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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

Imagine a haven of peace in the midst of vast open spaces, ancient forests with century
old trees, breathtaking sunrises and sunsets just one hour from Paris

Yoga Vacation all year round


from 38 ?per night
Yoga Teachers' Training Courses
July 3 August 1st
and August 2 30, 2009
International guest speakers
Yoga psychology course
August 14 21, 2009

Sadhana Intensive for


TTC graduates
Aug 7 22, 2010
Diploma Course:
Yoga and stress management
diploma course
Further training courses
for yoga teachers

Chteau du Yoga Sivananda


26 Impasse du Bignon, 45170 Neuville aux Bois
Fax: +33 (0) 2 38 9118 09 email: orleans@sivananda.net
Est 1957

Tel: +33 (0)2 38 91 88 82 www.sivananda.org/orleans


Swami Sivananda
(1887-1963)

Swami Vishnudevananda
(1927-1993)

YOGALife I Summer 2009

Editors letter

International
Sivananda Yoga
Vedanta Centres
Swami Sivananda (1887-1963)
The spiritual strength behind the
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres,
Swami Sivanandas teachings are a
synthesis of all the formal doctrines
of yoga. Author of more than 300
books on yoga, Swami Sivananda
was a medical doctor before
renouncing worldly life for the
spiritual path. He founded the
Divine Life Society and the YogaVedanta Forest Academy, Rishikesh,
Himalayas. His main message was:
Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise. In 1957 he sent one of his foremost
disciples, Swami Vishnudevananda to the West to spread the ideals of yoga.
Swami Sivananda entered Mahasamadhi on July 14th 1963.

Swami Vishnudevananda (1927-1993)


Born in South India in 1927,
Swami Vishnudevananda entered
the ashram of Swami Sivananda
at the age of 18. A world famous
authority on Hatha and Raja Yoga,
Swami Vishnudevananda founded
the International Sivananda Yoga
Vedanta Centres in 1957 and was
author of The Complete Illustrated
Book of Yoga, Meditation and
Mantras, Karma and Disease
and a commentary on the
Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Swami Vishnudevananda entered Mahasamadhi
on November 9th, 1993.

The Executive Board


The Executive Board of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres is comprised of
senior disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda, personally chosen and trained by him
to direct the organisation after his departure. Each of them has had many years
experience in teaching all aspects of yoga. They are renowned for their devotion
to Swami Vishnu-devananda and Swami Sivananda and for their profound
knowledge and inspirational teaching and guidance, wisdom imparted to many
thousands of students throughout the world.

Swami Mahadevananda
Swami Swaroopananda
Srinivasan

Swami Durgananda
Swami Sivadasananda
Swami Kailasananda

HEADQUARTERS
SIVANANDA ASHRAM YOGA CAMP

Welcome...
e are celebrating this year 40 years of Sivananda Teachers
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
thousands of testimonies from students eager to express their
gratitude for this life changing experience. A few recent
testimonies are included in this issue. The course will be taught
for the first time in Italy this year.
We have been putting quite some energy this year into
book printing: Swamijis commentary on the Hatha Yoga
Pradipika has been reprinted see the article prana as
electricity; the new book Swami Vishnudevananda Upadesha
has been printed. We included some inspiring excerpts in this
issue. We are also working on a new book on Hatha Yoga,
which will be printed shortly in England by Dorling Kindersley.
Thanks to the untiring volunteer work done at the
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, over 3,000 recordings have
been transferred from cassette tapes to mp3-format. We need
help to organise this precious legacy to make it available
to all see the article on how you can help on page 25.
Swami Durganandas article provides wonderful inspiration
on how to reconnect with our divinity, while Swami
Sivadasanandas article on the 12 basic asanas reminds us
of the logic behind this powerful sequence.
We also wanted to put emphasis on the power of the mind
in this issue Dr Shastri is sharing his rich knowledge of the
vedic tradition in his article on improving memory and
concentration in the gurukula tradition.
Finally, we would like to acknowledge in this issue the great
spiritual work done by inspired souls in various parts of the
world: the great work of Dr. Marilyn and Dr. John Rossner, both
close disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda, in inter-religious
and intercultural understanding for world peace; the wonderful
work of Gopala and a whole team of karma yogis in Spain and
South America with the translation of the books of Swami
Sivananda into Spanish, and last but not least, we would like
to pay a special tribute to Swami Neeladevananda, who left
her body last year at age 89. Her total devotion to her teacher,
Swami Vishnudevananda, will remain a source of great
inspiration for many generations of spiritual seekers to come.

We hope you enjoy this issue.


Om Shanti,
The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
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
means of achieving physical, mental and spiritual well-being and
Self-realisation.

Cover Photo:
Swami Vishnudevananda gives
out books and uniforms
during a Teachers Training
Course inauguration

YOGALife I Summer 2009

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
Fax: 030/ 85 99 97 98 E-Mail: Berlin@sivananda.net

YOGALife I Summer 2009

Tel. 030/ 85 99 97 98
www.sivananda.org/berlin

Contents

SIVANANDA

8
10

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

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
18
22
25

Teachings of Swami Vishnudevananda


Excerpts from the newly published book, Vishnudevananda Upadesha

Prana as Electricity

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

Connect to your Inner Divinity

10

Swami Durganananda talks about the fundamental problems of human life


and the necessity of developing a spiritual orientation.

18

Life and Teachings of Swami Vishnudevananda


in audio files
Find out how you can help in this Karma Yoga Project to make Swami
Vishnudevanandas precious archive material available to all.

26
27
32

A Tribute to Ruby Blue Swami Neeladevananda

We remember one of Swami Vishnudevanandas dearest and closest disciples.

The Living Evolution

An Interview with Ruby Blue, Swami Neeladevananda.

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
42

Swamiji

Dr Marilyn Rossner talks about Swami Vishnudevananda.

The Training of Memory and Concentration


in the Gurukula Tradition
By Dr H V Satyanarayana Sastry.

44
48
51
52
54
56
57
58
60

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

I still remember the first time I met Swami Vishnudevananda in 1974.


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.

Kumbha Mela

The background behind this most auspicious and sacred festival.

New Trivandrum Centre Opens

The inauguration of the new Sivananda Yoga Centre in Trivandrum Kerala,


South India, by the Maharaja of Travancore.

51

Prison Project News


Swami Padmapadananda updates us on the latest Prison Project news.

Sivananda Ashram and Centre Addresses


A listing of Sivananda Ashrams, Centres and teachers worldwide.

Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Understanding


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

YOGALife I Summer 2009

Flood the brain with healthy thoughts,


ideas and ideals. Swami Sivananda
8

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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


civilisation. There is a powerful
thought-force behind every great
event in life and in the history
of the world.
Behind all discoveries and
inventions, behind all religions and
philosophies, behind all life-saving
and life-destroying devices is thought.
Thought is expressed in words
and executed in deeds. Word is the
handmaid of thought, and deed
is the end result. Hence, the saying,
As you think, so you become.
How to build a new civilisation?
By generating a new thought-force.
How to build a civilisation that will ensure the
peace of mankind, the prosperity of society, the salvation
of the individual?
By generating a thought-force that will invariably
result in man enjoying a peace of mind, that will instill
in his heart the divine virtues of compassion, of service
to his fellow-men, love of God, and of an intense desire
to realize Him.
If but a fraction of the wealth and the time spent
on wasteful pursuits and destructive activities is devoted
to the creation of a Good Thought, there will be a new
civilisation right now.
Atomic and hydrogen bombs, I.C.B.M. and a host of
other inventions drive mankind inevitably to destruction.
They waste your wealth; they destroy your neighbours;
they pollute the atmosphere of the whole world, and
generate fear, hatred, and suspicion in your heart; the
mind is unbalanced and the body is subject to diseases.
Stop this trend.
Promote research in spirituality, in religion, in all the
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.

The man who commits murder,


the man who steals your purse,
the man who cheats you the law
punishes him. But this crime is
insignificant to the crime
committed by the wicked
intellectual who instills a wicked
idea into the mind of youth.
The new civilisation will give
every encouragement to those who
wish to study philosophy, religion
and spiritual thought. It will make
their study compulsory in schools
and colleges. It will award scholarships to students of philosophy.
It will confer prizes and titles on those who conduct
researches in religion and philosophy. The deepest urge
in man, the spiritual urge, will be given the fullest scope
to realize its goal.
The fruits of the New Civilisation are well worth all
that everybody can do towards building it up. In the New
Civilisation man will want to lead a righteous life, he will
be eager to serve his fellow-beings and share with them
what he has; he will love all, realising that his own Self
dwells in all; he will be devoted to the welfare of all
beings.
What an ideal society it will be, where people share
with others all that they possess, and will serve
everybody! Where will be the need for taxes and duties
in such a society in which everyone will voluntarily work
for all? Where is the need for police and the army when
people are devoted to virtue?
This then is the ideal. Towards this end, let everyone
strive to generate a Thought-force.
May God bless you all!

