Monthly Archives: May 2017

Where Would We Be without Teachers?

ruth rama brookeBy Rama Brooke, SVA Board Member

Contemplating the meaning of our spring fundraising campaign brings up immense gratitude for the current generation! Swami Nirmalananda has written about gratitude, saying:

To express your thanks is one of the easiest ways to melt your heart. To feel grateful is to pause in a moment of sweet surrender…  Yoga says, “Just let go!” Let yourself be overwhelmed by the beauty of the moment.  Give over to the majesty of the space between the ticks of the clock.  Gratitude is one of the best ways to do this.
— Swami Nirmalananda, November, 1996 Contemplation

SV1714_Lineage Fundraiser logo_v1Where would I be without the many teachers who have inspired me along this yoga path? I can think of many for whom I am so grateful. They include my dear friend who gave me her copy of the Primary Practice video tape 12 years ago. They include as well my local Svaroopa® teacher, my Teacher Trainers and DTS mentors. Also included are the many “Guru siblings” from whom I learn so much as we cross these oceans together.

Of course, Swami Nirmalananda is the Foundation, the Essence, the Source. She carries her Baba’s teachings and keeps them alive, as he and many others carried Nityananda’s teachings. Now our newly trained Svaroopa® yoga teachers and Svaroopa® Vidya meditation teachers carry Swami Nirmalananda’s teachings far and wide in today’s world.

Where would we be without teachers!!

Please join me in this yogic practice of gratitude and sweet surrender. Inspire and support the next generation. Donate your one-time gift, or pledge your monthly contribution to our Scholarship Fund. The Ashram’s policy is to allocate 10% of tuitions to scholarships, and your donation will make it possible to expand this.

SwamijiOr contribute to the Swami Support Fund and allow our Guru to focus more on teaching and writing, and less on administrative tasks. This, in turn, supports the next generation, as well as current teachers.

The choice is always yours. Do more yoga!

Pay It Forward

kristineBy Dhairyavati (Kristine) Freeman

My first yoga teacher was Ronna Sanchez. I will be forever grateful for the years of training and personal practice she had done before I ever walked through her classroom door. She offered the Svaroopaâ Yoga Gentle class that my physical therapist recommended, and which I reluctantly agreed to try.

Despite the strangeness of all those blankets, the music (tamboura) and the words (Sanskrit), I was hooked. Lying in that final Shavasana, I thought, “I don’t know what this is, but my body really likes it.” “It” was the flow of Grace — I just didn’t know that yet. “It” was the upwelling of my Self. “It” would heal years of chronic pain and unwind the mental and emotional patterns beneath that pain. Such a gift!

Have you received such wisdom and blessings from your Svaroopaâ yoga practice? If so, you can credit not only your teacher, but your teacher’s teacher — Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati. And you can also credit her teachers, the lineage of Gurus who came before her, including Baba Muktananda and Bhagavan Nityananda.

muktananda nityananda After returning from a recent Shaktipat, I added photos of Muktananda and Nityananda to my home puja. For years Swami Nirmalananda’s photo alone had been the focus of my devotion. It was as if I had compartmentalized her Grace. Then I realized that without her Guru, and her Guru’s Guru, she would not be here to serve us today. And with that I was able to expand my gratitude back through the lineage in a whole new way.

While the teachings are elevated and mystical, the Ashram, Swami, Svaroopaâ yoga teachers and Svaroopaâ Vidya meditation teachers are grounded in the real world. That means there are real world necessities to make the teachings available. And they require financial support.

When you provide financial support to the Ashram, you are supporting the people who support your yogic process: the teachers. Please pay it forward. Join me in making a donation to our Inspiring the Next Generation campaign.  Thank you.SV1714_Lineage Fundraiser logo_v1

The Future of Svaroopa® Yoga

By Prakash Falbaum, PrakashBoard Member

Recently I had lunch with a coworker who does yoga at her health club. Because her yoga teacher had left the club, she was looking for a new one. I suggested she find someone registered with the Yoga Alliance at the 200- or 500-hour level. I explained that would ensure the teacher is qualified.

Then I remembered that Swami Nirmalananda was the founding president of the Yoga Alliance. It’s inspiring to me that Swami helped develop training and accreditation standards for USA yoga teachers decades ago. She led the way for a whole generation of yoga teachers, myself included.

