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$5 Canada $3.50 US £2.50 UK 3.

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SPECIAL FEATURE
Celebrating Forty Years of
Sivananda Yoga Teachers’
Training Courses
Page 10

Thought Power
Swami Sivananda
Prana as Electricity
Swami Vishnudevananda
Connect to your
Inner Divinity
Swami Durgananda
Benefits of the
12 Basic Postures
Swami Sivadasananda

S E R V E • L O V E • G I V E • P U R I F Y • M E D I TAT E • R E A L I Z E
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Swami Sivananda Swami Vishnudevananda
(1887-1963) (1927-1993)
4 YOGALife I Summer 2009
Editor’s letter

International Welcome...
Sivananda Yoga e are celebrating this year 40 years of Sivananda Teachers’

Vedanta Centres W Training Courses (TTC). Swami Vishnudevananda


taught the first TTC at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga
Camp, Val Morin, Quebec in 1969. Since then over 23,000
people have taken the course. Over the years, we have received
Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) thousands of testimonies from students eager to express their
The spiritual strength behind the gratitude for this life changing experience. A few recent
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, testimonies are included in this issue. The course will be taught
Swami Sivananda’s teachings are a for the first time in Italy this year.
synthesis of all the formal doctrines
of yoga. Author of more than 300 We have been putting quite some energy this year into
books on yoga, Swami Sivananda book printing: Swamiji’s commentary on the Hatha Yoga
was a medical doctor before Pradipika has been reprinted – see the article “prana as
renouncing worldly life for the electricity”; the new book Swami Vishnudevananda Upadesha
spiritual path. He founded the has been printed. We included some inspiring excerpts in this
Divine Life Society and the Yoga- issue. We are also working on a new book on Hatha Yoga,
Vedanta Forest Academy, Rishikesh, which will be printed shortly in England by Dorling Kindersley.
Himalayas. His main message was:
Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise. In 1957 he sent one of his foremost Thanks to the untiring volunteer work done at the
disciples, Swami Vishnudevananda to the West to spread the ideals of yoga. Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, over 3,000 recordings have
Swami Sivananda entered Mahasamadhi on July 14th 1963. been transferred from cassette tapes to mp3-format. We need
help to organise this precious legacy to make it available
Swami Vishnudevananda (1927-1993) to all – see the article on how you can help on page 25.
Born in South India in 1927,
Swami Vishnudevananda entered Swami Durgananda’s article provides wonderful inspiration
the ashram of Swami Sivananda on how to reconnect with our divinity, while Swami
at the age of 18. A world famous Sivadasananda’s article on the 12 basic asanas reminds us
authority on Hatha and Raja Yoga, of the logic behind this powerful sequence.
Swami Vishnudevananda founded
the International Sivananda Yoga We also wanted to put emphasis on the power of the mind
Vedanta Centres in 1957 and was in this issue – Dr Shastri is sharing his rich knowledge of the
author of The Complete Illustrated vedic tradition in his article on improving memory and
Book of Yoga, Meditation and concentration in the gurukula tradition.
Mantras, Karma and Disease
and a commentary on the
Finally, we would like to acknowledge in this issue the great
Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Swami Vishnudevananda entered Mahasamadhi spiritual work done by inspired souls in various parts of the
on November 9th, 1993. world: the great work of Dr. Marilyn and Dr. John Rossner, both
close disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda, in inter-religious
The Executive Board and intercultural understanding for world peace; the wonderful
The Executive Board of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres is comprised of work of Gopala and a whole team of karma yogis in Spain and
senior disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda, personally chosen and trained by him South America with the translation of the books of Swami
to direct the organisation after his departure. Each of them has had many years’ Sivananda into Spanish, and last but not least, we would like
experience in teaching all aspects of yoga. They are renowned for their devotion to pay a special tribute to Swami Neeladevananda, who left
to Swami Vishnu-devananda and Swami Sivananda and for their profound her body last year at age 89. Her total devotion to her teacher,
knowledge and inspirational teaching and guidance, wisdom imparted to many Swami Vishnudevananda, will remain a source of great
thousands of students throughout the world. inspiration for many generations of spiritual seekers to come.
Swami Mahadevananda Swami Durgananda
Swami Swaroopananda Swami Sivadasananda We hope you enjoy this issue.
Srinivasan Swami Kailasananda Om Shanti,
HEADQUARTERS The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
SIVANANDA ASHRAM YOGA CAMP Centre, London
Eighth Avenue, Val Morin, Quebec, Canada JOT 2RO
Tel: +1 819 322 3226
email: hq@sivananda.org
With ashrams and centres located around the world
see page 58 for addresses
Est 1957
The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, founded
by Swami Vishnudevananda is a non-profit organisation whose
purpose is to propagate the teachings of yoga and vedanta as a Cover Photo:
means of achieving physical, mental and spiritual well-being and Swami Vishnudevananda gives
Self-realisation. out books and uniforms
during a Teachers’ Training
Course inauguration

YOGALife I Summer 2009 5


International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres Europe

Yoga Teachers’ Training Course


Ustka, Baltic Sea, Poland
August 29 – September 27, 2009
• Fully certificated four-week intensive course
• International guest speakers
• Taught in English, Polish, Lithuanian, Russian

Yoga Vacation Programme


A Yoga Vacation programme will be held at the
same time as the Teachers’ Training Course.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Berlin


Schmiljanstr. 24 (U9 Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz) • 12161 Berlin Tel. 030/ 85 99 97 98
Fax: 030/ 85 99 97 98 · E-Mail: Berlin@sivananda.net www.sivananda.org/berlin

6 YOGALife I Summer 2009


Contents

SIVANANDA

8 Thought Power
"Thought makes man. Man makes civilisation." Swami Sivananda explains
how the power of positive thought can help develop a 'New civilisation'.

10 Celebrating 40 years of Sivananda Teachers’


Training Courses
In this issue of Yoga Life we look back at how and why the course was started.
With personal experiences of some past graduates of the course.

16 Teachings of Swami Vishnudevananda


Excerpts from the newly published book, Vishnudevananda Upadesha

18
22
Prana as Electricity
An excerpt from the newly reprinted commentary on the Hatha Yoga Pradhipika
by Swami Vishnudevananda
Connect to your Inner Divinity
Swami Durganananda talks about the fundamental problems of human life
10
and the necessity of developing a spiritual orientation.

25 Life and Teachings of Swami Vishnudevananda


in audio files…
Find out how you can help in this Karma Yoga Project to make Swami
Vishnudevananda’s precious archive material available to all.
A Tribute to Ruby Blue – Swami Neeladevananda
18
26 We remember one of Swami Vishnudevananda’s dearest and closest disciples.

27 The Living Evolution


An Interview with Ruby Blue, Swami Neeladevananda.

32 The logic behind the sequence of the


12 Basic Postures
Swami Sivadasananda takes an in-depth look at the benefits of the
12 Basic Postures.

38 ’Swamiji’
Dr Marilyn Rossner talks about Swami Vishnudevananda.

42 The Training of Memory and Concentration


in the Gurukula Tradition
By Dr H V Satyanarayana Sastry.

44 Being Staff
Lakshmana, staff member at the Sivananda Yoga Centre in Paris, gives a personal
account of what joining staff has meant for him.
The Power of a Smile
48 “I still remember the first time I met Swami Vishnudevananda in 1974.

51
52
I remember above all his first smile.” Gopala remembers Swami Vishnudevananda.
Elephant Ride
A tribute to the humility, compassion and wisdom of Elephants.
Sivananda Ashram and Centre News
32
Updates on new developments in Ashrams and Centres around the world.

51
54 Kumbha Mela
The background behind this most auspicious and sacred festival.

56 New Trivandrum Centre Opens


The inauguration of the new Sivananda Yoga Centre in Trivandrum Kerala,
South India, by the Maharaja of Travancore.

57 Prison Project News


Swami Padmapadananda updates us on the latest Prison Project news.

58 Sivananda Ashram and Centre Addresses


A listing of Sivananda Ashrams, Centres and teachers worldwide.

60 Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Understanding


Father John Rossner, founder of the International Institute of Integral Human
Sciences, talks about its aims and objectives.

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“Flood the brain with healthy thoughts,
ideas and ideals.” – Swami Sivananda

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Thought Power

Thought Power
and the conditions for a New Civilisation
an extract from Thought Power by Swami Sivananda

Thought makes man. Man makes The man who commits murder,
civilisation. There is a powerful the man who steals your purse,
thought-force behind every great the man who cheats you – the law
event in life and in the history punishes him. But this crime is
of the world. insignificant to the crime
Behind all discoveries and committed by the wicked
inventions, behind all religions and intellectual who instills a wicked
philosophies, behind all life-saving idea into the mind of youth.
and life-destroying devices is thought. The new civilisation will give
Thought is expressed in words every encouragement to those who
and executed in deeds. Word is the wish to study philosophy, religion
handmaid of thought, and deed and spiritual thought. It will make
is the end result. Hence, the saying, their study compulsory in schools
‘As you think, so you become.’ and colleges. It will award scholar-
How to build a new civilisation? ships to students of philosophy.
By generating a new thought-force. It will confer prizes and titles on those who conduct
How to build a civilisation that will ensure the researches in religion and philosophy. The deepest urge
peace of mankind, the prosperity of society, the salvation in man, the spiritual urge, will be given the fullest scope
of the individual? to realize its goal.
By generating a thought-force that will invariably The fruits of the New Civilisation are well worth all
result in man enjoying a peace of mind, that will instill that everybody can do towards building it up. In the New
in his heart the divine virtues of compassion, of service Civilisation man will want to lead a righteous life, he will
to his fellow-men, love of God, and of an intense desire be eager to serve his fellow-beings and share with them
to realize Him. what he has; he will love all, realising that his own Self
If but a fraction of the wealth and the time spent dwells in all; he will be devoted to the welfare of all
on wasteful pursuits and destructive activities is devoted beings.
to the creation of a Good Thought, there will be a new What an ideal society it will be, where people share
civilisation right now. with others all that they possess, and will serve
Atomic and hydrogen bombs, I.C.B.M. and a host of everybody! Where will be the need for taxes and duties
other inventions drive mankind inevitably to destruction. in such a society in which everyone will voluntarily work
They waste your wealth; they destroy your neighbours; for all? Where is the need for police and the army when
they pollute the atmosphere of the whole world, and people are devoted to virtue?
generate fear, hatred, and suspicion in your heart; the This then is the ideal. Towards this end, let everyone
mind is unbalanced and the body is subject to diseases. strive to generate a Thought-force.
Stop this trend.
Promote research in spirituality, in religion, in all the May God bless you all!
good things of life. Support the philosophers and saints –
the real benefactors of mankind. Encourage them in their
study of religion, researches in ancient spiritual literature,
and the projection of a great thought-force for the good.
Ban all literature that pollutes the thoughts of the
young. Flood the brain with healthy thoughts, ideas
and ideals.

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40 Years of Sivananda Yoga


Teachers’ Training Courses
In 1969, Swami Vishnudevananda taught the inaugural Sivananda
Yoga Teachers’ Training Course (TTC) in Canada, the first yoga
teaching course of its kind to be established in the West.
This year we celebrate the 40th year of Sivananda Yoga Teachers’
Training Courses, and in this issue of Yoga Life we look back
at how and why the course was started. We also include the
inspiring ‘life changing’ personal experiences of some past
graduates of the course.

Photo: Swami Vishnudevananda inspires


the Teachers’ Training Course students

1969: Swami Vishnudevananda giving a lecture Archive photos of Swami Vishnudevananda


during the first Sivananda Teachers’ Training Course conducting the Teachers’ Training Course

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“Swami Vishnudevananda developed the


Teachers’ Training Course as a means to
train the future leaders and responsible
citizens of the world in Yogic disciplines.”

Background The Sivananda Teachers’ Training Course


In 1968, whilst meditating in the temple at the Swami Sivananda founded an institute of education
Sivananda Yoga Retreat on Paradise Island, Swami within his ashram in Rishikesh, India, named the Vedanta
Vishnudevananda had a vision that was to have a Forest Academy. Swami Vishnudevananda was one of the
profound effect on his life. He saw people rushing to tear principal professors of the academy and as an extension
down the walls and borders that exist between nations, of this educational programme, the Sivananda Teacher's
in a bid to escape a wall of fire and destruction. Training Course was developed.
This unsettling experience became the catalyst for his
founding of the True World Order (T.W.O.) which aimed
to promote a deeper unity and understanding between
peoples of the world. The T.W.O. envisaged a world
where the ideas of patriotism, nationalism and separation
would be replaced by a new era of Unity in Diversity. He
said that although there are and always will be different
languages, cultures, faiths and social orders, these will
only add to the beauty of the world once we accept and
understand them properly, instead of creating bigotry,
intolerance, misunderstanding and war.
Swami Vishnudevananda developed the Teachers’
Training Course in order to train future world leaders and
responsible citizens of the world in Yogic disciplines. In The early training: Swami Sivananda (centre) with disciples.
this way he hoped to achieve the aims of the T.W.O. He Swami Vishnudevananda stands next to him with arms folded.
asked the question: “What type of leaders should lead us
in the future? Leaders who have disciplined themselves The course is based on the training that Swami
and have control over their minds and emotions through Vishnudevananda himself received under his Master,
the development of spiritual and psychic senses instead Swami Sivananda, over a period of 10 years, the essence
of ordinary intellect to see and solve problems. This is of the training being condensed into a four week period.
achieved by the yogic method of physical and mental The course is designed to be intensive, immersing the
exercises and meditation combined with other modern students in a balanced programme of yogic theory and
techniques which will hasten mental and spiritual develop- practice for all-round physical, mental, emotional and
ment. Without these it is very difficult to control one’s spiritual development.
emotions and become selfless in thought and action. Since the first course in 1969, over 23,000 graduates
If even a glimpse of peace and happiness, which true have received the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training
yogis enjoy, can be brought to leaders, their attitudes certification. Swami Vishnudevananda’s visionary
and sense of values in leadership will be improved.” approach to the dissemination of yoga and yoga training
has equipped thousands of aspirants with the necessary
The Gurukula System of Education discipline and yogic skills to enrich their own lives and
The Teachers’ Training Course is modelled on the to help spread these teachings to others.
traditional Indian system of education, ‘Gurukula’, Swami Vishnudevananda said that yoga teachers
in which the students live harmoniously together in a should also be yogic practitioners – “teachers and not
spiritual community under the guidance of their teachers. just preachers”. With this positive attitude, each of us
With this unique approach, it is not just an academic can help to carry on Swamiji’s legacy to create a new
teaching of techniques – the teachings are transmitted True World Order where each individual becomes a
and practiced in daily life. messenger of peace and a potential future world leader!

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Personal experiences of the Teachers’ Training Course
In Tune with my Real Self A Life Changing Expeience!
My TTC in 2002 brought not only an enormous change to The TTC is an intense and wonderful experience that changes
my life but also an enormous relief at finally finding a way your life.
of living that was in tune with my real Self. All the different Before doing the TTC myself, I read in the Yoga Life
aspects that we were exposed to and taught during the TTC, magazine the opinion of many people who have done the
met all the different aspects of my personality that I couldn’t TTC. It was a surprise to read that so many people said that
seem to combine before. I was a dancer for years and the TTC had changed their lives. I thought to myself “what an
yoga asanas combined with breathing and relaxation fullfilled exaggeration!”. But today I think that these people were
my need to be in touch with my soul through my body. right. It is an experience that changes the consciousness
I studied psychology and philosophy at university and the indeed; the course is demanding, wonderful and intense…
study of Vedanta answered my questions even more a true gift of God.
satisfactorily. The practice of daily meditation gave The expectations that we have when we begin the course
me real, pragmatic tools for personal growth by helping are very little compared to the knowledge we obtain from it.
me to understand my mind and control my thoughts. They become true and we receive even more than expected.
I had sung in a chorus for many years and missed singing The end of the TTC it is only the very beginning of the path.
with others, and since I was in India (Neyyar Dam) for my TTC We realize that we didn’t come here only to teach asanas and
with 250 students, I had the pleasure of experiencing very pranayama, but to integrate yoga into our lives, and finally we
full satsangs with Indian musicians every day and realize that we don’t really teach anything, but only pass on
reconnecting with the joy of singing through Kirtan. this precious knowledge that the Masters gave us. This is the
But most of all, I had always been a ‘counter-cultural mission, to pass on these teachings from one to another, like
activist’, deeply aware that our Western culture was passing a flame or a candle until you can transform yourself
disconnected from our true needs and heading perilously in
the wrong direction faster and faster. I wanted to be involved
in social change but had not found the way, having been
dissapointed with both strictly political activism on the “We realize that we don’t really teach
community level, and conventional psychotherapeutic
methods on the personal level. And having grown up in a anything, but only pass on this precious
small village in Switzerland, spending hours and hours in the knowledge that the Masters gave us.”
hills, fields and woods, I had a deep sense of being one with
nature and all living things, an awareness that was sometimes
difficult to keep in the busy urban world I was living in. and the people around you and fill the world with peace and
So the chance the TTC offered to dig deeper inside to joy and love, the greatest ideals of yoga!
create a solid well of inner peace from which I could draw at The main question my friends and family asked me and
will, and to spread this knowledge to others by becoming a probably are going to ask you also was: Is it possible to
yoga teacher was an absolute blessing. become a yoga teacher within four weeks? Obviously not.
I have since had the opportunity to teach regularly at the You’ll be able to give a basic class, but from there until you
Sivananda Center in Paris, where I receive as much as I give, become a teacher, there is such a long way! When does one
if not more, and which has made me understand fully how become a yoga teacher? When through your personal practice
much selfless service is a true source of joy. of yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayama, karma yoga,
In addition, I have had the priviledge of being the French swadyaya, meditation, and with the grace of the guru and
translator at the TTCs in Vrindavan,India for the last few years, God you have removed all the obstacles to experience God
an experience that I cherish for the renewed opportunity inside, when you become an example for others and not just
of reliving the ‘TTC adventure’ of people coming from all an entertainer, when you become a “peace ambassador”
over the world to learn and grow together, and of witnessing (to quote Swami Vishnudevananda), when you can go to the
the perpetual miracle of all of us struggling through our level of your students and bring them up, when you’re “light”,
differences and personal challenges to arrive at a final shared when “yoga” and “life” become identical… So not today, not
sense of true Oneness during the graduation ceremony. tomorrow, and not at the end of the TTC.
I am so grateful that the TTC exists and continues to draw May you enjoy each moment of your TTC and remember
so many students. As time passes my commitment to it grows that the Masters always teach through you!
deeper and deeper.
It has given me and continues to give me hope for Amba
a future dedicated to a more peaceful and loving world.