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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


during the first Sivananda Teachers Training Course

10 YOGALife I Summer 2010

Archive photos of Swami Vishnudevananda


conducting the Teachers Training Course

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Celebrating 40 Years of Sivananda Yoga Teachers Training Courses

- 2009

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


Sivananda Yoga Retreat on Paradise Island, Swami
Vishnudevananda had a vision that was to have a
profound effect on his life. He saw people rushing to tear
down the walls and borders that exist between nations,
in a bid to escape a wall of fire and destruction.
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
this way he hoped to achieve the aims of the T.W.O. He
asked the question: What type of leaders should lead us
in the future? Leaders who have disciplined themselves
and have control over their minds and emotions through
the development of spiritual and psychic senses instead
of ordinary intellect to see and solve problems. This is
achieved by the yogic method of physical and mental
exercises and meditation combined with other modern
techniques which will hasten mental and spiritual development. Without these it is very difficult to control ones
emotions and become selfless in thought and action.
If even a glimpse of peace and happiness, which true
yogis enjoy, can be brought to leaders, their attitudes
and sense of values in leadership will be improved.

Swami Sivananda founded an institute of education


within his ashram in Rishikesh, India, named the Vedanta
Forest Academy. Swami Vishnudevananda was one of the
principal professors of the academy and as an extension
of this educational programme, the Sivananda Teacher's
Training Course was developed.

The Gurukula System of Education


The Teachers Training Course is modelled on the
traditional Indian system of education, Gurukula,
in which the students live harmoniously together in a
spiritual community under the guidance of their teachers.
With this unique approach, it is not just an academic
teaching of techniques the teachings are transmitted
and practiced in daily life.

12 YOGALife I Summer 2009

The early training: Swami Sivananda (centre) with disciples.


Swami Vishnudevananda stands next to him with arms folded.

The course is based on the training that Swami


Vishnudevananda himself received under his Master,
Swami Sivananda, over a period of 10 years, the essence
of the training being condensed into a four week period.
The course is designed to be intensive, immersing the
students in a balanced programme of yogic theory and
practice for all-round physical, mental, emotional and
spiritual development.
Since the first course in 1969, over 23,000 graduates
have received the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training
certification. Swami Vishnudevanandas visionary
approach to the dissemination of yoga and yoga training
has equipped thousands of aspirants with the necessary
discipline and yogic skills to enrich their own lives and
to help spread these teachings to others.
Swami Vishnudevananda said that yoga teachers
should also be yogic practitioners teachers and not
just preachers. With this positive attitude, each of us
can help to carry on Swamijis legacy to create a new
True World Order where each individual becomes a
messenger of peace and a potential future world leader!

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


my life but also an enormous relief at finally finding a way
of living that was in tune with my real Self. All the different
aspects that we were exposed to and taught during the TTC,
met all the different aspects of my personality that I couldnt
seem to combine before. I was a dancer for years and the
yoga asanas combined with breathing and relaxation fullfilled
my need to be in touch with my soul through my body.
I studied psychology and philosophy at university and the
study of Vedanta answered my questions even more
satisfactorily. The practice of daily meditation gave
me real, pragmatic tools for personal growth by helping
me to understand my mind and control my thoughts.
I had sung in a chorus for many years and missed singing
with others, and since I was in India (Neyyar Dam) for my TTC
with 250 students, I had the pleasure of experiencing very
full satsangs with Indian musicians every day and
reconnecting with the joy of singing through Kirtan.
But most of all, I had always been a counter-cultural
activist, deeply aware that our Western culture was
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
community level, and conventional psychotherapeutic
methods on the personal level. And having grown up in a
small village in Switzerland, spending hours and hours in the
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.
So the chance the TTC offered to dig deeper inside to
create a solid well of inner peace from which I could draw at
will, and to spread this knowledge to others by becoming a
yoga teacher was an absolute blessing.
I have since had the opportunity to teach regularly at the
Sivananda Center in Paris, where I receive as much as I give,
if not more, and which has made me understand fully how
much selfless service is a true source of joy.
In addition, I have had the priviledge of being the French
translator at the TTCs in Vrindavan,India for the last few years,
an experience that I cherish for the renewed opportunity
of reliving the TTC adventure of people coming from all
over the world to learn and grow together, and of witnessing
the perpetual miracle of all of us struggling through our
differences and personal challenges to arrive at a final shared
sense of true Oneness during the graduation ceremony.
I am so grateful that the TTC exists and continues to draw
so many students. As time passes my commitment to it grows
deeper and deeper.
It has given me and continues to give me hope for
a future dedicated to a more peaceful and loving world.

The TTC is an intense and wonderful experience that changes


your life.
Before doing the TTC myself, I read in the Yoga Life
magazine the opinion of many people who have done the
TTC. It was a surprise to read that so many people said that
TTC had changed their lives. I thought to myself what an
exaggeration!. But today I think that these people were
right. It is an experience that changes the consciousness
indeed; the course is demanding, wonderful and intense
a true gift of God.
The expectations that we have when we begin the course
are very little compared to the knowledge we obtain from it.
They become true and we receive even more than expected.
The end of the TTC it is only the very beginning of the path.
We realize that we didnt come here only to teach asanas and
pranayama, but to integrate yoga into our lives, and finally we
realize that we dont really teach anything, but only pass on
this precious knowledge that the Masters gave us. This is the
mission, to pass on these teachings from one to another, like
passing a flame or a candle until you can transform yourself

We realize that we dont really teach


anything, but only pass on this precious
knowledge that the Masters gave us.
and the people around you and fill the world with peace and
joy and love, the greatest ideals of yoga!
The main question my friends and family asked me and
probably are going to ask you also was: Is it possible to
become a yoga teacher within four weeks? Obviously not.
Youll be able to give a basic class, but from there until you
become a teacher, there is such a long way! When does one
become a yoga teacher? When through your personal practice
of yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayama, karma yoga,
swadyaya, meditation, and with the grace of the guru and
God you have removed all the obstacles to experience God
inside, when you become an example for others and not just
an entertainer, when you become a peace ambassador
(to quote Swami Vishnudevananda), when you can go to the
level of your students and bring them up, when youre light,
when yoga and life become identical So not today, not
tomorrow, and not at the end of the TTC.
May you enjoy each moment of your TTC and remember
that the Masters always teach through you!
Amba

Kaivalya
TTC November 2002, Neyyar Dam, India

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Celebrating 40 Years of Sivananda Yoga Teachers Training Courses

- 2009

Personal experiences of the Teachers Training Course


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

TTC: A Profound Journey

14 YOGALife I Summer 2009

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;
i.e., proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper
diet, positive thinking and meditation, the true self inevitably
emerges. Throughout the programme we were invited to
analyse rather than paralyse. Judgment and firmly held
opinions can and do lead to paralysis. Constantly, we were told
to inquire within from a place of detachment and objectivity.
Having lived in over 11 different countries in less than
25 years, thankfully, Ive learned to let go of any preconceived
notions about the way things should be. This is how Ive
managed to shape shift my way through Jamaica, North
America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa AND the ashram
experience. My unwillingness to blindly conform to the accepted
status quo of (Western) society has in some instances, come
at a great cost: the illusion of alone-ness. At times I felt immense
compassion for some of my ashram-mates who were visibly
struggling with newly acquired information that was contrary
to what they had been brought up to believe their entire lives.
One such example that springs to mind is that of a
19-year old African-American from the Bronx whom I
adopted. As I bore witness to her struggles being one of
three people of colour in this ashram setting I shared with
her my various experiences vis--vis race. Having spent my
twenties in New York, roaming the streets of Harlem, listening
to Coltrane, reading about Malcolm X, the Black Panthers,
Miriam Makeba and the like, I understood her struggle and
empathized with her anger. However in this supposedly
sacred spiritual setting, I invited her to release her anger
to let go of the deeply entrenched notion that the big bad
(White) world was out to get her. Painstakingly I explained
that as much as she was being confronted that perhaps our
friends were equally if not more so confronted by our
presence. While our presence is undoubtedly increasing
within the yoga world, still the percentages are small.
I often ponder whether it truly matters how many people
of colour are choosing to adopt a yogic approach toward life.
Yoga in its true form represents freedom so categorizing it
according to race, gender, ethnicity and the like only aids to
detract from its divine intention and purpose.
Given that the essence of yoga is Oneness and
inclusiveness of all sentient beings I recognized that my/our
presence in this setting was to enlighten others as we
illuminated our paths. During the final week of the
programme, we were invited to volunteer to spend periods
from one month to one year at the ashram. I was pleasantly
surprised and deeply moved when she came to tell me that
she was seriously considering spending the next year at the
ashram. Clearly something within her had shifted. Serve, Love,
Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise; indeed these yogic hallmarks
are the gateway to living a life of freedom and peace.
Om Namo Narayaanaya.
Nadine McNeil
TTC Neyyar Dam, India, January 2009

