Monthly Archives: May 2016

Grace-full Reciprocal Relationship

carolyn_beaverBy Karuna Beaver, SVA Board Member

You may have been an active volunteer throughout your life. You’re a yogi, a good person, helping others. You’ve volunteered for schools, churches, community organizations, giving of your time and giving of yourself. You do good, you feel good.

But until I began doing seva for the Ashram and for my Guru, I didn’t fully appreciate the Divine nature of volunteering. I didn’t realize that seva was a spiritual practice because I didn’t fully understand the reciprocal nature of the relationship. I didn’t fully understand the source of the support that opened the door inside, Grace. I receive support. I give support. I am participating in a reciprocal relationship.

Where is the source of Grace? It is the Guru, and lineage from which she teaches. When the Grace of this lineage begins to permeate your life and shine its light into every corner, you are inspired to give back to its source. You begin to understand that the source of the Grace that has opened the door to your own Self is the Guru.

IMG_20160205_205505.jpgWhen you really identify the source from which it’s all coming, it works even better. A Guru’s life story revolves around their sadhana, or spiritual path. Just as Muktananda did before her, Swami Nirmalananda has invested her body, heart, wallet and intellect so that you can do as little or as much as you want. You can feel this support in your own practices. It’s the result of Swami Nirmalananda’s own deep and profound study and practice. She is the originator of the Svaroopa® Sciences, and yet will tell you that everything she received came from her Guru, Swami Muktananda.

I still feel good about the seva I do for my Guru. But more importantly, I realize that I don’t do seva to feel good. I offer seva to be in relationship with my Guru, the source of Grace. I offer seva as part of my own sadhana. When I let go of my focus on the results of my seva, I feel the Grace, the source of my support.

Many of the sevites who made calls to Svaroopis in our first-ever phone-a-thon feel the same way. Having called many Svaroopis as part of our Support = Release fundraiser, Priya (Lori) Kenney says, “I was so grateful for this Divine seva! It made me grateful to be ‘stuck in’ the path. That is a term used in soccer to mean you are fully engaged and really in and on your game, and it seems appropriate here, too. This seva helped me to appreciate my full commitment to this spiritual path.  So grateful to our Guru!”

Sattva (Susan) Daniels says this seva “inspired me to share my story as to why I donate monthly. First, I feel it is important to support the organization that supports me. I give what I can now with the hope that I’ll be able to give more both through seva and monetary means later. As I tell my family when they ask me why I keep teaching and keep supporting the Ashram, I get way more than I give monetarily and time-wise! Because I believe in Swamiji, I support the core organization that brings us Svaroopa® Vidya.”

Support equals release logo _v1The many Svaroopa® Sciences practices offer you support that releases you from your small sense of self and propels you to experience your Divine essence. How will you support the source? Your financial support is crucial to the Ashram’s ongoing offerings, as are your practices, including seva. Please do what you can this spring to support the source that makes your release possible. Support our Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram by clicking Donate, or call 610.644.7555, weekdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Time). Support really does equal release.

Support = Release

PeterGBy Peter Gallagher

Being an accountant, I’m a numbers guy. When I see an equation, I know the two halves can be reversed. Our core Svaroopa® principle, Support Equals Release, sets up an infinite series: support = release = support = release = support = release, and on and on.

In my own practice of Svaroopa® yoga, I look at Support Equals Release from a recipient’s point of view. The releases I received from years of Svaroopa® yoga practice have supported me in a spiritual process, without my seeking it. This process began even before I was conscious of the presence of Guru’s Grace in my life. This support resulted in releasing the best of me into the world. It just happened, supporting those around me including family and clients. All my relationships in the world became easier, effortlessly.

