Tag Archives: swami

Chanting to the Divine by Priya Kenney

Priya Kenney

Priya Kenney

We were never far from hearing the sounds of worship of the Divine on the 2013 Ganeshpuri trip.  I loved the auditory presence of the Divine in Ganeshpuri.  It was one of the reasons our senses were so filled with Consciousness.  That ever-present current of mantra and chanting filled our ears and hearts and the act of chanting sent vibrations of Consciousness through our bodies.  We were in the current of Grace.

Brahmin priests began chanting soon after 4:00 am at the Nityananda Temple for the devotional abhishek (ritual bathing of Nityananda’s murti).  After breakfast, we settled in for the Guru Gita and all the accompanying chants.  Every day, Swamiji gave us a few more Guru Gita verses translated into English and we chanted those too.  In the afternoon, we gathered with Swamiji for more chanting, satsang and meditation.

Some chants were familiar — the Guru Gita and Jaya Jaya Arati Nityananda — and the new and mysterious chants that flowed from the Brahmin priests during the all day yajña, fire ceremony.  Those chants propitiated the gods, the planets and all the forces of Consciousness by using a mysterious and mesmerizing rhythm that propelled us into a meditative state.

In the Nityananda Temple, we heard many beautiful chants as well.  One of the Brahmin priests, Prasad, has a particularly celestial voice.  One morning, I entered the sound of his chanting, and was lifted to a beautiful place of adoration and devotion.  I was especially taken by the nearly monotone Om Namo Bhagavate chant that came through the loudspeakers during a rest period of the abhishek.  That same chant flowed through the streets during other parts of the day and evening.

Some of us chanted the Guru Gita at Gurudev Siddha Peeth, where Swamiji lived, served and sat at Baba’s feet. Their rendition of the Guru Gita has a similar but slightly different melody, sung in call and response with men singing one-half of each verse, the women the other half.

Chanting and the mantra are the powerful pathways to meditation, ways to stay close to God.  Meditation gives us the Self. All the chanting took me right into meditation. When I looked around at the other yogis, often they would be deep in meditation. It was a beautiful sight. During the abhishek and the yajña, the chanting went on for long periods of time and it was impossible to sustain conscious awareness.  I noticed people around me in ecstatic meditation and others immersed deep inside. The sheer magnitude of the chanting overpowered any resistance we might have had.  Our minds became still in that river of Consciousness and there we were, right in ourSelves.

For information on the India 2015 trip, click here for FAQs.

Who is the Guru? by Jyoti (Rebecca) Yacobi

Jyoti (Rebecca) Yacobi

Jyoti (Rebecca) Yacobi

“Meditate on the Sadguru,
embodied form of consciousness,
knowing, being, illumining,
giving me That which is my Self”

Thus says one of the introductory verses in the Shree Guru Gita, the ultimate song to the Guru.

In February 2013, after witnessing life in Ganeshpuri, whose heart is Bhagavan Nityananda, I found that I had many questions: What is my relationship to the Guru and how is it deepening? How did the yatra to India affect this relationship to my Guru, Swami Nirmalananda? What effect did this pilgrimage to the fountain of spiritual energy have in me?

Devotion and love of the Guru is the core of life there, and the Nityananda temple in the town square is a true testament to this.  Ceremonies are performed several times every day to the enlivened murti (statue) of Nityananda. In our yatra to Ganeshpuri, we were fortunate to accompany Swami Nirmalananda to witness these devotional ceremonies.

Every morning, at 4:00 AM, the temple came alive with chanting, beating of the drums and ritual bathing of Nityananda’s life size murti.  The two-hour ceremony was absolutely spellbinding.  We were riveted by the affectionate way the Brahmin priests engaged in their tasks. When they concluded with the waving of lights to Nityananda, we all joined in the chant of “Jaya, jaya Arati, Nityananda.” The temple was transformed into a powerhouse of spiritual magic and mystery.

At Her daily satsangs, Swamiji interwove tantric teachings into our experiences of the day.  Thus, Her satsangs facilitated self-reflection, contemplation and integration of what was unfolding in our bodies, minds and hearts. Each evening concluded with a Svaroopa® yoga class bringing the busy day into a tranquil repose.

The yatra with Swamiji is no ordinary trip to India.  It is a voyage of self-discovery that is guided and assisted by Swami Nirmalananda, who is a living embodiment of the Gurus of the lineage that preceded Her –Baba Muktananda, Bhagavan Nityananda as well as the sages prior to them.

