Tag Archives: MYF

Landing In Your Mailbox Soon by Marlene Gast

new_certificatesJust mailed out! Swami Nirmalananda reports the mailing out over 50 new certificates, for yogis who completed their trainings and their paperwork in the last few months. When the Ashram stepped into the process of handling courses, there was a backlog of certificates due. It took a few months to gather the information, plus create the NEW Ashram certificate.

These certificates have been mailed out in a “Certificate Party Pack,” created, packaged and prepared for mailing by sevites, including Nandini Mermet-Grandfilleas well as Amala (Lynn) Cattafi, Board President and Swami Nirmalananda.

Describing the certificate mailing task, Amala says, “I went up to the Ashram for the day to assist Swamiji. She doubled the enticement (as if I needed any enticement!) by saying she had a sweet seva for me to assist with. How lovely to find that it was to assist her with the party packs holding the certifications for newly certified Svaroopa® yoga teachers and Embodyment® therapists. While Swamiji and I sat at the dining room table in the Ashram, she signed each certificate personally, and then I put them in the individual party packs. Before I sealed each one, into it I whispered our mantra – OM Nama.h “Sivaya – to send all of the love, power and blessing that the mantra carries.”

If you are one of the recipients of a certificate proclaiming your new achievement, heed the cover letter: It invites you to celebrate this recognition of your great achievement, and supplies streamers, balloons and confetti. Give yourself a party, small or large! You have earned it, and have patiently awaited the day.

More certificates will be coming soon, so if you know a yogi who is waiting (or you are the yogi), please keep breathing and repeating mantra…

Taglines (Installment #1)

Svaroopa® Yoga:  Immediate Improvement

flowerThe problems you bring begin to disappear before your class ends.  Your aches and pains are reduced, the pressures you face are less overwhelming and you get some bounce back in your step.  It all starts with deep relaxation and yogic breathing.

Svaroopa® Yoga:  So Many Ways to Do Yoga!

flower4Do poses at home, take a class or get private yoga therapy sessions.  Get a book, a DVD or some Pose Cards.  Learn meditation, study sutras or inquire into the quirks of your mind. Weave consciousness through your day with mantra and breathing.  The more yoga you do, the more you get from it.

Svaroopa® Yoga:  Completely Reliable

flower3You don’t have to be good at Svaroopa® yoga – it will still be good to you.  The poses work on a cause-and-effect relationship and are absolutely reliable. Svaroopa® yoga excels at healing what ails you.

Svaroopa® Yoga:  Begin at the Beginning

flower2Most of your aches, pains and problems originate in spinal tension; your doctor knows this. Svaroopa® yoga gives you core opening, the decompression of your spine.  Watch your problems melt away as bliss arises within and overflows into your heart and your life.

Svaroopa® Yoga:  How Much is Too Much?

flower5Different people go “tilt” at different levels of pain. Some come to yoga when they feel that their body is tight, while others wait until they are limping.  The earlier you come in, the easier it is to heal.  Your start to good health begins with Svaroopa® yoga’s core opening.  It works!

Svaroopa® Yoga: Take Charge of Your Body

flower6Western medicine excels at three things: emergency care, surgery and biochemistry. Yet medicine’s failures include many common maladies¹ all of which Svaroopa® yoga excels at treating. You really can take charge of your own healing for most conditions, or use yoga as a valuable adjunct to your medical care.

Svaroopa® Yoga:  Healing Yoga

flower7Reinvigorate your own healing capacity through Svaroopa® yoga:  physical, mental-emotional and spiritual healing; this is where every new yogi starts!  After only an hour, you’ll feel completely different.  Each time adds on more improvement until you cannot remember what got you started.  This is the power of Svaroopa® yoga.

¹ low back pain, neck & shoulder pain, plantar fasciitis, insomnia, low energy, anxiety, allergies, frequent colds or flu, asthma, high blood pressure, migraines, poor digestion and many other conditions

Feeding Vegetarians by Swami Nirmalananda

food3It is one of my greatest pleasure, feeding yogis.  While I had done my stint producing meals as a mom, I never mastered any type of cuisine, not even vegetarian, so it came as a complete surprise that I feel so strongly about feeding people.  At one point, after opening the Ashram, I jokingly threatened that I was going to set up tables and soup pots on the front lawn, so I could feed passersby.  This neighborhood doesn’t have any passersby who would need the food, so it wasn’t a realistic plan, but the urge had begun uprising in me since I took sannyasa (became a swami).

