Category Archives: Fundraiser

Where Would We Be without Teachers?

karunaBy Karuna Beaver, SVA Board Member

I have had some amazing teachers in my life. One sparked a love of reading. Another taught me not only how to sing but how to find my voice. My first boss showed me how to be a responsible journalist by respecting all points of view. These teachers and many more helped shape who I am today. They taught me how to do things, how to view things and how to be in the world.

Yet it was my first yoga teacher who helped me see who I was beyond what I could think, do or say. She inspired me to look inside and to view both the world and my place in it in a completely different way. She inspired me to become a yoga teacher.

Swami NirmalanandaSwami Nirmalananda says yoga teachers are unique “because they are not teaching you how to manage the world, or to succeed in worldly ambitions. Yoga teachers teach you how to be in your own skin. They teach you how to find the wholeness in your own being and bring that into your day-to-day, breath-to-breath, relationship-to-relationship world.” To me, this is the “real world.” It’s the world in which you discover you are more than your mind, your accomplishments and your relationships. Yoga opens your door to this “More.”

And yoga teachers hold the key. Swamiji says, “Without the teachers, there would be no Svaroopa® yoga. Without the teachers, there would be no yoga of any kind at all. If the next generation hadn’t been trained, yoga wouldn’t have come down to us.”

SV1714_Lineage Fundraiser logo_v1As a yoga organization, an Ashram, we rely on those who care about the world being uplifted and inspired by this kind of teaching. We rely on you. Our spring fundraiser’s theme is “Inspiring the Next Generation.” A good number of our teachers, myself included, are reaching retirement age. Now is the time to make a concerted effort to ensure that the Svaroopa® Sciences reach the next generation. Your generous donation to either the Scholarship Fund or to Swami Support will make a difference.

Thank you to so many of you who have already responded. Your Ashram Board of Directors thank you again and again. While our fundraiser timeline is almost over, you still have time to contribute if you have not yet done so, or to add to your gift. Your yoga teachers, and our Master Teacher, have given you so much. They have helped you recognize who and what you really are. Where would you be without them? Join me in honoring them with a gift today.

Why I’m Going to Give Again, and Again, and Again…

By Karuna Beaver


Last fall, I made a donation to the Lokananda capital campaign, the largest donation I’ve ever made, to any organization. While I have always given my donations to other organizations gladly, my donations to SVA are different.

The difference is in me, and the difference is a direct result of being in relationship with my Guru. The new dining area at Lokananda has pictures of the Gurus, Swami Nirmalananda, Swami Muktananda and Bhagawan Nityananda, on three walls. On the fourth is a mirror, which reflects a fourth enlightened Being — Me. It’s a concrete example that my relationship with my Guru is a reflection of my relationship with my Self.

I used to give donations to feel that I was contributing to a worthy cause, and it made me feel good about myself. This giving was an external action that caused bliss and joy to arise within me. But I am different now, thanks to many years of dedicated practice, and mainly thanks to my devotion to a form of Consciousness, my Guru, who mirrors my own Divinity back to me consistently and reliably. Now the bliss and joy of my own being inspires me to take an external action, not the other way around.


It inspires me to give, again and again. That’s why I will be making another donation to Lokananda’s revived capital campaign. There is still much to be done to make this “bliss place” fully functional. To ensure SVA’s future, organizational coffers diminished by the renovations need to be refilled. I encourage you to look within, and be motivated by what you find; then do what you can for the organization that has given you the ultimate — your Self.

As a former journalist, I understand that “double negatives” are not effective ways to communicate. But as a yogi, a double negative sutra from the Svacchandra Tantra inspires me again and again:

Na Shivam Vidyate Kvachit

Nothing that is not Shiva exists anywhere

Lokananda: Your Bliss Place

IMG_8210Our yogimmersions are now settled in at Lokananda, with almost three months of programs under our belt. While renovations continue, we now have housing for 16 students, with a beautiful new dining hall and student lounge making it comfortable for all.

We need your support to complete the needed work, so we are continuing our Capital Campaign to fund all that will make this a yogic home for all.

Our Goal

Last fall, 36 Svaroopis donated and pledged $37,000 toward this important project, bringing us 24% of the way to our goal of $150,000. This gives us only $113,000 to go. While this may seem like an ambitious goal, given the history of this community, it is quite reasonable.

The first time our community rallied to support a capital project was when Master Yoga’s building burned to the ground overnight. Everyone, including the Board was stunned, but the yogis knew what to do!  Within 6 weeks, Svaroopis had sent in unsolicited donations totaling $100,000. Now the Board was not stunned, but overwhelmed.

