Tag Archives: SVA

Sharing My Yoga – By Vicharinee (Su Lee) Chafin

vicharblog4I recently learned an important yogic lesson when I taught a graduate counseling course. I was poised to teach potential school guidance counselors about the role of ethics and multiculturalism in their counseling sessions. I usually use this topic as a platform to give a political dissertation on all things being equal with humanity. I have always loved the sense of standing on a soapbox to deliver that lecture. However, I have been led to deeper understandings through my Meditation Teacher Training, as well as Swami Nirmalananda’s Satsangs, including her online audio recordings.

So this day, with my deeper understanding, I was moved to deliver a deeper teaching to my class. In this very conventional environment of a college classroom, I followed the format of Swami’s talk, “The Religion of Man,” and I wanted to credit her Baba as well as Swamiji herself. I wanted the Grace to have the credit. I didn’t want what I was saying to be confused with me, the professor. I wanted the counseling students to think bigger than that.

They are used to me showing videos, as I constantly use TED Talks to make points. So I brought up a video of Baba teaching in America, to show where the information on my talk originated. Initially, I had some fear and reservation about “religion” and spirituality talks in this environment, as everyone in my class is employed in public schools where the separation of church and state can be a big issue. But I tried to just settle into that fear and to move ahead with my plan. Swamiji and Baba talk of something beyond church and state, and I felt this was the perfect way to address the issue I was to teach. How better to assist these budding counselors in seeing equality and non-difference, in order to help those who walk into their offices?

After all, I know what it has done for me. Swamiji’s teachings, passed to us from her Baba, have done much more for me than has my academic and professional training. Those trainings did not open my heart.

Although I had some concerns, I felt completely supported by Grace and I knew where to go. I was just so moved, and I did what I felt called to do. Before I began my talk I did japa. Then I introduced Baba as a swami, describing what yoga is, and explaining why I chose to talk about him. I talked a little about the lineage and Kashmiri Shaivism and mentioned our modern Swami, who is near where I teach counseling. I also said if anyone had an interest in learning more about these teachings, I would be able to provide more information and direction.

In my talk, I used much of what Swami talked in her “Religion of Man,” including her examples from genetics, archeology, religion and the ancient sages of India as well as Baba to discuss the common ancestry of humans.

Grace, of course, did what Grace does. Faces opened, hearts opened. The comments of the counseling students were so sweet. They said they really liked looking at religion and humankind that way. Most of them said it really resonated with them. Of course it did! Why wouldn’t it? It is the truth.

They said the talk should be a TED Talk. I had joked before that it was my goal to do a TED Talk this year.  TED does university versions of their talks; the organization comes to my university.  I said, however, “This isn’t my talk, but I am thinking the world may be ready for a Swami Nirmalananda TED Talk!”

I think I was surprised there wasn’t more resistance or less understanding. Perhaps all of that is really just my small “s” self bubbling up and my fear about teaching yoga philosophy. But I felt I needed to test the waters of the conventional public or something. I know if I had been in a class of people gathered at an institute for studies about Consciousness I would have felt differently. But I was talking about yoga philosophy in a normal old graduate school offering coursework toward certification for guidance counselors in Delaware public schools.

It’s true that many of these students are there to change the world, but some want a master’s degree for the pay raise. So I was just amazed at their openness. I felt a different level of openness in this younger generation than I have in the past. I was excited by that and excited by the thought that the world may be more ready for the Guru than I expected. I am grateful to Swami Nirmalananda for being in service to the world as well as for guiding me.

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

Graduation! by Swami Nirmalananda

IMG_9779My heart is deeply touched – again – yesterday, by the amazing and committed yogis who completed YTT Level 4, now trained in 12 teaching themes, 108 poses and over 350 adjustments for their students. We held their Completion Ceremony in the afternoon, after they shared the teaching in a grand finale yoga class, with each of them teaching part of the class.

While they still have DTS (DTS (Develop your Teaching Skills)) to complete before they become certified, they have completed a grand undertaking, a milestone, a great accomplishment in their life. And they will serve the world, offering others what they have themselves received through their studies: healing, transformation and illumination.