Support equals release logo _v1So my monthly contributions to the Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram come from two sources. First, my automatic monthly contribution stems from my gratitude for the support I have received. My monthly donation is also an expression of the process of releasing my financial fear. I’ve begun to think of the funds spent or saved to satisfy my wants as equivalent to “stuff.” I look at the way I’ve been utilizing money, and I see “stuff” stored in the basement and closets of my mind. This insight supports me in a conscious decision to utilize money better. This decision serves both to release me and to support the Ashram. Here we see Release = Support!

Holding onto money when it’s not needed is like holding your breath for no purpose for a long time. You cut yourself off from a fresh flow of oxygen. Like breath, money is most beneficial when it’s flowing without restriction to serve what is essential to your life.

swamiUltimately, the flow of Guru’s Grace is responsible for the origination of the Svaroopa® Sciences that support us in this community in physical healing and spiritual progress. If you choose to become a teacher, the Svaroopa® Sciences protocols enable you to reliably pass this support to others. During the last 40 years, Swami Nirmalananda has given 32 years in teaching without pay. Yet what is given freely for our benefit is not free of cost.

For the financial health of our Ashram, it’s important for the whole community to contribute at the level that is individually appropriate. Our financial support is essential to sustain the organizational structure of the Ashram, which supports each of us on subtle, personal levels. Please click to make a donation.  Or call 610.644.7555. Monthly donations are particularly effective, because they help SVA budget and plan. For an increase in your monthly donation or a brand new monthly commitment, Swami Nirmalananda will send you her new solo recording of her chanting the mantra, along with japa & meditation instructions.  What a gift!

Reliable Support, Unexpected Release


By Matrika Gast


I signed up for Vidyadevi’s “Pain Sutras” phone course because I wanted to support yoga therapy clients better. One homework assignment included practicing random acts of kindness for 5 days. This course will certainly help me improve the support I offer clients. But, surprisingly, it is also giving me release from emotional and physical pain.

At first, I found that helping a stranger with directions and carrying packages for a friend with back pain gave me a warm sense of connection to them, as they are, and to myself as I am. But in the process I received the support of REALLY seeing who I am. I saw my little self performing these random acts of kindness because it’s homework. Being a good student is what has gotten me through life, so I must do my homework. This is hardly a “random” act of kindness!

As I tracked it deeper, I found that avidya (the not-knowing of myself as Self, as Pure Consciousness) is the root of my needing to be a good student, so I think of myself as a good person. Why do I need to think of myself as a good person?  Under it all is a deep feeling of never being good enough, never really able to do anything right – this is truly avidya.  Feeling the root of my own emotional and physical pain, I can only be with it.  This brings me to Swamiji’s teaching:

To get the “more” that yoga promises, you have to stop moving. Think of it as an adult time-out. — Swamiji & Rukmini

My lifelong compulsion to be a good student and be a good person has driven me to do, do, do, do. But, with this new knowing of the roots of my motivations in life, that compulsion just stops. That’s profound internal release.

Finally, gratefully, I find the sweet, other side of the coin: A random act of kindness acknowledges and quietly celebrates that we are all of the same “kind.” The doing “good” illuminates our kinship in simply being on Earth, in this particular time. I get the feeling that we are all in the same boat of daily needs and concerns. Then I see we are all in — and are — the big boat of Self. Now I know there’s no need to work so hard to build up the trappings of a “good” little self. The Grace of the Guru — revelation — sets me free.

I will continue kindness, and doing seva, out of sweet gratitude, not out of fear of not being good enough. The sudden, surprising sense of peace of mind is priceless.

Time after time such support from Swamiji and our Teacher Trainers (trained by Swamiji) gives me deep, permanent release. There’s nothing like the way that support reaches into the cause of pain, even emotional and physical pain, and just dissolves it. That’s why I donate to Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram, to pay it all forward, to make sure our Ashram has the strongest possible financial forward. Who else in this world has been touched by Swamiji’s teaching? Who will it be tomorrow?

Support equals release logo _v1Let what you have experienced on this path carry you forward in supporting our Ashram sweetly. Arrange for a monthly donation or increase it if you already give in this way. One-time contributions are also deeply appreciated and hugely beneficial.