Swami Vishnus Teaching Style


His teaching style was
one of somehow
compelling the student
into the orbit of his
personal magnetism.
With his eyes, his
gestures, his powerful
voice and gut laughter,
he created an aura of
powerful force into
which the student was
absorbed willy-nilly. One
characteristic devise he
constantly used was the
unfinished sentence, repeated with compelling insistence
until one or all would fill in the blank. What everyone
really wants is?, What everyone really wants is?
Sleeping at one of Swamijis lectures was well-nigh
impossible!
Father Dan OHanlan
A Jesuit priest who took the Teachers Training Course

A Steep Learning Curve


During my TTC I had a relatively hard time, being quite
a novice yogi. To my surprise, I began to miss everything
about it as soon as I left the ashram. Without satsang, asana
classes, karma yoga and the group energy of all those
wonderful yogis from all over the world, I suddenly felt like
a bird thrown out of its nest.
Upon my return to Paris, I therefore headed to the local
Sivananda Centre and begged to be allowed to clean toilets
or cut veggies, just so I could be back in that uplifting
atmosphere and feel part of the team. I received a friendly
welcome. After a few weeks, reception duties were added
to my repertoire, and I also started translating lectures for
non-French-speaking staff members.
Since then, a year has gone by, and its been a steep learning
curve. Every time I was entrusted with a new task, I thought
How on Earth am I going to do this?, yet somehow you rise
up to the occasion, and there is always someone around to help
if need be. I went on a couple of great teachers retreats at the
ashram in Neuville aux Bois, Orleans, and took as many courses
in Paris as I could. Nowadays I teach all sorts of classes and
courses, I help with maintaining the www.Sivananda.eu
website and I still get to clean toilets sometimes. More and
more of my free time is spent at the Centre.
Some of the students Ive taught have just graduated
from TTC in Vrindavan. We went on the magnificent
Himalayan Pilgrimage together. I hope that being
a Sivananda teacher proves to be as fulfilling and exciting
to them as it has been to me.
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
have learned. Keep it up. Society will pull
you down. Now it is your duty to keep
fighting against the part of your nature
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
children now growing. Most of us will be
dead and gone. In a very short time,
remember. In forty, fifty, sixty years, you
wont be here on this planet Earth. You will
have to leave your children, your home,
your wife or husband, your loved ones; you
will have to leave everything here, including
this physical body you are now nourishing.
Even the body has to leave: earth to earth
and ashes to ashes. There is nothing here that you can
take with you. Except two things: the good and bad that
you have done. This, in the form of happiness or
unhappiness, will go with you wherever you go. Whether
you are still in a body, or without a body, these two
things stay with you. So let us brush up our life, let us
create a positive atmosphere, let us evolve and seek
peace, let us encourage and help human beings and
stop waging war with the animal kingdom.
Do not believe only what you see and hear. Your mind
can only cover a limited wavelength. Your reason is also
limited. Do not blame God, saying he created an
imperfect world. This imperfection is due to your own
imperfection. If you wear red glasses, you will see
everything red. God created perfection: That thou art.
Look inside and you will see.
Dont worry about what others do, whether others
practise or not. Your progress depends only upon your
own effort. If you say that you will stay at this ashram
only if everyone else is doing their Sadhana, this is
foolish because nowhere will you find a perfect place.
Everywhere there is duality. There is no perfection
in this world.
You have to do whatever you can for your own growth.
Do not worry about your neighbours, your friends, other
swamis, even your teacher. It doesnt matter what the
teacher does. It is immaterial to you. You practise and
you eat. If you eat, you can satisfy your hunger. No one
else can eat for you, or enjoy for you. If you want to be
healthy, you have to eat healthily and live a proper life.
To think if everyone is healthy, then I will be healthy
automatically is not possible. To be healthy you have to

do it yourself. Always remember this.


Just mind your own business and carry
on. Only then will your mind be peaceful
when you meditate.
Do not think that because you practise
this or that youll be able to conquer
this Maya. You need lots of Gods grace
and discipline. The grace of God will
come only when you work within your
capacity. You cannot just say, Oh, God
will do everything for me, I dont care.
God cannot help you unless you
help yourself.
The spiritual path is not one continuous climb to the top
of the mountain, like climbing Mount Everest. Even
climbing Mount Everest is not one straight climb. There
are many ups and downs, valleys and finding camps,
coming back again, going to a second camp, third camp,
and fourth camp, falling down, and breaking down, and
climbing up. Slowly, slowly, after several ups and downs,
going back and forth, you reach the top.
Spiritual aspirants think I am doing pranayama, asanas,
so how come there is no kundalini awakening? It is not
that easy. There will be failures. Without failure there will
be no success. You must understand that point very well.
Nobody achieves the highest state immediately. Even
Buddha. Buddha, in that particular incarnation became
Buddha. But in how many lives did he fail, how many
ups and downs, how many times did he move on? Only
in that one last life he could, with all the training and
discipline he had. For one thousand lives he failed, and
in that one life he became Buddha.

Special Thanks
With special thanks to Kamala Devi, a close disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda,
who devoted many hours of selfless work in editing the many transcripts
of Swami Vishnudevanandas lectures and helping to make this beautiful book
a reality.
email: KamalaDevi@bigpond.com

Vishnudevananda Upadesha
By The Sivananda Yoga Centre
Vishnudevananda Upadesha contains extracts that are taken from talks
by Swami Vishnudevananda on a variety of topics that encompass the
teachings of the vast science of yoga. The words he speaks offer solace,
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
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre or Ashram.

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, underground, 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
exists merely because of its physiochemical nature; to them it is
basically electrical in nature. When
the electrical connection from the
astral to the physical is severed (like
a battery disconnected from an
engine) it doesn't matter how
powerful the engine is, it cannot
start. The impulses of prana travel
through the astral to the physical
through an astral umbilical cord
at our solar plexus. When this cord
is severed, no more prana can
come to the physical body.
If the prana comes in very small
amounts then the body will
be comatose (unconscious).

18 YOGALife I Summer 2010

If you understand the electrical


nature of our bodies, you will
understand the purpose of
pranayama. I will try to explain
in modern terms, as some of the
ancient terms are very difficult
to grasp.
It is said that you can block the
air in the Sushumna, in the throat
region, in the stomach region, in the
back region, in the ear region, in the
eye region. Actually, how can you
block the air in these places when
the air which you inhale does not
go into these places at all? What
does this mean?
Actually, it is not a physical
blockage; it is the diversion of energy

from one source to another. In yoga,


we call this energy prana. The
problem is that there is no English
equivalent for this word, so it gets
translated as air . Even Indian yogis
make this mistake when they don't
know how to translate it from
the Sanskrit.
I like to explain these ideas using
analogies with electronic terms. Most
of you are familiar with such gadgets
as radios, cameras, and computers.
There are three basic components
common to all of them. Similar
things exist in your body, but please
don't take what I said literally; it is
only to help you to understand how
such things as locks work in the

Prana as Electricity

body mechanism. When you do


pranayama, it will help you a great
deal if you understand this. Three
things should be understood:
1. Transformers, 2. Condensers
and 3. Resistors.
Transformers: In electronic components there is always a source
of power, usually a battery or
household current. A small tape
recorder cannot handle the 110 volt
current as it enters the house, so it
must be stepped down to a lower
voltage by a transformer, otherwise
the components will burn up. (There
are step-down transformers and stepup transformers for decreasing and
increasing the voltage.)
Condensers (also called Capacitors)
are storehouses of electricity.
An example is the electronic flash
in your camera. The electricity for
the flash may come from a six volt
battery, but that voltage cannot give
enough light to take a photograph.
What is needed are several thousand
volts to create an intense light, so
the energy coming from this small
battery is stored up (it is not stepped
up or stepped down) like a reservoir
and accumulated till it can create
a powerful flash for a brief moment.

