Category Archives: Anjali Mudra

Changes in YTT/ATT Courses – by Swami Nirmalananda

Two days after Teacher Training programs were consolidated under the Ashram, our first program began — Foundations Review, leading to YTT Level 1.  I knew the “Sakti[1] shift would affect the students, so I had to set up a system that would make it seamless.  It’s like the astronauts blasting off from Earth; how do you subject them to all those G-forces and still make it easy?  That’s what Grace does: makes the hard easy.  That’s my job description.

The challenge was that I couldn’t add more teachings nor remove any poses, not if I wanted them to get the comprehensive education that a Svaroopa® yoga teacher needs.  What could I do?  I wove japa into their day in two short segments, one before lunch and one before dinner.  Five minutes of out-loud mantra repetition together, honoring your own Divine Self by repeating the mantra…  It’s been amazing!

I also added a daily candle ceremony (arati). At the course opening, we honor the Divine Light within each student as well as in the Masters of our lineage.  One of the Teacher Trainers performs this traditional ceremony during the course opening mantras.  It only takes about 90 seconds but it transforms the room and everyone in it.

We also open with an arati every morning, with the YTT students getting the chance to sign up and learn how to do this.

Reports on How the Changes Are Working

Mandy Dixon

Mandy Down’s hands in Anjali Mudra

Teacher Trainer Vidyadevi Stillman says, “I have noticed that the practice of japa before meals helps the students in a number of ways. If stuff comes up in the classroom or in their lives (hearing from family and friends from home), they handle it with more ease and Grace. They are experiencing more equanimity — mentally, emotionally, and physically. There is a new level of support for the internal process they go through, the inner clearing of the stuff that gets in their way.  They are more inwardly settled. It’s truly amazing to see them completing their japa before their meal, and sitting with hands together in Anjali Mudra. They keep their hands much longer at their hearts and sit longer in their own Self all day!”

“The japa pulls them away from whatever they are caught up in as we approach their meal breaks,” describes Teacher Trainer Karobi Sachs. “They are caught up in their bodies or minds — engaging with a new, challenging pose, worrying ‘Can I do this?’ Japa pulls them back to the Self so easily, so quickly!

“After the Newcomers Class, our group went out to eat at a local restaurant and one person asked, ‘Shall we do Japa before the meal?’ It was clear that these practices are beneficial and meaningful to them! It’s nice for us Teacher Trainers to do japa before lunch and dinner, too, to also settle into ourSelves.

“In the mornings, the arati to our Guru photos and murtis brings a cohesiveness to our day’s practices in a new way. I’ve heard students say that their meditations are much deeper, and they are getting so much out of the chanting and meditation.

Many have told me, ‘I’m really enjoying the meditation; it’s really working for me.’ In the most recent training, they saw Nirmalananda on the first day, instead of closer to the middle of training as in the past. I could see that her presence shifted them/settled them deeply from the start.”

Prakash (DavId) Falbaum took the recent YTT Level 2, and he recalls, “As I drove into the Exton parking lot, it literally felt like driving up to the Ashram. I could feel that same flow of Grace, now at Exton. I began my week with Vidyadevi’s “Deeper, Deeper” Half-Day Workshop. Through my 10 days of training that followed, the biggest thing I noticed personally was a change in how I handled my resistance. When I hit resistance, I didn’t care; every time I hit my resistance, I expected to get upset, but I didn’t. I was able to deal with it and stay internal. I feel that has a lot to with the flow of Grace.

“For example, after working on Navasana most of one morning, I couldn’t just muscle through it. I finally had to use my abs, and I needed extra props. Normally I resist extra props, which I had to accept from Vidyadevi. In the past I would have gotten angry at myself. But this Level 2 had an atmosphere that was so very light. I just accepted where I was, and moved through the process. Also, I found that four hours of sleep per night was enough, and didn’t get tired.

“It was wonderful to see Swamiji three times instead of twice as in Level 1. With the MYF-SVA Consolidation she has the freedom to visit and offer teachings in programs more easily. I can see they will just get better when they become residential.”

This Stuff Works – in a Wonderful New Way

With the “bookends” of japa and arati happening morning, noon and night, no one ever gets far away from their own Self.  The bootcamp approach to Teacher Training, so well known in every Western style of yoga, has been softened.  It’s a warm-hearted approach, a deep-hearted approach, a tail-lengthening and core opening way of learning core opening.  The interweaving and consistency, outside and inside, is a true joy to behold — tangible in the eyes and the breath of the teachers-in-training.  They’re a whole new breed.


[1]   Pronounced shak-ti; this is the Sanskrit transliteration form I’ve been using for the last three years as it is computer friendly and easy on the eyes.  Read more about the Velthius transliteration here.

A Yogic Heart: Steady Through The Storm by Bob Nogue, Board Member

Bob Nogue

Bob in Anjali Mudra
Send us a photo of your hands in Anjali Mudra (prayer position). Please include your name and zip code. We’ll add your heart-full hands to our online gallery – click the picture above to see it as it grows!

I’m not a sailor, but an image comes to mind for me: a number of boats on a stormy sea, the winds are swirling around them and the waves are buffeting them about in all directions.  As the storm intensifies, they are reassured by seeing the beacon of a lighthouse at their home port in the distance.  They make adjustments to sail or rudder, knowing that they will reach safe harbour at the end of their journey.  As such, they don’t need to worry about where they are going; they just allow the beacon to guide them and enjoy the ride.  A Yogic Heart is like the beacon of that lighthouse.  It leads us to the Self and can guide the choices that we make every day as we navigate our way in the world.