Kaivalya
TTC November 2002, Neyyar Dam, India

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Personal experiences of the Teachers’ Training Course


TTC: A Profound Journey introspection, self-analysis, evaluation and ultimately
As a writer, I now find myself in an unusual position; not evolution. As we peeled away the layers of conditioning,
quite the typical ‘writer’s block,’ but rather wanting to write firmly held beliefs and values instilled from aeons ago, our
the ‘perfect piece’ – to share a deeply personal experience vulnerability levels increased which ultimately gave rise to
yet afraid – in case my readers don’t ‘get it.’ compassion – of self and others. Bearing witness to nationals
How do I convey my deeply intimate story while of countries that have only entertained hostile relations share
remaining detached to the outcomes, opinions and beliefs this sacred space serves as living testimony of what is truly
of others? To achieve this is among the higher planes possible for humanity right in this present moment.
of yoga; detachment from the ego. During the introduction session when asked why I’d
Since departing India at the end of February, not a single chosen to come there, my first response was ‘to deepen my
day has gone by where thoughts of this intense land have yoga practice.’ Well, it was that and then some I would learn
not crossed my mind. In spite of global economic meltdown, as things transpired and evolved. For starters, there would be
in India, a land overflowing with polarities and extremities, no peace and solitude as I’d envisioned, living dormitory style
the vast majority still knows how to smile. and sharing time and space with ALL of these participants
My first month in India was spent at the Sivananda Ashram morning, noon and night. Any privacy required had to be
in Neyyar Dam, near Trivandrum in south India from 4 January sought within. Herein lay the essence of lesson #1: how
2009, enrolled in the TTC. Besides my weekly journey to the to remain centered and focused while immersed in chaos.
internet café located 15 minutes walk away, and uphill to boot, As little incidents erupted and got ‘agitatedly’ under my
I chose to remain at the ashram even on our days off; skin, I was very confronted by my temperamental self. Over
a golden opportunity for us to embrace its true essence. time, I became accustomed to bumping into my shadow at
Given our grueling schedule – from 05.30 hrs until 22.00 hrs every corner. At times I’d laugh hysterically – like the time
6 days weekly – it quickly when I said to one woman who
became apparent that I’d need asked whether she could join my
to maintain immense focus table where I was studying and
if I were going to excel at this
“The nature of the TTC is ideally suited I responded by saying deadpan
programme which was clearly to this sort of introspection, self-analysis, ‘well, I’m actually seated here
with my 3 friends – the Father,
my unequivocal intention. evaluation and ultimately evolution.” the Son and the Holy Ghost.’
With a total of 177
participants from over 25 Completely thrown, she turned
different countries attending this course – I was number on her heels to run away until I quickly pacified the situation
129 – it was tempting and easy to lose one’s track. by telling her that I was only joking. Earlier that day, during
This was my first ashram experience and I chose to arrive our philosophy lecture we explored the 3 levels of God in
like a blank slate. I can still recall arriving there after over 20 Hinduism – Brahma, Brahman and Atman. Concisely speaking,
hours travel with my two suitcases to what I had perceived to Hindus believe that it is easier to worship and honour God
be a sanctuary and being ‘greeted’ by a woman whose spiritual in a concrete form rather than an abstract one. Ultimately
name is/was Lakshmi (the Hindu Goddess for wealth and however they share the tenet that forms the basis of all
prosperity), a former New Yorker of Hispanic descent I believe. religions: Supreme Oneness – how one chooses to identify
As she searched the seemingly endless list for my name, or define this is up to the individual. Clearly, my ‘jibe’ flew
I said, ‘my name is Nadine McNeil,’ to which she straight over my ‘intruder’s’ head.
commandingly replied, ‘around here we go by first names.’ Amidst the humour, there were also some very painful yet
Having noticed that there were two ‘Nadines’ on the list, releasing moments. If my Lululemon yoga mat could talk
I pointed this out to her while looking her straight in the eyes. what stories she would tell. Throughout the programme, she
‘If you will notice, there are two persons with the first name had unconditionally endured my thoughts, my fears, my tears,
Nadine on your list. I have given you my last name to make my triumphs, my sweat, and my dusty feet. I can still feel the
a distinction,’ I authoritatively explained. ‘Oh boy,’ I thought ‘largesse of energy’ that 177 of us built up during that after-
to myself in mild trepidation. noon session where Mani our teacher took us through those
At a glance, an ashram appears to be a microcosm of the 108 Surya Namaskars (sun salutations). Another powerful and
outside world; not surprising given that its inhabitants are memorable day for me was when I did my mantra initiation.
people like you and me who, for whatever reason have chosen That afternoon, I wept, releasing joyful buckets of ‘salty-sweet’
to step off the treadmill to find and/or lose themselves. tears. I have tremendous respect for all that my mat has
However upon closer observation, one sees where the ashram absorbed. When I lay in savasana, I am re-born.
is in fact a replica of an ideal world – one where human As a friend of mine said just prior to my embarking on this
beings eventually surrender and unite for a singular purpose: India journey, ‘change is not for the weak at heart.’ I would
the attainment of peace. further add that anyone choosing to embrace yoga had better
The nature of the TTC is ideally suited to this sort of be prepared to confront oneself at an authentic, cellular level.

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Personal experiences of the Teachers’ Training Course
Yoga uncovers our truths, our pains, our fears, our anger,
our joys and our sorrows. When one is fully immersed in yoga; Swami Vishnu’s Teaching Style
i.e., proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper His teaching style was
diet, positive thinking and meditation, the true self inevitably one of somehow
emerges. Throughout the programme we were invited to compelling the student
analyse rather than paralyse. Judgment and firmly held into the orbit of his
opinions can and do lead to paralysis. Constantly, we were told personal magnetism.
to inquire within from a place of detachment and objectivity. With his eyes, his
Having lived in over 11 different countries in less than gestures, his powerful
25 years, thankfully, I’ve learned to let go of any preconceived voice and gut laughter,
notions about the way things should be. This is how I’ve he created an aura of
managed to shape shift my way through Jamaica, North powerful force into
America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa AND the ashram which the student was
experience. My unwillingness to blindly conform to the accepted absorbed willy-nilly. One
characteristic devise he
‘status quo’ of (Western) society has in some instances, come
constantly used was the
at a great cost: the illusion of ‘alone-ness.’ At times I felt immense
unfinished sentence, repeated with compelling insistence
compassion for some of my ‘ashram-mates’ who were visibly until one or all would fill in the blank. ‘What everyone
struggling with newly acquired information that was contrary really wants is……?’, ‘What everyone really wants is……?’
to what they had been brought up to believe their entire lives. – Sleeping at one of Swamiji’s lectures was well-nigh
One such example that springs to mind is that of a impossible!
19-year old African-American from the Bronx whom I
‘adopted.’ As I bore witness to her struggles – being one of Father Dan O’Hanlan
three ‘people of colour’ in this ashram setting – I shared with A Jesuit priest who took the Teachers’ Training Course
her my various experiences vis-à-vis race. Having spent my
twenties in New York, roaming the streets of Harlem, listening A Steep Learning Curve
to Coltrane, reading about Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, During my TTC I had a relatively hard time, being quite
Miriam Makeba and the like, I understood her struggle and a novice yogi. To my surprise, I began to miss everything
empathized with her anger. However in this supposedly about it as soon as I left the ashram. Without satsang, asana
sacred spiritual setting, I invited her to release her anger classes, karma yoga and the group energy of all those
– to let go of the deeply entrenched notion that the ‘big bad wonderful yogis from all over the world, I suddenly felt like
(White) world’ was out to get her. Painstakingly I explained a bird thrown out of its nest.
that as much as she was being confronted that perhaps our Upon my return to Paris, I therefore headed to the local
‘friends’ were equally if not more so confronted by our Sivananda Centre and begged to be allowed to clean toilets
presence. While our presence is undoubtedly increasing or cut veggies, just so I could be back in that uplifting
within the yoga world, still the percentages are small. atmosphere and feel part of the team. I received a friendly
I often ponder whether it truly matters how many people welcome. After a few weeks, reception duties were added
of colour are choosing to adopt a yogic approach toward life. to my repertoire, and I also started translating lectures for
Yoga in its true form represents freedom so categorizing it non-French-speaking staff members.
according to race, gender, ethnicity and the like only aids to Since then, a year has gone by, and it’s been a steep learning
detract from its divine intention and purpose. curve. Every time I was entrusted with a new task, I thought
Given that the essence of yoga is ‘Oneness’ and “How on Earth am I going to do this?”, yet somehow you rise
inclusiveness of all sentient beings I recognized that my/our up to the occasion, and there is always someone around to help
presence in this setting was to enlighten others as we if need be. I went on a couple of great teachers’ retreats at the
illuminated our paths. During the final week of the ashram in Neuville aux Bois, Orleans, and took as many courses
programme, we were invited to volunteer to spend periods in Paris as I could. Nowadays I teach all sorts of classes and
from one month to one year at the ashram. I was pleasantly courses, I help with maintaining the www.Sivananda.eu
surprised and deeply moved when she came to tell me that website… and I still get to clean toilets sometimes. More and
she was seriously considering spending the next year at the more of my free time is spent at the Centre.
ashram. Clearly something within her had shifted. Serve, Love, Some of the students I’ve taught have just graduated
Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise; indeed these yogic hallmarks from TTC in Vrindavan. We went on the magnificent
are the gateway to living a life of freedom and peace. Himalayan Pilgrimage together. I hope that being
Om Namo Narayaanaya. a Sivananda teacher proves to be as fulfilling and exciting
to them as it has been to me.
Nadine McNeil
TTC Neyyar Dam, India, January 2009 Susmita
TTC Neyyar Dam, India, November 2007

YOGALife I Summer 2009 15


Vishnudevananda Upadesha

Teachings of

“God created perfection: That thou art.


Look inside and you will see.”

16 YOGALife I Summer 2009


Swami Vishnudevananda
Excerpt from the newly printed book, Vishnudevananda Upadesha

Do not forget your discipline, what you do it yourself. Always remember this.
have learned. Keep it up. Society will pull Just mind your own business and carry
you down. Now it is your duty to keep on. Only then will your mind be peaceful
fighting against the part of your nature when you meditate.
that pulls you down. Your life is very short.
In another forty or fifty years from now
none of us will be here, except the few Do not think that because you practise
children now growing. Most of us will be this or that you’ll be able to conquer
dead and gone. In a very short time, this Maya. You need lots of God’s grace
remember. In forty, fifty, sixty years, you and discipline. The grace of God will
won’t be here on this planet Earth. You will come only when you work within your
have to leave your children, your home, capacity. You cannot just say, ‘Oh, God
your wife or husband, your loved ones; you will do everything for me, I don’t care’.
will have to leave everything here, including God cannot help you unless you
this physical body you are now nourishing. help yourself.
Even the body has to leave: earth to earth
and ashes to ashes. There is nothing here that you can The spiritual path is not one continuous climb to the top
take with you. Except two things: the good and bad that of the mountain, like climbing Mount Everest. Even
you have done. This, in the form of happiness or climbing Mount Everest is not one straight climb. There
unhappiness, will go with you wherever you go. Whether are many ups and downs, valleys and finding camps,
you are still in a body, or without a body, these two coming back again, going to a second camp, third camp,
things stay with you. So let us brush up our life, let us and fourth camp, falling down, and breaking down, and
create a positive atmosphere, let us evolve and seek climbing up. Slowly, slowly, after several ups and downs,
peace, let us encourage and help human beings and going back and forth, you reach the top.
stop waging war with the animal kingdom.
Spiritual aspirants think ‘I am doing pranayama, asanas,
Do not believe only what you see and hear. Your mind so how come there is no kundalini awakening?’ It is not
can only cover a limited wavelength. Your reason is also that easy. There will be failures. Without failure there will
limited. Do not blame God, saying he created an be no success. You must understand that point very well.
imperfect world. This imperfection is due to your own Nobody achieves the highest state immediately. Even
imperfection. If you wear red glasses, you will see Buddha. Buddha, in that particular incarnation became
everything red. God created perfection: That thou art. Buddha. But in how many lives did he fail, how many
Look inside and you will see. ups and downs, how many times did he move on? Only
in that one last life he could, with all the training and
Don’t worry about what others do, whether others discipline he had. For one thousand lives he failed, and
practise or not. Your progress depends only upon your in that one life he became Buddha.
own effort. If you say that you will stay at this ashram
only if everyone else is doing their Sadhana, this is Special Thanks
foolish because nowhere will you find a perfect place. With special thanks to Kamala Devi, a close disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda,
Everywhere there is duality. There is no perfection who devoted many hours of selfless work in editing the many transcripts
in this world. of Swami Vishnudevananda’s lectures and helping to make this beautiful book
a reality.
email: KamalaDevi@bigpond.com
You have to do whatever you can for your own growth.
Do not worry about your neighbours, your friends, other Vishnudevananda Upadesha
swamis, even your teacher. It doesn’t matter what the By The Sivananda Yoga Centre
teacher does. It is immaterial to you. You practise and
Vishnudevananda Upadesha contains extracts that are taken from talks
you eat. If you eat, you can satisfy your hunger. No one by Swami Vishnudevananda on a variety of topics that encompass the
else can eat for you, or enjoy for you. If you want to be teachings of the vast science of yoga. The words he speaks offer solace,
healthy, you have to eat healthily and live a proper life. hope, guidance and above all joy and love to all who listen to him.
To order a copy of this inspirational new book, contact your local
To think ‘if everyone is healthy, then I will be healthy Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre or Ashram.
automatically’ is not possible. To be healthy you have to

YOGALife I Summer 2009 17


An excerpt from the newly reprinted commentary on the
Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Vishnudevananda

Your physical body is like a machine. It runs on two types of energy:


chemical energy, which comes from food, and psychic energy (called
prana) which comes from all objects we take in: food, water, air and
sunlight. These are the basic sources of our prana and they are found
everywhere in nature. Prana also exists in the vacuum of space, under-
ground, and even in water. But is not a chemical thing, it is electrical
in nature. Your body is a storehouse of prana, and the blood system
(circulatory system) acts as a transformer, diverting the prana from
the astral to the physical.
Yogis do not believe that the body If you understand the electrical from one source to another. In yoga,
exists merely because of its physio- nature of our bodies, you will we call this energy ‘prana’. The
chemical nature; to them it is understand the purpose of problem is that there is no English
basically electrical in nature. When pranayama. I will try to explain equivalent for this word, so it gets
the electrical connection from the in modern terms, as some of the translated as ‘air ’. Even Indian yogis
astral to the physical is severed (like ancient terms are very difficult make this mistake when they don't
a battery disconnected from an to grasp. know how to translate it from
engine) it doesn't matter how It is said that you can block the the Sanskrit.
powerful the engine is, it cannot air in the Sushumna, in the throat I like to explain these ideas using
start. The impulses of prana travel region, in the stomach region, in the analogies with electronic terms. Most
through the astral to the physical back region, in the ear region, in the of you are familiar with such gadgets
through an astral umbilical cord eye region. Actually, how can you as radios, cameras, and computers.
at our solar plexus. When this cord block the air in these places when There are three basic components
is severed, no more prana can the air which you inhale does not common to all of them. Similar
come to the physical body. go into these places at all? What things exist in your body, but please
If the prana comes in very small does this mean? don't take what I said literally; it is
amounts then the body will Actually, it is not a physical only to help you to understand how
be comatose (unconscious). blockage; it is the diversion of energy such things as locks work in the

18 YOGALife I Summer 2010


Prana as Electricity

body mechanism. When you do Resistors: Another concept in and your astral nerve; they are
pranayama, it will help you a great electronics that we should under- counterparts. The difference is that
deal if you understand this. Three stand is that of resistance. We can one is visible and the other is not.
things should be understood: increase or decrease the resistance In our bodies, the impulse
1. Transformers, 2. Condensers to the flow of energy. Most coming from the brain through the
and 3. Resistors. impurities will reduce the electrical vagus nerve which controls the heart
Transformers: In electronic com- flow. An example is the ordinary and lungs are all impulses called
ponents there is always a source garden hose through which water prana. Previously it was thought that
of power, usually a battery or flows at a specific velocity unless the heart was not susceptible to
household current. A small tape constricted by squeezing. The pump voluntary control, that you could
recorder cannot handle the 110 volt continues to try to force 16 gallons not control the heartbeat by
current as it enters the house, so it of water per minute through the concentration. Yogis can demon-
must be stepped down to a lower hose, but when its capacity is strate that the heartbeat can be
voltage by a transformer, otherwise reduced by constriction, the pressure slowed down with concentration or
the components will burn up. (There goes up, and the water comes out by such practices as Jalandhara
are step-down transformers and step- more forcefully. bandha. They shut down the flow
up transformers for decreasing and In our body, something similar of prana. We are not talking about
increasing the voltage.) to a condenser exists. Prana is like physical prana, but psychic prana.
electricity but very subtle. All elec- Thought can change your
Condensers (also called Capacitors) tricity flows through wires, and in breathing rhythm as well as your
are storehouses of electricity. our body it flows through nadis (or heartbeat. Two important
An example is the electronic flash meridians in the Chinese system). components of your body are
in your camera. The electricity for The problem here is when I say together called the cardiovascular
the flash may come from a six volt nerve, many people understand only system because they are inter-
battery, but that voltage cannot give the visible type of nerve. The nadi dependent. When the body needs
enough light to take a photograph. is equivalent to the nerve in the extra oxygen, the heart rate goes up.
What is needed are several thousand physical body, but it may be called In order to make the lungs pump
volts to create an intense light, so an astral nerve tube, as it exists not faster you have to stimulate the
the energy coming from this small in the physical, but in the astral muscles of the diaphragm and
battery is stored up (it is not stepped body. I will not be able to completely intercostal muscles. That is done
up or stepped down) like a reservoir communicate this subject in elec- by the brain. In an emergency, say
and accumulated till it can create tronic terms, but there does exist a you are running because a tiger is
a powerful flash for a brief moment. similarity between a physical nerve chasing you and you are close to

YOGALife I Summer 2010 19


Prana as Electricity

exhaustion, the adrenal gland will, you are breathing (normally


through adrenaline, give the heart we breathe 16 times per minute).
an extra boost so that the lungs can 2. The pulse rate (normally about
breathe a bit faster for a short time. 75 or 80 per minute).
That's equivalent to the capacitor 3. Galvanic skin response. Under our
in electronic gadgets which I men- sweat glands there are nerves which
tioned. Nature has given us the carry sensory impulses.
ability to escape from dangerous Because the galvanic skin
situations. This extra stimulation response (GSR), measured as coming
activates the adrenal gland which from the sweat gland, will change
pumps adrenaline into the blood according to your thought, it is one
stream so that the heart gets a fast of the three basic components in a
kick for a short time so that it can polygraph. When you check for GSR
pump more oxygen to the muscles. by putting small electrodes on the
Let us try to understand the tip of the finger (for example), you
cardiovascular system, to see how can take this current coming out
the heart rate and the breathing and amplify it so that you can see
are interconnected. its pattern. That is also under the
There is a gadget called the autonomous nervous system.
polygraph or lie detector. Just The polygraph technician also
as EEG test the brain waves, the connects an elastic type of material
polygraph measures the three basic from your chest to the polygraph
components mostly connected so that you can see the number
to the autonomous nervous system, of times you are breathing, or what
a system which is basically not under your breathing pattern is: shallow,
Map of the Nadis our control. Generally speaking, long or disturbed. With normal
Many ancient manuscripts show pictures of the breathing we inhale about 1500 cc
energy patterns within the Astral, or subtle body.
the autonomous nervous system
These are the nadis, the astral tubes that carry is beyond our control, but yogis can of air and exhale out the same
the prana or vital energy. In acupuncture, they control it. In the polygraph, the three amount very gently. However, when
are referred to as meridians. basic components are; 1. To demon- you are breathing deeply, you can
strate and measure your breathing take in and out about 2000 cc.
pattern, how many cycles per second At that time the impulse will be very

20 YOGALife I Summer 2009


strong. When you are mentally In most people, the transformers
disturbed the breathing pattern in their upper chakras are not The Chakras
will also change. completely opened up; maybe for This is where the energy is stored
When all these components are highly advanced students they are up like a condenser, altered like
connected to the polygraph, we partially opened. Or if there is a a transformer and acted upon
observe three different waves: tremendous amount of impurity, by resistors
breathing pattern, blood pressure, it acts as a resistor. These variable
and galvanic skin resistance. After resistors are automatically controlled
two or three minutes there is a by your thought as well as your diet.
normal reading. If suddenly the Everything is controlled by thought.
polygraph changes, it is an indi- According to the nature of your
cation that the person has lied. thought, your impurities will increase Sahasrara Chakra
An emotional upset will cause the and decrease. For each of these three
breathing pattern to change from gadgets in your system: condenser,
say sixteen times per minute to transformer, resistor, all are
twenty-five or thirty times per controlled by your mind.
minute. This can go up or down. So yogis go directly to the mind
In extreme cases the breathing or to change the pattern. According Ajna Chakra
the heart may even stop, as in the to the nature of the pattern of your
case of shock or some bad news. thought, the voltage will be
Also with good news: something increased or reduced. If the voltage
very exciting – say you won five increases, then the energy goes
million dollars in a lottery – that to a higher chakra. If you reduce the
could stop the heart also. voltage (make your thought very
In such cases, you are over- gross with only sensual and sexual
loading the capacitor. Within thoughts), then the energy goes only
a brief time, everything is short
Vishuddha Chakra
to the lower chakras because the
circuited. The voltage coming voltage is not sufficient to lift to the
through the nerves becomes so higher chakras.
powerful that it just short circuits Remember that neither thought
everything: the heart and/or lungs nor prana are in the physical body.
stop and there is collapse. So you They are in the astral body and
see that your body is not different according to the nature of your
from an electronic mechanism. thought, the prana flows in the
The electronic impulse in our physical body. When your thoughts
body is the prana. This prana comes Anahata Chakra
are very gross, the prana or electrons
to the nervous system when it is coming to the physical body will
stored by condensers and trans- be lessened since there is too much
formed by transformers. There are resistance. Also, a physical nerve
five basic types of prana: prana, cannot take a high, powerful
apana, udana, samana, and vyana, thought, so there may be a shut-
as well as some minor pranas; the down of the prana to a certain
difference between major and minor extent. The nervous system which
pranas lying in the voltage. Even in is impure cannot transmit high Manipura Chakra
electronic gadgets, some things need voltage. Sometimes a sudden shock
higher voltage so there are different to the mind will even shut off this
types of transformers. In the body we flow of prana. Sometimes this
call these transformers chakras. current is slowed down to such
Various nerves come and go through an extent that you are like a living
the chakras. They are not physical corpse, in a state of coma.
nerves, but astral. The ultimate purpose of Hatha
In the physical body, the places
where these nerves gather at the
Yoga is to escape from the lower Swadhistana Chakra
voltage and move to a higher voltage.
spinal cord are called plexuses. They
are a kind of junction like a telephone
exchange. These plexuses correspond
to the chakras. This is where the
energy is stored up like a condenser, Hatha Yoga Pradipika
altered like a transformer and acted This article is an excerpt from the Hatha Yoga
upon by resistors. All these things Pradipika the classic guide for the advanced
practice of Hatha Yoga (Kundalini Yoga) with Muladhara Chakra
take place in the same area. commentary by Swami Vishnudevananda.