Resistors: Another concept in


electronics that we should understand is that of resistance. We can
increase or decrease the resistance
to the flow of energy. Most
impurities will reduce the electrical
flow. An example is the ordinary
garden hose through which water
flows at a specific velocity unless
constricted by squeezing. The pump
continues to try to force 16 gallons
of water per minute through the
hose, but when its capacity is
reduced by constriction, the pressure
goes up, and the water comes out
more forcefully.
In our body, something similar
to a condenser exists. Prana is like
electricity but very subtle. All electricity flows through wires, and in
our body it flows through nadis (or
meridians in the Chinese system).
The problem here is when I say
nerve, many people understand only
the visible type of nerve. The nadi
is equivalent to the nerve in the
physical body, but it may be called
an astral nerve tube, as it exists not
in the physical, but in the astral
body. I will not be able to completely
communicate this subject in electronic terms, but there does exist a
similarity between a physical nerve

and your astral nerve; they are


counterparts. The difference is that
one is visible and the other is not.
In our bodies, the impulse
coming from the brain through the
vagus nerve which controls the heart
and lungs are all impulses called
prana. Previously it was thought that
the heart was not susceptible to
voluntary control, that you could
not control the heartbeat by
concentration. Yogis can demonstrate that the heartbeat can be
slowed down with concentration or
by such practices as Jalandhara
bandha. They shut down the flow
of prana. We are not talking about
physical prana, but psychic prana.
Thought can change your
breathing rhythm as well as your
heartbeat. Two important
components of your body are
together called the cardiovascular
system because they are interdependent. When the body needs
extra oxygen, the heart rate goes up.
In order to make the lungs pump
faster you have to stimulate the
muscles of the diaphragm and
intercostal muscles. That is done
by the brain. In an emergency, say
you are running because a tiger is
chasing you and you are close to
YOGALife I Summer 2010

19

Prana as Electricity

Map of the Nadis


Many ancient manuscripts show pictures of the
energy patterns within the Astral, or subtle body.
These are the nadis, the astral tubes that carry
the prana or vital energy. In acupuncture, they
are referred to as meridians.

20 YOGALife I Summer 2009

exhaustion, the adrenal gland will,


through adrenaline, give the heart
an extra boost so that the lungs can
breathe a bit faster for a short time.
That's equivalent to the capacitor
in electronic gadgets which I mentioned. Nature has given us the
ability to escape from dangerous
situations. This extra stimulation
activates the adrenal gland which
pumps adrenaline into the blood
stream so that the heart gets a fast
kick for a short time so that it can
pump more oxygen to the muscles.
Let us try to understand the
cardiovascular system, to see how
the heart rate and the breathing
are interconnected.
There is a gadget called the
polygraph or lie detector. Just
as EEG test the brain waves, the
polygraph measures the three basic
components mostly connected
to the autonomous nervous system,
a system which is basically not under
our control. Generally speaking,
the autonomous nervous system
is beyond our control, but yogis can
control it. In the polygraph, the three
basic components are; 1. To demonstrate and measure your breathing
pattern, how many cycles per second

you are breathing (normally


we breathe 16 times per minute).
2. The pulse rate (normally about
75 or 80 per minute).
3. Galvanic skin response. Under our
sweat glands there are nerves which
carry sensory impulses.
Because the galvanic skin
response (GSR), measured as coming
from the sweat gland, will change
according to your thought, it is one
of the three basic components in a
polygraph. When you check for GSR
by putting small electrodes on the
tip of the finger (for example), you
can take this current coming out
and amplify it so that you can see
its pattern. That is also under the
autonomous nervous system.
The polygraph technician also
connects an elastic type of material
from your chest to the polygraph
so that you can see the number
of times you are breathing, or what
your breathing pattern is: shallow,
long or disturbed. With normal
breathing we inhale about 1500 cc
of air and exhale out the same
amount very gently. However, when
you are breathing deeply, you can
take in and out about 2000 cc.
At that time the impulse will be very

strong. When you are mentally


disturbed the breathing pattern
will also change.
When all these components are
connected to the polygraph, we
observe three different waves:
breathing pattern, blood pressure,
and galvanic skin resistance. After
two or three minutes there is a
normal reading. If suddenly the
polygraph changes, it is an indication that the person has lied.
An emotional upset will cause the
breathing pattern to change from
say sixteen times per minute to
twenty-five or thirty times per
minute. This can go up or down.
In extreme cases the breathing or
the heart may even stop, as in the
case of shock or some bad news.
Also with good news: something
very exciting say you won five
million dollars in a lottery that
could stop the heart also.
In such cases, you are overloading the capacitor. Within
a brief time, everything is short
circuited. The voltage coming
through the nerves becomes so
powerful that it just short circuits
everything: the heart and/or lungs
stop and there is collapse. So you
see that your body is not different
from an electronic mechanism.
The electronic impulse in our
body is the prana. This prana comes
to the nervous system when it is
stored by condensers and transformed by transformers. There are
five basic types of prana: prana,
apana, udana, samana, and vyana,
as well as some minor pranas; the
difference between major and minor
pranas lying in the voltage. Even in
electronic gadgets, some things need
higher voltage so there are different
types of transformers. In the body we
call these transformers chakras.
Various nerves come and go through
the chakras. They are not physical
nerves, but astral.
In the physical body, the places
where these nerves gather at the
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,
altered like a transformer and acted
upon by resistors. All these things
take place in the same area.

In most people, the transformers


in their upper chakras are not
completely opened up; maybe for
highly advanced students they are
partially opened. Or if there is a
tremendous amount of impurity,
it acts as a resistor. These variable
resistors are automatically controlled
by your thought as well as your diet.
Everything is controlled by thought.
According to the nature of your
thought, your impurities will increase
and decrease. For each of these three
gadgets in your system: condenser,
transformer, resistor, all are
controlled by your mind.
So yogis go directly to the mind
to change the pattern. According
to the nature of the pattern of your
thought, the voltage will be
increased or reduced. If the voltage
increases, then the energy goes
to a higher chakra. If you reduce the
voltage (make your thought very
gross with only sensual and sexual
thoughts), then the energy goes only
to the lower chakras because the
voltage is not sufficient to lift to the
higher chakras.
Remember that neither thought
nor prana are in the physical body.
They are in the astral body and
according to the nature of your
thought, the prana flows in the
physical body. When your thoughts
are very gross, the prana or electrons
coming to the physical body will
be lessened since there is too much
resistance. Also, a physical nerve
cannot take a high, powerful
thought, so there may be a shutdown of the prana to a certain
extent. The nervous system which
is impure cannot transmit high
voltage. Sometimes a sudden shock
to the mind will even shut off this
flow of prana. Sometimes this
current is slowed down to such
an extent that you are like a living
corpse, in a state of coma.
The ultimate purpose of Hatha
Yoga is to escape from the lower
voltage and move to a higher voltage.

The Chakras
This is where the energy is stored
up like a condenser, altered like
a transformer and acted upon
by resistors

Sahasrara Chakra

Ajna Chakra

Vishuddha Chakra

Anahata Chakra

Manipura Chakra

Swadhistana Chakra

Hatha Yoga Pradipika


This article is an excerpt from the Hatha Yoga
Pradipika the classic guide for the advanced
practice of Hatha Yoga (Kundalini Yoga) with
commentary by Swami Vishnudevananda.

Muladhara Chakra
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


and death. It is difficult to accept that these are part
of everybodys life and of our own life as well.
And still another suffering comes in the form
of unfulfilled desires, if things do not come the way
we want. In order to solve these fundamental problems
of human life some kind of spiritual orientation
is absolutely necessary.
In the 21st century we are flying higher than
the birds and dive deeper than the fishes. We have
conquered space and we are trying to conquer time.
We have an advanced system of universities, libraries
and colleges. But still the human society lives in the
same basic fear of survival. How different are we really
from the people who lived in caves and went out
to hunt? Their fear was do I have anything to eat?
When disease came to whom do I go? or what do
I do? The same problems are still present in the
modern society.
Recently I met a lady who moved to the city from
overseas and is trying to get established. She said

22 YOGALife I Summer 2009

Oh, I found a flat now. I didnt know where to live.


All my fears are gone. To have a home, to have food,
to have clothing, to have some friends, these basic
needs of mankind have not changed since prehistoric
times. Despite accumulation of knowledge, universities
and education, hospitals and democracy, man has not
really evolved. Why?
The reason is that man has ignored the spiritual
aspect. The inner path has to be cultivated. Instead
what is being cultivated is the materialistic view.
The untrained mind thinks that food and clothing,
employment and housing, medical aid and education
is everything.
In this situation yoga has a different, a positive
message: The Indian seers knew by experience that
body and mind are not the real nature of man.
They saw that not only the body changes constantly
but also the mind. Something which is constantly
changing cannot give us peace of mind. Just compare
this with todays thoughts of uncertainty in the
financial world crisis.