My Baba used to love to feed people.  In the years I lived and studied with Him, I supported the food services, so I was one of the army of sevites it took to feed the hundreds and thousands who came.  Now, following in Baba’s footsteps, I want to feed all of you!  This is actually part of what the sutras document:  the types of things that happen to a yogi doing deep practice:

Jnanam annam — “Siva Sutra 2.9

Pure knowledge is the only real nourishment, that which gives satisfaction.

This sutra explains my experience before I became a swami, an experience that always confused me.  When I ate with people whose discussions left me cold, I ate more food, even too much food, but never felt full.  I yearned for the nourishment of real connection and meaningful discourse.  Once I found that real connection and meaning, in its inner source, it threads through all my discourse, and I am not focused on food any more, except that I love to feed people!  This of course means that writing a blog, teaching a class, holding a phone satsang, sharing a sutra — these are all different ways of feeding you.

I began the Yogi Meals in Exton so I could feed everyone taking the courses then offered by Master Yoga.  We made the meals very affordable, but ended up not covering the costs, so the program needed to change its form in order to be viable.  Still, it meant I was able to offer high quality foods, organic (whenever possible), from our back yard and CSA (in three seasons) and cooked to individual adaptations when needed (gluten free, etc.).

Our meals at the Desmond are the next step in the natural progression of bringing these trainings in underneath the sacred umbrella of the Ashram.  It’s been wonderful to see the effects on the students — less pressure, less anxiety, more camaraderie, more rest at night, and so on.

I’ve recently discovered that some of the yogis are not eating vegetarian at home, so this eating plan is a big event for them.  When (or if) you become a vegetarian, you need to learn to balance your nutritional flow, so I recently prepared this information for the yogis as well as for the Desmond chef:

Your protein needs are fully met at any meal that includes one of the following:

  • Beans (small beans cooked with hing are easier to digest than large beans)
  • Corn and any grain, served in one meal
  • Cheese (for those who eat dairy)
  • Tofu, tempeh or seitan (for those without allergies)
  • Nuts (but you usually need ¼ cup to get enough protein)
  • In addition, protein in present in everything you eat, even fruit!  Read labels and you’ll see you’re gathering protein “points” every time you put something in your mouth.

In addition, we are careful with our full day of lesson planning, to allow for both your eating as well as your digestion.  Here’s how we take care of your belly in a yoga immersion:

Breakfast — usually served at 6 am, which gives you one hour to eat and have a short digestion period.  Eat lightly, as you will be doing some poses, chant and/or meditation, so you need a light belly.

Morning Recess – this is not a snack break, though some snack items are always available to you in the food service area.  You are returning to working in poses, so please limit your food intake.

Lunch — this is a hearty meal!  Around 12:30 pm, you will do japa (mantra repetition) and then have 1:20 for your meal and recess, plenty of time for digestion as well as important “down time.”  Please enjoy to your stomach’s capacity (which might be different than you think it is).

Afternoon recess — around 4 pm, you’ll have a recess.  Usually you have 30 minutes for a real snack, with wonderful treats prepared by our chefs, but please remember you are returning to work in poses again.  Also, dinner is right around the corner.

Dinner — around 6:00 or 6:30 pm, you have 45 minutes to an hour for a light dinner, ideally soup plus a light side dish, so you can eat your fill and still not have too much food in your belly.  It’s important because you’re returning to work with your body again.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h

New Retreat Environment by Marlene Gast, Board, VP, Communications

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The Desmond Dining Room

Pennsylvania Svaroopa®  programs are now being held in a luxurious retreat environment. The Desmond Hotel & Conference Center in Malvern provides beautifully appointed guest rooms, dining room, and other spaces, both inside and outside, that form our “temporary Ashram,” in Swami Nirmalananda’s words.

As I write this blog, the ATT 201: Teaching Half Day Workshops course is in its last day in our temporary Ashram. Student Sarvataa Christie has been posting food portraits on Facebook. The vegetarian meals are sumptuous!  Yesterday, another student said, “This is so wonderful, like a retreat even while I’m learning so much. I really needed this.”  The “A” in Ashram is translated as “away from” and “shrama” is the fatigue that can accumulate from the daily routines of driving, working, shopping, caring for others, etc. As 2014 begins, we yogis can all look forward to immersing in that Ashram experience, whether we are in professional teach training or immersing in a program to support and expand our capacity to live in Consciousness. Check out our 2014 Calendar to make your plans today!