YOGALife I Summer 2009 21


by Swami Durgananda
From a lecture given at the
Sivananda Yoga Centre in London
in January 2009

We all have to face the suffering of disease, old age “Oh, I found a flat now. I didn’t know where to live.
and death. It is difficult to accept that these are part All my fears are gone.” To have a home, to have food,
of everybody’s life and of our own life as well. to have clothing, to have some friends, these basic
And still another suffering comes in the form needs of mankind have not changed since prehistoric
of unfulfilled desires, if things do not come the way times. Despite accumulation of knowledge, universities
we want. In order to solve these fundamental problems and education, hospitals and democracy, man has not
of human life some kind of spiritual orientation really evolved. Why?
is absolutely necessary. The reason is that man has ignored the spiritual
In the 21st century we are flying higher than aspect. The inner path has to be cultivated. Instead
the birds and dive deeper than the fishes. We have what is being cultivated is the materialistic view.
conquered space and we are trying to conquer time. The untrained mind thinks that food and clothing,
We have an advanced system of universities, libraries employment and housing, medical aid and education
and colleges. But still the human society lives in the is everything.
same basic fear of survival. How different are we really In this situation yoga has a different, a positive
from the people who lived in caves and went out message: The Indian seers knew by experience that
to hunt? Their fear was “do I have anything to eat?” body and mind are not the real nature of man.
When disease came “to whom do I go?” or “what do They saw that not only the body changes constantly
I do?” The same problems are still present in the but also the mind. Something which is constantly
modern society. changing cannot give us peace of mind. Just compare
Recently I met a lady who moved to the city from this with today’s thoughts of uncertainty in the
overseas and is trying to get established. She said financial world crisis.

22 YOGALife I Summer 2009


Connect to your Inner Divinity

The real view of yoga is not the materialistic view You remember that you are a Divine being, that you are
of how to improve your concentration so you can have peace and harmony. For this you do not have to buy
a better job. The yogic scriptures like the Upanishads anything, no special pillow, no special asana mat. You
affirm that body and mind are not that real nature do not need anything for it. The yogis have been doing
of man. Yoga is called a science, because it works like this for thousands of years. They sat under a tree or by
an experiment. Yoga trains you physically and mentally, the river. We have to go back to these basic truths and
to become aware of the present moment and to give should not mix them with materialistic aspects.
up the false identifications of thinking I am the body You may say “I don’t have time.” But even if you are
and I am the mind. very busy, you still have time to breathe. So inhale and
Man’s whole attention is projected outside towards simply say “I am a divine being.” Thus for the time being
the gross world of names and forms. We do this even you can forget the world.
in religion, projecting a particular name and form which If you want to, you can also use a mantra or any word
has to be worshiped. Real spirituality does not project you find divine. Yogis use OM, others use Amen, again
outside, but consists of becoming aware of an inner others use Shalom, you can use Shanti – something
divinity. It does not need to be called God, as some divine. Do not use words which put the mind back into
people do not like that word. Religion and God do not a materialistic frame.
have a good name anymore; even yoga is beginning God or Divinity is really universal. We should develop
to have a bad name, as it is becoming so materialistic. respect for all forms. In every society people try to obtain
Spirituality does not refer to a specific religion or a peace of mind and harmony. The whole planet earth is
specific name of God. It means that there is something nothing but a spark of the Sun. And yet we are fighting
divine within us which over my territory, my culture,
we can actually contact my language. Divinity is
and experience. universal. All names of God
And there are many “The Indian seers knew by experience imply the same: total eternal
ways to achieve this. Most that body and mind are not the real and infinite perfection. This
religions like Christianity and is what OM represents. If you
Buddhism have a founder, nature of man.” say “OM is a mantra which
who connected to the inner belongs to the Hindu
divinity and then taught their religion”, you have confined
followers how to find that divinity as well. While the OM into a box, and it will not have its universal effect.
founder practiced intense austerities, the followers tend Use something which represents for you infinite
to see it again in a materialistic context; they are looking Divinity. In this sense you can make your own religion.
for the divinity outside. Once you have come to terms with the idea of Universal
Yoga does not have a founder, but it has already Divinity, you may find that you actually are able to follow
many materialistic followers. In every century there are a religion, because you look at it differently. Just to
a few Yoga Masters who have realised the inner divinity. discuss and explain all the religious practices is useless,
Swami Sivananda said, “Do not make a religion out because where then is your own practice?
of me.” A Sivananda religion – wouldn’t that be awful? Yoga is a process of self-culture. The Self is in
But it is already happening. Of course the name of our everybody, otherwise love would not exist. Without love,
international organisation is named after Swami how could we live? Children who grow up without love
Sivananda, but when I hear people saying, “I teach need support for the rest of their life. People who do not
Sivananda Yoga”, as being different from this yoga receive any love become very quickly old and sick. It is
or that yoga, it’s actually not correct. Swami Sivananda very important to share this essence of the inner divinity,
never developed a new yoga. which is love. Yoga does not want you to just love
Yoga describes many different ways of finding this yourself, but also to make others happy. How does
divinity. It does not matter what you wear, where you God work? God works through human beings.
are and with whom you are – you just go within. Bring a divine radiance in your thoughts. If you
That is the beauty. do not have any guidelines, you can go to the Ten
Morning and evening, you can sit in silence and drop Commandments, to the Yamas and Niyamas of Raja Yoga
the world from your mind. Just like in deep sleep you or to the do’s and don’ts of Buddhism. Deep down
forget the waking state, so also you forget about the everybody knows what is right and what is wrong. But
world when you sit morning and evening. Forget the it has to be actively cultivated in thought and action,
economical crash, forget any unfulfilled love, forget in your feelings and in your family life. For a while you
whether your body is tall or small, young or old. If you are going to be an outsider, but then people will pick up.
manage this for a few minutes, your mind will love it. They will say, “Oh, well, this is a nice person. Let me be
It will be so relaxed. You do not have to sleep for seven helpful, he or she is also nice with me.” Of course the
hours to forget the world. Just sit for a few minutes. motivation is not that you want to be helped in return,
Just to forget the world is actually not possible. but it is a natural response. Positivity radiates in one way,
The mind needs something to think about. So you remind just like negativity radiates in another way. Thought
yourself that you are a Divine being. This is called culture consists in concentrating on positive things.
sublimation. In this way you transform the thoughts. Today yoga is going in a very materialistic direction.
YOGALife I Summer 2009 23
Connect to your Inner Divinity

improving the Centres and Ashrams, so more people


can have access to the yoga experience.
The materialistic outlook on yoga in the West has
to change. We have to go back to the essence of yoga,
otherwise yoga will be spoilt. We managed to spoil
everything, the air, the river, everything else, but we
should not spoil the last thing we have, that is our own
divinity. The attitude towards our yoga practice is very

"Spirituality does not refer to a specific


religion or a specific name of God.
It means that there is something divine
within us which we can actually
contact and experience."

Morning and evening, you can sit in silence important. Sometimes beginner practitioners are very
and drop the world from your mind strict about their time – “oh, leave me alone, I cannot do
this now, I have to do my asanas. If God sent people to
There is complete emphasis on the body only. For this meet you, this is your asana at the moment. You serve
reason, teaching asanas for money is considered them; you share your time with them. So do not be selfish
acceptable and very common everywhere. I just met a and say “this is my time, I have to do my yoga”. What is
former staff member and asked him “Do you have a job?” the yoga really good for if you do not have time for your
He replied “Yes, I teach yoga”. Then I said, “Well, that fellow men? Karma Yoga is there to remind you that you
is not a job.” If you consider teaching asanas as a job, also have to make others happy. To serve selflessly can be
it is a materialistic outlook and will not bring inner peace the essence of our life. That is actually the basis of yoga.
and happiness and strength in the long run.
While it is true that the Sivananda organisation
also charges fees for its courses, the situation is quite Swami Durgananda is Yoga Acharya
(spiritual director) of the Sivananda Yoga
different. None of the teachers are paid, whatever is left Vedanta Centres in Europe.
after paying the bills is invested in expanding and e-mail: SwamiDurgananda@sivananda.net

24 YOGALife I Summer 2009


Karma Yoga Project

Life and Teachings of


Swami Vishnudevananda
in audio files…
Be part of a wonderful project of making this precious material available to all!

Swami Vishnudevananda’s life was dedicated to teaching Yoga. His classes, lectures and satsangs were carried by great
sincerity and inspiration. The atmosphere was charged with authoritative first hand knowledge, which addressed the
essential points in a very straightforward and clear way. Swamiji’s presence emanated a special blend of discipline
and humour, which deeply touched the lives of thousands of people. Thanks to the untiring volunteer work done at the
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp Headquarters in Val Morin, Canada, over 3000 recordings have now been transferred
from cassette tapes to mp3-format. This impressive archive constitutes a most precious legacy of Swami Vishnudevananda,
this great pioneer of Yoga of the 20th century, who served his students by actually living with them.

Extracts of the wide scope of topics which are addressed in recordings as early as 1969
•The three Bodies •Postural Alignment Commentaries on Scriptures
•The three Gunas •Relaxation and Meditation •Bhagavad Gita
•Three States of Consciousness •Mobilisation of Joints •Raja Yoga Sutras
•Kundalini •Diet and Muscle development •Srimad Bhagavatam
•Life after Death •Stress Management
•Yoga and Ayurveda •Benefits of Asanas Symposia and Peace Missions
•Brain and Swara Yoga •Effects of Yoga on Children •True World Order Convention
Yoga Lectures •God, Man and Psychic Discovery
•Ashtanga – the eight steps of Yoga •Bhakti Yoga and Chanting
Satsang topics •Festival of Inner Light – Siva and Shakti
•Mission of Yoga in world Yoga and Health •Pleasure, Pain and Bliss •Global Village Peace Festival
•Meditative States •Yoga Experience vs Drug Experience •Life is pre-planned •Facing the Future
•Karma and Reincarnation •Exercise Physiology •Who am I? •All India Tour
•Power of Thought •Proper breathing •Sannyasa - renunciation •Delhi and Bombay press conferences
•Vedanta Philosophy •Yoga and Disease Prevention

Most recordings have been taken at the Sivananda Ashrams in Val Morin, Woodbourne (NY), Grass Valley (California) and Nassau (Bahamas).
Very precious lectures have also been recorded on tour in the following places: Berlin, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Cracow, Geneva, Houston, Ireland,
London, Los Angeles, Madras, Madrid, Montevideo, Montreal, Munich, New York, Paris, Prague, Puerto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco,
Santiago de Chile, Tel Aviv, Trivandrum, Vienna, Warsaw, Washington, etc. For non English speaking students especially, the lectures in non
English speaking countries with consecutive translation into the local language will be of great value.

‘Listen and take notes’ – Karma Yoga Project


Preparing the audio archive of Swami Vishnudevananda’s lectures.
It is the wish of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres to make this treasure of knowledge and inspiration progressively available
to students all over the world. For this we need your help:

•Send an email to sita@sivananda.net if you would like to participate. by selecting, for each 10-minutes of the
•Receive an internet link to download one demon- •You will receive by email a recording for evaluation. recording, 5 – 10 keywords from an online
stration mp3 – lecture file and submit your details •Listen to the recording, and define the content evaluation form.

In this way we hope to be able to start publishing the audio files by the end of 2009. Your help is greatly appreciated.
OM shanti, The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres

YOGALife I Summer 2009 25


Yoga Life remembers Ruby Blue

A tribute to Ruby Blue


– Swami Neeladevananda
On June 8, 2008, a very dear and close disciple of Swami
Vishnudevananda left her body at age 89: Ruby Blue
or Swami Neeladevananda. She inspired generations
of seekers with her total faith in her teacher, Swami
Vishnudevananda and her extraordinary dedication in
passing on his teachings. We would like to pay a special
tribute to her in this issue of Yoga Life.


 Ruby Blue: An inspiration


– from Dianne Beal, daughter in law of Ruby
classes until she moved back to Washington in 1991.
At age 81, she took a job teaching yoga at Gold’s Gym,
a short walk from her apartment.
For those lucky enough to be aware in her presence, Ruby Swami Vishnudevanada was more than a guru
Blue was an inspiration and guide to the powers of love to Ruby. He was a world leader of humanitarianism.
and intuition in our lives. Her constant reminders of what For four decades, Ruby continued her spiritual pilgrimage
a blessing we were to her made us realize our own powers by teaching students (and anyone else in her path), the
of self-realization and what a blessing she was to us. lessons of Swami Vishnudevananda. Each summer, she
As her daughter-in-law, we shared a special relationship spent 40 days at the yoga camp. Daily meditation and
and what I consider a privileged introduction to Sivananda asanas kept her sane and flexible.
yoga and the spiritual path. My first breathing lessons with Her last years of intense sadhana were the most
Ruby taught me to focus on my breath in a totally new glorious. She was initiated as Swami Neeladevananda
way and to concentrate on “a bright, white shining light” at the ashram in Orleans, France in 2005 and became
after which several years of practice, opened my mind, the oldest person to become a swami in the Sivananda
my heart and my life. For that, I will be ever grateful. Yoga Vedanta movement. The joy radiating from that
ceremony was sanctification and acknowledgement
of her years of study and devotion.
“Swami Vishnudevananda was more than
a guru to Ruby. He was a world leader
of humanitarianism.”  Srinivasan,
Loving Devotion
Yoga Acharya for the East Coast
centres in the USA, remembers Ruby Blue
Ruby lived a purely spiritual life as a yoga teacher and I knew and loved Ruby as an inspiration not only as a
guru to those around for her nearly forty years. She met teacher but for her devotion for Swamiji. I have never
Swami Vishnudevananda in 1967 when she made her heard anyone speak so clearly about Swamiji, about his
first visit to the yoga camp in the Laurentian Mountains energy and vision than Ruby. Ruby spoke the best about
and continued teaching yoga well into her 80’s. Swamiji. When she taught an asana class it was as if
Born Ruth Thaler in Mielec, Poland, to Jewish parents Swamiji himself shone through her with all his prana, love
in 1918, she immigrated with her family to the United and humor. When I was at the Camp she would council
States as a child. In 1931, she moved to Washington, DC me and many of the senior staff like a mother. Her heart
and became active in the school’s celebrated chorus. Her was always behind Swamiji and saw the Organization
voice continued to guide her and was one of the miracles as Swamiji's baby to nurture. Whenever she would guide
of her yoga classes. After raising a family of three, she the staff in their individual problems it was always
and her husband, Harry Blue, moved to Palm Beach, with the clarity of Swamiji's love and the importance
Florida in 1975 where she continued to teach yoga of his mission.

26 YOGALife I Summer 2009


The Living Evolution
An interview with Ruby Blue at the Château du Yoga, France, summer 2005
Swami Vishnudevananda was a living evolution. master and enjoy it. I’ve watched the growth in myself
I don’t think about Swami Vishnudevananda as having and others. And there is nothing more exiting than
a particular age. He was a highly dedicated and an watching someone sceptical, nervous, unacquainted
exquisite human being. I had the honor of knowing with the system become fulfilled as a result of it.
Nothing more wonderful.
him for a very long time, so I could watch his program
evolve. He was sent by the master with a few rupees, The here-and-now-guy
some blessings and turned around the whole world. Swami Vishnudevananda was a here-and-now-guy.
It wasn’t a sudden thing. In the beginning, in the very There is one thing I have finally figured out: Swami
beginning, Swamiji understood the West and turned Vishnudevananda was teaching by example, even
us westerners to the physical aspect of yoga, to asanas, though he planned, even though his whole life was
to flexibility, showing us methods of health and dedicated to retrieving the loss in our civilization that
makes us human. This was his master’s energy and his
healing. As I kept going to the Yoga Camp in Val Morin
year after year, summer after summer, and winter after
winter to the Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas, I watched.
Now I can look back, I can see the pattern and see the
chapters. When first I met Swamiji the chapters were
very visible. His life was work and strictly work. Most
of his yoga teaching and most of his spiritual teaching
came straight out of him. There was no thought behind it.

“Swami Vishnudevananda had this boundless


compassion which exuded from his pores
and the energy to teach endlessly.”

He was expressing the feelings of his great master.