Thank you to our new grads!

Sustaining Our Ashram by Saguna Goss

Join Saguna is supporting the Ashram's Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

Join Saguna is supporting the Ashram’s Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

During my last few years as a Board member for Master Yoga Foundation, I was aware that the organization was being challenged; it was facing the chaos of dissolution and destruction. Then came a stage of creation, with the huge transformation of working closely with our Ashram, which led to the Consolidation of the two sister organizations, which is now complete. A lot was going on; it was very interesting and exciting. In hindsight I can see how my mind was really entertained with details, looking at problems, coming up with unique solutions. But now, in the stability of completed consolidation, our Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram stands in the space of beautiful sustenance. It’s time to keep on keeping on. This is the stage of Vishnu, the cosmic force that sustains the world.

Last February, in our yatra to Ganeshpuri, India, I came to

Saguna Goss

Saguna Goss

know and appreciate Vishnu through Swamiji’s daily satsangs. In the past I’ve been drawn to Shiva, with no interests in the other forms of the Divine. But now it’s Vishnu. I am in the Vishnu stage of my life: sustaining a job, a home, relationships, and my various connections to the Ashram. Vishnu’s role of sustaining the universe is not as glamorous as Brahma’s creating or as Shiva’s destruction of forms that can no longer contain the “Sakti. Those forms of the Divine used to capture my mind. But now it is Vishnu who, in all his incarnations through eons, undertook the sustenance tasks that maintained the world. It’s not particularly sexy to do the tasks that sustain life. Yet this aspect of Vishnu is so beautiful and so precious. Nourishing and sustaining the earth flows from Vishnu’s open heart.

I have the beautiful gift of Shaktipat from my Guru and I need to sustain it. I am grateful now for the Vishnu support in my practice, to sustain my practices of the Svaroopa® Sciences. I now see all strands of my life woven together into a sustaining tapestry. And this is because it is the Ashram, also in the Vishnu stage of life, that sustains me in my life.

So I no longer give seva and financial support to the Ashram from fear and urgency. I give to the Ashram because it’s continuing existence is important. Please join me in setting up a monthly donation— or increasing your monthly donation, and know that your one-time gift in an amount that works for you is also very welcome. This is the time to give, to ensure that our fully created, stable Ashram flourishes. Then you know you are sustaining its life it every day, just as you would water any garden.  In supporting our Ashram in this way, you can count on being able to harvest your own sustenance.

Be an instrument of Vishnu through such continued support. This is a great time to support the Ashram as you would nurture any relationship that you cherish.

Why I Give by Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Join Peter is supporting the Ashram's Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

Join Matrika is supporting the Ashram’s Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

We Board members make phone calls to other donors in our spring and fall fundraising campaigns. Anticipation of a fundraising call can agitate the mind. Board members of any organization will confess to an aversion to asking for money. Yet in reality, every Ashram campaign brings me a gloriously different experience.

First, it’s my joy to call previous and current donors just to say thank you. I am truly and deeply grateful to each and every donor — past, present and future. Each of us who gives financially, at the level allowed by our circumstances, sustains the Ashram. This infrastructure, in turn, supports Swami Nirmalananda in passing on the sacred teachings by which she lives and serves.

Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Matrika (Marlene) Gast

We community members benefit. Everyone we touch benefits from our growing basis in Self. We more and more make our choices and take action from that deeply open, divine place. Thus healing, transformation and even illumination ripples outward to our families, to our own students (if we teach) and into our local communities. In this context, a phone call to express gratitude is delicious.

Inevitably, my conversation with the yogi turns to what she or he is grateful for. In the last few weeks everyone spoke of how much they cherish their relationship with Swamiji and the Svaroopa® sciences, how much they value her teachings:

“Swamiji is such a conduit of Grace. Teaching yoga in the context of Swamiji’s teachings, I find that my students make such quick progress in healing. I just want to see the Next Steps be ample finances so that Swamiji is freed up from having to manage any administration tasks, so she can turn all of her attention to teaching and writing. She can just be a Guru. I believe that’s the most important next step in attracting more people out there to the Svaroopa® sciences.”