The devotion and love of Bhagavan Nityananda’s devotees was very tangible, and it made it clear to me how my relationship to Swami Nirmalananda was evolving. The effects of the yatra are unfolding to this day in many subtle ways.

The yatra opened my eyes to what is possible – “the human capacity” was made more palpable, more real.  I know I am changing at the core of my being – I am not who I was; I am in a constant process of “becoming and being.” And in every moment I am guided by the immense Grace bestowing power of the Guru.

All I need to do is think of Her, say Her name and allow the Grace to carry me through the darkest, most difficult steps of the journey to the core of my Heart, to the stillpoint of existence.

As I delve more deeply into myself, naturally and organically my relationship with the Guru expands.  The Guru is outside of me as Swamiji and inside of me as my Self.  As I reach for the Self, as I sit at my Guru’s feet – the boundaries dissolve, expanding into deeper states of awareness.

Guru is a person who lives in a constant state of knowing of Divinity – their Presence, word and action are infused with Grace that opens the doors to the core my being.

Where can you go in this world that the Guru is not?  What can you see, hear and know that is not infused, pervaded and sustained by the Guru?

Where can you go that you do not experience the Presence of the Guru?

What can I say about the Guru that has not already been said? Yet the words flow through my being and from my heart and their expression is a testament to the evolution and revelation that I experience through my Guru’s Grace.

 

Who is the Guru?
In the black, velvety darkness
The path is hard to see
Yet I have a guiding light
That sits in the centre of my skull
At first – invisible, hidden
The steps are muddled, frantic
As I sit in the silence of my heart
The light begins to shine
Very distant, dim, elusive
It begins to grow and pulse through my blood
Shimmering crystal light
Effulgent sapphire blue
As it fills the chidakasha
Deeper and deeper I go

 

Who is the Guru?
What do I see?
She is the light and the Sun
The sky and the stars
The flame that kindles my soul
As she lifts the sadness from my heart
To reveal the stillness beyond

 

She is the Grace that guides my path
She opens the door and I float
Beyond knowledge and knowing
Beyond sound and word
My eyes are opened
To the infinite vastness
That is yet unborn

Taglines (Installment #7)

Svaroopa® Yoga: Consciousness Yoga

Experience yoga’s promise – the knowing of your own Self as Consciousness-Itself. Beyond the poses or stress relief, the true goal is the bliss of your own being, named svaroopa in the ancient texts. Svaroopa® yoga reveals your own Divinity.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Purposeful Practice

Our poses and practices are doorways to the Self. They lift you out of your suffering and reveal the blissful ocean of consciousness within. This is the purpose for which you were born.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Divinity Yoga

The point of human life is to know both realities: the whole of your infinite Beingness (the formless) and the Divinity of your form (your body and your mind). Svaroopa® yoga reveals the Divinity hidden within and make you able to see it in everyone and everything.

Svaroopa® Yoga: The Ultimate Practice

Our sophisticated methodology works with distinctly human abilities to cultivate the ultimate human experience – the knowing of your inherent Divinity. This is called freedom. beginning with wholeness, Svaroopa® yoga is the ultimate practice that yields the ultimate benefit.

Svaroopa® Yoga: A Sublime Path

Yoga recognizes the Divine in every form, from the expanse of the sea to the infinity in a grain of sand, from the light of the noonday sun to the light in another’s eyes. Follow the path of Svaroopa® yoga to find that in your own Self.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Seeking & Finding

You have an ability to get lost in things – events, situations and other people. It is your own Divine Self that you are losing. Svaroopa® yoga opens you up to your own Self again and gives you the tools to find and live in the inner knowing.

New Building for Downingtown Yoga & Meditation Center

downingtown yoga bannerWe’re almost there!  Our Board of Directors has been working for almost a year to select a building, negotiate a contract, complete the property inspections and arrange financing.  We are in the final steps to get to the settlement table. Of course, nothing in real estate is final until it’s final, but we wanted you to know that we’re almost there.

Why do we need a new building, you ask? Well, for you, of course!

In our 2012 Board Retreat, we developed a 10 year plan for expanding the Ashram, as well as a succession plan for after Swamiji is gone. We announced our plans in an article, including:

[Swamiji] along with the Board, is focusing on the sustainability of her teachings… We have the house in Downingtown, plus we will likely purchase an additional building to house our public programs and provide resident housing… and guest accommodations for visiting yogis.