There was nothing thought out about it. As Swamiji’s
method became more meaningful to the soul,
we as students evolved with him. This evolution
was just for our own benefit.
He was always there right on, on every level,
and just gave – like he often said, “I’m giving you
all I have with all my heart” and that is the
understatement of the year. He gave us
everything he had including the knowledge
that there exist living beings looking perfectly
natural in the environment of this troubled
world, that there exist self-realized souls.
Because you can not aspire to something
you don’t know exists. I find
that the value of the Teachers’
Training Course is being
in it – I watched these young
people here at the ashram
magnificently perform,
receive that seed which
Swamiji brought from his
Right: Swami Vishnudevananda

YOGALife I Summer 2009 27


The Living Evolution

master’s ideas. He watched a self realized human being you don’t feel this same sense of belonging. After years
and although he never saw himself as one – he paraded and years of listening to Master Swami Vishnudevananda,
his flaws and that is why I call him a closet-saint, he had I absolutely and totally believe it is all about karma. We
this boundless compassion which exuded from his pores all mash and jell, come from very different cultures and
and the energy to teach endlessly. It’s all about give, completely different places. Some of us, very few, come
give, give; love, love, love; compassion, compassion, because things are so bad they think they’ll join yoga.
compassion. I honestly believe that his humility was so Most of us come – and I’ve trained thousands of very
great that he never thought he came up with it. All of us powerful people and also very lucky, very blessed people
who have been touched by Swamiji knew that he was – most of us come, like I did, at a time when everything
one in a million. What he had, what empowered him, is wonderful. My family was perfect, my way of life was
was faith in his guru, faith in his God and confidence perfect, my head was pretty good, and I looked good.
in his master’s teachings. That’s what we got from Swami Everything was real good. Every now and then I had a
Vishnudevananda. I have spoken to some much evolved thought that said “Everything is really good. But so what?
young people who are in the organisation and they Is that it? It’s just not enough! There’s got to be
literally felt him exude compassion. I brought friends something else!” But I didn’t know what I was looking for.
of mine up to the None of us knows
yoga Camp because what we are
they were heavy
smokers and I had
“If you really find a yoga master who lays looking for. But
when you find it,
thought that Swamiji the thing on you with his soul and with if you really find
would scold them his heart, with his truth, with his talent, a yoga master who
and tell them they
are crazy and doing then you know that it is the right thing.” lays the thing on
you with his soul
something insane and with his heart,
etc”. The first thing he said to these two women who with his truth, with his talent, then you know that it is the
were not able by any scientific method to quit smoking right thing. All I have spoken to have always felt “Yes, I hit
was: “It’s a struggle, isn’t it?” it!” How do you know? It feels really good on your skin,
He united with them against the struggle. They threw and it feels just right and that is the only guess you really
their cigarettes in the trash can and never smoked again. have. It isn’t the approval of somebody else. In the
Because it was an act of compassion, an act of under- beginning nobody knew what the yoga was. When the
standing, an act of forgiving humanity for its humanity. masters came, the early masters like Vivekananda, they
That’s my guru. gave their ideas which were pure Vedanta and very holy –
but the ears were not available. Whereas Swamiji opened
The right thing the door and said “Come on in everybody!” nobody felt
Swami Vishnudevananda did never ever fear. The only they were not worthy, and it was not meant to change
possible disturbance – I don’t even want to use this word, you in any way. It was just that the master sent him:
I don’t know how to say it – the only thing that may “Tell the truth! We’ve got something; let us share it with
have caused him some doubt was the doubt of his ability the rest of the world! The West is hungry, the West
to perform that with which his master entrusted him. is waiting!” Vishnudevananda did the job. That’s all.
That’s the only thing, because his humility was enormous
– but not a false phoney humility like “I’m nothing’”. Swamiji’s good-bye to Ruby
The only thing he wanted to do was give that what he The last word I ever heard from Swamiji was in Val Morin,
was sent to give. He would often say: “Don’t bleat like a when I got him to his car, when he was leaving for India
lamb, roar like a lion!” The meaning of life is very simple. to leave his body. I was hiding behind a tree. Swamiji
Some people are confused – they try to make it bizarre sent somebody out for me to go and sit in his car with
and mystic and cause more confusion. The power of him. I knew he would be at master’s statue. I didn’t know
Swamiji, above everything, was his simplicity and the what to do. The physicality was gone but the prana was
simplicity of his adoration for his master. I am ever alive and there was a sense of God-like power. I saw
grateful to him for this. When we, people from Germany,
from France, from Ethiopia, from Lebanon, from every
kind of culture, sit around the table, I get the sense we “I said ‘Swamiji, on behalf of the whole
are more comfortable with one another than we are with humanity: Thank you!’”
our own families – even if we have delightful families.
The power of the entire Sivananda system is that most
of us feel - and I’ve talked to thousands - that we are physicality and I said “Swamiji, on behalf of the whole
in the right place at the right time with the right people. humanity: Thank you! You changed the world, you have
You can’t beat that. That is how I felt this morning at absolutely changed the world!” Swamiji laughed and
breakfast, and I asked the people at the table “do you said “Thank you for thanking me!” And that was the last
feel this way with your magnificent children or grandma conversation I had with my master. My Guru. My life.
or whoever you love?” You feel the love with them, but

28 YOGALife I Summer 2009


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The 12 Basic Asanas

The logic behind the sequence of the

12 Basic Asanas
By Swami Sivadasananda

The ancient Hatha Yoga scriptures of India* give detailed descriptions


of pranayama and meditation techniques, but offer only little instruction
on the practice of asanas. It appears that the classical asana sequences
known to us today are based on oral tradition. The twelve basic asanas
taught by Swami Sivanananda and Swami Vishnudevananda combine
in a masterly way health-promoting effects with the awakening
of subtle energies, and thus prepare for the practice of pranayama
and meditation.
* Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gerandha Samhita, Siva Samhita

32 YOGALife I Summer 2009


The Benefits of the Postures
This is how the 12 basic poses work in conjunction with conscious
breathing and deep relaxation:
Gentle stimulation of the and repair’ functions of the parasympathetic
circulatory system: nervous system. At the same time, it prevents the
over-stimulation (‘fight or flight’ reaction) of the
Fitness workout programmes today strongly sympathetic nervous system.
emphasize a balanced cardiac workout. Yoga
Asanas include this aspect very specifically: Deep relaxation with
• Inverted poses and abdominal breathing auto-suggestion:
increase the venous return to the heart, thus
stimulating a stronger heart beat. Impulses transmitted by motor and sensory nerves
• The massage action of specific pressure are regulated or registered in two adjacent areas
on internal organs increases the local blood of the cerebrum. In the wave of relaxation which
circulation ensuring a rich supply of oxygen begins in the feet and ends in the head,
and nutrients to all cells of the body. 'visualisation’ (motor) and ‘feeling of relaxation’
(sensory) impulses are barely distinguishable.
Yoga for the back: That is no surprise, seeing the proximity of the
respective area of the brain dedicated to sensory
Kyphosis (exaggerated upper back curve),
and motor activity. The short period of relaxation
lordosis (exaggerated lower back curve) and
between the asanas is essential to harmonise
scoliosis (lateral deviation) are three common
motor and sensory impulses.
spinal problems. The asana sequence
systematically improves these three postural Nadis (meridians):
habits and can often relieve the pain associated
with them. The classical yoga texts speak of 72,000 subtle
nerve channels through which prana (vital
Balancing muscle length energy) flows in and around (aura) the body.
and muscle strength: Pranic blockages at junctions of nadis can lead
to a lack (and, conversely, an excess) of energy
Yoga exercises develop both strength and in different parts of the body. The 12 basic
flexibility, yet the body of a proficient practitioner poses exert pressure on these points in a way
will not show any extreme tendencies such as that balances the prana, much like acupressure.
overdeveloped biceps muscles or permanent hyper- That’s one of the reasons why you feel
flexibility of the hip joints. This is because the rejuvenated after a yoga class.
practice of the twelve basic asanas develops
flexibility and strength in equal measure. Hatha Yoga, the union of Sun
Hormonal balance: and Moon:
Prana (upwards moving energy, supporting
The inverted poses increase the blood supply
respiration) is denoted by the Sun (Ha).
to the brain. This improves neuronal control of the
Apana (downwards moving energy, supporting
pituitary gland (hypophysis), whose hormones
elimination) is called Moon (Tha). In the asana
regulate such important endocrine glands such
sequence these two vital energies merge
as the thyroid gland (involved in cell metabolism)
in the solar plexus, creating a unique sensation
and the adrenal glands (emotional balance).
of well-being.
Specific asanas work like a massage, enhancing
cellular functions in each gland. Effects on the chakras:
Internal organs: The seven energy centres correspond to subtle
elements and spiritual planes of consciousness.
From the gastrointestinal tract to the liver and
Advanced pranayama exercises, mantra repetition
pancreas right through to the bladder – the
and meditation on the elements can awaken the
pressure exerted by various asanas detoxifies these
cosmic Kundalini energy in the chakras. When
tissues and increases the supply of blood to them.
the nerve plexuses in the physical body which
Autonomic nervous system: correspond to the chakras in the astral body
are stimulated through the asanas, the yoga
The stretching and relaxing in the first half of the practitioner may become aware for the first time
asana sequence, as well as the contraction and that these energy centres really exist.
relaxing in the second half, encourages the ‘rest

YOGALife I Summer 2009 33


The 12 Basic Asanas

The Benefits of the Postures


Sirshasana – The Headstand
The increased venous flow of blood back
to the heart strengthens the heart beat and An increased supply of blood to the brain
relieves varicose veins; contraindication: helps regulate the autonomic nervous system
chronic high blood pressure.
Working the arm muscles and relaxing the
Contraindication: neck injuries legs improves one’s sense of balance

Strengthens the muscles of the Greater pranic flow to the head area
shoulder region

Improves the function of the pituitary The inverted pose channels apana into the
gland (hypophysis) solar plexus.

Counteracts gastroptosis (downward


displacement of stomach). Energises Ajna Chakra (‘the third eye’)
The Headstand Contraindication: menstruation

Sarvangasana – The Shoulderstand


The increased venous flow of blood back
to the heart strengthens the heart beat and Stretching relieves stress-related tension
relieves varicose veins. Contraindication: in the neck and shoulder region
chronic high blood pressure
Stretches the neck and upper back and Removes energy blockages in the neck area
strengthens the lower back

Has a balancing effect on the thyroid and Both the inverted pose and the chin lock
parathyroid glands direct prana and apana into the solar plexus.

Stimulates Vishuddha Chakra in the


Contraindication: menstruation
throat region.
The Shoulderstand

Halasana – The Plough


Combats lordosis (exaggerated lowerback The long stretch stimulates the
curve) parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation)

Stretches the whole posterior side Removes energy blockages in the neck
of the body from the toes to the neck and back

Gives a gentle massage to the Massages the solar plexus, promoting the
abdominal organs union of prana and apana

The Plough
Matsyasana – The Fish
Combats kyphosis (exaggerated upper The fish is a counter-pose to the shoulder-
back curve) stand and the plough. It has a balancing and
relaxing effect on the entire back.
Strengthens the arms and stretches the Removes energy blockages in the throat and
thoracic muscles neck region

Has a balancing effect on the thyroid and


Stretching the abdomen enhances the union
parathyroid glands, and puts gentle pressure
of prana and apana in the solar plexus
on the thymus gland (immune system)

Relieves chronic bronchitis and asthma Stimulates Anahata Chakra (heart chakra)

Parasympathetic stimulation (relaxation) by


stretching the throat, rib cage and abdomen
The Fish

34 YOGALife I Summer 2010


Paschimottanasana – The Forward Bend
Combats lordosis (exaggerated lower The body experiences a natural, deep
back curve) relaxation following this asana

Stretches the whole posterior side of the Releases energies in the main nadis along
body from the toes to the upper back the spine

Gives a natural massage to the pancreas Intensifies the union of prana and apana
(helping to prevent diabetes) in the solar plexus

Gently massages the abdominal organs Stimulates the first three chakras
(Muladhara, Swadhisthana, Manipura)

Parasympathetic stimulation (relaxation)


through a complete stretch; has a strong
calming effect The Forward Bend

Bhujangasana – The Cobra


Dynamic exercise stimulates the circulatory
Relieves menstrual problems
system

Combats kyphosis (exaggerated upper Intensive tension/relaxation improves the


back curve) body’s resistance to stress

Strengthens the neck and upper back, Short and powerful contraction releases
stretches the thoracic muscles energy in the neck region

Pressure on the solar plexus channels the


Massages the female sex glands (ovaries) united Ha – Tha (Sun – Moon) energy back
into the rest of the body
The Cobra

Salabhasana – The Locust


Dynamic exercise stimulates the circulatory
system Massages the gastrointestinal tract

Strengthens the lower back, while Intensive tension/relaxation improves the


protecting it in cases of lordosis body’s resistance to stress
(exaggerated lower back curve)
Pressure on the solar plexus channels the
Strengthens the lower back united Ha – Tha (Sun – Moon) energy back
into the rest of the body

The Locust
Dhanurasana – The Bow
Dynamic exercise stimulates the Gives an intense massage to all
circulatory system abdominal organs

Combats kyphosis (exaggerated upper Conscious contraction/relaxation improves


back curve) the body’s resistance to stress

Pressure on the solar plexus channels the


Stretches the thoracic muscles and
strengthens the thighs united Ha –Tha (Sun – Moon) energy back
into the rest of the body
Massages the pancreas (preventing diabetes)
and the female reproductive organs (ovaries)

The Bow

YOGALife I Summer 2010 35


The 12 Basic Asanas

The Benefits of the Postures


Ardha-Matsyendrasana – The Half Spinal Twist
Reduces pressure on the roots of the spinal
Combats scoliosis (lateral curvature) nerves, which in turn enhances the function
of the peripheral nervous system
Stretches the hip abductors and strengthens Harmonises the left and right hemispheres
the back muscles of the nadis

Massages the colon and relieves constipation

The Half Spinal Twist

Mayurasana – The Peacock


Dynamic exercise stimulates the circulatory Optimal massage of all abdominal organs
system

Combats kyphosis (exaggerated upper Strong contraction/relaxation improves the


back curve) body’s resistance to stress

Pressure on the solar plexus channels the


Strengthens many muscles throughout united Ha–Tha (Sun–Moon) energy back into
the body the rest of the body
Massages the pancreas (preventing diabetes)
and the female reproductive organs (ovaries)
The Peacock

Padahastasana – The Standing Forward Bend


Gentle increase of blood circulation in the Gives a gentle massage to the abdominal
head; may also be practised by people with organs
chronic high blood pressure
Combats lordosis (exaggerated lower Parasympathetic stimulation (relaxation)
back curve) through a complete stretch

Stretches the whole posterior side of the Releases energies in the main nadis along
body from the toes up to the neck the spine

The Standing Forward Bend

Trikonasana – The Triangle


Dynamic exercise stimulates the
circulatory system Massages the kidneys

Combats scoliosis (lateral curvature) Equal measure of stretching and tensing


develops stress resistance

Simultaneously stretches and strengthens the Building strength in the lateral muscles
inner hip muscles (Iliopsoas) of the back has a very relaxing effect on the
entire back
Increases the supply of blood to the Harmonises the left and right hemispheres
adrenal glands of the nadis

The Triangle

Swami Sivadasananda
Is a long time disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda and the director of the Sivananda
Yoga Vedanta Centre in Madrid. He is also Yoga Acharya for the Sivananda Yoga
Centres in Europe and S. America.
e-mail: SwamiSivadasananda@sivananda.net

36 YOGALife I Summer 2010


Savasana – Final Relaxation

Lowers blood pressure The relaxation improves digestion Energies are stored for the future

The effects of gravity combat both The activation of the parasympathetic


kyphosis (exaggerated upper back United prana–apana energies flow up
nervous system intensifies the ‘rest to the head and expand the aura
curve) and lordosis (exaggerated lower and digest’ process
back curve)
This one-of-a-kind asana enables the By focussing on Ajna Chakra (‘the third
Deep relaxation of the muscles complete relaxation of all voluntary eye’) the practitioner can enter a state of
muscles consciousness beyond body awareness.
The reduced brain activity has
a soothing effect on the pituitary
gland (hypophysis)

NEW! To be published in January 2010


YOGA YOUR HOME PRACTICE COMPANION
The Sivananda Yoga Centre
Published by Dorling Kindersley and written by Swami Durgananda, Swami
Sivadasananda and Swami Kailasananda. The book will come out in
January 2010. To place an order, contact any Sivananda Yoga Centre.

• Classic yoga poses for all levels, with clear step-by-step photographs
and easy-to-follow instructions.
• The physical and mental benefits of each pose, and invaluable tips
on how to improve common faults in your practice.
• Well-rounded programmes of 20, 40, and 60 minutes.
• The essential roles of meditation and breathing exercises,
and strategies to develop powers of concentration.

YOGALife I Summer 2009 37


Our Most Beloved Swamiji

38 YOGALife I Summer 2010


Swamiji
Forty eight years ago... I met our most beloved

“He taught all of us the


importance of honoring,
respecting and acknowledging
every tradition, every religion,
Dr. Marilyn Rossner speaks every path, every culture
and every person.”
about Swami Vishnudevananda
I would like to share with you some of my most memorable person had come to me in another vision and told me that
and blessed experiences with our wonderful and loving I needed to become a vegetarian. From that day on, I was
master teacher, Swami Vishnuji, who gave his life for never able to eat any kind of animal products. I remained
humanity. It was in February 1961 that I first met him. From an extremely pure vegetarian from that very day. I have
childhood I had given my life to following a path that was never taken any alcohol, beer or wine, in my life. I began
shown to me when I was just a very young child. But a very to realize from that day what the yogic path was through
significant part of my life began when I first met Swami Swamiji. Swamiji was, of course, very very kind. He started
Vishnu. I then had the great blessing of being able to spend telling me about yoga. Swamiji started explaining what
many of my own young adult life years with Swamiji and yoga is and of course he invited me to start doing yoga.
later many of my adult years with him. I did. What I am trying to do is to share what Swamiji was,
Now as I look back I realize more and more everyday who he is, what his life is like. You know I was very young
who Swami Vishnu really was and what his role has been, and no one knew what yoga was. People thought yoga
not only in my life, but also in the life of all humanity. meant walking on broken glass or on fire. They did not
When I was quite young I heard that there was know what yoga was. Here was Swamiji, obviously he
a “great master” who had come to Canada, I was invited spoke some English but he did not know the western ways
to visit a "Yoga Center. You have to understand that at all. He also did not have the language skills that most
46 years ago I had no idea what a yoga center"was and people would have. Yet he was determined to explain and
I must say most of the people that I had met had no idea teach about yoga.
what a “yoga center” was either. Swamiji worked almost night and day. He was always
doing something for people. Nothing was ever too hard
for him. I remember when he first brought yoga into a
“Swamiji spoke about the importance hospital, and he offered to do a free class there, over 300
people came. Then another time when he was teaching
of living a yogic life and he was deter- yoga in the beginning at the YMCA, people were lined
mined to teach people about how up all the way around the corner of the street to be able
to get into the class. People were fascinated by what
to live a healthy life." Swamiji was saying. Swamiji spoke about what the five
points mean. He spoke about the importance of living
Well I was invited to go; I can still see and experience a yogic life and he was determined to teach people about
the whole event that happened. I was quite young at the how to live a healthy life. So Swamiji would teach, do the
time. I went upstairs of the place on St. Laurent Boulevard cooking himself, help with the cleaning, etc. etc. I was
which is still our Montreal Sivananda Yoga Center. There a very young school teacher at the time. After school,
was a person who was quite young. It was Swami Swamiji would take me to the Yoga Camp. At the
Vishnudevananda. He was wearing red shorts and an beginning it was only one little place at the ashram. There
orange T-shirt. He was very thin and he was teaching a were 11 people there, and for the weekend sometimes we
“yoga class". I was excited to see him because on the wall, would have 12, sometimes 14. I went every single weekend
over him, there was a large picture of a face of an older to be with this great master. I knew Swamiji very well.
Indian Guru. I interrupted the class and I said, “Pardon me, I saw him so much; it was like I lived with him. When I say
who is that?” Swami Vishnu said “Shhh" we are doing lived with him I mean I saw how he lived. Swamiji lived
yoga. Anyway, I kept on asking. I asked Swami Vishnu, and exactly the way he taught. He always followed the path
told him that that man had appeared to me many times that he brought to all of us. He never did anything that he
since I was a child. When Swami asked me “What does he did not teach. He was always very, very humble. He never
say to you?” I answered that he says “Om Namah Sivaya”. wanted anybody to touch his feet. In fact, I remember
I told him that when I was 4 and a half year old, the same when someone tried to touch his feet, he turned over and

