Tag Archives: swami

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.

YTT Level 4 Reflections by Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Level 4 grads 2

May 2014 Level 4 Grads

Level 4 is unique — a culmination of 50 days (700 hours) of immersion training in the protocols of teaching this yoga. Just four years ago, my Level 4 propelled me to a whole series of “firsts” — taking Meditation Teacher Training, travelling to India with Swami Nirmalananda and then opening my own studio after returning. Yes, YTT 4 is both a finale and a commencement of even greater things to come! There is always more and MORE…

Ruth Brown CSYT, teaching in Columbus GA, likened YTT 4 to Yoga Mudra, saying that it is “the big seal at the end of this 50 days of training. Without forcing or straining, YTT 4 was sealing our practice into every cell of our body. Beginning with Foundations, we made our way through the gauntlet of classes and DTS. We have experienced every emotion possible as we followed the map to and through YTT 4. With joy, fear, doubt and pride and even with gracefulness to clumsiness we have navigated the course set out to us…. Now that we are properly sealed to prevent leakage, we go out into the world!”

Completing YTT 4 last May, Kathy Gardner in NC says, “YTT Level 4 brought everything I learned in earlier levels together, and made sense of all my previous trainings. Connections are clear through the continuum of trainings from Foundations on. It felt as though all other poses and trainings made us ready to experience the Classical Poses, Vinyasa sequences, and Twists & Seated poses of Level 4. It was clear to me that Swami Nirmalananda has the enlightenment to create the Svaroopa® yoga pose protocols and the teacher training to create the unfolding abilities in our bodies to experience the Level 4 poses. I recognized the necessity of significant lower spinal release, the ultimate wonderful preparation, as well as the abdominals work to move into those beautiful Level 4 poses.

“The day we had our graduation I felt surprise; I never thought I’d get that far. Yet the training to become a full-fledged Certified Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher just kept moving forward. Right now I’m in good place, with classes going well and students I love. It’s a soft place, and I’m even enjoying DTS! Sending in my plans for the Classical Theme, I felt a sense of confidence, as though I got it! Of course, they may need fix-ups. But unlike in DTS Level 2 creating these plans did not tighten my tailbone! My favorite pose now is Trikonasana, which is fun to include in my daily practice a couple of times per week. A stiff knee has always given me trouble. But in this pose the changes going on in my knee are soft and pleasant. I wonder, where is this change going to take me? In fact, even though I’m in a beautiful, soft place right now, what will be my unfolding possibilities for spreading Svaroopa® yoga into the world?”

Now all properly sealed, as Ruth says, our YTT Level 4 grads go forth to spread Svaroopa® yoga with our deep, heartfelt congratulations for all that they have achieved and contributed already — and for all that they will continue to experience and to offer. May the bliss that illuminated their faces on graduation day continue to open their students, loved ones and everyone they will touch to bliss and the experience of their own Divinity.

India Retreat: Travel Tips by Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Priya Kenney

Priya Kenney

When you decide to go to India, what preparations come first — and soon? Even now is not too early to obtain or renew your passport, if needed; apply for your visa; and decide which of the recommended immunizations are appropriate for you. For more advice, I called Priya Kenney, and she offered tips based on her 2013 India trip with Swamiji.

First, fly with the group. You will, of course, book your own India flight. However, Priya says, “Flying with the group is a very sweet way to establish retreat community starting at the boarding gate.”

Book your flight as soon as possible. For our group flight, book the United flight number on the Retreat web page for the February 7th departure date. That flight lands you in Mumbai in time for the Retreat start on February 9th. Recalling her 2013 flight, Priya says, “It was great to see ‘pods of yogis’ sitting together throughout our svaroopa plane! Then sitting together to await flight connections in Europe — even just charging our phones together — cultivated camaraderie, with the sweet shared sense of being fellow travelers on a pilgrimage.”

If you will fly from your home to Newark, Priya advises planning for generous time between any connecting flights. She says, “International travel can take more time than you’d expect. You need plenty of time after landing in Newark to get to the gate for our group flight on United Airlines. You also need plenty of time between any connecting flights to Newark, for weather delays etc. Also, on international flights, the airline can sometimes close the flight well before the published departure, so arrive at that gate with plenty of time to spare, and plan to enjoy a restful wait, and to do japa!”

One preparation that gave Priya stamina and solace throughout her travels was uploading every one of Swamiji’s chants to her iPod. Priya says, “I listened to them the whole way. Those chants are so full of Grace, and that carried me. Listening to them when I was half falling sleep was especially supportive and soothing.” Besides an iPod, or course, you can upload chants from Swamiji’s CDs to any smart phone, laptop or an iPad. Then all you need are earphones. Just remember your charger!

Regarding packing, Priya says, “I started packing weeks in advance. That way, I experienced so much ease in beginning my trip. That was important for making the transit smoother. I wasn’t exhausted from having to sort through a mountain of last-minute details.”