“Because of Swamiji’s teachings I am compassionate in my relationship with members of my local community. I am more accepting of what is, not fighting to get things to be different. I accept that, as a yogi, I am different from my local community — and perhaps especially because I am a Svaroopa® yogi. Yet within the Ashram community I feel that I am a good fit.”

“I love sharing Svaroopa® yoga and I love seeing what Svaroopa® yoga therapy does for my clients. This yoga is so powerful. One of my students works in an accounting firm, and even in tax season she came to class, even on April 16th this year. She tells me, I’m coming to you because I want what you have.’ Swamiji and her teachings are part of my daily life. She has done so much for me in helping me find my Self. I listen to NPR every day, and I donate to NPR. Why wouldn’t I give money to support Swamiji and the Ashram?”

Another Svaroopa® yoga teacher and yoga therapist related a miracle story about one of her clients who had been in constant pain for 15 years. The client cried during her first session. The tears came because, for the first time in that whole span of time, she felt no pain. When I asked this Svaroopi whether she had any questions or concerns about the Ashram, she just wanted to know the mechanics of increasing her monthly donation.

I thought yoga was all about the poses when I first started practicing. Now I know it’s so much more. It feels to me that the “More” arises because we are all in relationship to our Guru. It’s a relationship that fosters — or uncovers — unconditional love. That’s the basis of connection within our community. So all interactions are infused with pure joy and Grace, which reveals The Truth, that at the core of each of us is the One Self.

Please contribute, with a one-time gift in any amount, or by becoming a monthly donor, if you have not already done so. Support the structure that enables Swami Nirmalananda to spread the teachings ever more widely.

Click here to donate.  New monthly donors receive a thank you gift from Swami Nirmalananda, as do those who increase their monthly donation.

On Solid Ground by Kanchan (Connie) Mohn

Join Peter is supporting the Ashram's Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

Join Kanchan in supporting the Ashram’s Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

We stand on the solid ground of the Divine.  We all do, whether or not we are aware of That at any particular moment. We depend in so many ways on our Guru and on the Ashram activities to support our efforts to rest in the experiential knowing of our own Divine Essence.  Our Guru and our Ashram are always there for us, always available via the material structures: the Ashram, Downingtown Yoga & Meditation Center, trainings and retreats in PA and all over the world, and our virtual Ashram (website).  And the Guru/Self is always available to us in the subtle realms.  Always.  There is no where that It is not.

Can we say the same about our availability, our willingness to support the Divine, to support Love?  Does the Divine need our support to survive?  No. Does it

Kanchan Mohn

Kanchan Mohn

respond to our support and availability? Yes, a hundredfold.  Take a moment to consider what you have given in relation to what has been given to you, what is always offered to you.  Staggering, isn’t it?

So we stand on the solid ground of the Divine, and we also stand on solid ground financially now, as Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram. Does that mean support is no longer needed?  No.  Swamiji is still intimately involved in the practical operations of the Ashram.  Too much of her time is taken up with these concerns.  She works very long hours, and still she remains committed to our experience of the Divine, and to making the experiential knowing of Self freely available to us in so many ways.

Swamiji’s bountiful, unswerving efforts extend the powerful teachings of her lineage and priceless experience to us. You have experienced it.  You know it. There’s no question that we all have unimpeded access to our Guru, to the lineage of Gurus and to the Grace that flows through them…to the extent that we make ourselves available. Through the Ashram and its programming, Swamiji makes it easy for us to stay in consistent contact with her and to the experience of the Divine.

Yet we live in a material world and it takes funding — financial support — to sustain the Ashram, and the programming through which we receive these incalculable benefits. That’s just the way the world works. Swamiji does everything possible to create an Ashram, physical, virtual, and ethereal that now embraces our worldwide community. No matter where we live or where we travel, we have the gift of contact with our Guru, with Self, on all levels.

Through SVA, Swamiji is committed to teaching and guiding all of us on this path toward Self-realization in this lifetime. To continue to do so, she and the Ashram must be supported even while on solid financial ground. That comes about through my commitment and your commitment to financial support.