YOGALife I Summer 2009 39


Our Most Beloved Swamiji

Swamiji when he was giving a lecture


Who is that? at the YMCA on Stanley Street. After
the lecture, I told Swamiji that I had
“There was a large picture of a face of an older
this vision and this visitation from
Indian Guru. I interrupted the class and I said,
master. He said “OK, Lalita, you do it”.
‘Pardon me, who is that?’ Swami Vishnu said So, of course, being an educator
‘Shhh’ we are doing yoga. Anyway, I kept on I thought well, I will plan it. I said
asking. I asked Swami Vishnu, and told him that maybe we can do it for next year and
that man had appeared to me many times since he said: “No, no Lalita. We'll do it this
Swami Sivananda I was a child.”
summer”. It was the first children’s
program that was held for special
said: “Don't do that”. He would planet earth passport that he designed.
needs children. It was also the first
always say at the end of every class He spoke about going across borders
for Swami Vishnudevananda.
that if the people got something from not with a national passport but with
Then of course we have the
it, if it did something good, it was not a planet earth passport. He taught
history of the centers and ashrams
him – it was the Master, but if there us what life was really about.
and how they all came into being.
was something that was not good – He told me to bring this know-
It is very important to acknowledge
that was him. He said that everything ledge of yoga into the schools. And
that Swamiji was the first one to set
was done in the name of the Master. of course, my love had always been
up the Teachers’ Training Program.
Swamiji was the first person who children with special needs. He would
I often heard Swamiji talk about
really introduced the whole interfaith say "you do it". I started doing yoga
how important it is to follow the path
movement to the West. No one knew with children. Let me share a little bit
and that there is no happiness unless
what Swamis were, and yet he was about my experiences with yoga. I first
we have happiness inside. Wherever
willing to bring together people from brought yoga into Special Education
Swamiji went he was always teaching.
every religion and every walk
He did not waste a minute.
of life. He taught all of us the
That’s the point. I had the
importance of honoring,
privilege of traveling the world
respecting and acknowledging “It is very important to acknowledge
with him. On the airplane there
every tradition, every religion,
every path, every culture and
that Swamiji was the first one to set was always something to do.
up the Teachers’ Training Program.” Not one moment would
every person. Everybody just
Swamiji waste. Every moment
loved Swamiji. They began
was for the service, the honor,
to come from near and far.
and the glory of God. Swamiji did
I remember the nuns came, the and the results were absolutely
not live for himself. He really owned
priests came. People came from all marvelous. I brought yoga into
nothing. He had his couple of dothis
the different religions. The educated schools and hospitals, into the group
and a couple of sweaters. He really
came, the uneducated came, the homes, into agencies, I have done
had nothing and everything he had
young came, the old came. Then, 33 objective studies using yoga as an
was just to give. People would give
of course, his dream was to have adjunctive therapy to psychotherapy
him something and he would just
an ashram. So when the ashram with children and youth.
give it away. He showed us what real
opened, it was a very special event. Swamiji started organizing peace
love is. He showed us what real spirit
I remember 163 people came. conferences. No one was doing
is. He showed us what it is to be able
There was a doctor who came and anything like that. Swamiji was the
to give of one self. He showed us what
was talking about what a blessing first to organize peace conferences.
it is to love everyone. He showed
it was. Some people were doing the He brought people together from
us what it is to have purpose in life.
cooking. We were doing the cleaning the different traditions. He started
He showed us what it is to serve.
and we were trying to let people inviting some of the known sages
He showed us what it is to live a total
know what yoga was. We were all just from India. He housed them and
yogic life.
following what Swamiji asked us to we made sure to take care of them.
Swamiji was very very strict about
do. Because we saw that in Swamiji, He was the first to have teachers’
the teachings of yoga. He also would
there was the teaching. In Swamiji training courses for yoga. The first
not compromise. He never compromised
there was a way of life. In Swamiji course was held in the ashram
anything in life. He wanted yoga
there was a love. In Swamiji there was in Quebec.
to be very pure. He would get very
a diamond. In Swamiji was a being In 1972, we had the first yoga
concerned if he found that people
that we knew had come on this earth program for children with special
were using the word of yoga in a way
to bring a great truth. needs. I had the great privilege of
that was not honorable. Yoga was so
When Swamiji first organized organizing it. That was, again, through
special for him. So if people misused
peace missions, when he first talked a vision I had had. It was a vision
it or tried to make light of what yoga
about a planet earth passport, I had where Master Sivananda had come
is, he always stood up to that. He
been given the task of selling these to me and had asked me to do that.
wanted yoga to remain pure and
passports for $5. So there was a It was March 1972, I was with

40 YOGALife I Summer 2009


remain what it was supposed to be. Swamiji talked about. to have had him as a mentor, an
We all know the stories of Swamiji’s Vegetarianism then was almost inspirer, a master of masters has been
peace missions and where he went. unknown. Now when we look around, my gift of gifts.
I remember when I was with him vegetarianism is popular. Holistic Swamiji has made his Mahasamadhi
in Boston when he took off on that health is a popular interest. Yoga 15 years ago. I really can say I do not
airplane that Peter Max had painted is also very popular. But much of this, feel that he is gone. I feel his presence
for him. I remember him sitting on in Canada and throughout the world, more and more each day. I feel his
the wings of the airplane, he prayed was started by this one saintly being, presence more and more as I go from
and talked. He always said for all of Swami Vishnudevananda Maharaj. place to place and continue to share
us to take care of everybody. He was Swamiji was a scientist. He was an the truth of yoga. I feel his presence
absolutely fearless. Every moment educator. He was a teacher. He was a with every Sadhana I do. No matter
with Swamiji was momentous. therapist. He was a counselor. He was where I go I try to encourage people
I had the privilege of being in really all of these wrapped up in this to do a little bit of what he asked us
India with him many times. One time one person. And yet, he did not have all to do. But every day I realize more
there was a group of us who went the formal education for all that. But and more who Swamiji really was.
with Swamiji. He wanted so much for he had it! He was that! No matter All I can say is Thank You Lord
the fighting to stop between groups. what a person needed, he was always for Swamiji. I pray to continue
He went to the great leaders and he there to do it. to bring Swamiji's message of truth,
tried very hard to bring the people I remember in one of our first of oneness, of light, wherever I go
together. He wanted them to talk. children's groups, one of the children and in whatever I am asked to do.
I remember he asked them to come had difficulty sleeping, Swamiji had a
out because one of them was technique for that. One child thought In the Service of the Lord.
in a different place. There was a con- he was a frog, Swamiji had a technique At the feet of the Master,
troversy between them. Swamiji said for dealing with that. One child was Marilyn Rossner
that he will go out and somebody making certain sounds, Swamiji had
mentioned that if we go out, a technique for that. One child used Dr Marilyn Rossner Ph.D.
someone will shoot us, Swamiji to run away, Swamiji had a technique is a children’s behaviour therapist,
replied: “No. People are willing to die for that. Some people had different a clairvoyant, medium, and expert
in the name of war, I’m willing to die allergies, Swamiji had a technique for in the field of parapsychology.
in the name of peace.” But the point that. To one he would give a mantra.
is that this is how he lived. He was To another he would say “Hold your
absolutely positively fearless. mala”. To one he would give a specific
All the things we are seeing pranayama technique. To one he
happening on the earth now were would give a certain asana.
really prophesied by Swamiji. He And so as I review the
talked about what would happen by last 46 years of my own
the year 2000. He talked about what life on earth I can say with
would happen if the drug culture absolute assurance that
continued. He talked about what the Almighty has blessed
would happen if the family life was me in a special way.
not serious. He talked about what To have known Swamiji
would happen if people were not as he walked this earth,
living a clean, moral, ethical life. to have sat at his blessed
He talked about what would happen feet, to have heard him
to nature. Everything we see happen- speak, teach, to have had
ing now, absolutely everything, him as a yoga teacher,

Photo Archive: Swami Vishnudevananda with some of his early yoga students YOGALife I Summer 2009 41
The Gurukula Tradition

The Training of Memory and Concentration

GurukulaTradition
In the

By Dr H V Satyanarayana Sastry
In the light of my observations at the Gurukulas of our villages
coupled with my own experiences of tutoring there, I would like
to share some insights into the proficient techniques of our ancient
tradition that aid concentration and memory.
In the creation and the diffusion
of interest and passion for knowledge,
the mind obviously plays a pivotal role.
Whether we are learning or working
in a professional carreer, memory and
concentration of the mind are the tools;
we need to sharpen them for the intellect
to function optimally. Today, we are
better off by enjoying the revolutionary
information technology that allows
for rapid dissemination of know-
ledge across the globe. However,
I find that Vedic principles remain
just as applicable, and the
term ‘Vedic’ remains the now
of always.

Concentration of Mind and discipline. If the moral precepts should not isolate or totally
are not in place all the freedom, withdraw from people, but has
Ekagrata or a spearheaded-mind humanitarian and spiritual goals to avail the benefits of solitude.
helps to prolong the grasp while lead to confusion.
learning. Learning requires the unity Moderation
of our will and the intellect. Our The Guru
mind is basically like a switchboard Being moderate always has good
Faith in a Guru and trusting his
operator; it links one of our senses – results. Being hopeful, keeping
always-available navigation system
at a time – with their subjects. Our cheerful, finding joy in everything,
is indispensable. Even on roads we
intellect (the plant) doesn’t get the good humour and a helpful nature
install a satellite navigation system
mind's supply unless the mind wills are all the qualities of an enlightened
in our car! Similarly, an ordained life
to connect. Scriptures claim that we soul. Such a person is a product of
ensures good mileage. The Guru
easily concentrate on what our mind well-balanced contemplation and
helps prioritise what is appropriate
likes. Hence creating interest is the meditation. In general, “avoid
to the seeker and acts as a guide
fundamental requisite. If the mind extremity in anything”.
in his or her spiritual growth.
wants to atop a hill, even while
limping you will climb. Vedic Strength in Solitude Memory
education emphasizes the following Scriptures say that too much Memory is the companion, the asset
for a pointed mind: Holistic Vision socialising is an impediment for of the early age of everybody.
and following the footsteps of the concentration as well as meditation. Perhaps when we grow up, we invest
Vedas. The entire Indian tradition Excessive extroversion leads to that capital upon too many non-
emphasises the practice of ethics dissipation of one’s energies. One essential things.

42 YOGALife I Summer 2009


The Sanskrit term for memory tration for several decades. Their Daily Routine
is Smriti. Memory is twofold. Firstly, school was so welcoming and Their routine diary commenced with
committing to memory (memorising) friendly they didn’t prefer going back a quick bath and early morning
and remembering the memorised. home. As in Ayurveda as well as physical exercise briskly done
It is, if you like, picking up an old yoga, every treatment is tailored for followed by the yoga exercises
paper or file from the cabinet. the person. Hospitality, honesty, or Surya Namaskar. Wearing certain
Secondly, to channel the reservoir service and responsibility were marks on the forehead helps
of memory. In the era before books, entrusted upon all. Gurukulas concentration for the wearer as well
the oral tradition was the hallmark resemble any ideal community living. as giving the onlookers a sense
of the Gurukulas. Repetition became of freshness. Gazing at the sun
the chief mode of memorising and Natural Setting
(while not very hot) and moon helps
memorising the chief mode of The learning centres were far from in freshening up of mind and leads
learning. Memorising the Mantras the maddening crowds of the cities. to single-minded focus. During their
became the main pastime of the In that escape full of Prana, tigers prayer, in both twilights, the students
students. That was fun, but that and elephants would visit and would do Japa, normally with the
is not the goal, which is a deeper children would play with deer and Gayatri mantra, which helps concen-
understanding of the Vedas. rabbits. The fresh air free from any tration of mind and stimulates memory.
pollutants around the forest The practice of asanas would also
Home – The Foundation optimised the learning environment. help them for concentration.
for Early Learning The sounds of the birds and flowing
Today a private tuition at home is to water accentuate the silence. Food
back up the school curriculum; but Students have the opportunity
Good food and good exercise is the
in the ancient India it was the reverse. to learn from and interact with
master key for good health. The basic
In any household with children was nature at all times.
needs were supplied for free. The
run a parallel school. Mothers taught food, drinks and medicines served in
a lot of rhymes, folksongs, and the Gurukulas were of a satvic nature.
traditional epics – all memorised and “Hospitality, honesty, Though not a specific medicine for
spread in this ‘cultural centre’. With a loss of memory or concentration,
child on their lap, they also sang the service and responsibility moderate amounts of ghee were
mathematical tables in melodious were entrusted upon all.” served to these pupils to stimulate
tunes! In the same way, children their mental work, as recommended
were taught the names of the week, by Ayurveda. Dairy products, honey,
months, zodiacs, constellations, Dress Code
ginger, lime and neem were used to
prayers to numerous divinities, hymns The uniforms for the Gurukula were tone up their mind. Abhyanga (oil
for meals and for going to bed, etc. simple, comfortable and natural. bath) and refraining from alcohol or
The dress, given in the Upanayana tobacco helped their concentration.
The Gurukula (initiation) ceremony, is neither very Certain herbal tonics like Amalaka,
A Gurukula is like a retreat for loose nor very tight and is helpful Chyavana-prasha or Kooshmanada
16 years given at a receptive age. for concentration for a long time. (Pumpkin) were also used to aid
The formal ceremony (prevalent Bachelors, married men and women memory and concentration.
even today) to mark the beseeching all wore distinct garments.
of the traditional learning is called The Tradition Continues
Upanayana wherein the powerful Chanting Mantras
The gurukula tradition continues
Gayathri mantra is taught. One of The majority of the population in nowadays. I recently visited an all
the purposes of this ceremony is to those monasteries were male and female Gurukula, Panini Kanya Maha
pre-empt and prepare the student youngsters. They were easily Vidyalaya, in Benares. More than
to enrol into Gurukula. recognisable because wherever they eighty girls are studying scriptures of
Every Gurukula was essentially went, they would incessantly utter their choice in that residential school.
for all castes and was open amidst the Mantras such as the Gayatri, They mainly learn Panini’s Grammar,
the woods as a free residential holding their sacred thread as a Yoga, and priest-craft.
school. Men and women of all age Japamala, a physical support for
groups were there to offer specific concentration, they walked, keeping
services. In the safe custody of their thoughts focused at all times. Dr H V Satyanarayana
Acharyas and Maharshis their People joked about them as the bees Sastry, is a freelance
children were protected, tutored or the flowers, before whose sight Sanskrit teacher, and is the
and groomed with personal atten- you came across their buzzing sound former academic director
tion. Although a normal tutelage of or their fragrance. Their chanting of the Bharatiya Vidya
every child lasted for 16 years, some filled the narrow lanes and footpaths Bhavan in London, UK.
youths stayed beyond. They carried tread by their tiny footprints. This
on with their unceasing concen- was their walking yoga.

YOGALife I Summer 2009 43


By Lakshmana, 30 year old yoga teacher, Sivananda Yoga Centre Paris

How, when and why I chose to become staff available there. So it was the logical continuation for me
The year 2007 was a transition period for me where I had to apply as a full-time staff, which interestingly enough,
quit my job and had applied to some graduate education happened on the symbolical “Fête du Travail” or Labor Day
programmes with the hope to find a new direction in my in France.
life. In the meanwhile, I had started to read some of Swami
Sivananda's books, which had been a great comfort and
One ‘Chunk of Life’ experience
help for me during these uncertain times. I had no clear The move from the historical Paris Centre of Réaumur
agenda in the summer and decided it was the right time Sebastopol (since 1977) to the new Centre was challenging
to take the Teacher's Training Course. on many different levels, to say the least. Many things were
The programme far ex- to be done each day over
ceeded my expectations on a period of roughly two
all aspects: I was particularly “After a couple months, I realized that months. Many karma yogis
thrilled by the depth but also were helping us to renovate
the practicality of the yoga I was allocating almost all of my free the new Centre, carry and
philosophy. Here were some time to the yoga center but that I felt unload the boxes, etc. Many
teachings that appealed to the inner urge to be even more involved.” administrative matters had
to be thought of and dealt
so many people from so many
different countries and walks with and organising
of life and that were being applied in everyday life with everything was quite challenging. Finally, we managed
tangible results, particularly in terms of well-being and to get it done. Not everything was perfect and we were all
peace of mind. exhausted but the bulk of it was there. Student numbers
When the TTC ended, in order to keep the momentum immediately picked up when we came to the new Centre,
going, I decided to move in close to the Paris Yoga Centre although the summer time is usually the quietest of the
and to teach as soon as I could, to do some karma yoga year and although we had done no advertising yet. It’s as
and to attend the evening Satsangs. After a couple of if the universe was telling us that all these efforts had not
months, I realised that I was allocating almost all of my been done in vain.
free time to the Yoga Centre but that I felt the inner urge
to be even more involved. So I decided to sub-let my flat The most challenging aspects of being
and live in the Centre as a resident, keeping all options a staff member
open, as although I had given it some serious thinking, The daily schedule can be quite intense sometimes, but it
I could never be 100% sure as to how I would react and is also this intensity that gives training for the mind and for
cope with this new life experience. the body in order to evolve and improve. Also, it's always
The first days, weeks and months were quite interesting possible to slow down and rest from an intense rhythm
but also challenging with so many new concrete things to when necessary but finding a challenge when nothing
learn and to think about. It was like the TTC, but even more substantial is happening is much harder to do. As for the
“real”. After five months as resident, my interest in my balance between free time and working hours, you come
graduate studies fell from low to an airy nothing, as I was to understand that it's for a large part artificial, when you
learning so much more important things in day to day life think about it. When you really like what you do and feel
at the Centre and with the many beautiful spiritual books concerned about it, you don't count your hours and a little

44 YOGALife I Summer 2009


Being Sivananda Staff

time off is enough to give the mind and body a rest. there to guide you, to inspire you, to share and to relate
Another issue which is no doubt very tricky and with you, the spiritual books are there and the “real life”
challenging is the relationship evolution with friends and situations are there. You have the opportunity to interact
relatives. Some of them approve this choice of lifestyle and with teachers, students, and other staff members of all
even admire it, some disapprove it stongly and don’t under- backgrounds, nationalities and age groups, who all share
stand it, with all nuances in between including a few a common interest in yoga. Day to day operations also
people who are indifferent. In any case, less time and confront you with businesspeople and government officials,
energy is spent directly with them, and it can be quite which is useful in order to stay aware of their
tough at first for the mind and for the emotions to cope preoccupations, priorities and ways of thinking.
with this reality, which can’t really be changed. One should Furthermore, the Sivananda Yoga Organisation
remember that whatever choice you make in life, some is present in many countries around the globe and staff
close people will always approve it while others disapprove. members can be placed in situations where they move
Friends and relationships evolve anyway throughout to different places and cultures, thereby learning many
everyone’s life, whether we like it or not: we lose some old interesting things, such as developing new adaptation and
relationships which are not in line with our lifestyle language skills.
anymore and also make many new ones which share the A second fundamental difference with other
same interest for yoga. Ultimately, the real question is organisations (for profit or non profit) is that all the
whether you feel happy with what you are doing and with employees are each day consciously putting forth an effort
the direction you are going in life. If that’s the case, the of self-analysis in terms of behavior, thought patterns,
experience turns into a way of finding out who, even emotions, and energy level, because they are all going
if their own life philosophy is different in many aspects, through a Sadhana, or spiritual path. This creates a whole
recognises that this choice suits you and approves it different working atmosphere, much more positive and
because it makes you happy. energetic. It also gives a deeper meaning to ordinary tasks
and projects, which become opportunities to learn
The best things about being a staff member so many things about yourself and about others. That
One could summarize it bluntly as an ideal way to lead a process is something so useful and so precious whatever
spiritual path. The daily schedule is there to help you keep you end up doing in life.
the discipline, the swamis and other staff members are

YOGALife I Summer 2009 45


The Gurukula Tradition

The Training of Memory and Concentration

GurukulaTradition
In the

By Dr H V Satyanarayana Sastry
In the light of my observations at the Gurukulas of our villages
coupled with my own experiences of tutoring there, I would like
to share some insights into the proficient techniques of our ancient
tradition that aid concentration and memory.
In the creation and the diffusion
of interest and passion for knowledge,
the mind obviously plays a pivotal role.
Whether we are learning or working
in a professional carreer, memory and
concentration of the mind are the tools;
we need to sharpen them for the intellect
to function optimally. Today, we are
better off by enjoying the revolutionary
information technology that allows
for rapid dissemination of know-
ledge across the globe. However,
I find that Vedic principles remain
just as applicable, and the
term ‘Vedic’ remains the now
of always.

Concentration of Mind and discipline. If the moral precepts should not isolate or totally
are not in place all the freedom, withdraw from people, but has
Ekagrata or a spearheaded-mind humanitarian and spiritual goals to avail the benefits of solitude.
helps to prolong the grasp while lead to confusion.
learning. Learning requires the unity Moderation
of our will and the intellect. Our The Guru
mind is basically like a switchboard Being moderate always has good
Faith in a Guru and trusting his
operator; it links one of our senses – results. Being hopeful, keeping
always-available navigation system
at a time – with their subjects. Our cheerful, finding joy in everything,
is indispensable. Even on roads we
intellect (the plant) doesn’t get the good humour and a helpful nature
install a satellite navigation system
mind's supply unless the mind wills are all the qualities of an enlightened
in our car! Similarly, an ordained life
to connect. Scriptures claim that we soul. Such a person is a product of
ensures good mileage. The Guru
easily concentrate on what our mind well-balanced contemplation and
helps prioritise what is appropriate
likes. Hence creating interest is the meditation. In general, “avoid
to the seeker and acts as a guide
fundamental requisite. If the mind extremity in anything”.
in his or her spiritual growth.
wants to atop a hill, even while
limping you will climb. Vedic Strength in Solitude Memory
education emphasizes the following Scriptures say that too much Memory is the companion, the asset
for a pointed mind: Holistic Vision socialising is an impediment for of the early age of everybody.
and following the footsteps of the concentration as well as meditation. Perhaps when we grow up, we invest
Vedas. The entire Indian tradition Excessive extroversion leads to that capital upon too many non-
emphasises the practice of ethics dissipation of one’s energies. One essential things.

