Monthly Archives: November 2017

Gratitude & Grace: Fearless Generosity

By Amala Cattafi, SVA Board President

Gratitude and Grace logo full size

In order to feel the awe and humility of gratitude, you have to let go. You can’t analyze and evaluate what you’ve been given. While this sounds easy, it can be so very difficult. Especially when the gift is the gift of your Self. It can be so easy to look around, compare yourself and your experiences with others, focusing only on what you have not yet realized.

Yoga says, “Just let go. Let yourself be overwhelmed.” OK…how?

“In the moment gratitude arises, when you get your ego out of the way, when you get to ‘oh wow, I am deeply touched,’ you can let your heart be touched and let down your guard. You give up who you usually are, and then you are propelled into who you really are.”                                           — Swami Nirmalananda

Gratitude, Generosity and Grace — the 3 G’s. Our Ashram Board is focusing our fall fundraising campaign on Gratitude & Grace, but Generosity is the organic result.

I confess that generosity has always been easier for me than gratitude. Not that I am not thankful, it is just that I often tend to focus on others’ needs first. I find it easier to give a gift than to receive it, perhaps not feeling worthy. Maybe receiving is easier for you. Generosity and gratitude are like the two sides of the same coin. Generosity will help you find the gratitude that’s there. Likewise, awe of true gratitude will open your heart to generosity.

For example, when you have a deep experience of your Self in meditation, during Shaktipat, or at darshan, it’s easy to understand it is the greatest gift from the Guru. You melt into gratitude and your heart immediately opens wide. Your mind stops and you want to live in that feeling. In that moment, overwhelming generosity flows with ease.

Flip the coin. Think of a moment when you had an impulse to give a financial gift or to give of your time and energy. Fearless generosity arose within you. It bubbled up like gently simmering milk. Did you shut it down, or let yourself go into it? When you second-guessed it or shut it down, you likely felt regret, but you shut that down too. Your mind activates all the reasons why you shouldn’t have listened to your heart.

What about the times when you let fearless generosity guide you?  When you offered a donation that seemed beyond what was “reasonable;” when you offered yourself for seva that you “had no time for;” when you got your ego out of the way to apologize to someone you may have hurt, even when you were “right.”  If you look at these moments, I would bet that putting yourself out there left an afterglow of deep gratitude.

Grace is propelling both gratitude and generosity. It moves you, overwhelms you and opens your heart, which opens up a deeper perspective. It shifts your focus from what you lack to what you have. It opens you up to the miracle of being vibrantly alive. This is why we are here — to live in that knowing.


“True generosity opens your heart and quiets your mind…  Practicing generosity invites yoga into your relationships with money, with time and with other people.”  — Swami Nirmalananda

In this season of giving, please follow your impulse to give in support of the Ashram and all Swamiji gives you. In this way, you support our ability to continue to open you up. Your loving gratitude and fearless generosity make it all possible. Click here to make your one-time donation or begin a monthly pledge.


I offer my reflection on letting go into the 3 G’s in loving gratitude to Swami Nirmalananda Saraswatii.

Namaste, Amala Lynn Cattafi-Heinlein

Om Svaroopa Svasvabhava Namo Namah

Our Guru’s Gifts

vibhuti-2By Vibhuti King

My box of chant CDs arrived in the mail!  Sent to us Svaroopa® yoga teachers by our Ashram, they are part of the Mandali programs to expand our yoga community locally.  Teachers pass the CDs on to their own students as “thank you” gifts, just for them being our students.  Coming from our Guru, Swami Nirmalananda, these CDs carry an even greater gift: Her Grace.

171107 SVA Blog - Why I Teach - Picture 1At the end of class today, I invited each student to choose their CD.  I was delighted that many already had some of Nirmalananda’s CDs.  Some requested a duplicate of their “favorite.”  The CD was getting worn out!

Students chatted about which chants they liked to listen to depending on how they were feeling.  They described how a certain chant expressed their joy or yearning.  They discussed which chant was good to listen to before meditation or while driving.  And all agreed that chanting along with the CDs helped them to feel closer to the whole Svaroopa® yoga and meditation community.  Until this gratitude gathering, I had no idea that these chants mean as much to them as they mean to me.

171107 SVA Blog - Why I Teach - Picture 2I am grateful for this time of sharing, of community, of coming together around the ancient practice of lifting our voices to that which uplifts us.  We all have so much to be grateful for.  Often it’s more than we know.  This sharing allowed me to see my students in a deeper way.  It showed me how they turn to their practice to express themselves and how personal these chants are to them.

One woman began to chant the words of “Asato,” and others joined in:

Asato ma sad gamayaa

Tamaso ma jyotir gamayaa

Mrtyor ma amtram gamayaa


Lead me from untruth to truth

Lead me from darkness to light

Lead me from the fear of death to the nectar of immortality


swami-2.jpgThe woman who began this chant a cappella later shared how that chant saw her through a very dark time.  We have so much to be grateful for.  Thank you to my students and thank you to my teacher, my Guru, Swami Nirmalananda.