The point of extra packing time is not about fitting in a great amount of clothing; rather it’s to make effective decisions about what to bring. Even though you’ll be away from home for two weeks, you don’t need to pack much clothing. First, choose your walking shoes; they are very important says Priya. After that, pack essentials but leave ample room for clothing that you’ll be able to buy in Ganeshpuri shops. While you are certainly free to wear Western clothes there, the cut and fabric weight of the traditional salwar kameez are appropriate for every occasion. The Punjabi-style pants (narrow ankles, full knees) and knee-length tunic are comfortable as well as elegant. Priya says that, in her experience, when you purchase a salwar kameez outfit in the US, the neckline can be cut too low and the fabric can be too heavy for the Indian climate, even in February. Yet, for early morning travel in open air vehicles to Nityananda’a Abhishek ceremony, you’ll want a light jacket or a shawl.

For your suitcase, other useful items might be granola bars, a bag of nuts and even protein powder for your blood sugar if that’s an issue for you. Your own mosquito repellent can prove useful, too, until you can buy the local stuff, which Swamiji recommends. However, before you travel, you don’t need to worry about exchanging US dollars for rupees because you can do that easily at the Fire Mountain Ashram upon arrival.

Priya found that the transportation arranged by Iqbal and his crew from the Fire Mountain Ashram from the Mumbai airport to Ganeshpuri was extremely smooth. She says, “After we turned in our forms at the immigration desks, we retrieved our luggage from baggage claim, and it was a short walk through a terminal lobby to the parking lot where Iqbal was waiting for us with his bus. It was quite easy.”

Click here for more information about our February 2015 India Retreat ‑ Ganeshpuri’s Grace.

Click here to support your ashram and your practice.

 

 

Why India with Swamiji? by Sheynapurna (Sandy) Peace

India_ Sheynapurna 2

Sheynapurna (Sandy) Peace in Ganeshpuri

I had the good fortune to be staying at the Ashram when the 2013 India trip was announced. Part of me wanted to go, but my good friend Fear reared up her head and helped Mind think up many reasons why I shouldn’t go. Sitting at the dining room table with Swamiji, I expressed some of my fears. Swamiji looked at me, gave me what I can only call “that” look and then shared several reasons why it might be important for me to take that trip.

I no longer remember the reasons I was given. What I remember most of all was looking at Her, sitting there at the table with Her, and realizing the gifts I would receive being with Her in India. Is that Grace? All I know is that my fears began to look pitiful. Was I actually worrying about a lack of toilet paper? Really? Cobras? I live in southern California, have hiked all over the back country hills and have encountered dozens of rattlesnakes….I never saw even one snake in India, much less a cobra, and toilet paper was readily available.   Would I rather sit home with my fears or see India with my Guru?

In exchange for letting my fears lie low, I got to meet the people of Ganeshpuri, so many devotees of Nityananda or Muktananda all populating one town. I sat in Nityananda’s temple, meditated in His bedroom. I got to visit Muktananda’s (now Gurumayi’s) ashram and sit in the garden by the mango tree where Muktananda gave satsang. We met the temple Brahmin priests so many times that they recognized us on the streets of Ganeshpuri. On our last morning at Nityananda’s Temple, one of the priests told me that all of the people who come to Ganeshpuri were personally invited by Nityananda. He said this, looked at me closely and said, “You must come back again. You are most welcome here”.

I will return to Ganespuri with Swamiji this coming February, to spend this special time with my Guru, Swami Nirmalananda, and share the delight of the local people in Her visit to their city. I hope to share this precious time with you!

To register or learn more information about India 2015: Ganeshpuri’s Grace, click here.

My Spiritual Birthday by Swami Nirmalananda

289My life is full of milestones, yet they all began on the day I received Shaktipat from my Baba. Everything followed so naturally, like water flows down a river. I rafted the river of Grace.

Before Shaktipat, I explored the outer universe, but to no avail. I tried everything that was available in the 60’s and 70’s, a wide variety of offerings! I came to the inescapable conclusion that nothing really worked. I began to question the value of life itself, but continued searching for something that had meaning.

After Shaktipat, I explored the inner universe under my Guru’s guiding hand. I found that the entire outer world is nestled within and all of it has meaning! Every single grain of sand, every single person and even every single problem has meaning. But I had to find it within before I could see the meaning-full-ness that was staring me in the face.

Now my life is full of Grace, every moment saturated with the Divinity that was hidden within. All revealed by my Guru’s Grace. Please join me in celebrating my 38th anniversary of receiving Baba’s gift, Saturday May 31 at Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center from 7:30-9:00 pm. Click here to register.

NOTE: Swamiji asks that you refrain from giving her personal gifts, but instead (if you wish) please support her sharing of the gift that she received with others. Click here to donate in honor of Swamiji’s Shaktipat Anniversary.

A Sweet Retreat by Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Marlene Gast

Matrika (Marlene) Gast

As a yogi who teaches Svaroopa® yoga, I plan my retreat and training vacations. I do ruminate about spending time on the beach or in the mountains instead, and some years I am fortunate enough to have time for both. But if I must choose one or the other, I go for the yoga. And I have never ever regretted the choice of that gift for myself — and my students.