Please join me in ensuring the continuance and even the expansion of all that the Ashram and Swamiji give to you, give to me, and give to the world beyond. Please take the next step to become a monthly donor or to make a one-time contribution.  If you are already a monthly donor, please consider increasing the amount. When you do so, notice the transformative effect in your life, yourself and your capacity for accessing your own Self.

Time Expands by Peter Gallagher

Join Peter is supporting the Ashram's Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

Join Peter is supporting the Ashram’s Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

This time of year is the most stressful for me, as I am a tax preparer for individuals and small businesses.  There’s a time commitment, with a very close deadline. The famous April 15th looms! A lot of work must be finished in a short time.  Many decisions need to be reached that will have an impact on my clients’ current and future finances. It is important for me to reach clarity within this time of stress.

So even though I have less free time now, I’ve learned to make time for my Svaroopa® yoga practices.  I may have interests in A, B, C and D, but I can only choose A and B. So I’ve learned to push aside C and D, and choose A and B, representing daily yoga practice and work. I used to choose only work. The biggest change for me has been

Peter Gallagher

Peter Gallagher

that I now make time for yoga, even when I have no true free time.  The time that I spend in my daily yoga practice actually creates a sense of more spaciousness for my work.

Most of my clients are long term. In many cases I’ve been involved in major decisions in their lives, including those involving births and deaths.  Because my clients are comfortable with me, I make space for them, and the extra space has been an important part of my work. My tax preparation and financial work is very much a form of service. With yoga, I am now less attached to the income aspect of my work. It’s also the gift of nearing retirement that enables me to be more interested in service to my clients than on my financial rewards.  The relationship part of my work with them has become more important.

It is becoming a member of the Ashram Board that has sparked this change most. I’ve stepped up to a new level of commitment to the Ashram; I give more time and more financial support.  I wasn’t expecting that, with this greater commitment to the Ashram, I would be taking more time for my personal yoga practice, and simultaneously placing more focus on allowing more time for clients.

Paradoxically, within the compressed time period of tax session, I am experiencing a sense of personal expansion. My relationships with clients, family and even strangers are better. Learning to give more to the Ashram has been a great benefit in my life. I am experiencing expansion during the tax season, a time I normally experience compression. This surprising phenomenon gives me an experiential understanding of the Grace that our lineage promises.

All has happened because of my relationship to the Ashram and my relationship with our Guru, Swami Nirmalananda. Through the teachings that she passes on to us, I’ve learned to take a step a forward again and again. Some of those steps, in fact, seem to be five steps to me.

Won’t you join me on this incredible journey? I invite you to take your next step forward in the form of committing to a monthly donation — or increasing your contribution if you are already a monthly donor. Or perhaps a one-time contribution works best for you.  Your support, in any amount, is welcome with great gratitude, and enables the Ashram and Swamiji to sustain unmatched service to you, to me, and to our whole community, spreading ever farther and deeper into the world.

I Want to Be a Realized Being by Kristine Freeman, Board Member

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Join Kristine in supporting the Ashram’s Next Steps – click the image above to make a donation today.

I’m in this for the long haul. I want to be a realized being. I want to live the life I’m living from a whole different place — a place of steadiness with an undercurrent of joy. I know that on the outside my life will look very much the same. But internally I want to live in that state of continual knowing that I am That and that everyone and everything else is too.

Knowing that everyone and everything is all just one big infinite interwoven web of pulsing “ham’sa” energy, I look forward to the fun of experiencing the world as an undercover mystic! On a deeper level, I believe there is no better way to live this human life I’ve been given than to develop it to its fullest potential.

kristineBut I’m not going to get there alone. I need the support of our Guru and our Ashram, the person and the organization dedicated to making these teachings and practices available in the world. As the Ashram has grown into a state of steadiness in the world, I’ve felt a growing sense of  steadiness in my own practices.

This is why I give time and money to support the Ashram. I want the Ashram to thrive and to be there for me for a long time. Until I’m a realized being and beyond.