priya Kenney

289When the Guru received shaktipat, my future changed dramatically. So did yours.

When the Guru received shaktipat, a spark was lit from a long line of sparks, and it’s sparking still.

When the Guru received shaktipat, her Baba gave her everything, just like she is giving us.

When the Guru received shaktipat, I was 20 years old. Maybe my heart jumped for joy. Maybe a shiver of recognition ran up my spine, Kundalini taking a brief practice run for what was to come many years later.

When the Guru received shaktipat, she wasn’t a Guru and she wasn’t even Rama yet. She was a lot like us. A lost soul getting found. It’s hard to imagine what she must have been like 38 years ago because she is so established in herSelf now. I think she just might have been a lot like us.  Look where she is now.

If you are lucky enough to be near Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center, you might have joined Swamiji to celebrate her Shaktipat Anniversary on Saturday, May 31. I spent my day in contemplation and gratitude for my Guru’s shaktipat and mine and yours. It’s because of her shaktipat that we are all in this together. We were always our big Self, but she is the one who is bringing us the light of that knowing, just like her Baba did for her. She went through it all, just as we are doing now. She can take us there because she walked the path, every step of the way. Jaya Guru OM.

My India Trip, February 2013 – Jyoti (Rebecca) Yacobi

Jyoti with Swamiji

Jyoti with Swamiji

Soon after the announcement of “The Trip of a Lifetime to India” came out, I was visiting the Ashram and Swamiji asked me if I was going. I had felt a tug in my heart as soon as I knew about this holy pilgrimage. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go?! But my mind came up with very “sound” reasons why I could not go — my work schedule, my family obligations, the difficulty of the long distance travel etc. etc.

Yet Swamiji had planted a seed when she asked me that question. Grace softened my mind to the infinite possibilities unfolding. Within a month, I was booking the trip, planning how to take three weeks off work, and going to India.

Indeed, it was a life-changing experience. India is the epitome of contradictions. The sights, the sounds, the smells, and the colors of India are imbued with the extremes and paradoxes of life itself: Tantra in action, with spirituality woven in the sounds of cell phones ringing, dogs barking, incense burning, children laughing, and bells ringing at Nityananda’s temple. Ganeshpuri — the home of the Svaroopa® Yoga and Meditation lineage, Bhagavan Nityananda and Swami Muktananda — is the quintessential India.

I am so grateful to have gone on that trip to Ganeshpuri. The experience of a spiritual pilgrimage is more than any other voyage. It is not just sightseeing, although we visited many sights. It is not just spiritual practices, although we did lots of those. It is all that and so much more. Spending precious time with Swamiji, as she guided us through the spiritual practices, was a great gift. What could be more valuable than the time spent with the Guru, especially in a place where her Guru comes from?

Swamiji helped us integrate our experiences with daily Sri Guru Gita chants, satsangs, and asana classes, while we also attended Abhishek (ritual bathing ceremony) to Nityananda, Muktananda’s ashram and many little temples.

One morning after visiting the Nityananda temple, I entered a small Shiva temple right next to the central Nityananda temple. I walked down a few steps into a stone structure and felt the cool air emanating from the stones. A vortex of gravitational energy pulled me in; a whirl of energies began spiraling within me, Shiva performing a cosmic dance within the inner realms of my being, Infinity housed within this body, my body. How lucky and fortunate I was to be with Swamiji and other yogis on that day, to integrate this experience during a deep meditation.

On another day, we were blessed to have a Vedic fire ceremony. It felt as if I were immersed in another dimension, beyond this time and space. It was absolutely amazing!

Swamiji told us stories, led us through chants and meditations, shared meals with us, guided us with so much love and compassion.

Today, the internal shifts from that trip are continuing to resonate in me beyond the physical and tangible. The subtle, continuing effects of the trip can be best summarized with the following words:

Shiva’s cosmic dance
Manifesting within me
Every cell is alive
It is exhilarating and overwhelming
The mind blazing with light
Absorbed in the vast ocean of stillness
Merging into infinity
Or is it infinity opening in me?

The Guru opening doors
I float in the inner realms of my Being
Knowing what I have always known
Remembering, not forgetting
“You are Shiva, my child,
You are That”
Silence abounds within me
As I open my eyes in this realm

To register to to learn more about India 2015: Ganeshpuri’s Grace, click here.

Taglines (Installment #4)

Svaroopa® Yoga: Yoga Made Easy

flowerSvaroopa® yoga uses a scientific approach to vibrant health and vitality, opening you to profound experiences of your own Divine nautre. Discover how easy it is to feel better.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Getting Your Body Back

flower4Svaroopa® yoga works by decompressing your spine – opening your core. You do more yoga, you feel better. You do even more yoga, you feel even better. Old familiar pains and negativities disappear. You get a new body and a new you, all at the same time.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Hit the Reset Button

flower3Your natural state is one of ease, health and enthusiasm. If that doesn’t describe how you feel today, it’s time to hit your reset button. Svaroopa® yoga takes you beyond “restorative yoga” through powerful practices that easily reinstate your inherent vitality and joy.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Multiple Levels

flower2The 21st Century is an age of anxiety, affecting your ability to love, cry and laugh.  Svaroopa® yoga poses decompress your spine, simultaneously freeing your body and multiple levels within. You discover a profound experience of Consciousness that heals you on all levels.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Deprogramming & Reprogramming

flower5Your body and mind need an upgrade! Svaroopa® yoga does this. First you learn to relax deeply. Next you learn to breathe. Then you unravel core tensions and discover your own essence that awaits you — inside. It’s all part of learning a new way to live!

Why India with Swamiji? by Sheynapurna (Sandy) Peace

India_ Sheynapurna 2

Sheynapurna (Sandy) Peace in Ganeshpuri

I had the good fortune to be staying at the Ashram when the 2013 India trip was announced. Part of me wanted to go, but my good friend Fear reared up her head and helped Mind think up many reasons why I shouldn’t go. Sitting at the dining room table with Swamiji, I expressed some of my fears. Swamiji looked at me, gave me what I can only call “that” look and then shared several reasons why it might be important for me to take that trip.

I no longer remember the reasons I was given. What I remember most of all was looking at Her, sitting there at the table with Her, and realizing the gifts I would receive being with Her in India. Is that Grace? All I know is that my fears began to look pitiful. Was I actually worrying about a lack of toilet paper? Really? Cobras? I live in southern California, have hiked all over the back country hills and have encountered dozens of rattlesnakes….I never saw even one snake in India, much less a cobra, and toilet paper was readily available.   Would I rather sit home with my fears or see India with my Guru?

In exchange for letting my fears lie low, I got to meet the people of Ganeshpuri, so many devotees of Nityananda or Muktananda all populating one town. I sat in Nityananda’s temple, meditated in His bedroom. I got to visit Muktananda’s (now Gurumayi’s) ashram and sit in the garden by the mango tree where Muktananda gave satsang. We met the temple Brahmin priests so many times that they recognized us on the streets of Ganeshpuri. On our last morning at Nityananda’s Temple, one of the priests told me that all of the people who come to Ganeshpuri were personally invited by Nityananda. He said this, looked at me closely and said, “You must come back again. You are most welcome here”.

I will return to Ganespuri with Swamiji this coming February, to spend this special time with my Guru, Swami Nirmalananda, and share the delight of the local people in Her visit to their city. I hope to share this precious time with you!

To register or learn more information about India 2015: Ganeshpuri’s Grace, click here.