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 dont have time. But even if you are
and I am the mind.
very busy, you still have time to breathe. So inhale and
Mans 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
imply the same: total eternal
The Indian seers knew by experience
ways to achieve this. Most
and infinite perfection. This
that body and mind are not the real
religions like Christianity and
is what OM represents. If you
nature of man.
Buddhism have a founder,
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 wouldnt 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, its 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 dos and donts 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
and drop the world from your mind

There is complete emphasis on the body only. For this


reason, teaching asanas for money is considered
acceptable and very common everywhere. I just met a
former staff member and asked him Do you have a job?
He replied Yes, I teach yoga. Then I said, Well, that
is not a job. If you consider teaching asanas as a job,
it is a materialistic outlook and will not bring inner peace
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
different. None of the teachers are paid, whatever is left
after paying the bills is invested in expanding and

24 YOGALife I Summer 2009

important. Sometimes beginner practitioners are very


strict about their time oh, leave me alone, I cannot do
this now, I have to do my asanas. If God sent people to
meet you, this is your asana at the moment. You serve
them; you share your time with them. So do not be selfish
and say this is my time, I have to do my yoga. What is
the yoga really good for if you do not have time for your
fellow men? Karma Yoga is there to remind you that you
also have to make others happy. To serve selflessly can be
the essence of our life. That is actually the basis of yoga.
Swami Durgananda is Yoga Acharya
(spiritual director) of the Sivananda Yoga
Vedanta Centres in Europe.
e-mail: SwamiDurgananda@sivananda.net

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 Vishnudevanandas 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. Swamijis 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

Yoga Lectures
Ashtanga the eight steps of Yoga
Mission of Yoga in world
Meditative States
Karma and Reincarnation
Power of Thought
Vedanta Philosophy

The three Bodies


The three Gunas
Three States of Consciousness
Kundalini
Life after Death
Yoga and Ayurveda
Brain and Swara Yoga
Bhakti Yoga and Chanting

Yoga and Health

Postural Alignment
Relaxation and Meditation
Mobilisation of Joints
Diet and Muscle development
Stress Management
Benefits of Asanas
Effects of Yoga on Children

Satsang topics

Pleasure, Pain and Bliss


Yoga Experience vs Drug Experience Life is pre-planned
Exercise Physiology
Who am I?
Proper breathing
Sannyasa - renunciation
Yoga and Disease Prevention

Commentaries on Scriptures
Bhagavad Gita
Raja Yoga Sutras
Srimad Bhagavatam

Symposia and Peace Missions


True World Order Convention
God, Man and Psychic Discovery
Festival of Inner Light Siva and Shakti
Global Village Peace Festival
Facing the Future
All India Tour
Delhi and Bombay press conferences

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 Vishnudevanandas 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
Receive an internet link to download one demonstration mp3 lecture file and submit your details

if you would like to participate.


You will receive by email a recording for evaluation.
Listen to the recording, and define the content

by selecting, for each 10-minutes of the


recording, 5 10 keywords from an online
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.

Blue: An inspiration
 Ruby
from Dianne Beal, daughter in law of Ruby
For those lucky enough to be aware in her presence, Ruby
Blue was an inspiration and guide to the powers of love
and intuition in our lives. Her constant reminders of what
a blessing we were to her made us realize our own powers
of self-realization and what a blessing she was to us.
As her daughter-in-law, we shared a special relationship
and what I consider a privileged introduction to Sivananda
yoga and the spiritual path. My first breathing lessons with
Ruby taught me to focus on my breath in a totally new
way and to concentrate on a bright, white shining light
after which several years of practice, opened my mind,
my heart and my life. For that, I will be ever grateful.

Swami Vishnudevananda was more than


a guru to Ruby. He was a world leader
of humanitarianism.
Ruby lived a purely spiritual life as a yoga teacher and
guru to those around for her nearly forty years. She met
Swami Vishnudevananda in 1967 when she made her
first visit to the yoga camp in the Laurentian Mountains
and continued teaching yoga well into her 80s.
Born Ruth Thaler in Mielec, Poland, to Jewish parents
in 1918, she immigrated with her family to the United
States as a child. In 1931, she moved to Washington, DC
and became active in the schools celebrated chorus. Her
voice continued to guide her and was one of the miracles
of her yoga classes. After raising a family of three, she
and her husband, Harry Blue, moved to Palm Beach,
Florida in 1975 where she continued to teach yoga

26 YOGALife I Summer 2009

classes until she moved back to Washington in 1991.


At age 81, she took a job teaching yoga at Golds Gym,
a short walk from her apartment.
Swami Vishnudevanada was more than a guru
to Ruby. He was a world leader of humanitarianism.
For four decades, Ruby continued her spiritual pilgrimage
by teaching students (and anyone else in her path), the
lessons of Swami Vishnudevananda. Each summer, she
spent 40 days at the yoga camp. Daily meditation and
asanas kept her sane and flexible.
Her last years of intense sadhana were the most
glorious. She was initiated as Swami Neeladevananda
at the ashram in Orleans, France in 2005 and became
the oldest person to become a swami in the Sivananda
Yoga Vedanta movement. The joy radiating from that
ceremony was sanctification and acknowledgement
of her years of study and devotion.

Loving Devotion
 Srinivasan,
Yoga Acharya for the East Coast
centres in the USA, remembers Ruby Blue
I knew and loved Ruby as an inspiration not only as a
teacher but for her devotion for Swamiji. I have never
heard anyone speak so clearly about Swamiji, about his
energy and vision than Ruby. Ruby spoke the best about
Swamiji. When she taught an asana class it was as if
Swamiji himself shone through her with all his prana, love
and humor. When I was at the Camp she would council
me and many of the senior staff like a mother. Her heart
was always behind Swamiji and saw the Organization
as Swamiji's baby to nurture. Whenever she would guide
the staff in their individual problems it was always
with the clarity of Swamiji's love and the importance
of his mission.

The Living Evolution


An interview with Ruby Blue at the Chteau du Yoga, France, summer 2005
Swami Vishnudevananda was a living evolution.
I dont think about Swami Vishnudevananda as having
a particular age. He was a highly dedicated and an
exquisite human being. I had the honor of knowing
him for a very long time, so I could watch his program
evolve. He was sent by the master with a few rupees,
some blessings and turned around the whole world.
It wasnt a sudden thing. In the beginning, in the very
beginning, Swamiji understood the West and turned
us westerners to the physical aspect of yoga, to asanas,
to flexibility, showing us methods of health and
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.

master and enjoy it. Ive watched the growth in myself


and others. And there is nothing more exiting than
watching someone sceptical, nervous, unacquainted
with the system become fulfilled as a result of it.
Nothing more wonderful.

The here-and-now-guy
Swami Vishnudevananda was a here-and-now-guy.
There is one thing I have finally figured out: Swami
Vishnudevananda was teaching by example, even
though he planned, even though his whole life was
dedicated to retrieving the loss in our civilization that
makes us human. This was his masters energy and his

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 Swamijis
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, Im 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 dont 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

