Tag Archives: Swami Nirmalananda

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!

Blossoming Forth by Amala Cattafi Heinlein

amala-photo“Growth is expansive, yet also expensive,” commented Swami Nirmalananda, which resonated deeply with me. Most people think about expense in terms of money, an immediate hot button that lands us in a place of fear and anxiety. Yet, in that place, how perfect it is to consider Blossoming Forth at the same time! Expensive, yet expansive.

I want to share some thoughts with you from the Board perspective and also from a personal perspective. I hope you find it resonates with you.

As Board Chair I have been focused on everything needed to make our new building, Lokananda, a reality: the property search, the contract negotiations, the financing, the inspections, the zoning, and host of details needed before settlement. Thankfully, I had a lot of help. I am also grateful that the whole Board could see that this acquisition is the next step in the blossoming forth for our community.

We are currently working with the architect and contractor on turning the first floor into a bright and airy space for Downingtown Yoga, with space for both meditation classes as and asana classes, and eventually space for more Ashram residents and guests. Lokananda will be your space, your community center, and it will soon vibrate with all the love and Shakti that flows so easily from Swamiji’s presence and teachings. Our expansion is all for you!

This seva project was so amazing because I felt all of you so deeply throughout the process, even though it was also one of the most difficult things I have ever experienced. For me personally, it brought up fear and anxiety — to get everything right. The fear came in overpowering waves that attached to me like leeches with each small task that had to be completed. It would subside for a moment upon completion, but return with a vengeance at the next task. I knew that this mental and emotional pain was a massive karma burn. Expansion is expensive!

I know you all experience moments (or longer periods) of fear, anxiety, despair, anger, stress, even while you also know you are expanding toward the knowing of the Self. It can feel like being stuck in the mud; it’s so hard to see through. Yet every plant that blossoms forth must first rise through the mud. It doesn’t stop. It knows the sun is just a few more inches. This beautiful path has taught me, not only how to keep going, but that the mud is also Shiva.

Please sit for a moment and reflect on what the Ashram means to you, and what we bring to you. Then, please, open your heart, peel off the leeches of fear and anxiety that may attach to you when you hear the word “donate.” Then let your gratitude and generosity flow.

Click here to support the Ashram and support your practice.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo namah

Continue to Blossom Forth by Rudrani (Rosemary) Nogue

Rudrani (Rosemary) Nogue

Rudrani (Rosemary) Nogue

My inner blossoming began when I started on the Svaroopa® path in 1999. For a long time, I didn’t notice I was starting to blossom, as I had always been very fearful and “in my head.” But when I look back from how I am now to see how I was then, the difference is vivid.

My path has not always been smooth. Countless times I have bumped into my “small-s self.”  Yet even when flower buds open gradually and the change is too slow to detect, still they are blossoming forth. I was slow to know the inner blossoming that I yearned for was actually happening, and that it would continue to unfold.

Now I continue to do my part by being steady in my practices, including japa and meditation, serving on the Board and being open to Swamiji’s flow of Grace.  Another steady practice I started several years ago is donating to support the Ashram and my Guru, Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati. I knew instinctively that the right thing to do is to give financial support to that which has supported me and continues to blossom forth my inner Divinity.

The offerings of the Ashram through Swamiji are ultimately about you and for you.  The Ashram exists so you will blossom inward.  In this way you can experience your Divine Essence on the inside and then bring that awareness into your life. So many offerings come under the umbrella of the Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram. An amazing variety of Grace-filled paths support you blossoming into your Divine Essence. Everything Swamiji does (whether understood or not) is to support your inner blossoming.

Yet each of us must also do our part. We must participate on this path in whatever way works for us. For you it may be practicing the practices, reading SVA email communications, using our beautiful and efficient new website, or taking teacher training and yearlong courses, workshops and Shaktipat Retreats.  Hidden within, each bud has the potential to fully blossom. But without sunlight, water and fertilizer it will not be able to actually bloom. Your ongoing practices and participation, as well as being open to the flow of Grace, are the ingredients you need to blossom inward.

In order for Swamiji and the Ashram to continue to serve you in so many varied ways we need your financial support. In the end it is all for you.  The more you support the Ashram and Swamiji, the more they can continue to support you. It is an amazing circle of giving and receiving.  Neither can grow without the other. Give a plant water, light and fertilizer and it will blossom. We need your contribution so the Ashram can continue to blossom, in order to support you growing and blossoming. The great abundance of teachings and support offered through Swamiji and the Ashram is all there for you – use it, practice it, open to it, bask in it, bloom in it and support it.  Please join me in offering a financial gift so both the Ashram and you can continue “Blossoming Forth.”

Blossoming Forth by Swami Nirmalananda

289A dynamic process is under way at the Ashram, with growth and changes in our staff as well as a new building for our local Downingtown programs. Many exciting developments make this blossoming forth tangible and obvious, a flowering that comes from the hard work of our teachers, staff and sevites and the generosity of our many donors.

The yogic process that happens to you on a personal level also occurs at the organizational level, for organizations are nothing but groups of people committed to a shared goal. This process is a reflection of the cosmic process, the blossoming forth of Consciousness-Itself. In honor of this, our year-end fundraising campaign is titled “Blossoming Forth,” described as “unmilana” in an important sutra from Kashmiri Shaivism.