Our plan is to create teachers rather than to accumulate assets; it is about the sustainability of the teachings, not of the buildings. Yet we need a building in which to base the next level of meditation teachings. We had planned to accomplish this by 2014 and we are realizing that dream on time.  Especially with the tasks of the Reawakening and the Consolidation, this is a major accomplishment.

We have looked at many buildings that didn’t have the right mix of space for DYMC (Downingtown Yoga & Meditation) along with apartments for residents and guests, and this one does. The ground floor is very large, for satsangs, events and yoga classes, which we need because our current DYMC location, right next door, is bursting at the seams. The upstairs apartments in the new building are currently rented, which helps to support the building while we grow into it.  We will be renovating and moving into the building in stages, and will keep you informed every step of the way.

Teacher Trainings will not be held in this location, as the Desmond offers a better experience for groups needing full service for YTT, retreats, etc. This building is intended for setting the Shakti, in a location that Swamiji feels very strongly about, and will be dedicated to creating community in the form of residents and guests, drawing from local community and Shishyas worldwide. Our local community is growing, as is our online following both nationally and internationally. There is a hunger for the deeper teachings, which is the way Swamiji serves both you and the greater yoga community, who thirst for that “something more” that we Svaroopis experience and understand.

In order for us to carry out Swamiji’s vision, and the vision of the organization going forward, we need this additional space. A space of our own that can hold the Shakti she pours into it. We are so thrilled to be able to provide our community with this space to grow. It is YOU who is making this possible, and it is for YOU that Swamiji, your Board of Directors, and all of the Trainers, staff and sevites serve.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h

Taglines (Installment #6)

Svaroopa® Yoga: The Goal is Bliss

Yoga’s goal is the bliss of consciousness, which arises from within. Yoga Sutras #1.3 promises, “You will experience svaroopa when yoga stills your mind.” Svaroopa® yoga delivers on this promise through the power and subtlety of spinal release.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Beyond Mere Pleasure

Bliss, peace, vast beingness – yoga promises something far beyond what you get from pleasures. It comes from a different source, so it fills you in a different way. Yogic bliss arises from within guaranteed through Svaroopa® yoga’s spinal decompression practices.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Bliss Arises from Within

Your essence is Consciousness-Itself. Svaroopa® yoga dissolves the inner blocks that hide your own Self. Even a hint or a glimpse of Self opens the inner flow of bliss, which expands to fill your heart and mind and overflows into your life and the world.

Svaroopa® Yoga: You are Made of Bliss

The ancient sages explain that you desire bliss because you are made of bliss. An inner split keeps you chasing who you think you are, rather than discovering the bliss of who you really are. Svaroopa® yoga dissolves the inner split and gives you your own Self.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Better than Happy!

Happiness is only temporary bliss because it is triggered by externals. They change. Thus you try to control things, which sometimes even works. Svaroopa® yoga opens your inner source of bliss, so you live in lasting bliss and share it with the world.

Svaroopa® Yoga: More Laughter, More Joy

Tension tells you that areas in your body and mind are less active. Where you are less alive, you have less joy, because life itself is joy-full. Svaroopa® yoga opens you up to more aliveness, more laughter, even more joy.  Svaroopa® yoga gives you the bliss of your own being, which is why it is called svaroopa.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Stress-less Yoga

You already have enough going on in your life, so yoga shouldn’t pressure you to perform. Svaroopa® yoga customizes the poses to your body, to easily dissolve your core tensions. The bliss you find is an inoculation against future stress. Discover a new way to live!

Svaroopa® Yoga: The Chemistry of Bliss

Svaroopa® yoga guarantees a change of midn and even a change of heart. As your spine decompresses, your mind decompresses. Your body’s stress chemicals are replaced by bliss chemicals. You put less pressure on the people around you, evne less pressure on yourself, yet you accomplish more than ever before.

Taking My Yoga & Meditation Practice on Vacation By Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Marlene Gast

Marlene Gast

In June, I took time off from running my Svaroopa® yoga studio and teaching to complete a manuscript that I’ve been working on for a decade. It got started the same summer that I landed on the Svaroopa® yoga and meditation path at Core Opening with Swamiji. Now, more interested in writing about experiences in Svaroopa® yoga and meditation, I feel the weight of that unfinished writing project; it’s like a bag full of yarn and the half-knitted sweater. If it were just a bag of yarn, I could donate it to a thrift store for a real knitter to complete. But the yarn is in my own body and mind, so I need to finish the writing to move forward more freely.