Please click to make a donation.  Or call 610.644.7555. For an increase in your monthly donation or a brand new monthly commitment, Swami Nirmalananda will send you her new recording, her solo chant of the traditional melody of our meditation mantra.

Relationship Is Reciprocal

carolyn_beaverBy Karuna Beaver

My children grew up watching “Sesame Street” and “Mr. Rogers” on PBS. For our local station’s annual fundraiser, the shows would take a break and cut to their phone bank volunteers taking calls. I remember calling in with my son, and watching as the hosts read our pledge in his name. He was so excited to be helping his favorite — beloved Cookie Monster.

During our spring fundraiser you will have an opportunity to support your favorite — Svaroopa® yoga! We’ll be calling you, on either May 19 or 21. No, you won’t have your pledge read on TV. Instead our phone bank, Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram sevites, will share your Svaroopa® yoga stories in an online chat room, which connects them while they reach out to you. Our fundraiser theme is “Support Equal Release,” and we know you have some astounding stories about the support your yogic practices provides and the release you’ve gotten. We all tell these stories informally, and now we will have a record of them.

These stories are important because they are your stories. Ultimately, this yogic organization is all about you. It’s about how your practice is changing your life. The purpose of Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram is to be in relationship with you, and to offer you the resources supporting your knowing of who you are at your source, at your core. The Ashram is about the relationships you have with your yoga buddies, your teachers and, if you so choose, your Guru. All are vital relationships.

But you might not have realized that these relationships, like all relationships, are reciprocal. As you more fully experience your own essence, you begin to understand the source of the support that opened the door, Grace. Then perhaps you are inwardly moved to offer your support through teaching, seva and financial support. You receive support. You give support. You are participating in a reciprocal relationship.

Support equals release logo _v1So on your call, please reciprocate with a story. We hope you will also donate to the organization that supports your practices and process. We wish our program fees covered all of our expenses, but the truth of the matter is that they don’t. Running a yoga school and Ashram is not a money-making business. It really isn’t a business at all — it’s a non-profit spiritual service organization. And like all non-profits, we rely on donors to keep our doors open.

The hosts of the PBS fundraisers told their audience that their support was critical in keeping their favorite shows on the air. Long ago, my son had a beginning understanding of the relationship he had with the source of his “visits” with Cookie Monster. He promised financial support to the TV station, and they in turn promised to keep bringing him good times with his TV friend.

Your support works in the same way. It is essential in keeping the teachings flowing to you, for your own benefit at the deepest levels. Whether it’s the practices you do, the stories you share or the financial support you offer, your Support Equals the Release of this important source of knowledge and experience. Support equals release. What a beautiful formula for a fulfilling life. What a wonderful way to discover your Self.

Click here to donate.

On Being Free


By Matrika Gast
SVA Board Member

When our Daily E-Quote arrived the other day, it felt like first aid for a bad morning:

When your mind starts up,
the real problem is that
you have lost your“capital-S Self.”
– Swamiji & Vidyadevi

Yet, unlike a Band-Aid, it got right to the root of the problem. I had lost my Self. All of Swamiji’s teachings help me remember how to experience Self within. Then I remember more than a decade of her teachings, in person at trainings and programs, in phone courses, in articles. All, however received, take me inside, past that vocal and limited mind, to the simple and infinite bliss of Divine Essence being me, being everyone and everything. Then my day improves, a lot.

Support equals release logo _v1When I am not in that place, it’s a different story. I used to think of liberation promised by yoga only as an abstract concept. But after years of Swamiji’s Grace-filled teachings, like gentle rain subtly eroding stone, I can see the bedrock that keeps me from living deeply from Self. Strata after strata of stony “neediness” and, yes, “greediness,” have been laid down by avidya, the root of “not knowing myself as Consciousness It-Self.” Ugh. All of a sudden it’s clear that, in certain situations, most unpleasant reactions of hurt and anger arise when I don’t get what I want. Oh, wow! So much for the illusion of equanimity. What a waste of energy, what an ineffective way to live.