42 YOGALife I Summer 2009


The Sanskrit term for memory tration for several decades. Their Daily Routine
is Smriti. Memory is twofold. Firstly, school was so welcoming and Their routine diary commenced with
committing to memory (memorising) friendly they didn’t prefer going back a quick bath and early morning
and remembering the memorised. home. As in Ayurveda as well as physical exercise briskly done
It is, if you like, picking up an old yoga, every treatment is tailored for followed by the yoga exercises
paper or file from the cabinet. the person. Hospitality, honesty, or Surya Namaskar. Wearing certain
Secondly, to channel the reservoir service and responsibility were marks on the forehead helps
of memory. In the era before books, entrusted upon all. Gurukulas concentration for the wearer as well
the oral tradition was the hallmark resemble any ideal community living. as giving the onlookers a sense
of the Gurukulas. Repetition became of freshness. Gazing at the sun
the chief mode of memorising and Natural Setting
(while not very hot) and moon helps
memorising the chief mode of The learning centres were far from in freshening up of mind and leads
learning. Memorising the Mantras the maddening crowds of the cities. to single-minded focus. During their
became the main pastime of the In that escape full of Prana, tigers prayer, in both twilights, the students
students. That was fun, but that and elephants would visit and would do Japa, normally with the
is not the goal, which is a deeper children would play with deer and Gayatri mantra, which helps concen-
understanding of the Vedas. rabbits. The fresh air free from any tration of mind and stimulates memory.
pollutants around the forest The practice of asanas would also
Home – The Foundation optimised the learning environment. help them for concentration.
for Early Learning The sounds of the birds and flowing
Today a private tuition at home is to water accentuate the silence. Food
back up the school curriculum; but Students have the opportunity
Good food and good exercise is the
in the ancient India it was the reverse. to learn from and interact with
master key for good health. The basic
In any household with children was nature at all times.
needs were supplied for free. The
run a parallel school. Mothers taught food, drinks and medicines served in
a lot of rhymes, folksongs, and the Gurukulas were of a satvic nature.
traditional epics – all memorised and “Hospitality, honesty, Though not a specific medicine for
spread in this ‘cultural centre’. With a loss of memory or concentration,
child on their lap, they also sang the service and responsibility moderate amounts of ghee were
mathematical tables in melodious were entrusted upon all.” served to these pupils to stimulate
tunes! In the same way, children their mental work, as recommended
were taught the names of the week, by Ayurveda. Dairy products, honey,
months, zodiacs, constellations, Dress Code
ginger, lime and neem were used to
prayers to numerous divinities, hymns The uniforms for the Gurukula were tone up their mind. Abhyanga (oil
for meals and for going to bed, etc. simple, comfortable and natural. bath) and refraining from alcohol or
The dress, given in the Upanayana tobacco helped their concentration.
The Gurukula (initiation) ceremony, is neither very Certain herbal tonics like Amalaka,
A Gurukula is like a retreat for loose nor very tight and is helpful Chyavana-prasha or Kooshmanada
16 years given at a receptive age. for concentration for a long time. (Pumpkin) were also used to aid
The formal ceremony (prevalent Bachelors, married men and women memory and concentration.
even today) to mark the beseeching all wore distinct garments.
of the traditional learning is called The Tradition Continues
Upanayana wherein the powerful Chanting Mantras
The gurukula tradition continues
Gayathri mantra is taught. One of The majority of the population in nowadays. I recently visited an all
the purposes of this ceremony is to those monasteries were male and female Gurukula, Panini Kanya Maha
pre-empt and prepare the student youngsters. They were easily Vidyalaya, in Benares. More than
to enrol into Gurukula. recognisable because wherever they eighty girls are studying scriptures of
Every Gurukula was essentially went, they would incessantly utter their choice in that residential school.
for all castes and was open amidst the Mantras such as the Gayatri, They mainly learn Panini’s Grammar,
the woods as a free residential holding their sacred thread as a Yoga, and priest-craft.
school. Men and women of all age Japamala, a physical support for
groups were there to offer specific concentration, they walked, keeping
services. In the safe custody of their thoughts focused at all times. Dr H V Satyanarayana
Acharyas and Maharshis their People joked about them as the bees Sastry, is a freelance
children were protected, tutored or the flowers, before whose sight Sanskrit teacher, and is the
and groomed with personal atten- you came across their buzzing sound former academic director
tion. Although a normal tutelage of or their fragrance. Their chanting of the Bharatiya Vidya
every child lasted for 16 years, some filled the narrow lanes and footpaths Bhavan in London, UK.
youths stayed beyond. They carried tread by their tiny footprints. This
on with their unceasing concen- was their walking yoga.

YOGALife I Summer 2009 43


By Lakshmana, 30 year old yoga teacher, Sivananda Yoga Centre Paris

How, when and why I chose to become staff available there. So it was the logical continuation for me
The year 2007 was a transition period for me where I had to apply as a full-time staff, which interestingly enough,
quit my job and had applied to some graduate education happened on the symbolical “Fête du Travail” or Labor Day
programmes with the hope to find a new direction in my in France.
life. In the meanwhile, I had started to read some of Swami
Sivananda's books, which had been a great comfort and
One ‘Chunk of Life’ experience
help for me during these uncertain times. I had no clear The move from the historical Paris Centre of Réaumur
agenda in the summer and decided it was the right time Sebastopol (since 1977) to the new Centre was challenging
to take the Teacher's Training Course. on many different levels, to say the least. Many things were
The programme far ex- to be done each day over
ceeded my expectations on a period of roughly two
all aspects: I was particularly “After a couple months, I realized that months. Many karma yogis
thrilled by the depth but also were helping us to renovate
the practicality of the yoga I was allocating almost all of my free the new Centre, carry and
philosophy. Here were some time to the yoga center but that I felt unload the boxes, etc. Many
teachings that appealed to the inner urge to be even more involved.” administrative matters had
to be thought of and dealt
so many people from so many
different countries and walks with and organising
of life and that were being applied in everyday life with everything was quite challenging. Finally, we managed
tangible results, particularly in terms of well-being and to get it done. Not everything was perfect and we were all
peace of mind. exhausted but the bulk of it was there. Student numbers
When the TTC ended, in order to keep the momentum immediately picked up when we came to the new Centre,
going, I decided to move in close to the Paris Yoga Centre although the summer time is usually the quietest of the
and to teach as soon as I could, to do some karma yoga year and although we had done no advertising yet. It’s as
and to attend the evening Satsangs. After a couple of if the universe was telling us that all these efforts had not
months, I realised that I was allocating almost all of my been done in vain.
free time to the Yoga Centre but that I felt the inner urge
to be even more involved. So I decided to sub-let my flat The most challenging aspects of being
and live in the Centre as a resident, keeping all options a staff member
open, as although I had given it some serious thinking, The daily schedule can be quite intense sometimes, but it
I could never be 100% sure as to how I would react and is also this intensity that gives training for the mind and for
cope with this new life experience. the body in order to evolve and improve. Also, it's always
The first days, weeks and months were quite interesting possible to slow down and rest from an intense rhythm
but also challenging with so many new concrete things to when necessary but finding a challenge when nothing
learn and to think about. It was like the TTC, but even more substantial is happening is much harder to do. As for the
“real”. After five months as resident, my interest in my balance between free time and working hours, you come
graduate studies fell from low to an airy nothing, as I was to understand that it's for a large part artificial, when you
learning so much more important things in day to day life think about it. When you really like what you do and feel
at the Centre and with the many beautiful spiritual books concerned about it, you don't count your hours and a little

44 YOGALife I Summer 2009


Being Sivananda Staff

time off is enough to give the mind and body a rest. there to guide you, to inspire you, to share and to relate
Another issue which is no doubt very tricky and with you, the spiritual books are there and the “real life”
challenging is the relationship evolution with friends and situations are there. You have the opportunity to interact
relatives. Some of them approve this choice of lifestyle and with teachers, students, and other staff members of all
even admire it, some disapprove it stongly and don’t under- backgrounds, nationalities and age groups, who all share
stand it, with all nuances in between including a few a common interest in yoga. Day to day operations also
people who are indifferent. In any case, less time and confront you with businesspeople and government officials,
energy is spent directly with them, and it can be quite which is useful in order to stay aware of their
tough at first for the mind and for the emotions to cope preoccupations, priorities and ways of thinking.
with this reality, which can’t really be changed. One should Furthermore, the Sivananda Yoga Organisation
remember that whatever choice you make in life, some is present in many countries around the globe and staff
close people will always approve it while others disapprove. members can be placed in situations where they move
Friends and relationships evolve anyway throughout to different places and cultures, thereby learning many
everyone’s life, whether we like it or not: we lose some old interesting things, such as developing new adaptation and
relationships which are not in line with our lifestyle language skills.
anymore and also make many new ones which share the A second fundamental difference with other
same interest for yoga. Ultimately, the real question is organisations (for profit or non profit) is that all the
whether you feel happy with what you are doing and with employees are each day consciously putting forth an effort
the direction you are going in life. If that’s the case, the of self-analysis in terms of behavior, thought patterns,
experience turns into a way of finding out who, even emotions, and energy level, because they are all going
if their own life philosophy is different in many aspects, through a Sadhana, or spiritual path. This creates a whole
recognises that this choice suits you and approves it different working atmosphere, much more positive and
because it makes you happy. energetic. It also gives a deeper meaning to ordinary tasks
and projects, which become opportunities to learn
The best things about being a staff member so many things about yourself and about others. That
One could summarize it bluntly as an ideal way to lead a process is something so useful and so precious whatever
spiritual path. The daily schedule is there to help you keep you end up doing in life.
the discipline, the swamis and other staff members are

YOGALife I Summer 2009 45


YOGALife I Summer 2009 47
The Power
“I still remember the first time
I met Swami Vishnudevananda
in 1974. I remember above all his
first smile. This vision continues
to linger in my mind.” By Gopala
In the seventies in Madrid, yoga was an activity that
many people were suspicious of, associating it with
sects, and strange, not very respectable people, in
what was still a very conservative Spanish society.
To have a child doing yoga in the seventies was a cause
of concern for some parents. To have a parent doing yoga
in this decade is a source of healthy pride for a child.
It is an inspiration to see society opening up. How much
things can change in the space of 30 years!
The words of Swami Vishnudevananda and the
energy of his voice were reflections of his determination
to pull us towards this wonderful way of Life that
Yoga is. He was resolute in his decision to lift us up.
After many years, I now see in Swami Vishnu-
devananda’s smile the effect of the thoughts of Swami
Sivananda and of all the great Masters who preceded
him. The universal knowledge that they share should
be surrendered to.
Thought is the underlying force which makes things
happen. Sometimes I ask myself, when we organise
activities, festivals, courses and workshops at the
Madrid centre: “What is it that keeps us united and
inspired by these wonderful projects, and brings so
many people to the centre?” I always come to the same
conclusion, that in this first smile, all of our present
work and all of our future were already present,

48 YOGALife I Summer 2009


The Power of a Smile

of a Smile
because it was a genuine smile, absolutely pure and
selfless. All that was necessary was to receive it with
an open heart, so that this inspiration would last for
many years to come.
of life, following the principles of yoga, is found in
service. The more energy we put into inspiring and
serving others through the teaching of yoga, the more
will flow back to us in the form of divine energy. To serve
From this smile, and from those words and first instruct- is the essence of yoga.
ions, arose the project, involving constant and delib- I have seen many people come through the Madrid
erate work, which today enables close to 700 students Centre, great masters and swamis, who each have left
to come through the doors on Eraso Street every week, their own mark in the growth of the centre. I have seen
where the Sivananda Yoga Centre of Madrid is located. teachers with admirable dedication, and hundreds of
All is done in His name, the same way He did students of every possible background, each with diverse
everything in the name of his teacher, following the and vibrant talents, all coming to experience yoga. I have
Gurukula tradition. In the West, we are still surprised seen numerous yogis who have dedicated themselves
when we come into contact with somebody from India entirely to selfless service, cooking, sweeping, tidying and
who asks us: “Who is your Master? With whom did you teaching, greeting the students, doing the accounts – our
learn?” We are so used to speaking about ourselves income is ever insufficient but always well invested! –
as the centre of the universe. Working every day translating, preparing herbal tea and baking cookies,
in the service of others, leaving behind our identity washing up of pots and pans. Many people have come
is something very important in our Sadhana. and gone, they have continued on their path and I am
Swami Vishnudevananda always acted in the sure they are carrying deep in themselves the teachings
name of his Master. He was already a well known and of our masters and the smile of Swami Vishnudevananda,
respected Master himself when many people came the teachings of the universal knowledge of Vedanta:
to see him in the European cities during the seventies. adapt, adjust, accommodate. This is the essence of yoga.
However, when I met him in 1974, he spoke only
of Sivananda, of his Master, to whom he dedicated each The valuable experience of the teacher
of his actions. His boundless energy and creativity to training course: a reality
bring yoga in Spain has today turned into a solid project One of the examples of the effect of this smile was the
that has been progressing steadily. “Stay in one place establishment of the Teachers’ Training Course (TTC)
and be faithful to one spiritual master, to one system of in Spain. The first TTC that Swami Vishnudevananda led
yoga”, Swamiji would say. “Have patience, a strong will in Europe took place in Galicia, this green and beautiful
and tireless perseverance”, Swami Sivananda would say. land in the northwest of Spain. Swamiji always liked this
This first smile is now a Yoga Centre which land, as the greenness reminded him of Canada. The first
is growing slowly and steadily. Teachers’ Training Course in Spain took place 1985. There
have now been eleven teachers’ training courses held in
The service as staff, as a karma yogi Spain. The course is held between the months of August
Through selfless service your heart is purified. “Egoism, and September, in the heat and the colours of summer.
hate, jealousy and above all the feeling of superiority, So far the course was held in Mojacar and Turre
disappear”, said Swami Sivananda. The true meaning in Almeria, Santillana in Madrid, Barajas de Melo in

YOGALife I Summer 2009 49


The Power of a Smile

Cuenca, and Aluenda in Zaragoza. These places are available in many bookshops, and of course at the Yoga
converted into a travelling ashram with the combined Centres of Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Madrid.
efforts of many people. After a month of group practice Apart from the translation of the work of Swami
of asanas, pranayama and meditation at dawn and dusk, Sivananda in recent years we have also worked with
they become magical and sacred places which attract us various periodical publications, in particular the Spanish
year after year. edition of the magazine Yoga Journal in which we publish
a section called “living yoga each month”, with practical
The literary work of Swami Sivananda inspirations from the teachings of Swami Sivananda.
in Spanish Translating is a great service and it is worthwhile
Another of the powerful manifestations of the thought of to dedicate oneself to it for a period of time every day,
Swami Vishnudevananda was to put us in touch with the even if only for a few minutes. It is a form of meditation,
immense and enriching literary work of his Master Swami allowing us to stay in touch with knowledge.
Sivananda. Thousands of people have been touched by ***
his close to three hundred books, written and translated As I contemplate the work of many yogis at the Madrid
into most Indian languages and the main European Centre, the development of the Teachers’ Training
languages. His literary work is very extensive and deep, Courses in Spain, and the expansion of Swami Sivananda
and at the same time deliberately simple to reach people influence through his books, I realise that this first smile
of various intellectual capacity. of Swami Vishnudevananda didn’t even belong to him,
Despite the efforts of many selfless yogis in the and that it was the strength of his Master Swami
recent years and, amongst others, of the Sivananda Yoga Sivananda which was shining in his face.
Centres in Montevideo, Uruguay and in Madrid, Spain, It has been almost 35 years since I experienced this
not all books of Swami Sivananda have been translated first smile and I cannot feel anything but an immense
from English into Spanish. gratitude towards him, his teachings, and the way in
Many Spanish speaking people do not have sufficient which he, in so many ways, brought us the knowledge
knowledge of the English language to be able to read the of Swami Sivananda, the universal knowledge of the
work of the Great Master in English, and we find it a very great masters. An eternal knowledge, invigorating
worthy purpose to make this work available to them in us with ever renewed energy.
their native language. To achieve this end, we have put Behind this smile of Swami Vishnudevananda,
together a group of people to translate the books of I can now feel the smile of Swami Sivananda.
Swami Sivananda. This effort is dedicated to Swami
Vishnudevananda. This small group reviews, on both sides Gopala has been Swami
Vishnudevananda’s disciple since
of the Atlantic, the books already translated and focuses 1975 and is General Manager
on translating others. This is a great and most inspiring in the Spanish General Council
work, undertaken with patience and great hope. A good for the Judiciary.
e-mail: Madrid@sivananda.net"
number of translations have already been produced
through this effort. Books of Swami Sivananda are now

A Historic Reception SPANISH NEWS

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres received by the President


of the Republic of India on historical state visit to Spain
On the 21st of April 2009, the King of
Spain Juan Carlos I, received the President
of India, Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil,
with a traditional namaskar greeting at the
Royal Palace, highlighting the ‘historical
dimension’ of the meeting as the first
state visit by any Indian President to Spain.
The Reception in honour of the President
of India was presided over by the Indian
Ambassador, Ms. Sujata Mehta. The
Indian Community, including the
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, was
invited to the reception. The Sivananda Pictured: The Indian President and her husband (seated centre), the
Yoga Vedanta Centres were acknowledged by the Ambass- Indian Ambassador seated far right, and Gopala and his wife Dolly
ador as “Indians in spirit and at heart because their (standing second and third from left), representatives of the Sivananda
Yoga Vedanta Centres at the official reception.
friendship for India is deep and all encompassing”.

50 YOGALife I Summer 2009


Elephant Ride

Have you ever looked into the eye of an elephant?


It is a lesson in humility, in compassion and in wisdom.
It is a lesson in intelligence and in knowledge.
They know something we know not, and because
we don’t know, we cannot pinpoint it, we cannot
categorise it, we cannot judge.
Have you seen an elephant pick up a blade of grass Twenty dollars a day for food and water might not seem
or a grain of rice? Have you seen an elephant move logs much in Western terms but it is lot in India where a labourer
of wood with which even a machine would struggle? We earns on average one hundred dollars a month. India has
were blessed to be able to ride bareback on fifteen such 3,500 domesticated elephants with approximately 600
magnificent beasts. Organised by the Elephant Welfare Trust in Kerala. Most of them are used for commercial purposes.
of India (EWTI), these majestic animals were transported The EWTI, composed of concerned persons and veterinary
from neighbouring areas especially for this ride. How surgeons, have taken up the cause of these gentle giants.
beautiful they were, how elegant and precise in their They plan to buy land which will serve as a rehabilitation
movements, how sweet and gentle when we boarded them, centre for diseased, aged and abandoned elephants. Other
how noble and proud as we paraded the streets of Palakkad issues include the screening and treatment of infectious
in south India. A sight to behold. An experience imprinted diseases such as TB, maintaining minimum standards of
deep into the souls of all those who came to pay tribute. comfort for elephants during festivals, setting up a mobile
Elephants are known to live as long as humans. No major veterinary clinic, simplifying insurance for captive elephants,
festival or procession is complete without at least one training and welfare of mahouts (elephant handlers),
elephant leading the way. These cousins of Lord Ganesha cultivation and supply of balanced feeds for captive
have become an integral part of Kerala culture. Besides their elephants and mass education on elephants.
ceremonial role they are hard workers in the forest industry.
Their working life generally extends to forty years. Thereafter If you wish to help contact Dr Joju Davis, telephone:
they are often abandoned due to high maintenance costs. + 91 9447417100, email: jojudavi@hotmail.com

YOGALife I Summer 2009 51


Sivananda Ashram and Centre News

Ashram & Centre News


VAL MORIN, CANADA MONTREAL, CANADA
Sivananda Yoga Ashram HQ Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
The Camp will see the opening of The Ayurveda The year 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of
Centre, a clinic that will start operating during the founding of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
the summer months of 2009. The Centre is Centre in Montreal. Swami Vishnudevananda
housed in a building that has been custom built established the Centre in 1959 and using it as
to accommodate two massage rooms, with his base, spread the teachings of yoga through-
living accommodation for the therapists and out the world. We would like to thank all the
including a consultation room for our ayurvedic staff, teachers and students who have come
doctor. The design, by Zev Daniels, has been during these 50 years and who have, through
created on vastu principles. their interest and enthusiasm contributed
Original massage tables, made of mahogany, to the growth and expansion of the Centre
have been brought in from Kerala and many and the organisation. May the Centre flourish
of the oils and herbs used will be shipped with the grace and guidance of Swami
directly from India. Consultations will be given Vishnudevananda and his master Swami
on a residential and non-residential basis, with Sivananda, and continue to bring the glorious
extended panchakarma and rejuvenation teachings of yoga to many future generations.
programmes held in July and August.
The building is winterised and the programme
will be extended over the coming seasons.