So for my five-day vacation on a Wyoming ranch with my writing group, I packed my meditation asana and shawl, two foam yoga blocks and one Triple Alert Timer. They turned out to be essential items in so many ways. My bunkhouse room was tiny with two cot-size beds and a sink. I chose one bed for sleeping and the other as a “meditation platform,” where I stacked bed pillows for a Sukhasana seat against one wall. In the space between the twin beds, the bedside table held the meditation card with photos of Swamiji and Swami Muktananda, and the floor in front provided just enough room for my blocks and the practice of Lunge.

Every morning this set-up gave me a sweetly soothing foundation for bed yoga followed by meditation.  That start to each day served as a grounding, opening, integrating retreat within my vacation. Besides the task of trying to finish a writing project, joining my writing group for these five days was like being in a family reunion — lots of shared history, affection and, well, “other stuff.”  At meals, japa was a special blessing as I listened to streams of conversation about ways to eat, ways to sleep, reasons to write, multitudes of approaches for dissolving writer’s block etc. etc. At times I was reminded of the biblical Tower of Babel, as though everyone at the table held forth in a different language. Om Namah Shivaya repeated silently, with sweet pauses in between the repetitions of mantra, kept me in sight of the One Reality within, a beautiful place to rest in silence, even while a chorus of competing recommendations for solving a multitude of personal problems filled my ears. When I allowed myself to settle into Self, it was even possible to respond cheerfully to “stuff” that did get close to pushing my various buttons. Yes, I was grateful to have packed my props, and continued my practices throughout vacation. The only buttons that got pushed were the buttons on my trusty timer.

During quiet hours in my little room with my notebooks, I made headway on my project, and took breaks on my “practice bed” for Ujjayi Pranayama, pillows under my knees.  I didn’t finish the manuscript, but I made respectable headway. Soon it will be done, I believe.  In the meantime, vacationing with this writing in the cradle of my Svaroopa® yoga and meditation practices has given me a new perspective on this project. I’m looking at the work to complete it as tapas — clearing up a “moldy oldie” — so there’s less baggage on the road ahead.

Taglines (Installment #5)

Svaroopa® Yoga: Sutra Based Yoga

flowerSvaroopa® yoga is based in the principles of Consciousness expounded in the sutras. Athletic yoga styles, the sages explain, are preparation for an eventual inner awakening, but Svaroopa® yoga gives you the inner awakening, because it is saturated by the river of ever-flowing Grace.

Svaroopa® Yoga: The Best Comes First

flower4Yoga’s promise is that you will experience the Bliss of your own Beingness. Svaroopa® yoga delivers on that promise from your very first class, creating an inner opening that gives you your own Self: from the first, in the middle, to the last, and all at the same time.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Yoga for Seekers

flower3Svaroopa® yoga is for those who are seeking something that they cannot name. They don’t know exactly what it is they’re looking for. Here is where you begin the path to finding it, the path to your own Divine Self, the path of Grace.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Opening the Doorway Within

flower2Svaroopa® yoga jump-starts your inner evolution, leading to the discovery of who you really are. Grace begins the process, supports you along the way and completes your life’s purpose – the inner revelation of your own Svaroopa, your own Divine Beingness, your Self.

Svaroopa® Yoga: The Yoga of Grace

flower5Others talk about Kundalini; Svaroopa® yoga delivers. Our poses are based in Grace, reliably providing the inner awakening that puts you on course for the highest purpose of human life. No more guessing, no more hoping, no more despair. You can live in the knowing of your own Divinity.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Alignment with Grace

Tail to top, we create the inner opening, inviting Grace to reveal your Divine Self. Svaroopa® yoga gives you the inner alignment you’ve craved all your life, the synchronizing of your individuality with your inherent Divinity.

Svaroopa® Yoga: Melting the Layers

Svaroopa® yoga is going to make you shine. As soon as you decompress your spine, the Grace melts your carefully constructed shell and opens up profound inner experiences. Melt in the glow of consciousness, which is the flow of Grace,                      through Svaroopa® yoga.