Monthly Archives: April 2021

Giving Blessings

By Ellen (Lajja) Mitchell, President
Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram Board

When the global pandemic started, Swami Nirmalananda (Gurudevi) started our free online Japa Club and our Meditation Club.  In these daily online programs, she taught us how to give blessings to the world.  Gurudevi also quickly put into place many other online programs to serve us.  Those programs included online asana and meditation classes, Yoga Teacher Training, Meditation Teacher Training and retreats.  I feel that each is an offering from the Ashram.  Each is a way of Giving Blessings — the theme of our spring fundraiser.

In my first Svaroopa® yoga class about 15 years ago, I knew this yoga is different from others.  My teacher asked, “Do you feel different?  What was your experience?”  I responded that I felt taller.  And there was something else as well.  I felt more grounded, more embodied.  Those experiences and more have kept me coming back.

What first drew you to Svaroopa® yoga?  What has kept you coming back?  Have your Ashram’s online offerings benefitted you?  If you answered “yes,” I invite you to join me in Giving Blessings back to the Ashram.

I attended my first Shaktipat Retreat with Gurudevi in 2012.  In May 2020, I attended Gurudevi’s first online Shaktipat.  I was skeptical at first.  How can I have an intensive from the comfort of my own home?  The online orientation for an at-home, online program took me through the process.  I was given vegetarian recipes to support body and mind.  I was taught how to set up my space.  During the retreat, an Ashram swami checked in on me daily.  The result?  One of the most powerful Shaktipat experiences that I have had!  Grace flowed unimpeded from the Ashram through Zoom.  Grace permeated me and my sacred space, my home.  I am so grateful.

My gratitude for Gurudevi and the Ashram has motivated me to give, and it continues to motivate me to give.  Giving back in gratitude is itself a yoga practice: dakshina. Please join me in this practice, which benefits the giver as well as the Ashram.  There are three ways you can direct your financial gift:

Light the Way, supporting outreach and technology
Maintain the Miracle Factory, supporting teacher training
Give Blessings to the World, supporting our free programs

Our Giving Blessings campaign starts today!  A gift from the heart is precious. Please join me in Giving Blessings back to Gurudevi and the Ashram.  When I give from my heart, I’m the one who reaps the benefits.  I feel the abundant Grace that flows to me.  May you, too, delight in this blessing.

You can donate on our website and on Facebook.  You can call us at (610) 644-7555.

 Or you can send your check to Svaroopa Vidya Ashram, 116 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, PA 19335.

Ashram Nachos

By Swami Samvidaananda

These easy vegetarian nachos are an Ashram favorite. 

They’re crispy, cheesy, nutritious, delicious and fun!

Servings: 8–10

Protein: 20–22 grams per serving

Servings: 8–10

Protein: 20–22 grams per serving

6 Tastes

Sweet: tortilla chips, cheese, avocado, zucchini

Salty: tortilla chips, cheese, salsa

Sour: sour cream, salsa

Astringent: tortilla chips, refried beans, cheese

Pungent: salsa, jalapeños

Bitter: lettuce, cilantro


  • 1 family size bag yellow corn tortilla chips
  • 1 can vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 jar salsa (of your choice)
  • 1 16-oz bag shredded Mexican cheese (we use a mix of cheddar, jack and asadero)
  • 4-oz shredded cheddar cheese (~1 cup)

Optional Toppings

  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • diced avocado
  • sour cream
  • pickled jalapeños
  • chopped cilantro
  • more salsa


  1. Preheat broiler to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread tortilla chips on a large baking sheet lined with foil or a Silpat baking mat.  Keep them in a single layer, though they may overlap.
  3. Place level tablespoons of vegetarian refried beans, about 4 inches apart, on top of the tortilla chips.  You won’t use the whole can of refried beans.  Warm the remainder in a small pot to serve as a side.
  4. Add a teaspoon of salsa next to each spoonful of refried beans.
  5. Sprinkle the Mexican cheese in a thick layer over the chips.
  6. Sprinkle the Cheddar cheese evenly over the Mexican cheese.
  7. Broil until cheese is melted, bubbling, and browning.  The corners of the chips along the edge of the pan will be dark brown but not burnt.  It’s best to stay there while they’re broiling.  Don’t walk away!

Serve with your choice of toppings.  We also serve steamed zucchini and the rest of the refried beans on the side.