PARIS, FRANCE Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre

NETALA, INDIA
Sivananda Kutir The Paris centre has moved to a new location, which allows teaching large classes without a
10 minutes away from the previous one. Its loca- microphone. A ventilation system has just been
With the grace of the Gurus we have tion is perfect for us: it is 2 minutes from the installed. The meditation room already has
purchased a new Ashram across the River the East train station, with direct trains to Munich, a wonderful vibration, with two newly installed
Ganges in close proximity to our existing 10 minutes from the North train station, with Krishna and Ganesha Murtis.
Ashram in Netala. The buildings are nestled direct trains to London and 20 minutes from Our students love their new centre and the staff
against the bank of the Mother Ganga and the Austerlitz train station, with direct trains feel very uplifted to be able to pass on the
situated opposite Swami Vishnu’s Samadhi to the Ashram in Neuville aux bois. teachings of the Masters in this very
rock, the place where Swamiji’s body entered The new centre is on the ground floor in a yard. representative place. If you come to Paris,
the Ganges in 1993. Its 550 m2 include a spacious entrance and please stop by the centre! We look forward
It lies at the gateway to the holy pilgrimage reception area with a lovely boutique. The main to welcoming you soon.
centre of Gangotri, where Swami Vishnudevananda asana room is very large, and can accommodate Address: 140 rue du Fg St Martin 75010 Paris.
spent many months in the Sivananda cave 80 students. The accoustics are very good
practising intense sadhana. We have named
the Ashram the Vishnu Kutir and extensive
remodelling and rebuilding will take place over
the next two years. The Ashram will be used
for retreats and extra accommodation for the
Netala Ashram.
MUNICH, GERMANY
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
The Munich Centre is celebrating its 35th anniversary this
year with a series of special musical performances, asana
workshops and lectures. Beautiful wooden sliding doors
were installed in several parts of the centre, and with their
exquisite open-worked structure they add a special charm
to the rooms. In the big yoga hall the curtains were
replaced with blinds in a warm peach shade, making the room appear more spacious and
luminous. The corridors were furnished with new oriental-style carpets and modern transparent
lamps. Blinds were also installed in several asana rooms. After the redecoration, the Centre looks
fresh and radiant, and ready to host many more generations of yogis.

52 YOGALife I Summer 2009


LONDON, ENGLAND Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre BERLIN, GERMANY
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
Gateway to Eastern Europe
The Sivananda family is growing at a steady
pace throughout Eastern Europe, in Poland,
Lithuania, Russia and Estonia. In these countries
annual programmes are being held. Public
lectures have good attendance and the interest
in Yoga is constantly growing. This year in
March, for the first time, a public lecture
presenting the 5 points and the TTC was held
in Moscow. It attracted 150 very receptive
Moscow residents. This September for the third
time the TTC is being held in Poland in Ustka
(2 hours from Gdansk) offering a translation
in Polish, Lithuanian and Russian. This opens up
the teachings of Swami Sivananda and Swami
The London Centre has gone through a mira- the Sivananda Peace Garden in June 2008 Vishnudevananda to a much wider spectrum of
culous transformation over the past 18 months with the planting of a magnificent cherry people. The first Sivananda Centre in Eastern
with the addition of the newly acquired blossom tree. The garden beautifully integrates Europe is opening in October in Vilnius,
property at 45 Felsham Road. After a 12 month the new property to the existing one and Lithuania. Swami Atmaramananda with the help
period of construction and renovations, the new features a water fountain and a beautiful of close local Sivananda teachers found a suitable
addition to the Centre was completed, inaugur- array of green shrubs and seasonal blooms. location. The Lithuanian Yogis are looking
ated and lovingly named Swamiji’s Kutir. Students are enamoured with the new space forward very much to the opening of the new
We now have a large, open shop space and we have already set our sights on future centre and are keen on helping to run it.
as well as additional teaching space on the projects, all aimed at bringing the priceless
basement and upper floors. The new addition teachings of Master and Swamiji to a
gave birth to a lovely green space christened larger public.

REITH NEAR KITZBÜHEL, AUSTRIA


Sivananda Yoga Retreat House
The Sivananda Yoga Retreat House has in- Plans for some architectural improvements and
creased it’s capacity with the addition of a further expansion are on the way.
beautiful “Kailash Kutir” just 400m further up
the hill. It is located on a sunny slope and has
a marvellous view of the Wilder Kaiser mountain
range. Six rooms are available for accommodation,
as well as a spacious living room with a fire
NEYYAR DAM, INDIA
place and kitchen attached. There is also a Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
small garden around the house with a wooden Dhanwantari Ashram
asana platform. Kailash Kutir is ready to accomm-
odate yoga guests, special guest speakers as Over two years
well as visiting staff. It is also an ideal place for ago, a monu-
special study courses and cooking workshops. mental statue of
Lord Siva in the
form of the Cosmic
Dancer, Nataraja,
was commissioned
MILAN, ITALY Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre by the Neyyar Dam
Ashram. Early this
The Sivananda farmhouses, and beautiful vistas of the year on the
Yoga Vedanta surrounding countryside. auspicious date of February 23 2009, the
Centres in Italy Swami Rajeshwarananda has transferred from day of Sivaratri when Lord Siva is worshipped
have had great Montreal to become director of the Centre continually for twenty four hours, the install-
developments in in Rome and Swami Jnaneswariananda is ation of the murthi took place.
the first months setting up a new Sivananda Centre in Milan. Over three hundred people chanted the mantra
of 2009. The presence of the Executive Board members Om Namah Sivaya and bhajans extolling the
Swami Vishnu- in Rome for the EBM meeting in March gave virtues and glory of Lord Siva, while Potti Swami
devananda’s a boost of prana to the staff in Italy and accompanied by priests and aides performed
The Complete the encouragement of the acharyas was the final rite of opening Lord Nataraja’s eyes.
Illustrated Book of Yoga has been published in most appreciated. The statue was created by the renowned vastu
Italian, with a modern layout and cover design
by one of the major publishers in Italy, Edizione
Mediterrannee. This is well in time for the first
 architect and designer, Dr Ganapathi Stapathi.
Work was executed by Radhakrishna Stapathi.
The statue weighs 1500 kg and is made from
Teachers' Training Course in Italy to be held in We were saddened to hear that Tara, an five metals: copper, bronze, lead, silver and gold.
September 2009. The course will held at an affiliated teacher on the Isle of Elba, left her It stands in splendour in the Siva Hall of the
agriturismo in Umbria, 2 hours north of Rome, body in March and we pray that Master and Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram,
which features a working farm providing Swamiji guide and comfort her husband, Neyyar Dam.
organic produce, restored 19th century Ganapathi, and children Vrinda and Anjaneya.

YOGALife I Summer 2009 53


“More than 70 million Hindu pilgrims took part in the Kumbha Mela
pilgrimage, making it by far the largest peaceful gathering
anywhere in the world.”

Kumbha Mela is a sacred Hindu Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), on the auspiciousness of the festival is in
pilgrimage that takes place four times banks of the Shipra river. part attributable to this.
every twelve years (approximately Nasik (Maharashtra), on the banks The major event of the festival is
once every three years) at one of the of the Godavari river. to bathe at certain sacred spots of
following four locations of India: the river on certain auspicious days.
Kumbh Mela is attended by Other activities include religious
Haridwar (Uttar Pradesh), which millions of people on a single day.
litterally means the “Gateway to discussions, devotional singing, mass
On January 15th 2007, the most feeding of holy men and women
God”, where the river Ganga enters auspicious day of the Kumbha Mela
the plains from the Himalayas. This and the poor, as well as religious
in Allahabad, more than 5 million assemblies where doctrines are
is where the next Kumbha Mela will participated. Over 45 days beginning
take place in March & April 2010. debated and standardized. A large
in January 2007, more than tented city is erected and pilgrims
Prayag, also known as Allahabad, 70 million Hindu pilgrims took part stay at tents owned by Pandas
in the state of Uttar Pradesh at the in the pilgrimage, making it by far the (religious and spiritual guides) and
confluence of three holy rivers: Ganga largest peaceful gathering anywhere at various ashrams. Others will just
(Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati in the world. Thousands of holy men camp on the ground or turn up for
where it will be held in 2013. and women (monks, saints and the actual bathing day.
sadhus) also attend, and the

54 YOGALife I Summer 2010


Kumbha Mela

After visiting the Kumbh Mela


of 1895, Mark Twain wrote:
Origins and History of the Kumbha Mela
“It is wonderful,
The Kumbha Mela is celebrated according to Hindu Vedic Astrology the power of a
when the planet of Brihaspati moves into the zodiac sign of Aquarius faith like that,
or Kumbha. It finds mention in several Hindu sacred scriptures that can make
including the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vishnu Purana, Mahabharata multitudes upon
and Ramayana. multitudes of the
The Gods had lost their strength, and to regain it, they thought of old and weak and
churning the Ksheera Saghara (primordial ocean of milk) for amrit (the the young and
nectar of immortality). This required them to make a temporary agreement frail enter without
with their arch enemies, the demons or Asuras, to work together with hesitation or com-
a promise of sharing the nectar equally thereafter. However, when the plaint upon such incredible journeys
Kumbha (urn) containing the amrita appeared, a fight ensued. For twelve and endure the resultant miseries
days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and without repining. It is done in love,
demons fought in the sky for the pot of amrita. It is believed that during or it is done in fear; I do not know
the battle, the celestial bird Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu, flew away with which it is. No matter what the
the Kumbha of elixir and drops of amrita fell at four places on earth: impulse is, the act born of it is
Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and beyond imagination, marvellous
Nashik, and that is where the to our kind of people.”
Kumbha (pitcher) Mela
(gathering) is observed every
twelve years.

Churning the Ocean of Milk


The Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons)
churn the ocean of milk to aquire amrit,
the ‘Nectar of Immortality’

YOGALife I Summer 2009 55


Sivananda Ashram and Centre News

Five hundred people gathered to


welcome the Maharaja of Travancore
for the opening of the new premises
of the Sivananda Yoga Centre in
Trivandrum in February 2009.
The Maharaja of Travancore is welcomed
to the new Trivandrum Sivananda Yoga
The Centre, situated on the busy main road Vedanta Centre by Swami Mahadevananda
to the Airport, is an oasis of calm and and Sri Potti Swami
serenity, built according to vastu principles.

With the teaching of yoga in mind it has


beautiful spacious rooms for Satsang
and yoga classes, massage rooms,
a large kitchen with staff and guest
bedrooms adjoining.

The roof has been especially designed


for yoga classes providing a welcome cool
location for evening practice sheltered
from the hot south Indian climate.

The front of the new Centre

The Opening Ceremony began with the arrival during his visit to the Kowdiar Palace in1950,
of the Maharaja, a man of acuity and grace. His as a guest of the then Maharaja of Travancore.
way to the front door and the ceremonial ribbon The programme reflected the joy of Swami Vishnu-
was lined by Kerala women bedecked in traditional devananda’s mission, to bring yoga to all people.
dress, strewing rose and jasmine petals before the Formal speeches by the Maharaja and Swami
royal figure. A quick snip of the scissors by Mahadevananda were followed by a bandhara
H.H. Padmanabhadasa Uhtradam Thirunal feeding the five hundred present, followed by
Marthanda Varma Maharaja, and the Centre was satsang with Swami Mahadevananda and closing
formally declared open. The Maharaja graciously with a beautiful veena concert. The Centre is now
donated an armchair used by Swami Sivananda operational with classes and satsang in full swing.

56 YOGALife I Summer 2010


“The inmates’ options
in prison are quite
limited, and it is people
and organizations like
yours that help them to
better themselves while
in prison.”
– DS, Prison chaplain

“Mahadev is collecting
money from cookie sales
Mahadev, staff at the Yoga Ranch, has happily joined me in the operation of the from both the city ovens as
Project. He is a great help, working enthusiastically in New York, and began resuming well as at the Ranch.”
teaching at the local prison. One of the prisoners, Bill, who participated in the very
first class taught there in 1998, is still coming for classes – a lesson in titiksha! Many
letters still arrive at the Ranch for processing. Mahadev is collecting money from
cookie sales from both the city ovens as well as at the Ranch. Needless to say,
he is taking quite a load off my shoulders, which is a blessing. Letters are also
arriving here in SF daily, so the Project has grown now to two "branches."
Thanks to all of you who contributed towards the Project during the year and please
continue with your generous donations to keep the Project alive.
Thy Own Self, Swami Padmapadananda
Donations should be sent to Sivananda Prison Project, 1200 Arguello Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94122. We take Visa,
MasterCard, Discover (via phone), checks, and cash. Phone: 415-681-2731. For more information about the Project
please visit our website www.sfsivananda.org.

Dear Swami Padmapadananda, My Dearest Swami, Namaste,


Prisoners I hope this finds you deeply immersed
in the joy of the Self and in good health.
I thank you sincerely for the copy of
the Meditation and Mantras that you
Thank you for the Complete Illustrated
Book of Yoga. It is exactly what I have
Letters Thank you very much for sending the
Meditation and Mantras book. It is truly
sent me. I have begun to read it and
considering how much I enjoy
been looking for. It has helped me
increase my understanding a lot.
an excellent book and I have studied it meditation, I am sure it will help lots I especially enjoy the information in the
closely. Swami Vishnudevananda did a in guiding my path. I would like to take book about vegetarianism. This is new
Letter from a prison chaplain tremendous job in covering the subject this opportunity to further thank you to me but it is also very important. I am
Dear Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, of meditation in great depth and for all you've done for me and for your very devoted to my practice to include
breadth, both theory and practice. kind words and attention. The books my diet, which is not as easy as you
I wish to express our gratitude for the that you so graciously provided me
I am sure I will read it many more times might think in prison. I would like to
books you sent to our chapel. The books with gave me two most valuable
because I have benefited greatly and request your help and guidance with
have already been placed into our instruments: Yoga and Meditation.
have incorporated some of his my spiritual practices. I am experiencing
Chapel Resource Center for checkout. They provided me with a way to
suggestions in my practice. I really liked difficulty with painful thoughts and
The inmates' options in prison are quite channel some of the pent up energy
the commentary on Patanjali's Yoga memories; any advice for this or diet or
limited and it is through people/ and most of the frustrations and
Sutras. Thanks again for your kindness anything to do with spiritual growth
organizations like yours that help them stress that I had and will encounter in
and generosity. This incarceration has life. I want you to know that you are would be greatly appreciated.
to better themselves while in prison.
truly become an extended spiritual appreciated. A prison is always filled
It also helps to remind them that even CF
retreat for me and you should know with lots of darkness and gloom.
though they are in prison for whatever
that I have benefited greatly from your Sometimes easily comparable to a
they have done, not everyone is society
advice and books in my sadhana. cemetery where a person vegetates
has given up on them. It reminds them
May the Lord keep you joyful and before dying (on the inside). I've seen
there are still compassionate people in
peaceful always. it first hand in many people. On the
the world that are willing to give of
themselves to help those who are less other hand, it could also be compared
With great love and respect, D
fortunate. Thank you very much, from to a seminary where a person can
both the inmates and myself. study, look at life, and even analyze
to see where it is that went wrong
DS, SOU Chaplain (which is what I tried to do).
Be well, LCR