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Breakfast at The Desmond during ATT: 201 Teaching Half Day Workshops

The consolidation of Master Yoga with Svaroopa®  Vidya Ashram has been the impetus for this move to a retreat environment. Because Svaroopa® YTT and retreats are now organizationally under the “sacred umbrella” of the Svaroopa®  Vidya Ashram, explains Swamiji, “The Grace flows more powerfully…With your inner processes fueled by Grace, the outer environment needs to be one that provides more support.  We cannot provide a cocoon, nor do we want to create isolation from the rest of life, but we must begin with providing you with shelter and food.”

Now yogis can look forward to freedom from the chores of daily living and more time for deep immersion in the “yoga” of it.  Our new retreat environment will support us as the unfolding of transformation takes place from the “inside-out,” as Swamiji describes it. Especially in Teacher Training, programs have always been immersions, but change and growth have progressed from the “outside-in” — through being taught “breathing practices, poses, anatomy lessons, philosophy discourses, teaching theory and experiential processes,” as Swamiji summarizes it.  This approach enabled us to “get inside.”  Now being trained under the “sacred umbrella” of the Ashram will mean, according to Swamiji, that “Grace creates the inner opening, and then you do the outer work, trying to keep up with the internal shifts that are happening…”

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Lunch: Black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, and artichoke hearts

Ample support and downtime for this process will be a significant part of YTT going forward. Those of us who fly into Philadelphia will no longer have to rent a car; the Ashram will shuttle you. Instead of rising early to drive to class, all of us will commute in slippers from our hotel rooms to early morning classes; we will be served fresh, hot meals on china in a beautiful dining room, just an elevator ride from the classroom; at evening’s end we need travel only a few hundred feet from class to bed. As Swami Nirmalananda describes, “Lunch breaks can include a nap, some time outside (depending on the weather) or a walk on the hotel’s footpath.  The yoga classroom will be a quiet room during meal breaks, both for yoga therapy sessions with the Trainers as well as for those who might want to do Shavasana, Ujjayi or extra meditation.” And sharing a room with another yogi undergoing the same process offers the support of heartfelt connection.

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Fruit Cup with Sherbet

Swamiji explains that the goal of Svaroopa® YTT is the same as before: “That you get beyond technique and theory, as important as they are, so you experience the ‘yoga’ of the yoga.”  Now, clarifies Swamiji, “when teacher training is an Ashram program, you get the ‘yoga of the yoga’ through Grace.”

Photos from this first week of January plus student comments say it all: The move into our “temporary Ashram” it’s going just the way Swamiji predicted.

Comings and Goings by Devapriyaa Hills, Seva Coordinator

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Devapriyaa (Denise) Hills

There have been so many changes since the Conference in October that it will be difficult to make sure no one is missed.  The consolidation of Master Yoga and the Ashram has changed many sevas & sevites. The list has grown quite a bit since it was last printed. There are new sevites, changing sevas and sevites that are not doing seva at this time. It has been an honor to work with so many practicing the yoga of selfless service. If you notice that a sevite has been missed please notify me at seva@svaroopavidya.org so the list can be adjusted.

Welcome to new sevites and to those that will be contributing in a new way:

  • Bookkeeping – Saguna (Kelly) Goss
  • Documentation Team – Kriyaa (Chris) Godfrey
  • Downingtown Cleaning Team – Kanchan (Connie) Mohn (Coordinator), Sarvataa Christie, Kavi  Peppel, Lisa Spangler, Kalyani Wallis, Tony Stokes and Sarvataa Christie
  • Facebook Team – Ajeet Khalsa
  • File Management – Ekamanti (Diane) Tsurutani
  • Gardening Team – Tony Stokes & Gayatri (Barbara) Hess
  • Protocols & Procedures – Saguna (Kelly) Goss
  • TADAA & SATYA E-Letter – Marlene Gast (Editor), Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver (Assistant Editor)
  • Tech Support Team – Sheynapurna (Sandy) Peace
  • E-Blast Typesetter  – Gayatri (Barbara) Hess
  • Website checker – Pam Church
  • Web team – Prakash (David) Falbaum (Manager),  Vibhuti (Sandy) King (Coordinator) , Saguna (Kelly) Goss, Ron Gladski

Thank you to those who have changed to a new seva, worked on a special project or are not working at a seva at this time.  Your dedication and service has been a gift and is appreciated.