masters ideas. He watched a self realized human being


you dont 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. Its 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 theyll join yoga.
compassion. I honestly believe that his humility was so
Most of us come and Ive 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 masters teachings. Thats 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? Its just not enough! Theres got to be
literally felt him exude compassion. I brought friends
something else! But I didnt know what I was looking for.
of mine up to the
None of us knows
yoga Camp because
what we are
they were heavy
for. But
If you really find a yoga master who lays looking
smokers and I had
when you find it,
the thing on you with his soul and with
thought that Swamiji
if you really find
would scold them
his heart, with his truth, with his talent, a yoga master who
and tell them they
the thing on
then you know that it is the right thing. lays
are crazy and doing
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: Its a struggle, isnt 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 isnt the approval of somebody else. In the
Because it was an act of compassion, an act of underbeginning 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
Thats my guru.
gave their ideas which were pure Vedanta and very holy
but the ears were not available. Whereas Swamiji opened
the door and said Come on in everybody! nobody felt
The right thing
they were not worthy, and it was not meant to change
Swami Vishnudevananda did never ever fear. The only
possible disturbance I dont even want to use this word, you in any way. It was just that the master sent him:
Tell the truth! Weve got something; let us share it with
I dont know how to say it the only thing that may
have caused him some doubt was the doubt of his ability the rest of the world! The West is hungry, the West
is waiting! Vishnudevananda did the job. Thats all.
to perform that with which his master entrusted him.
Thats the only thing, because his humility was enormous
Swamijis good-bye to Ruby
but not a false phoney humility like Im nothing.
The last word I ever heard from Swamiji was in Val Morin,
The only thing he wanted to do was give that what he
when I got him to his car, when he was leaving for India
was sent to give. He would often say: Dont bleat like a
to leave his body. I was hiding behind a tree. Swamiji
lamb, roar like a lion! The meaning of life is very simple.
sent somebody out for me to go and sit in his car with
Some people are confused they try to make it bizarre
him. I knew he would be at masters statue. I didnt know
and mystic and cause more confusion. The power of
what to do. The physicality was gone but the prana was
Swamiji, above everything, was his simplicity and the
alive and there was a sense of God-like power. I saw
simplicity of his adoration for his master. I am ever
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
physicality and I said Swamiji, on behalf of the whole
of us feel - and Ive talked to thousands - that we are
humanity: Thank you! You changed the world, you have
in the right place at the right time with the right people.
absolutely changed the world! Swamiji laughed and
You cant beat that. That is how I felt this morning at
said Thank you for thanking me! And that was the last
breakfast, and I asked the people at the table do you
conversation I had with my master. My Guru. My life.
feel this way with your magnificent children or grandma
or whoever you love? You feel the love with them, but

28 YOGALife I Summer 2009

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Founded by Swami Vishnudevananda in 1971,
offering Yoga retreats, Ayurvedic treatments and
serious Vedantic Studies.

14651 Ballantree Lane, Grass Valley, CA


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Visit www.sivananda.org/yogafarm for complete course


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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
circulatory system:
Fitness workout programmes today strongly
emphasize a balanced cardiac workout. Yoga
Asanas include this aspect very specifically:
Inverted poses and abdominal breathing
increase the venous return to the heart, thus
stimulating a stronger heart beat.
The massage action of specific pressure
on internal organs increases the local blood
circulation ensuring a rich supply of oxygen
and nutrients to all cells of the body.

Yoga for the back:


Kyphosis (exaggerated upper back curve),
lordosis (exaggerated lower back curve) and
scoliosis (lateral deviation) are three common
spinal problems. The asana sequence
systematically improves these three postural
habits and can often relieve the pain associated
with them.

Balancing muscle length


and muscle strength:
Yoga exercises develop both strength and
flexibility, yet the body of a proficient practitioner
will not show any extreme tendencies such as
overdeveloped biceps muscles or permanent hyperflexibility of the hip joints. This is because the
practice of the twelve basic asanas develops
flexibility and strength in equal measure.

Hormonal balance:
The inverted poses increase the blood supply
to the brain. This improves neuronal control of the
pituitary gland (hypophysis), whose hormones
regulate such important endocrine glands such
as the thyroid gland (involved in cell metabolism)
and the adrenal glands (emotional balance).
Specific asanas work like a massage, enhancing
cellular functions in each gland.

Internal organs:
From the gastrointestinal tract to the liver and
pancreas right through to the bladder the
pressure exerted by various asanas detoxifies these
tissues and increases the supply of blood to them.

Autonomic nervous system:


The stretching and relaxing in the first half of the
asana sequence, as well as the contraction and
relaxing in the second half, encourages the rest

and repair functions of the parasympathetic


nervous system. At the same time, it prevents the
over-stimulation (fight or flight reaction) of the
sympathetic nervous system.

Deep relaxation with


auto-suggestion:
Impulses transmitted by motor and sensory nerves
are regulated or registered in two adjacent areas
of the cerebrum. In the wave of relaxation which
begins in the feet and ends in the head,
'visualisation (motor) and feeling of relaxation
(sensory) impulses are barely distinguishable.
That is no surprise, seeing the proximity of the
respective area of the brain dedicated to sensory
and motor activity. The short period of relaxation
between the asanas is essential to harmonise
motor and sensory impulses.

Nadis (meridians):
The classical yoga texts speak of 72,000 subtle
nerve channels through which prana (vital
energy) flows in and around (aura) the body.
Pranic blockages at junctions of nadis can lead
to a lack (and, conversely, an excess) of energy
in different parts of the body. The 12 basic
poses exert pressure on these points in a way
that balances the prana, much like acupressure.
Thats one of the reasons why you feel
rejuvenated after a yoga class.

Hatha Yoga, the union of Sun


and Moon:
Prana (upwards moving energy, supporting
respiration) is denoted by the Sun (Ha).
Apana (downwards moving energy, supporting
elimination) is called Moon (Tha). In the asana
sequence these two vital energies merge
in the solar plexus, creating a unique sensation
of well-being.

Effects on the chakras:


The seven energy centres correspond to subtle
elements and spiritual planes of consciousness.
Advanced pranayama exercises, mantra repetition
and meditation on the elements can awaken the
cosmic Kundalini energy in the chakras. When
the nerve plexuses in the physical body which
correspond to the chakras in the astral body
are stimulated through the asanas, the yoga
practitioner may become aware for the first time
that these energy centres really exist.
YOGALife I Summer 2009 33

The 12 Basic Asanas

The Benefits of the Postures


Sirshasana The Headstand

The Headstand

The increased venous flow of blood back


to the heart strengthens the heart beat and
relieves varicose veins; contraindication:
chronic high blood pressure.

An increased supply of blood to the brain


helps regulate the autonomic nervous system

Contraindication: neck injuries

Working the arm muscles and relaxing the


legs improves ones sense of balance

Strengthens the muscles of the


shoulder region

Greater pranic flow to the head area

Improves the function of the pituitary


gland (hypophysis)

The inverted pose channels apana into the


solar plexus.

Counteracts gastroptosis (downward


displacement of stomach).
Contraindication: menstruation

Energises Ajna Chakra (the third eye)

Sarvangasana The Shoulderstand


The increased venous flow of blood back
to the heart strengthens the heart beat and
relieves varicose veins. Contraindication:
chronic high blood pressure
Stretches the neck and upper back and
strengthens the lower back

Stretching relieves stress-related tension


in the neck and shoulder region
Removes energy blockages in the neck area

Has a balancing effect on the thyroid and


parathyroid glands

Both the inverted pose and the chin lock


direct prana and apana into the solar plexus.

Contraindication: menstruation

Stimulates Vishuddha Chakra in the


throat region.

The Shoulderstand

Halasana The Plough


Combats lordosis (exaggerated lowerback
curve)

The long stretch stimulates the


parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation)

Stretches the whole posterior side


of the body from the toes to the neck

Removes energy blockages in the neck


and back

Gives a gentle massage to the


abdominal organs

Massages the solar plexus, promoting the


union of prana and apana

The Plough

Matsyasana The Fish

The Fish

34 YOGALife I Summer 2010

Combats kyphosis (exaggerated upper


back curve)

The fish is a counter-pose to the shoulderstand and the plough. It has a balancing and
relaxing effect on the entire back.

Strengthens the arms and stretches the


thoracic muscles

Removes energy blockages in the throat and


neck region

Has a balancing effect on the thyroid and


parathyroid glands, and puts gentle pressure
on the thymus gland (immune system)

Stretching the abdomen enhances the union


of prana and apana in the solar plexus

Relieves chronic bronchitis and asthma

Stimulates Anahata Chakra (heart chakra)

Parasympathetic stimulation (relaxation) by


stretching the throat, rib cage and abdomen

Paschimottanasana The Forward Bend


Combats lordosis (exaggerated lower
back curve)

The body experiences a natural, deep


relaxation following this asana

Stretches the whole posterior side of the


body from the toes to the upper back

Releases energies in the main nadis along


the spine

Gives a natural massage to the pancreas


(helping to prevent diabetes)

Intensifies the union of prana and apana


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
system

Relieves menstrual problems

Combats kyphosis (exaggerated upper


back curve)

Intensive tension/relaxation improves the


bodys resistance to stress

Strengthens the neck and upper back,


stretches the thoracic muscles

Short and powerful contraction releases


energy in the neck region

Massages the female sex glands (ovaries)

Pressure on the solar plexus channels the


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


protecting it in cases of lordosis
(exaggerated lower back curve)

Intensive tension/relaxation improves the


bodys resistance to stress

Strengthens the lower back

Pressure on the solar plexus channels the


united Ha Tha (Sun Moon) energy back
into the rest of the body

The Locust

Dhanurasana The Bow


Dynamic exercise stimulates the
circulatory system

Gives an intense massage to all


abdominal organs

Combats kyphosis (exaggerated upper


back curve)