YOGALife I Summer 2009 57


Sivananda Ashram and Centre Addresses

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center


ASHRAMS CENTRES 3/655 Kaveri Nagar, Kuppam Road, Kottivakkam 243 West 24th Street
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp ARGENTINA Chennai 600 041, Tamil Nadu, INDIA New York, NY 10011, USA
673, 8th Avenue Val Morin Tel: +91.44.2451.1626 Tel: +1.212.255.4560
Quebec J0T 2R0, CANADA Centro Internaciónal de Yoga Sivananda or +91.44 2451.2546 Fax: +1.212.727.7392
Tel: +1.819.322.3226 Sánchez de Bustamante 2372 - (C.P. 1425) e-mail: Chennai@sivananda.org e-mail: NewYork@sivananda.org
Fax: +1.819.322.5876 Capital Federal - Buenos Aires - Argentina
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
e-mail: HQ@sivananda.org Tel: +54.11.4804 7813 Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
Plot # 101 (Old No 23), Dr Sathar Road
Fax: +54.11.4805 4270 1200 Arguello Blvd
Anna Nagar, Madurai 625 020
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch e-mail: BuenosAires@sivananda.org San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
Tamil Nadu, INDIA
P.O. Box 195, Budd Road Tel: +91.452-2521170 Tel: +1.415.681.2731
Woodbourne, NY 12788, U.S.A. AUSTRIA Fax: +91.4552-4393445 Fax: +1.415.681.5162
Tel: +1.845.436.6492 Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum e-mail: maduraicentre@sivananda.org SanFrancisco@sivananda.org
Fax: +1.845.434.1032 Prinz Eugen Strasse 18 Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
YogaRanch@sivananda.org A -1040 Vienna, AUSTRIA ISRAEL 13325 Beach Avenue
Tel:: +43.1.586.3453 Marina del Rey, CA 90292, USA
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
Fax: +43.1.587.1551 Tel: +1.310.822.9642
P.O. Box N7550 Paradise Island, Nassau, 6 Lateris St
e-mail: vienna@sivananda.net LosAngeles@sivananda.org
BAHAMAS Tel Aviv 64166, ISRAEL
CANADA Tel: +972.3.691.6793
Tel: +1.242.363.2902
Fax: +972.3.696.3939 URUGUAY
Fax: +1.242.363.3783
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre e-mail: TelAviv@sivananda.org Asociación de Yoga Sivananda
e-mail: Nassau@sivananda.org
5178 St Lawrence Blvd Acevedo Díaz 1523
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
Montreal, Quebec H2T 1R8, CANADA ITALY 11200 Montevideo, URUGUAY
Tel: +1.514.279.3545 Tel: +598.2.401.09.29 / 401.66.85
Dhanwantari Ashram Centro Yoga Vedanta Sivananda Roma
Fax: +1.514.279.3527 Fax: +598.2.400.73.88
P.O.Neyyar Dam via Oreste Tommasini, 7
e-mail: Montreal@sivananda.org Montevideo@sivananda.org
Thiruvananthapuram Dt. 00162 Rome, ITALY
Kerala, 695 572, INDIA Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre tel: +39 06 4549 6529
Tel: +91.471.227.3093 / 2703
+91.949.563. 0951 (mobile)
77 Harbord Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1G4, CANADA
fax: +39 06 9725 9356
roma@sivananda.org
AFFILIATED CENTRES
Fax: +91.471.227.2093 Tel: +1.416.966.9642
e-mail: YogaIndia@sivananda.org e-mail: Toronto@sivananda.org Centro Yoga Vedanta Sivananda Milano
Milan, ITALY
ARGENTINA
Phone: +39 334 760 5376 Centro de Yoga Sivananda
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm FRANCE email: Milan@sivananda.org Centro de Yoga Sivananda
14651 Ballantree Lane Carlos y Laura Chiarotto
Centre Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta
Grass Valley, CA 95949, U.S.A.
Tel: +1.530.272.9322
140 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin LITHUANIA Alderete 97- Neuquén (8300),
F-75010 Paris, FRANCE ARGENTINA
Fax: +1.530.477.6054 Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Tel: +54.299.4331774/ 4484879
Tel: +33.1.40.26.77.49
e-mail: yogafarm@sivananda.org Opening in October 2009 e-mail: naradaneuquen@hotmail.com
Fax: +33.1.42.33.51.97
e-mail: Paris@sivananda.net For information contact Swami Atmaramanda
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
Meenakshi Ashram
e-mail: swa@sivananda.net AUSTRALIA
Near Pavanna Vilakku Junction,
GERMANY SPAIN Sivananda Yoga Centre
New Natham Road, Saramthangi Village Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum Kamala Devi, The ‘Shellin’ 40 Ninth Avenue
Steinheilstrasse 1 Centro de Yoga Sivananda Vedanta Katoomba 2700 N.S.W. AUSTRALIA
Madurai Dist. 625 503
D-80333 Munich, GERMANY Centro de Yoga Sivananda Vedanta Tel: (047) 82-32-45
Tamil Nadu, South INDIA
Tel: +49.89.700.9669.0 Calle Eraso 4 e-mail: KamalaDevi@bigpond.com
Tel: +91.94421.90661
Fax: +49.89.700.9669.69 E-28028 Madrid, SPAIN
e-mail: madurai@sivananda.org
e-mail: Munich@sivananda.net Tel: +34.91.361.5150
Fax: +34.91.361.5194
BOLIVIA
Sivananda Kutir Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum Centro de Yoga Sivananda Santa Cruz
e-mail: Madrid@sivananda.net
(Near Siror Bridge) Schmiljanstrasse 24 Calle Junin #271
P.O. Netala, Uttar Kashi Dt,
Uttaranchal, Himalayas, 249 193,
D-12161 Berlin, GERMANY SWITZERLAND Santa Cruz de la Sierra, BOLIVIA
Tel: +49.30.8599.9798 Tel/Fax: +591.333.1508
North INDIA Fax: +49.30.8599.9797 Centre Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta e-mail: marcelaterceros@hotmail.com
Tel: +91.1374.224.159 or +91 9411.330.495 e-mail: Berlin@sivananda.net Centre Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta
Himalayas@sivananda.org 1 Rue des Minoteries
CH-1205 Geneva, SWITZERLAND
BRAZIL
Sivananda Yoga Retreat House
INDIA Tel: +41.22.328.03.28 Centro Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta
Bichlach 40 Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Nataraja Centre Fax: +41.22.328.03.59 Rua Santo Antonio, 374
A- 6370 Reith bei Kitzbühel, Tyrol, AUSTRIA A-41 Kailash Colony e-mail: Geneva@sivananda.net Porto Alegre 90220-010 -RS, BRAZIL
Tel: +43.5356.67.404 New Delhi 110 048, INDIA Tel: +55.51.3024.7717
Fax: +43.5356.67.4044 Tel: +91.11. 292.40869 UNITEDKINGDOM e-mail: centro@yogasivananda.com.br
e-mail: tyrol@sivananda.net or +91.11. 292 30962 www.sivanandayoga.com.br
e-mail: Delhi@sivananda.org Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
51 Felsham Road Centro Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta
Château du Yoga Sivananda Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dwarka Centre Rua das Palmeiras n/13
London SW15 1AZ
26 Impasse du Bignon PSP Pocket, Swami Sivananda Marg, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro CEP 20270-070
UNITED KINGDOM
45170 Neuville aux bois, FRANCE Sector - 6 (Behind DAV school) BRAZIL
Tel: +44.20.8780.0160
Tel: +33.2.38.91.88.82 Dwarka, New Delhi, 110075 INDIA Tel: +55.21.2266.4896
Fax: +44.20.8780.0128
Fax: +33.2.38.91.18.09 Tel: +91 11 6456 8526 www.sivanandayoga.com.br
e-mail: London@sivananda.net
e-mail: orleans@sivananda.net Or +91.1145566016
e-mail: Dwarka@sivananda.org UNITEDSTATES CANADA
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
TC37/1927 (5), Airport Road, West Fort, 1246 West Bryn Mawr Avenue Sivaram & Sasi
Thiruvananthapuram Kerala, INDIA Chicago, IL 60660, USA “Lakshmi”, 108 Des Berges
Tel +91 0471 245 0942, +91 (0)9497008432 Tel: +1.773.878.7771 Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, J7V 9X2, CANADA
Email: trivandrum@sivananda.org Fax: +1.773.878.7527 Tel: +1.450 510 2656/+1.450 510 2657
e-mail: Chicago@sivananda.org e-mail Psivaraman@sympatico.ca

58 YOGALife I Summer 2009


Yoga Sivananda de l'Outaouais
Catherine Gillies (Kumari)
Sivananda Yoga Centre
#236,5th Cross, 3rd Block,
JAMAICA UKRAINE
745 Chemin d'Aylmer H R B R Layout, Sivananda Yoga Centre Sivananda Yoga Centre
Gatineau (secteur Aylmer) Bangalore , Karnataka, 560043, INDIA 17 Tremaine Road Valentina Nikitina
Québec, J9H 0B8, CANADA Tel: +91 80 57637144, Kingston 6 Jamaica Sadovaya Str 60,
Tel: +1.819 684-2084 Mobile: +91 9448464448 WEST INDIES 95050 Simferopol, Crimea, UKRAINE
e-mail: info@yoga-aylmer.com e-mail: yogaprabhus@yahoo.co.uk Tel: +1 876 381 1504 E-mail: valentina-nikiti@mail.ru
www.yoga-aylmer.com Alina133@yandex.ru Victoria Rybachuk (Savitri)
Arsha Yoga Gurukulam
Double Cutting Street Baggovutivska 3/15, Flat 88,
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Vancouver
Calvarimount Post
JAPAN Kyiv 04107, UKRAINE
280-2010 East 48th
Vancouver, B.C. V5P 1R8, CANADA Idukki (Dt), Kerala 680 681, INDIA Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Japan Tel: +380 44 4833683
Tel: +1.604 321 9039 Tel: +91 480284 6080 Suite 1002 Yoyogi Cityhomes Mobile: +380 679925623
yoga@mail.com e-mail: harilal_k@yahoo.com Sendagaya 5-26-5 E-mail: padma04@yandex.ru
www.arshayoga.org Shibuya, Tokyo
COLUOMBIA Sivananda Yoga Centre, Gurgaon JAPAN UNITED STATES
M13/23 DLF Phase II Tel +81.03 5969 8311 The Yoga Center
Atma Yoga e-mail beams_tokyo@yahoo.co.jp Tara Durga Devi (Terry Crane)
Antioquia, Medellín, COLOMBIA Gurgaon 122002
Haryana, INDIA and Bhavani (Mary Keeney)
www.atman-yoga.org
Tel: +91 0124 2581353 LEBANON 235 Dorris Place,
info@atman-yoga.org Stockton, CA 95204
Tel: (57 - 4) 311 11 32 e-mail:yogashowstheway@yahoo.com Sivananda Yoga Centre
Sivananda Yoga Centre Phone # 209-463-3330
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Website: www.stocktonyoga.com
FRANCE L-12, 26th Street 522 Couraud Street #3A
Gemayzeh, Beirut, LEBANON e-mail: information@stocktonyoga.com
Centre de Yoga Sruthi Annanagar East
18 rue Savorgnan de Brazza, Chennai , Tamil Nadu, 600102, INDIA Tel: +961-1-566-770 Vishnudevananda Yoga Vedanta Center
14000 Caen, FRANCE Tel: +91 44 26630978 e-mail: sivanandabeirutcenter@yahoo.com 1034 Delaware Street
Tel: 06 86 88 69 78 or 02 31 73 26 41 e-mail : durain@gmail.com Berkeley, CA 94710, USA
NEW ZEALAND Tel: +1.510.273.2447
GERMANY INDONESIA Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre e-mail: mail@vishnuyoga.org
www.vishnuyoga.org
International Sivananda Yoga Centre Bali Yoga and Wellness 145a Tukapa Street
Kleiner Kielort 8 Beate McLatchie Westown, New Plymouth, NEW ZEALAND Yoga and Inner Peace
20144 Hamburg, GERMANY Jl Tunjung Mekar 58 Tel : +64(0)6 7538234 3964 Lake Worth Road
Tel: +49.40.41.42.45.46 Br Peliatan, Kerobakan richnz79@yahoo.co.nz Lake Worth FL33461-4054, USA
e-mail: post@artyoga.de Bali, INDONESIA www.sivanandayoga.co.nz Tel: +1.561.641.8888
www.artyoga.de Tel: +62 8123804046 e-mail: b@yogapeace.com
e-mail: info@baliyogawellness.com POLAND Yoga Warehouse
INDIA www.baliyogawellness.com Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centrum Shyam and Mohini
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre ul.Friedleina 20/6 508 SW Flagler Ave.
# 79, 4th cross, 4th Block, 16th Main
ISRAEL 30-009 Krakow, POLAND Fort Lauderdale
Koramangala, Bangalore -560034 Sivananda Yoga Centre Tel: +48 12 634 43 83, +48 604 460 166 Florida 33301, USA
Karnataka State, INDIA 3 Reuven Street e-mail: yoga@yoga.krakow.pl Tel: +1 954 525-7726
Tel: +91.80.2563.4991 Jerusalem, ISRAEL www.yoga.krakow.pl e-mail yogis@yogawarehouse.org
e-mail: yogamana@yahoo.co.in Tel: +972.2.671.4854 www.yogawarehouse.org
e-mail: syvc@013.barak.net.il PORTUGAL
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
Swami Sundarananda Sivananda Yoga Centre Centro de Yoga Sivananda Vedanta
'Laksmi Sadan' 8 Amnon and Tamar Street, Apt 1 de Lisboa
College Road Herzelia, ISRAEL Rua Jose Carlos dos Santos
Palakkad, Kerala 678 001, INDIA Tel: +972.9.9561004 No. 12 – 1 Andar
Tel: +91.491.254.5117 / 254.4549 e-mail: gerag@internet-zahav.net 1700-257 Lisbon,
e-mail: Palghat@sivananda.org PORTUGAL
Sivananda Yoga Center Tel: +351 217971431
Sivananda Yoga Centre 11a Einstein Street e-mail: yoga_portugal@yahoo.com
Ajitha Vijayaraghavan Haifa 34605, ISRAEL www.sivananda.pt
E-94 Income Tax Quarters Tel: +972.4.8111921
Panampilly Nagar e-mail: narayans@netvision.net.il SINGAPORE
Kochi, Kerala 682 036, INDIA
Tel: +91.484.231.3418 ITALY Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
e.mail: ajiyoga@gmail.com Affiliated Singapore
Sivananda Yoga Firenze Harbour Front Centre Post Office
T Raghavan Via de' Marsili 1 PO Box 026
Kripa, Kundanmur 50125 Firenze, ITALY Singapore 910930, SINGAPORE
Maradu P.O. Tel +39 055 230 2250 Tel: +65 90679100
Kochi 682304, Kerala, INDIA jantitanto@yahoo.com.sg
In Sabina Yoga Centre
e-mail: trmenon@vsnl.com
Torri in Sabina
Sivananda Yoga Centre Lazio, ITALY UNITED KINGDOM
Sarath Kumar Tel: +39.340.387.6028 Universal Yoga
Balan K. Nair Road, Asokapuram, e-mail: giulialandor@tiscali.com (Chandrika) Redhill House,
Kozhikode, Kerala 673 001, INDIA www.insabina.com Red Hill, Camerton, Bath,
Tel: +91. 495 2771754/2770384 BA2 0NY, UK
Mobile +91 944 6953652 Tel: 01761 470 658
e-mail: mail@sivanandayogacentre.com E-mail: info@universalyoga.co.uk

YOGALife I Summer 2009 59


Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Understanding

The International Institute


of Integral Human Sciences (IIIHS)
Montreal, Canada. Founded in 1975 by Dr. John Rossner

This is an invitation to join It serves over 10,000


an exciting worldwide general members and
family involved in the students from all walks
exploration of: of life, with the objective
•New sciences of con- of inter-religious and
sciousness and healing inter-cultural under-
•New paradigms for the standing for world peace.
convergence of science,
spirituality and more The Quest for
humane values in the Universal Human
global village. Values in the
•New insights into the World's Religions
human psyche & spirit, & Cultures
and its hidden potentials Our great family, through
for intuition, creativity and its interfaith studies
healing, individual and division, The International
planetary. Council of World
In 1975 that family Religions and Cultures,
started its professional now includes repre-
membership with a global sentatives of all races
network of over 300 and persuasions:
Fellows. Most were Christians, Jews,
distinguished scientists and Moslems, Hindus,
spiritual leaders from many “A Global Family, with the objective Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs,
faiths and many lands, of inter-religious and inter-cultural Yogis, Spiritualists, New
including a number of Religionists, Atheists,
prominent medical doctors, understanding for world peace” Agnostics, and Free-
psychiatrists, psychologists, Thinkers of every stripe...
clergy and educators who persons from every part
were pioneers at the forefront of discoveries in the new of the political, socio-economic and educational
sciences of consciousness and healing. The organiser of spectrum, and from many nationalities and races.
the network and IIIHS Founder-President was Dr. John
Rossner, an Anglican priest and a professor of Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres affiliation
comparative religion and culture at Concordia University with the Open International university
in Montreal.
The ultimate objective was to provide a worldwide The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres are affiliated
forum for the encouragement of studies which would with the Open International university via the
help to reintegrate the inner spiritual and outer material International Institute for Integral Human Sciences.
life of human beings, by restoring integral-human
spiritual and psychic sciences to their proper place By graduating from the Sivananda Yoga Teachers’
alongside of the natural, physical and social sciences. Training Course or Diploma Courses offered at the
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, you can earn credits
A Global Family, East & West for Bachelor, Master and Ph.D. university programmes.
with a Noble Objective
Today the IIIHS family has professional and general For further information, please contact:
members or associates in many nations, East & West, and International Institute of Integral Human Sciences
an affiliated network of Spiritual Science Fellowship 1974 de Maisonneuve West, Montreal, PQ, H3H 1K5, Canada,
chapters and other cooperating groups in North America. www.iiihs.com

60 YOGALife I Summer 2009


International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres Teaching location: Vrindavan, North India

International Sivananda Yoga Teachers’ Intensive Ayurvedic Nutrition Seminar


Training Course (TTC) 17 March – 3 April 2010
10 October – 8 November 2009 With Ayurveda Acharyas from Pune, India. With Certificate.
6 March – 3 April 2010 North Indian Pilgrimage
Advanced International Sivananda 30 October – 8 November 2009: Vrindavan
Yoga Teachers’ Training Course (ATTC) 9 – 17 November 2009: Agra | Jaipur | Varanasi | Delhi
10 October – 8 November 2009 TTC/ATTC students can join at a reduced rate.

Founder: Swami Vishnudevananda, est 1957


email: London@sivananda.net or tyrol@sivananda.net • www.sivananda.eu

YOGALife I Summer 2009 61


SIVANANDA YOGA
Vedanta Retreat House
Reith / , Tyrol, Austria Swami
Sivananda
Swami
Vishnudevananda

Mountains, rivers,
lakes, fresh air –
Just like the Himalayas

INTERNATIONAL YOGA AYURVEDA NUTRITION / SPECIAL PROGRAMS


TEACHERS’ TRAINING COURSE COOKING COURSE (ANC) WITH YOGA ACHARYAS AND
· With Internationally Recognised Certificate August 10 – 30, 2009
· Course in English language with simultaneous
INTERNATIONAL GUEST SPEAKERS
Certificate upon Completion
translation into German; please ask for · YOGA PHILOSOPHY AND SATSANGS
Spanish, French and Italian translation. · With Ayurveda Acharya from India
Swami Durgananda, Yoga Acharya
· Daily Cooking workshops with authentic recipies
· Ayurveda Nutrition Science · ASANA SPECIAL WORKSHOPS
May 23 – June 21, 2009 (German) · Yoga classes, Yoga lectures, Meditation Swami Sivadasananda, Yoga Acharya
August 1 – August 29, 2009 · EASTERN WISDOM MELODIES
September 5 – October 4, 2009 Sri Venugopal Goswami and Ensemble
(reduced price)
December 19 – January 17, 2010 · JYOTISHA - VEDIC ASTROLOGY
July 2 – July 29, 2010 (German) Stephen Quong, California, USA
August 1 – August 29, 2010 · HOLISTIC HEALTH WITH ENERGY MEDICINE
December 18 – January 16, 2011 Dr. Fadel Behman, Montreal, Canada
YEAR ROUND YOGA VACATION · AYURVEDA NUTRITION SPECIAL
Free Choice of arrival and departure dates Dr. Shanti Kumar Kamlesh, North India
WIDE CHOICE OF SEMINARS · MANTRAS ANS MYSTICISM OF YOGA
Yoga Relaxation Days Sri Potty Swami, Kerala, South India
Yoga and Hiking · YOGA AND MENTAL HEALTH
Yoga Vitality Week Dr. Uma Krishnamurthi,
Asana Practice Days Bangalore, India
Yoga Body Check
Yoga Lifestyle
Yoga@Home
In Peace lies Strength
Yoga – the Art of Living
Thought Power and Positive Thinking

Founder: Swami Vishnudevananda, est. 1957


Bichlach 40, 6370 Reith bei Kitzbühel, Tyrol, Austria
tyrol@sivananda.net · Tel. +43 (0)5356 / 6 74 04
www.sivananda.org/tyrol · www.sivananda.eu
Swami Sivananda Swami Vishnudevananda
(1887 – 1963) (1927 – 1993)

An intensive four week Dates and Locations


immersion in the yogic QUEBEC, CANADA TYROL, AUSTRIA MERLO, ARGENTINA
way of life: July 5 – Aug 1, 2009 Aug 1 – 29, 2009 Oct 17 – Nov 15, 2009
Sep 6 – Oct 3, 2009 Sep 5 – Oct 4, 2009 MADURAI,
Open to students of all levels Nov 14 – Dec 12, 2009 Dec 19, 2009 – Jan 17, 2010 SOUTH INDIA
Feb 14 – Mar 14, 2010 May 8 – Jun 6, 2010 Oct 25 – Nov 22, 2009
who have a sincere desire
ORLEANS, FRANCE UMBRIA, ITALY Nov 29 – Dec 27, 2009
to learn. Certificate given Sep 6 – Oct 4, 2009 Jan 24 – Feb 21, 2010
July 3 – Aug 1, 2009
upon successful completion Aug 2 – 30, 2009 Feb 28 – March 28, 2010
WOODBOURNE, NY
of the course. May 29 – Jun 26, 2010 Sep 11 – Oct 9, 2009 NEYYAR DAM,
June 2 – 30, 2010 SOUTH INDIA
In depth study of: Asanas, Nov 15 – Dec 13, 2009
Pranayama, Meditation, ALUENDA, SPAIN Jan 10 – Feb 7, 2010
Aug 17 – Sept 13, 2009 March 21 – April 18, 2010
Mantras, Vedanta, Bhagavad (Spanish only)
Gita, Kriyas, Yogic Diet, NASSAU, BAHAMAS
USTKA, POLAND Dec 6, 2009 – Jan 2, 2010
Anatomy & Physiology. Aug 29 – Sept 27, 2009 Jan 31, 2009 – Feb 27, 2010
GRASS VALLEY, CA Mar 4 – 31, 2010
Oct 3 – 31, 2009 Apr 4 – May 1, 2010
May 1 – 30, 2010 May 5 – Jun 1, 2010
HIMALAYAS, INDIA BRAZIL, S. AMERICA
Oct 4 – Nov 1, 2009 Jan 3 – 30, 2010
Apr 11 – May 9, 2010 VIETNAM
June 20 – Jul 18, 2010 Feb 28 – March 28, 2010
VRINDAVAN, INDIA LONDON, UK
Oct 10 – Nov 8, 2009 Apr 24 – May 23, 2010
Mar 6 – April 3, 210

1800 263-YOGA in Canada + 43 (0) 5356/67 404 in Europe HQ@sivananda.org


1800 783-YOGA or 1800 469-YOGA in USA + 44 (0) 208 780 0160 in UK www.sivananda.org
1866 446-5934 in Bahamas www.sivananda.eu