Look at three ways that this blossoming forth is happening right now:

  • Cosmic Level: Consciousness is blossoming forth as this marvelous, multifaceted universe by contracting from pure expansive Beingness into individualized forms, including ants, trees, elephants, you and everything else that exists.
  • Personal Level: As a contracted form of consciousness, you yearn to know your own essence and seek a path of discovery. Svaroopa® yoga reveals your own Self through a profound process of blossoming inward.
  • Organizational Level: We are shifting gears, which is welcome news in a process that began with Master Yoga’s Reawakening (two years ago) and led to the Consolidation of Master Yoga and Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram last year. Now we are Blossoming Forth into the world!

We need your support at this dynamic time. Growth is expansive, but it is also expensive. We are adding staff members in order to expand our ability to be responsive to you. In the new year, you will find many new retreats and trainings, both for teachers as well as for yogis who want to deepen their yoga. We are expanding our local Downingtown facility and programming. We are expanding our Teacher Trainer faculty. Plus we have our new website, new taglines and my recent return to traveling and teaching. All this means we are reaching more people, people who want to know their own Self.

In this expansive time, our focus remains intensely personal. This is about you; this is about how you experience your own Self. As our organization blossoms into its own future, its purpose remains unchanged — to support your blossoming into your Divinity.

Support our expansion through your donation, especially important at the end of the year, both for your financial planning as well as the Ashram’s. So many of you helped us survive the recent challenges; now help us thrive! Donate now, in any amount, as a one-time donation or a monthly pledge that provides continuing support.

We are able to serve you because of your generosity. Please help us accomplish our purpose more fully, in this blossoming forth of the Ashram and the Svaroopa® sciences.

With love and blessings,

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati

Click here to make a donation today.

When the Guru Received Shaktipat by Priya Kenney

289When the Guru received shaktipat, my future changed dramatically. So did yours.

When the Guru received shaktipat, a spark was lit from a long line of sparks, and it’s sparking still.

When the Guru received shaktipat, her Baba gave her everything, just like she is giving us.

When the Guru received shaktipat, I was 20 years old. Maybe my heart jumped for joy. Maybe a shiver of recognition ran up my spine, Kundalini taking a brief practice run for what was to come many years later.

When the Guru received shaktipat, she wasn’t a Guru and she wasn’t even Rama yet. She was a lot like us. A lost soul getting found. It’s hard to imagine what she must have been like 38 years ago because she is so established in herSelf now. I think she just might have been a lot like us.  Look where she is now.

If you are lucky enough to be near Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center, you might have joined Swamiji to celebrate her Shaktipat Anniversary on Saturday, May 31. I spent my day in contemplation and gratitude for my Guru’s shaktipat and mine and yours. It’s because of her shaktipat that we are all in this together. We were always our big Self, but she is the one who is bringing us the light of that knowing, just like her Baba did for her. She went through it all, just as we are doing now. She can take us there because she walked the path, every step of the way. Jaya Guru OM.

My Taste Of Ganeshpuri

GaneshpuriBy Matrika (Marlene) Gast

In late fall 2009, I took a day trip to Ganeshpuri, which gave me a taste of this sacred place. It was as though I’d touched my tongue tip to a tiny serving at a glorious feast, only to walk away. Now Swamiji’s 2015 group trip to Ganeshpuri, the home of our Svaroopa® Sciences lineage, beckons.

I have begun my planning, putting it out there that I am going. Certainly, the cost must be considered and budgeted; acceptance and emotional support from family must be cultivated; logistics must be managed — passport, visa, flight reservations, possibly vaccinations, etc. But, based on my experience of travelling with Swamiji to Kerala in southern India five years ago, I know that once you make the decision, Grace flows all the pieces into place.

It was a fluke — or Grace — that gave me my eight-hour taste of Ganeshpuri. After Kerala in 2009, others in our group of 20 yogis had wisely planned to travel to Ganeshpuri for a week’s stay. I didn’t plan so well. Ganeshpuri was an accidental boon! Months before, when I made my flight reservations, I was confused about whether US time was ahead of or behind India, so my roommate and I had 36 hours in Mumbai before our flight back to the US. We hired a taxi to drive us the 50 kilometers northeast to Ganeshpuri. Recommended by our hotel, our driver cared for us like honored aunts, respectfully escorting us everywhere.

Ganeshpuri MealWe saw uniformed school children, with shining faces and smiles, walking to classes along a dusty road thickly bordered with lush trees and trailing vines. In Ganeshpuri, we browsed in shops with cloud-soft pashmina meditation shawls, moonstone jewelry and beautifully carved murtis of deities. We had lunch, along with our driver and the other yogis from the Kerala trip, at Rosey’s B&B where they were staying. It was simply delicious — and her chai is still redolent in memory.

NityanandaYet it is the too-brief experiences of sitting to meditate in the Gurudev Siddha Peeth, the ashram founded by Swami Muktananda, and visiting the Nityananda Samadhi Shrine, that call me back for more than a taste. The quality of pervasive peace, inside and outside, is what returns to me. The Presence of the Gurus of Ganeshpuri so filled me, that in the village shops afterward I found it impossible purchase any of the beautiful wares. I was simply too filled from within on that day, in that place. There was no need. Now I want to know what it is to BE there for two weeks, with Swamiji and all of us who will immerse in practices that flow from our lineage, which arose in that place.

Swamiji KarunaOf course, accounts from the yogis who went straight to Ganeshpuri in February 2013 will tell you so much more about this experience. Over the next several months, you will hear from them as we pave the way to our trip together as a kula — spiritual family — to our ancestral spiritual home. Looking forward to being with YOU there!!