In 2010, a new Board and I were establishing the Ashram and embarked on a Capital Campaign. In only three months, yogis sent and pledged $162,000, making our home base a reality. Six years later, we are expanding to house our trainings and retreats in a dedicated environment. We need your help once again.

How Can You Help?

We have two months for this stage of our Capital Campaign, which is set up with four donation levels – while anything you can offer is deeply appreciated. Your donations are dedicated funds and can be used only on Lokananda’s improvements. The next big step is a new roof!

We will still reach out to you in the spring for our annual fundraiser, because it provides needed funds for our ongoing operations. Please consider how to plan your gifts in both campaigns, keeping in mind that a Capital Campaign happens rarely, only at a time of great growth and expansion.

Whether you are making a one-time Capital donation or a 2-year pledge, we hope you can find a way that works with your budget to help us complete this Bliss Place for our yogimmersions. The funding that we have available will determine the progress we make in continuing progress.

  • Bliss Builder – donation of $15,001 or more
  • Platinum Donor – donation of $5,001 or more (or pledge of $211/month for 24 months)
  • Golden Donor – donation of $1,008 or more (or pledge of $42/month for 24 months)
  • Silver Donor – donation of $501 or more or pledge of $21/month for 24 months)

Click here for more about Lokananda, including before and after photos. You may donate online, phone us at 610.644.7555610.644.7555  or email Every donation makes a difference. We deeply appreciate your support.

False Alarm – by Swami Nirmalananda

Lokananda, January 10 2016, 5:00 am

Students were awakened by carbon monoxide detectors sounding off.  They evacuated into the early morning rain, saw smoke coming out of the street and called 911.  The fire engines came.  It took them a few hours to figure out that it was caused by an underground fire in the PECO utility lines.

20160110_060511A student phoned us, so Kusuma, Heather and I went right over.  They were holed up in the coffeshop across across the street.  They ended up camping there for almost 3 hours, drinking way too much coffee, which didn’t improve their state.

Once the Fire Chief determined that it seemed to be caused by the underground fire, they got PECO on the way, and had the ambulance crew test all the yogis for carbon monoxide poisoning.  They were all clear, hooray!  Another reason I love technology – carbon monoxide alarms.


Ashram meditation hall 3


As soon as they were declared clean, we took them to the Ashram. and had their breakfast delivered there.  We led them through a yoga class and then assembled in the meditation hall for debriefing.  It took them only a few minutes to uncover the fear of death, so appropriate after the discourse on the kleshas the day before.  We did an amazing 90 minutes on this invaluable line of inquiry.  Then we did japa and meditated.

Due to the efforts of our admin staff, along with the Fire Dept, PECO, and our heating contractor, the building was cleared of carbon monoxide and opened up again by noon!  Amazing.   The yogis went back there for lunch and the rest of the teaching day.  Kusuma went with them to seal the building energetically.

What does all this mean?

First – being spiritual doesn’t free you from surprises.  Events still transpire, but you deal with them differently because you are different inside.

Secondly – even though it was our carbon monoxide detectors that went off, it was not our building that was emitting the carbon monoxide.  In fact, our Grand Old Dame of a campus did exactly what she should have done, which was to keep everyone safe by kicking them out.  It wasn’t a false alarm, but it was, sort of…

And most importantly – life isn’t about what happens, but it is about who you are while you are handling it.  DSC_0054I was first surprised by the wide range of yogis’ reactions.  They were all going through the same events, but they had very different experiences of them.  Thus, the vichara was so important – not only for them to sort out their feelings but for me to learn from them about the majesty of individuality.  Shiva has become so many fascinating selves – even you.

In our various campus locations over the decades, we were burglarized twice, flooded out, burnt to the ground and now there’s been a poisoning attempt!  It’s not easy bringing these teachings into the world.  But it is essential.

Photo FUN-raising by Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver

carolyn_beaverI’m enjoying the photos of my fellow Svaroopis in all manner of yoga poses, in all sorts of situations. The enjoyment goes deeper than amusement, though. It reaches right down into gratitude for what Svaroopa Yoga has given me: the ability to stay open and grounded in the midst of life’s ups and downs. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to draw on this ability.

Yogeshwari (Melissa) Fountain was about three poses into a delicious weekend workshop at Matrika (Marlene) Gast’s studio in Boise, Idaho when we heard a huge boom. It sounded as if something heavy had fallen to the floor in the office next door. I went into the hallway that adjoins the two spaces and opened the door between them, which is usually locked. I saw daylight, heard a hissing sound and smelled something sickly sweet. A car had come off the freeway ramp behind the studio and crashed into the back of the building, hitting a gas main.

