By Prakash Falbaum, Board 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.
In 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.