If you are still making summer plans, take a look at “Enliven & Advance: Level 2,” July 5-9. If you have completed YTT Level 2, this course refreshes your “current standing” date, plus you will receive so much more. Last year, I interviewed yogis who took “Enliven & Advance: Level 1.” They found this EYTS course to be a sweet retreat as well as a great way to refresh pose alignments and adjustments as well as learn new and exciting ATT variations.

Mary Carpenter said, “I was amazed again at the subtly of Svaroopa® yoga. Just a hint of support can give a huge release…experiencing layers and layers of depth in my own opening as well as gathering new information and experience with the poses.” When she registered for the course, Mary was looking forward to being a student, and her expectations were fulfilled, “We had a bunch of classes in which we could just be the student. As we were in one of these classes, I realized the pose could support me rather than me working in the pose. In the inner space that opened from not efforting, and releasing the desire to get any kind of effect, I experienced the pose as a kind of cocoon to nurture and support me…more like a spa treatment than a training class. The course was a great sweetness that provided a space of openness for the pose to grow inside you!”

Kathy Gardner said, “The first day, Vidyadevi asked, ‘Why are you here?’ and I answered, ‘To be fed.’ I felt like a dried-out sponge. Then the tailbone poses opened things up for me. Those poses were very freeing. Not only was there an awesome physical opening, but there was also the immersion in community. It was so nice to be a student again and to be with other Svaroopis.”

Joe Yezzi especially liked the “sense of Oneness.” He said, “We were all there for one reason — to deepen our openings, and experience such a high energy level.” Joe continued, “In terms of the actual teacher training, it helped me get back on track. Regarding drift, I found I wasn’t that far out, but neither was I as on target as I had thought with alignments. Yes, drift happens, and the course brought me home.” As we teachers have all experienced, through those deep openings, knowing arises. Joe said, “The course reinforced my knowing that I was meant to be a Svaroopa® yoga teacher. Svaroopa® yoga is powerful, very powerful – and so easy, so simple – just softening, less is more.”

level 2 poses 1In this training, you can look forward to being trained by Vidyadevi and Karobi. Jim Totin said, “It’s really a pleasure to take class from Vidyadevi. Whatever comes up, she knows how to answer and what to do; I am confident that she will have an answer for anything. This goes for Karobi, too…. And I am always in awe of Swamiji pulling all of this together; it’s unbelievable – I tell people this is a real gift from God. I can’t imagine life without it, and wouldn’t want to imagine where I would be without this yoga.”

How about you? Is it time for Continuing Ed? Or do you just want to treat yourself to the most splendid of vacations? How wonderful that you can do both in “Enliven & Advance: Level 2” from July 5 -9 at The Desmond. You will return home having given yourself just what you needed — refreshed on all levels, with more to give to your loved ones, to your students and to your own life as a yogi.

This Stuff Works by Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Marlene Gast

Marlene Gast

Every Sunday when I was very small, I got to sit on my grandfather’s lap while he told me how things work. He described how paper is made from trees ground into wood pulp, how cheese is produced from fermented milk, and how aspirin is made from a substance found in willows. When I got a little older, I received talks on Morse code, soldering and the internal combustion engine. In my twenties when I studied poetry, I learned from my teachers how poetic language works to create a unique world of its own, conveying a particular experience, emotion, vision that tells us so much about our own existence.

At the same time I discovered yoga— a great escape from the rigors of academia. I heard from some of my teachers that yoga could take you to God.  They didn’t say how exactly, and at the time I wasn’t interested in that anyway.  At first I just wanted peace and quiet, but then somehow “deeper” experiences began to happen. When I finally happened upon Svaroopa® yoga, I had become curious about these experiences. What were they? How did they “work”?

In 2005 when I took Foundations with Swamiji (then Rama), I was grateful to receive actual explanations of the workings of Consciousness, reaching right into our human bodies. Swamiji has said that her teachings explain the experiences that we’re having and prepare us for experiencing “more.” Over time it has become clear that Svaroopa® yoga, as it opens us to Consciousness, does so much more than merely working on body, breath, and mind. It invokes and opens up experience of Divine Self, beyond body and mind. Then we see the imperishable radiance of the Divine in everyone and everything.

Through Swamiji’s teachings, at last, I can see more and more how the world works, how life works, how my life has been shaped and what that means.  I see how Divinity is the heart of all we know, all we don’t know yet, and all that is even beyond knowing. For me, that solves a lot of issues.

This is the gift from Swamiji that prompts me to donate to Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram. Of course I am grateful as well for unsurpassed yoga teacher training that has prepared me to do work that I love and for healing that I’ve received in body and mind. But it’s the gift of knowing Self — of seeing how it ALL works — that I cannot do without.

What do you value most? During our Yoga in the World campaign, please join me in giving and express your own gratitude for whatever you have received from Svaroopa® yoga and meditation and the teachings of Swami Nirmalananda.

Click here  to support your Ashram and support your community.