All 15 yogis and our teacher quickly exited the building and someone called 911 to report the incident. I knew we were not going to be able to continue the workshop, given the extent of the damage. I also knew it was not a particularly good idea to reenter the building, but a sense of calm and decisiveness came over me. I gathered as many people as I could and told them if they felt comfortable going back in, to grab as many blankets, blocks and chairs as they could carry in one trip. About 10 minutes later, props were loaded into cars, and we headed to my house to finish the workshop.

We moved furniture from my basement rec room to an adjoining kitchenette, and laid out blankets. It was quite tight, but no one seemed to mind, especially not my dog, Molly, who was quite happy to join us (see the photo of me up against the wall in JP, with Molly soaking up the Shakti). Yogeshwari taught from the top of a desk in the kitchenette, and Matrika wound up in a space in the hallway (see the photos of Yogeshwari teaching Slo Motion Dive from a squat on the desk and the “headless horseman” Matrika doing JP in the hallway!) Because the rec room is carpeted, and the centerpiece pose of the weekend was Reverse Triangle, we traipsed upstairs with chairs into my living/dining room with hardwood floors (see the photo of Yogeshwari in the dining room).

I was amazed at the good nature of the workshop participants, who almost seemed to enjoy the sense of adventure in the midst of a less than ideal situation. Everyone rolled with it and made it work. Grace. Yogeshwari’s skilled teaching and presence made it work. Grace. What could have been a “disaster” was transformed by Grace. Now THAT’S yoga in the midst of life! I am grateful for all that yoga and my Guru have given me.

Please enjoy the photos and consider what yoga has done for you in the midst of YOUR life. You can express your gratitude by voting for any of the photos in the “fun-raiser” contest, or by making a larger donation to the source of the teachings that supports you, Svaroopa Vidya Ashram.

FUN-raiser: “Yoga in Life” Photo Contest

Yoga in Life_logoDoing yoga in your everyday life is both a survival technique and more. It’s a way to hit your reset button so your inner light shines into the world. Show us how you weave yoga into your life by posting a photo in our Fall FUN-raiser, the “Yoga in Life” Photo Contest.

Inspire others with how you do yoga while juggling family, career and everyday tasks. Snap a picture while reading a book in Sukhasana, doing Konasana while fixing a leaky sink, or keep it seasonal while baking a pumpkin pie in Vrkshasana. Maybe your cat lays on your sacrum when you’re in Half Frog? Or your dog does Downward Facing Dog with you? Click here to post your photo as well as to vote on your favorite.

As soon as your shot posted, share it with family and friends and have them vote. Votes are $1 each, with a minimum of $5, all of which are tax deductible donations. This will raise funds for the Ashram as well as FUN for our whole yoga family, while leading up to our annual Thanksgiving donation campaign. Help us build a library of yogis sharing their love and gratitude for yoga.

Winners will be announced on December 10th and featured in our communications in 2015 & 2016. We’ll share their yoga stories with the world! Join in sharing the bliss and the profound healing power that Svaroopa® yoga provides. Support Svaroopa® yoga and meditation as well as the Ashram with the gift of you doing yoga.

Making the Dream a Reality, By Amala (Lynn) Cattafi, SVA Board President

IMG_8210Your donations have put us on our way to making the dream of Lokananda, our own bliss place, into a reality. I have to admit, the prospect of renovating our “new” 130-year old building, replacing old wiring and plumbing and all the other interior changes, was daunting.  In the beginning, turning Lokananda into our full service retreat center seemed like a Board of Directors daydream.

Thanks to the generosity of 36 Svaroopis, who have already contributed and pledged $36,389. to our Capital Campaign, we are on our way to a sacred Svaroopa® yoga and meditation hub. Lokananda is about 40% complete, gloriously welcoming local yogis and meditators, as well as our Yogimmersion participants for a full-spectrum experience.

I have watched this building transform from a grand old lady, one in need of serious attention, into a place of bliss. Without your loving support, this would still be a daydream. Of course, we still have a long way to go to reach our funding goal and meet our construction needs.  With the holidays looming, we’re dialing down on our Capital Campaign, but will return to this outreach in early 2016; this is how Capital Campaigns work – a gradual process of recruiting donors who can build the fund and build the building.   Yet, this week we enjoyed a breakthrough!  We welcomed our first group of yogis into our full-service sacred space for a training.

amala-photoAs I write this thank you note, tears of gratitude are beginning to flow, for the great generosity of some very special yogis, for the dedication that you all have for the Svaroopa® practices and their goal, and always for Swamiji, who is the heart of our hearts.

Om Svaroopa Svasvabhava Namo Namah