Yet I know that eventually this bedrock will be dissolved by the flow of Grace from Swamiji’s presence and teachings pouring onto inward bedrock, opening me to Self. Molecule by molecule, Grace is washing away delusion. It’s not like neediness and greediness are gone; I can see them clearly. But, thankfully, I remember a classroom quote from years ago: “It is the awareness of how you are stuck that makes you recover.” Liberation is now a tangible destination, down this wonderful road.

freebiesI am so looking forward to being free. A host of SVA website Freebies support me on this path. Binge-listening to the audio recordings is a great evening and Saturday pleasure. I love to think of other members of our Svaroopa® Sciences community engaged in the same escape — inside — at the same time. These teachings, which Swami Nirmalananda gives us for free, are not actually free of cost to the Ashram. For us to continue to receive the support of our Grace-filled gifts from the Guru, we must give back with generous financial support. Free as they are — and freeing as they are — these freebies cost the Ashram money.

For example, think utilities. They keep offices at Lokananda cool enough for our staff in the summer and warm enough in the winter. They keep the accommodations for training and programs at Lokananda comfortable. Think electricity for the computer technology supporting our SVA website and for the delivery of Daily E-Quotes. And think about the salaries of stellar staff required for answering the telephone, responding to all the members of our virtual Ashram, and keeping the records of everyone straight. Think of the marketing that must be done to grow our community and keep it vibrant. (See our ad on page 91 of the June Yoga Journal.) All of this is the foundation for the Freebies available worldwide.

Swamiji MME recording.JPG

Swami recording her latest CD.

I like to think of the SVA Freebie fest of Swamiji’s teachings as a carefree, planet-wide party. Just as when you are invited to a joyous potluck, what can you bring? Just the thought of participating opens your heart, as you decide on a special dish to contribute. So let this invitation to our spring fundraising open you to blissful consideration of your contribution. Any financial gift, in any amount — one-time or monthly — is welcome with great gratitude.

Monthly donations are especially effective, because they help SVA budget and plan. For an increase in your monthly donation or a brand new monthly commitment, Swami Nirmalananda will send you her new chant recording. This thank you gift is truly one that keeps on giving, opening you to Self day after day.

To donate, click here. Or call 610.644.7555.

Be Happy

kristine By Kristine Freeman

“Yoga says you must give money in charity. Yoga is not alone in promoting this spiritual principle.  Every spiritual tradition and every religion says the same thing: give 10% of your income away.  This is not because those organizations rely on your support for their existence, though they do.  This is because giving to others is a human principle, not just a spiritual principle. Those who share their resources with others are happier people.  When you open your heart, you want to open your wallet. And it works the other way around, when you open your wallet you open your heart.”
Swami Nirmalananda, “The Yoga of Money,” March 2012

Support equals release logo _v1I had experienced this spiritual principle in the most unlikely place. Standing outside on a cold rainy day, filling my tank at our local gas station, I noticed the red neon sign: Powerball Jackpot, $361 Million. I thought about what I’d do if I won. I’d be able to pay off the mortgages on Lokananda and the Ashram. I’d be able to give Lokananda a new roof. I felt such joy as these thoughts arose.

Then my tank was full and the pump clicked off. I felt so happy that I went inside the convenience store and bought a ticket in gratitude for the joy I’d received. Later I realized I’d given my $3 to the wrong source. The source of my joy was not the Powerball sign but Stairs 2 - Copythe Self. Thoughts of Lokananda and the Ashram connected me directly to the bliss of my own being. Those thoughts spontaneously arose because I’ve developed a regular practice of financially supporting SVA with monthly and annual donations. The support I receive from SVA opens my heart, which makes me want to open my wallet, which in turn opens my heart even more deeply. Such a bliss-full cycle!

