Monthly Archives: October 2018

Settling into the Depths of My Beingness

aanandi-annie-rossBy Aanandi Ross

In Satsang some years ago, I found myself kneeling and bowing at Swami’s feet, with my hands together at my heart.  I didn’t know how I got there.  Now I know, having been touched by Guru’s Grace, I was experiencing “the initiation that reveals your inherent Divinity to you, within you,” as described in the October Contemplation Article: Diving Deep Within.  In our Shaktipat tradition, things that hold you back can dissolve and transform in a moment.

Since being on this Svaroopa® path, I’ve found so many levels of Beingness to explore.  Poses, Ujjayi Pranayama, japa and meditation — these practices continually open me to profound and mystical moments.  They offer a height of awareness that I never could have dreamed up in my small mind.  In the depths of my being, I sometimes sense a deep, dark, rich soil, deep in my core, slowly tilling itself, rolling and cultivating.  This seems to breathe me into more and more Beingness.


meditate-aanandi.jpgAdmittedly, sometimes it isn’t easy.  Yet I see that my task is to stay with it.  I breathe into it, softening the densities in my mind.  As Swamiji has taught, I return to the vehicle of enlivened mantra.  I trust the process, and mantra takes me back to my Self.  Throughout life’s ebbs and flows, these practices continue to transform me. Over time, their effects settle into me more and more, anchoring into the very depths of being.

I am struck by how the effects of inner transformation create shifts in the outer world.  I look back and think, “Thank God, thank Guru these changes happened.”  It’s like I’ve tossed heavy burdens into the wind, freeing my small self from needless attachments.  I see this in so many yogis in our community, all riding the wave of Shaktipat from our Guru.  I feel that we, each in our own individualized ways, are all part of a big ocean wave.  Having filled us to our depths, the wave rolls out to others — family, friends, community, the world.  Consciousness emanates from this big wave of Oneness, expressed in a multitude of brilliant forms in our Svaroopa® yoga community.

Seasonal Change

binduBy Bindu Shortt

The transitions between seasons challenge your physical and mental health, according to Ayurveda.  Most of the USA is now transitioning from summer’s pitta qualities to fall’s vata qualities.  From heat and humidity, you move into cool, dry weather into fall and throughout winter.  The temperature is dropping.  Leaves are turning brown.  Even with crops ready for harvesting, the fields and even the air are slowing and quieting.  Can you sense it?

Like increases like.  These outer conditions increase the same qualities inside you.  Thus, you may experience fall allergies or a bit of constipation or gas.  Your skin, hair or nails may be drying.  You may have a low-grade sore throat occasionally, depression or a little loneliness.

Amaranth Hot Cereal with Cerries and Walnuts

When outside nature transitions, nature within us wants to do the same.  Now is the time to eat warm, oily, heavy and grounding foods as well as activities.  They carry you into the next season with good immunity, digestion and mood.  Favor cooked cereals for breakfast, even adding some cream.  If you like fruit at breakfast, cook it right into your cereal.  If savory is your breakfast taste, then soups, rice and beans or kitchari will satisfy you.

Make lunch the biggest meal of your day.  This allows your digestion to provide the most energy.  Soups, stews and casseroles with homemade breads work well, along with extra veggie dishes. The heaviness of dairy, nuts and seeds creates a deep layer of warmth within.  This supports the effectiveness of your gut and immune system.  Extra ghee will lubricate you.  As your constitution allows, use as much as three tablespoons a day.

Cut way back on raw foods.  Use them only a few times a week — only as a garnish to cooked foods.  If you love salads, eat just a couple of tablespoons as a condiment occasionally.  You may find your system automatically no longer wanting raw foods such as melons or cucumbers.  You may no longer want very dry foods such as crackers or popcorn.  This Ayurvedic wisdom is already active within you.

For your daily massage oil, switch to sesame for more warmth.  Maybe it’s time to wear a scarf or at least carry one with you, every day.  Be sure to follow a regular schedule of eating, sleeping and doing your practices. Vata dosha needs routine for calm and stability.  As you align yourself with the rhythms of the season, you can enjoy all it has to offer.

Herbal Ayurvedic Vata Tea

Use the following vata tea to support your digestive and detoxing systems into winter:

  1. Mix equal parts of whole cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, and store in an airtight container.
  2. Each morning stir 1 tablespoon of the mix into 1 quart of water.

Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Strain and discard the seeds.  Sip this tea with meals and throughout the day.

Ashram’s Birthday

IMG_0218By Swami Nirmalananda

We had a party!  We did my favorite things:  chanting, teachings followed by discussion, and meditation.  Plus we enjoyed the sweetness of yogis spending time together, along with the birthday cake and pie.  Birthday cards and presents have been arriving, practical things like printer cartridges, tea lights and lighters.  There’s good reason to celebrate.

I always knew I’d open an Ashram.  In the early years, my mind doubted this inner knowing, for my mind was used to keeping me small.  “How could you think you’d ever be so great?!”  Oh, the mind!  With doing more yoga, and especially due to Baba’s Grace, I outgrew it, like you outgrow a pair of shoes.  I didn’t let my mind hold me back.

Ganesha2I began buying murtis, statues of the Gods and Goddesses, that I knew would be essential to holding the shakti (energy).  I had gotten interested in them because I was having visions and other experiences of their very real presence and blessing in my life.  The Guru Gita says:

haahaa-huuhuu-ga.nai”scaiva gandharvai”sca prapuujyate.

“Srii Guru Gita 25

Even the gods and celestials honor and worship the Guru.

nataraj in alcoveBaba described that they “dance attendance” on one who gives their life to knowing the Self.  I only got to know them slowly, as they introduced themselves to me.  I recognize the Divine and cosmic forces at play in this universe; it’s a delight to invoke and honor their presence.

I didn’t open an Ashram right away.  I opened a yoga center, Master Yoga Foundation, but others told me I was running it on the Ashram model.  They were right.  The only thing lacking was housing which would provide a place for yogis to fully immerse themselves in the shakti that an Ashram creates.  After taking sannyas, where I renounced the desire for an Ashram (along with everything else), people came together to support the process.  We were off and running.  Nine years later, I luxuriate in the support of many of the original Board members.  Many faculty and staff have been with me for decades, bringing their depth as yogis into everything we do.

nityananda-muktanandaWhile we’ve spent years getting the buildings ready, placing the murtis, creating gardens and outdoor meditation areas – it’s the people that make this an Ashram.  All the furniture could be in place but it would be a museum.  It’s the living breathing forms of Shiva that keep the Grace flowing here.  How fortunate am i!  It’s all Baba’s Grace.  And where did He get it?  Nityananda.

Jaya Nityananada.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h