Conscious contraction/relaxation improves


the bodys resistance to stress

Stretches the thoracic muscles and


strengthens the thighs

Pressure on the solar plexus channels the


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
Combats scoliosis (lateral curvature)

Reduces pressure on the roots of the spinal


nerves, which in turn enhances the function
of the peripheral nervous system

Stretches the hip abductors and strengthens


the back muscles

Harmonises the left and right hemispheres


of the nadis

Massages the colon and relieves constipation

The Half Spinal Twist

Mayurasana The Peacock


Dynamic exercise stimulates the circulatory
system

Optimal massage of all abdominal organs

Combats kyphosis (exaggerated upper


back curve)

Strong contraction/relaxation improves the


bodys resistance to stress

Strengthens many muscles throughout


the body

Pressure on the solar plexus channels the


united HaTha (SunMoon) energy back into
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
head; may also be practised by people with
chronic high blood pressure

Gives a gentle massage to the abdominal


organs

Combats lordosis (exaggerated lower


back curve)

Parasympathetic stimulation (relaxation)


through a complete stretch

Stretches the whole posterior side of the


body from the toes up to the neck

Releases energies in the main nadis along


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


inner hip muscles (Iliopsoas)

Building strength in the lateral muscles


of the back has a very relaxing effect on the
entire back

Increases the supply of blood to the


adrenal glands

Harmonises the left and right hemispheres


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


kyphosis (exaggerated upper back
curve) and lordosis (exaggerated lower
back curve)

The activation of the parasympathetic


nervous system intensifies the rest
and digest process

United pranaapana energies flow up


to the head and expand the aura

This one-of-a-kind asana enables the


complete relaxation of all voluntary
muscles

By focussing on Ajna Chakra (the third


eye) the practitioner can enter a state of
consciousness beyond body awareness.

Deep relaxation of the muscles


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

Dr. Marilyn Rossner speaks


about Swami Vishnudevananda

I would like to share with you some of my most memorable


and blessed experiences with our wonderful and loving
master teacher, Swami Vishnuji, who gave his life for
humanity. It was in February 1961 that I first met him. From
childhood I had given my life to following a path that was
shown to me when I was just a very young child. But a very
significant part of my life began when I first met Swami
Vishnu. I then had the great blessing of being able to spend
many of my own young adult life years with Swamiji and
later many of my adult years with him.
Now as I look back I realize more and more everyday
who Swami Vishnu really was and what his role has been,
not only in my life, but also in the life of all humanity.
When I was quite young I heard that there was
a great master who had come to Canada, I was invited
to visit a "Yoga Center. You have to understand that
46 years ago I had no idea what a yoga center"was and
I must say most of the people that I had met had no idea
what a yoga center was either.

Swamiji spoke about the importance


of living a yogic life and he was determined to teach people about how
to live a healthy life."
Well I was invited to go; I can still see and experience
the whole event that happened. I was quite young at the
time. I went upstairs of the place on St. Laurent Boulevard
which is still our Montreal Sivananda Yoga Center. There
was a person who was quite young. It was Swami
Vishnudevananda. He was wearing red shorts and an
orange T-shirt. He was very thin and he was teaching a
yoga class". I was excited to see him because on the wall,
over him, there was a large picture of a face of an older
Indian Guru. I interrupted the class and I said, Pardon me,
who is that? Swami Vishnu said Shhh" we are doing
yoga. Anyway, I kept on asking. I asked Swami Vishnu, and
told him that that man had appeared to me many times
since I was a child. When Swami asked me What does he
say to you? I answered that he says Om Namah Sivaya.
I told him that when I was 4 and a half year old, the same

He taught all of us the


importance of honoring,
respecting and acknowledging
every tradition, every religion,
every path, every culture
and every person.

person had come to me in another vision and told me that


I needed to become a vegetarian. From that day on, I was
never able to eat any kind of animal products. I remained
an extremely pure vegetarian from that very day. I have
never taken any alcohol, beer or wine, in my life. I began
to realize from that day what the yogic path was through
Swamiji. Swamiji was, of course, very very kind. He started
telling me about yoga. Swamiji started explaining what
yoga is and of course he invited me to start doing yoga.
I did. What I am trying to do is to share what Swamiji was,
who he is, what his life is like. You know I was very young
and no one knew what yoga was. People thought yoga
meant walking on broken glass or on fire. They did not
know what yoga was. Here was Swamiji, obviously he
spoke some English but he did not know the western ways
at all. He also did not have the language skills that most
people would have. Yet he was determined to explain and
teach about yoga.
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
hospital, and he offered to do a free class there, over 300
people came. Then another time when he was teaching
yoga in the beginning at the YMCA, people were lined
up all the way around the corner of the street to be able
to get into the class. People were fascinated by what
Swamiji was saying. Swamiji spoke about what the five
points mean. He spoke about the importance of living
a yogic life and he was determined to teach people about
how to live a healthy life. So Swamiji would teach, do the
cooking himself, help with the cleaning, etc. etc. I was
a very young school teacher at the time. After school,
Swamiji would take me to the Yoga Camp. At the
beginning it was only one little place at the ashram. There
were 11 people there, and for the weekend sometimes we
would have 12, sometimes 14. I went every single weekend
to be with this great master. I knew Swamiji very well.
I saw him so much; it was like I lived with him. When I say
lived with him I mean I saw how he lived. Swamiji lived
exactly the way he taught. He always followed the path
that he brought to all of us. He never did anything that he
did not teach. He was always very, very humble. He never
wanted anybody to touch his feet. In fact, I remember
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


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 childrens
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 knowIt 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
Thats 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,
that
Swamiji
was
the
first
one
to
set
was always something to do.
every path, every culture and
Not one moment would
up the Teachers Training Program.
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
and the results were absolutely
I remember the nuns came, the
not live for himself. He really owned
marvelous. I brought yoga into
priests came. People came from all
nothing. He had his couple of dothis
schools and hospitals, into the group
the different religions. The educated
and a couple of sweaters. He really
homes, into agencies, I have done
came, the uneducated came, the
had nothing and everything he had
33 objective studies using yoga as an
young came, the old came. Then,
was just to give. People would give
adjunctive therapy to psychotherapy
of course, his dream was to have
him something and he would just
with children and youth.
an ashram. So when the ashram
give it away. He showed us what real
Swamiji started organizing peace
opened, it was a very special event.
love is. He showed us what real spirit
conferences. No one was doing
I remember 163 people came.
is. He showed us what it is to be able
anything like that. Swamiji was the
There was a doctor who came and
to give of one self. He showed us what
first to organize peace conferences.
was talking about what a blessing
it is to love everyone. He showed
He brought people together from
it was. Some people were doing the
us what it is to have purpose in life.
the different traditions. He started
cooking. We were doing the cleaning
He showed us what it is to serve.
inviting some of the known sages
and we were trying to let people
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.
we made sure to take care of them.
following what Swamiji asked us to
Swamiji was very very strict about
He was the first to have teachers
do. Because we saw that in Swamiji,
the teachings of yoga. He also would
training courses for yoga. The first
there was the teaching. In Swamiji
not compromise. He never compromised
course was held in the ashram
there was a way of life. In Swamiji
anything in life. He wanted yoga
there was a love. In Swamiji there was in Quebec.
to be very pure. He would get very
In 1972, we had the first yoga
a diamond. In Swamiji was a being
concerned if he found that people
program for children with special
that we knew had come on this earth
were using the word of yoga in a way
needs. I had the great privilege of
to bring a great truth.
that was not honorable. Yoga was so
organizing it. That was, again, through
When Swamiji first organized
special for him. So if people misused
a vision I had had. It was a vision
peace missions, when he first talked
it or tried to make light of what yoga
where Master Sivananda had come
about a planet earth passport, I had
is, he always stood up to that. He
to me and had asked me to do that.
been given the task of selling these
wanted yoga to remain pure and
It was March 1972, I was with
passports for $5. So there was a

Who is that?

40 YOGALife I Summer 2009

remain what it was supposed to be.