I have a personal experience that shows me the power of the Yogic heart.  About 12 years ago, I was in need of some change in my life.  My corporate role involved extensive travel, long hours, numerous business challenges and a boss who motivated others through abuse and humiliation.  Despite all this, the role was rewarding from a career point of view, as I was learning a great deal and the financial rewards supported our family well.  I didn’t know how I was going to change, but I knew that this was killing me and my relationship with my family.

Grace supported me to get very clear about what I wanted in the rest of my life – I got my first lighthouse!  From there, an amazing set of circumstances unfolded over the next six months. I gained the clarity to recognize an opportunity for change that I would have considered a naïve pipe dream a few months before.  However, once I got out of the way and trusted Grace, this opportunity enabled my transformation to a whole new career that is fulfilling and provides very amply for our family needs.

Swami has supported many new and brighter lamps being installed in my personal lighthouse, each one providing clarity and direction that is better defined.  Regardless of the intensity of the storm, the beacon is visible.

Svaroopa® Yoga strengthens the output of your personal lighthouse, which is really your Yogic Heart.  Your donation creates the opportunity for Swami Nirmalananda’s teaching to reach you – which will increase the output from your personal lighthouse; thus your gift supports you and many others to feel steady through any storm.  The rewards are priceless.

Click Here to Give a Gift From Your Heart!

A Yogic Heart: Giving and Giving Back by Saguna Goss, Board Member

Saguna

Saguna in Anjali Mudra
Send us a photo of your hands in Anjali Mudra (prayer position). Please include your name and zip code. We’ll add your heart-full hands to our online gallery – click the picture above to see it as it grows!

Svaroopa® Yoga has given me so much.  It has cured my lower back pain, given me walking lessons, taught me how to breathe, slowed down my busy mind, given me inner peace and calm and so So SO much more.  Out of deep gratitude, I try to “pay my debt” and give back for what I have received. I offer seva and donations to the organizations that make this yoga available to me.  But I have come to realize that it is a loosing battle – I will never pay off my debt.

First, how can I ever repay for the endless priceless gifts of Svaroopa® Yoga?   Second, giving back in the form of seva and donations just gives me more of the fruits of Svaroopa® Yoga.  The tag line should be “Giving and giving back, and giving and giving back, and giving and…”

I had a sweet and profound experience of this relationship between the giving and the giving back at the Ashram’s Diwali program last weekend.  Swamiji was explaining how traditionally people offer a financial gift to Lakshmi on this celebration.  So I thought it would be nice to give a small $5 donation.  And then the fear came up!  Could I really afford this gift?  I am in between jobs right now and don’t know when I’ll find my next reliable source of income.  While it was only $5 my mind was afraid of letting go of this precious and limited resource.

Then something in me shifted and I decided that giving this donation was more important than anything else I could spend $5 on.  I knew where my priority was.  I wanted to give back to the source that has given me so much.  And as I decided to give the donation, a layer of crusty fear around my heart melted and my heart opened up both physically and energetically.  My mind became quiet and my heart overflowed with gratitude.  All of this from a $5 donation.  Amazing!  And here again I found myself giving back, while the act of giving back was giving me even more!

The relationship of giving and giving back is beautiful and sweet.  My experience is that we can only gain from it!  So please join me in making a donation as a token of appreciation for all that Svaroopa® Yoga has given us and for all that it will give us.

Click Here to Give a Gift From Your Heart

A Yogic Heart: Living in Continual Gratitude, by Swami Nirmalananda

1311 Diwali Lakshmi pujaWe celebrated Diwali yesterday at Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center.  The hundred or more candle flames gave off so much heat that we had to turn on the air conditioning!  Surrounded by such scintillating light, each yogi began to glow with their own inner light, more and more as I explained about the Divine Gift of Abundance.  Termed Lakshmi in Sanskrit, and honored as a beautiful Goddess, Lakshmi is the energy of abundant blessings, the givingness that makes you want to share.

At the satsang, I spoke about the earth, who we call “Mother Earth.“  Ideally you plant things at the right time, and even place the seed or bulb in the earth at the right depth and with the right end pointing up, but She is so giving (and forgiving) that everything grows, even when you get it wrong.  Then, when a tree or bush bursts into bloom, the giving forth of flowers is Lakshmi.  The fruits, grains, beans and veggies are all Lakshmi’s gift to us – not only to humans, but to feed all the creatures of the Earth.  This is why the harvest festival in India is dedicated to Her.  A time to say thank you.

This is also why we ask for your financial support at this time of year – to say thank you.  We say thank you to you for your interest in yoga.  You can say thank you to us for the yoga offerings we bring to you.  Gratitude is part of the relationship.  If you weren’t interested in Svaroopa® yoga or meditation, I would have no one to share these amazing teachings with!  If I wasn’t supported by such fantastic Teacher Trainers and administrative staff, I couldn’t offer such an array of programs.  And if we didn’t come together to make those programs available, you wouldn’t have a place to dive in so deep.  There is gratitude in every direction.  A Yogic Heart lives in continual gratitude.

Please contribute to the stream of donations, large and small, coming from many yogis – a stream that supports our non-profit swamijiorganization.  You have options to support MYF programs, SVA programs, Ganeshpuri Music School or our General Fund – you get to choose where your money will go.  Click here to offer your gift of gratitude.

Send us a photo of your hands in Anjali Mudra (prayer position).  We’ll add your heart-full hands to our online gallery – click here to see it as it grows!

 

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h