Swami gave me what she was given, the spark that lights the fire of yoga. Initially I had no desire to be on a spiritual path. But by just doing the Svaroopa® practices, I received shaktipat. I received spiritual awakening and everything that goes with it. It inspired me. If I could go to a class and receive this, I knew I needed to become a yoga teacher.

Swami Nirmalananda has also inspired me because she’s done things in the real world, like leading Yoga Alliance, starting an international yoga teacher training program and founding an Ashram. She has shown me that you can accomplish things. And you can do that from a deeper place within yourself.

My primary career is as a product development scientist. I have super-duper busy mind. I used to consider myself an intellectual, able to solve any problem. I was so wrapped up in my ability to think that it distanced me from others, and more importantly, from my Self. Like a fist, my mind used to be so tight it was useless. Because of the Svaroopa® practices and the path that Swami opened for me, my mind isn’t tight any more. I’m more creative and much more open to other people.  As a scientist now, I don’t immediately make my mind up about something. I am open to possibilities I wasn’t open to before. Solutions to problems come much easier than they did before.

I want others to have this kind of experience. So I see the value of providing scholarships for teacher training to continue taking Svaroopa® yoga into the world. If the next generation isn’t trained to carry on, the teachings will die. We rely on the teachers to show us the way. Swami asks, “What if we could triple our scholarship fund this year and make it so much easier for people to come?” It’s a challenge we on the Ashram Board is taking on. We respectfully ask for your help.

It’s also important to support our Master Teacher, Swami Nirmalananda. I want Swami to be writing, teaching and making recordings, not being an administrator. Anything we can do to free her from administrative work helps us become immersed in the One Self being all selves.

SV1714_Lineage Fundraiser logo_v1In our “Inspiring the Next Generation” spring fundraiser, I will be financially supporting those who have supported me, and those who will carry the teachings to new teachers. When you open your heart to donate, you open the door to Grace. I hope you will join me by making a donation that has significance for you, because this is really about you.

For the Next Generation

Peter GallagherBy Peter Gallagher, SVA Board Member

I am one of the few Board Members who has not taken Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). As a longtime student in my local Svaroopa® yoga class, I see what other students get. I am aware of Grace coming to me through Swami Nirmalananda. And I see they are receiving her Grace too. I see it in the ways that they change over time. Their physical changes — better health, more comfort — are visible and important.

But what goes on internally is even more essential, to them and their families, to our local community, and ultimately to the world. Even if they are not yet aware of the uplifting, it’s clear in their commentaries. Early on, their responses tend to focus on physical changes. Later, they experience a deeper internal change.

I see those same changes in myself. I know they come directly from my participation in, and cooperation with, what I have received. It comes from my teacher’s skillful, compassionate in-class guidance. Through my local teacher, Grace comes from Swamiji to my fellow students and to me.

As we students change, I also see how local teachers and our Weekend Workshop Leaders evolve over time. They get better at teaching! They embody the teachings. That embodiment empowers them to communicate much more fully to us students. Our enhanced well-being is good for us, for our families and friends, for our community. Yes, it’s a boon to humanity. Think six degrees of separation. Each of us who has been uplifted spiritually confers a portion of that inner change on everyone that we touch. The benefits spread more and more widely.

We who are Svaroopa® yoga and meditation practitioners stand on the shoulders of those who have kept our lineage unbroken from ancient times, including Bhagawan Nityananda, his disciple Swami Muktananda, and Baba’s disciple — our own Guru, Swami Nirmalananda. Now let’s keep it going.

SV1714_Lineage Fundraiser logo_v1We understand the need to support younger teachers coming into YTT. As established householders, we know the realities of making a living and sustaining ourselves and family. We who are already established as householders know what the next generation of Svaroopa® yoga teachers face as householders.

To inspire and prepare our next generation of Svaroopa® yoga teachers, we as a community need to support the Ashram and to support the upcoming generation. Expanding our ability to provide scholarships to students in financial need can only happen through the generosity of those of us who have already received so much.

In short, the future of Svaroopa® yoga and meditation needs your financial support. Please join me in contributing to our spring fundraiser, Inspiring Our Next Generation.