  • Bookkeeping – Amala (Lynn) Cattafi, Padmakshi (Andrea Wasserman), Devaraja (Steve) Thoman
  • Calendar Checker – Prakash (David) Falbaum
  • Data Input – Prakash (David) Falbuam, Sarvataa Christie, Louise Davis and Sally Broadhurst
  • E-Library team – Manisha (Mary Lou) Soczek
  • Ganeshpuri Music School Liaison – Antarajna (Debbie) Mandel
  • Gardening Team – Nancy Chang, Devi (Eizabeth) McKenty, & Tyagi (Tracy) Paul
  • Posting Master Yoga Listings on Philly Area Yoga Websites – Polly DiBella
  • Proofreader – Kanchan (Connie) Mohn, Theresa Morrison, Margo Gebraski & Nora Beckjord
  • SATYA E-Letter Team – Tish Roy
  • Special Events – Vicharini (Su Lee) Chafin, Deborah Woodward
  • Tech Support – Amber Quinn
  • Web Checker – Ajeet Khalsa
  • Web Team – Niranjan Matanich

Be Aware by Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver

Think about your shoulders, perhaps think about where they are in relationship to your torso or your arms …try to relax your shoulders, soften into them…now become aware of your shoulders. What do you notice?

I did this simple practice, based on Swami Nirmalananda’s January contemplation article, “Relaxation and More,” with meditators in my weekly Satsang. They were amazed at the differences between thinking, relaxing and being aware. One person said that when he became aware of his shoulders he became aware of an expanded sense not only of his shoulders, but of his whole body. He was present in his body in a wholly different way.

As Swamiji says in the article, our Guided Awareness is not a body inventory or analysis. It’s not a thought practice, or even a relaxation practice. It is a consciousness-practice, a training in consciousness, a training in pure awareness.

That is the Svaroopa® difference: whether it’s poses or breathing or chanting or meditation, it’s a consciousness practice, a training in consciousness. Whether you are a teacher or student, Svaroopa® Yoga and Meditation draws you inward, enabling you to experience your body and mind in a wholly different way —an embodied way. If you’re a teacher, the courses you’ve taken prepare you to work with other’s bodies and minds, while you gain a deep experiential knowledge of your own. If you’re a student, you receive the benefits of your teacher’s training as you deepen your personal practice.

The Svaroopa® Sciences underscore yoga’s promise, that as your body becomes still and at ease, as your mind begins to quiet, as you become more aware, there is, as Swamiji’s article points out, “a tangible opening to something more, something greater, something more core to your being, something more essential – an opening to the something that is called your Essence. It’s called svaroopa, your own Self.”

While I receive so much from teaching both poses and meditation, and from my continuing teacher education, I continually crave that “something more, something greater.” I know I need to immerse myself on a more personal level more often! So this year I have planned for both professional training and immersion courses. My students will benefit from what I’ll learn in the teacher training course. I will blossom into my own Essence with the immersion course, and of course, my students will benefit from this as well! It adds more expense to the budget, but as the classic cosmetic company tagline says, do it “because you’re worth it.” I’d change that tagline to capitalize You — the larger sense of your own Self is worth every penny!

Whether you are a teacher or student, consider the investment you will make in your Self this year. As Swamiji says, “consider how you will cultivate a new way of living with your mind and living in your body as well as sharing the light of your own divinity with those you care about the most.”

There are Shaktipat retreats and week-long Yoga and Meditation retreats on the 2014 Calendar, as well as phone courses and related retreats. Help yourself to a larger serving of Grace this year, because You’re worth it!

SVA Consolidation FAQs

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Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati

1. How will the consolidation affect my Shishya Membership?

Click here to read the answer.

2. Will I have less, or limited access to my Guru?

Click here to read the answer.

3. Are there any new discounts, initiatives, or incentives for Shishya members, such as the one’s discussed at the conference for MYF courses?

Click here to read the answer.

4. I am concerned that the teachings will be “watered down” now that so many people with diverse interests in Svaroopa are involved.

Click here to read the answer.

5. Is Swamiji going back to teaching asana?

Click here to read the answer.

6. Will there be opportunities to stay at the Ashram?

Click here to read the answer.

7. What about permanent resident opportunities?

Click here to read the answer.

8. Will having so many people with such diverse interests “lessen” the Shakti, or dilute it somehow?

Click here to read the answer.

9. I am concerned that there will be less access to courses and retreats…will there be room to accommodate everyone?

Click here to read the answer.

10. Will Swamiji return to teaching and writing about the Guru Gita now that MYF and SVA are consolidating?

Click here to read the answer.

11. How will Swamiji be able to manage all the details that come with a larger consolidated organization?

Click here to read the answer.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava.h namo nama.h