In gratitude for this experience of Self, I’ll be increasing my monthly donation by $3.00 a month. Swami explained the critical importance of monthly donations in a previous Ashram E-Letter…

On the practical side, set monthly donations allow us to budget and plan. The individual spontaneous donations are beautiful, and I am so moved when someone is moved to donate, so I do not want to minimize that. But the monthly commitment is about regularity; it is about relationship and supporting your practice by supporting the organization that supports you. Its not about the dollar amount of the commitment. When you make a commitment, you will tend to avail yourself more frequently of the relationship and services available (such as going on the website, listening to the free satsangs, coming to visit, etc.). Because you have made a commitment, you will see a difference in your spiritual growth. I want to see that difference for you.

swami 2Plus I get Swamiji’s new recording of “OM namah shivaya” as a donor gift for increasing my monthly gift.  Giving and receiving!

This spring we ask for your ongoing support. Your monthly or one-time donation, in any amount, supports the organization that supports you. You choose your level of support, because it’s all about you. What support do you receive? What support will you return to the source?

How happy can you be?

Click here to donate.

Support Equals Release

amala-photoBy Amala Cattafi, SVA Board President

Support equals release – this is such a profound statement. This is the first Support equals release logo _v1thing I remember from the very first Svaroopa® yoga class I ever attended. Consider for a moment, what does this mean to you personally?  Support equals release… It explains more than the physical, muscular definition. Something else opens up, a profound spiritual opening, yet it is facilitated with an extra blanket, block or strap. Still, it’s not about the blanket.

Where does this inner opening come from? Of course, from the practices you do – asana, chanting, meditation, seva, Ujjayi Pranayama – plus the props you use are a part of that.  But where did all those props and practices come from?  What makes them work?

supported fish - Copy

Grace is what makes it work so deeply. This is the true “fire of yoga,” the power of consciousness burning away what no longer serves you, like anger, sadness, jealousy, pettiness, addictions, and more. You are on a journey to living in the full experience of your “capital-S Self.”  Once you acknowledge that the fire is supporting you, the path becomes so much easier!

The fire is Grace, already flowing from the Guru to you whether you understand it or not. This constant, loving support is the direct result of Swami Nirmalananda’s own deep study and practice. She is the originator of the Svaroopa® Sciences, yet she attributes everything she has created to the generosity of her Guru, Swami Muktananda.  A Guru’s life story revolves around their sadhana, their spiritual journey. Just as Muktananda did before her, our Swami has invested her heart and intellect so you can do as little or as much as you want. You choose, for it is all about you. You also choose the level of support that you will return to the source.

lokananda swami

There are many ways to reciprocate this support.  Right now I am asking you to focus on the financial support you can offer to your Ashram. Swami Nirmalananda has invested her body, heart, wallet and intellect in creating it to serve you. During the last 40 years she has given 32 years to teaching without pay. Does she have a nest egg? No. She is a swami, a renunciant. It’s not for everybody. When she hears us say we are so fortunate, she replies, “I am the most fortunate of all.” Yet to be able to serve you and the wider world, she and Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram depend on your generosity.

As Board President, I am focused on serving you and making sure that our services continue seamlessly. The needed financial support comes from yogis like you. Our spring fundraising campaign is targeting three needs:

  • Swami Support: supporting Swami Nirmalananda and her work in the world.
  • 21st Century Technology: our computer equipment, our website with more than 1000 pages of content, and essential administrative staff who support our technology footprint.
  • Freebies:  along with in-person programs, your Ashram offers more online Freebies than any other ashram in America. You can go online and binge-listen to hours and hours of AMAZING free teachings. That gives you a new meaning to “sitting by the fire.”

Thank you for your ongoing support. Remember always, that even when you aren’t aware of it, the power of Grace through Swami Nirmalananda is supporting your yogic journey, from the inside out.

Click here to donate today.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h