We all know the stories of Swamijis
peace missions and where he went.
I remember when I was with him
in Boston when he took off on that
airplane that Peter Max had painted
for him. I remember him sitting on
the wings of the airplane, he prayed
and talked. He always said for all of
us to take care of everybody. He was
absolutely fearless. Every moment
with Swamiji was momentous.
I had the privilege of being in
India with him many times. One time
there was a group of us who went
with Swamiji. He wanted so much for
the fighting to stop between groups.
He went to the great leaders and he
tried very hard to bring the people
together. He wanted them to talk.
I remember he asked them to come
out because one of them was
in a different place. There was a controversy between them. Swamiji said
that he will go out and somebody
mentioned that if we go out,
someone will shoot us, Swamiji
replied: No. People are willing to die
in the name of war, Im willing to die
in the name of peace. But the point
is that this is how he lived. He was
absolutely positively fearless.
All the things we are seeing
happening on the earth now were
really prophesied by Swamiji. He
talked about what would happen by
the year 2000. He talked about what
would happen if the drug culture
continued. He talked about what
would happen if the family life was
not serious. He talked about what
would happen if people were not
living a clean, moral, ethical life.
He talked about what would happen
to nature. Everything we see happening now, absolutely everything,

Swamiji talked about.


Vegetarianism then was almost
unknown. Now when we look around,
vegetarianism is popular. Holistic
health is a popular interest. Yoga
is also very popular. But much of this,
in Canada and throughout the world,
was started by this one saintly being,
Swami Vishnudevananda Maharaj.
Swamiji was a scientist. He was an
educator. He was a teacher. He was a
therapist. He was a counselor. He was
really all of these wrapped up in this
one person. And yet, he did not have
the formal education for all that. But
he had it! He was that! No matter
what a person needed, he was always
there to do it.
I remember in one of our first
children's groups, one of the children
had difficulty sleeping, Swamiji had a
technique for that. One child thought
he was a frog, Swamiji had a technique
for dealing with that. One child was
making certain sounds, Swamiji had
a technique for that. One child used
to run away, Swamiji had a technique
for that. Some people had different
allergies, Swamiji had a technique for
that. To one he would give a mantra.
To another he would say Hold your
mala. To one he would give a specific
pranayama technique. To one he
would give a certain asana.
And so as I review the
last 46 years of my own
life on earth I can say with
absolute assurance that
the Almighty has blessed
me in a special way.
To have known Swamiji
as he walked this earth,
to have sat at his blessed
feet, to have heard him
speak, teach, to have had
him as a yoga teacher,

Photo Archive: Swami Vishnudevananda with some of his early yoga students

to have had him as a mentor, an


inspirer, a master of masters has been
my gift of gifts.
Swamiji has made his Mahasamadhi
15 years ago. I really can say I do not
feel that he is gone. I feel his presence
more and more each day. I feel his
presence more and more as I go from
place to place and continue to share
the truth of yoga. I feel his presence
with every Sadhana I do. No matter
where I go I try to encourage people
to do a little bit of what he asked us
all to do. But every day I realize more
and more who Swamiji really was.
All I can say is Thank You Lord
for Swamiji. I pray to continue
to bring Swamiji's message of truth,
of oneness, of light, wherever I go
and in whatever I am asked to do.
In the Service of the Lord.
At the feet of the Master,
Marilyn Rossner
Dr Marilyn Rossner Ph.D.
is a childrens behaviour therapist,
a clairvoyant, medium, and expert
in the field of parapsychology.

YOGALife I Summer 2009 41

The Gurukula Tradition

The Training of Memory and Concentration


In the

GurukulaTradition
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 knowledge 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
Ekagrata or a spearheaded-mind
helps to prolong the grasp while
learning. Learning requires the unity
of our will and the intellect. Our
mind is basically like a switchboard
operator; it links one of our senses
at a time with their subjects. Our
intellect (the plant) doesnt get the
mind's supply unless the mind wills
to connect. Scriptures claim that we
easily concentrate on what our mind
likes. Hence creating interest is the
fundamental requisite. If the mind
wants to atop a hill, even while
limping you will climb. Vedic
education emphasizes the following
for a pointed mind: Holistic Vision
and following the footsteps of the
Vedas. The entire Indian tradition
emphasises the practice of ethics

42 YOGALife I Summer 2009

and discipline. If the moral precepts


are not in place all the freedom,
humanitarian and spiritual goals
lead to confusion.

The Guru
Faith in a Guru and trusting his
always-available navigation system
is indispensable. Even on roads we
install a satellite navigation system
in our car! Similarly, an ordained life
ensures good mileage. The Guru
helps prioritise what is appropriate
to the seeker and acts as a guide
in his or her spiritual growth.

should not isolate or totally


withdraw from people, but has
to avail the benefits of solitude.

Moderation
Being moderate always has good
results. Being hopeful, keeping
cheerful, finding joy in everything,
good humour and a helpful nature
are all the qualities of an enlightened
soul. Such a person is a product of
well-balanced contemplation and
meditation. In general, avoid
extremity in anything.

Strength in Solitude

Memory

Scriptures say that too much


socialising is an impediment for
concentration as well as meditation.
Excessive extroversion leads to
dissipation of ones energies. One

Memory is the companion, the asset


of the early age of everybody.
Perhaps when we grow up, we invest
that capital upon too many nonessential things.

The Sanskrit term for memory


is Smriti. Memory is twofold. Firstly,
committing to memory (memorising)
and remembering the memorised.
It is, if you like, picking up an old
paper or file from the cabinet.
Secondly, to channel the reservoir
of memory. In the era before books,
the oral tradition was the hallmark
of the Gurukulas. Repetition became
the chief mode of memorising and
memorising the chief mode of
learning. Memorising the Mantras
became the main pastime of the
students. That was fun, but that
is not the goal, which is a deeper
understanding of the Vedas.

Home The Foundation


for Early Learning
Today a private tuition at home is to
back up the school curriculum; but
in the ancient India it was the reverse.
In any household with children was
run a parallel school. Mothers taught
a lot of rhymes, folksongs, and
traditional epics all memorised and
spread in this cultural centre. With a
child on their lap, they also sang the
mathematical tables in melodious
tunes! In the same way, children
were taught the names of the week,
months, zodiacs, constellations,
prayers to numerous divinities, hymns
for meals and for going to bed, etc.

The Gurukula
A Gurukula is like a retreat for
16 years given at a receptive age.
The formal ceremony (prevalent
even today) to mark the beseeching
of the traditional learning is called
Upanayana wherein the powerful
Gayathri mantra is taught. One of
the purposes of this ceremony is to
pre-empt and prepare the student
to enrol into Gurukula.
Every Gurukula was essentially
for all castes and was open amidst
the woods as a free residential
school. Men and women of all age
groups were there to offer specific
services. In the safe custody of
Acharyas and Maharshis their
children were protected, tutored
and groomed with personal attention. Although a normal tutelage of
every child lasted for 16 years, some
youths stayed beyond. They carried
on with their unceasing concen-

tration for several decades. Their


school was so welcoming and
friendly they didnt prefer going back
home. As in Ayurveda as well as
yoga, every treatment is tailored for
the person. Hospitality, honesty,
service and responsibility were
entrusted upon all. Gurukulas
resemble any ideal community living.

Natural Setting
The learning centres were far from
the maddening crowds of the cities.
In that escape full of Prana, tigers
and elephants would visit and
children would play with deer and
rabbits. The fresh air free from any
pollutants around the forest
optimised the learning environment.
The sounds of the birds and flowing
water accentuate the silence.
Students have the opportunity
to learn from and interact with
nature at all times.

Hospitality, honesty,
service and responsibility
were entrusted upon all.
Dress Code
The uniforms for the Gurukula were
simple, comfortable and natural.
The dress, given in the Upanayana
(initiation) ceremony, is neither very
loose nor very tight and is helpful
for concentration for a long time.
Bachelors, married men and women
all wore distinct garments.

Chanting Mantras
The majority of the population in
those monasteries were male and
youngsters. They were easily
recognisable because wherever they
went, they would incessantly utter
the Mantras such as the Gayatri,
holding their sacred thread as a
Japamala, a physical support for
concentration, they walked, keeping
their thoughts focused at all times.
People joked about them as the bees
or the flowers, before whose sight
you came across their buzzing sound
or their fragrance. Their chanting
filled the narrow lanes and footpaths
tread by their tiny footprints. This
was their walking yoga.

Daily Routine
Their routine diary commenced with
a quick bath and early morning
physical exercise briskly done
followed by the yoga exercises
or Surya Namaskar. Wearing certain
marks on the forehead helps
concentration for the wearer as well
as giving the onlookers a sense
of freshness. Gazing at the sun
(while not very hot) and moon helps
in freshening up of mind and leads
to single-minded focus. During their
prayer, in both twilights, the students
would do Japa, normally with the
Gayatri mantra, which helps concentration of mind and stimulates memory.
The practice of asanas would also
help them for concentration.

Food
Good food and good exercise is the
master key for good health. The basic
needs were supplied for free. The
food, drinks and medicines served in
the Gurukulas were of a satvic nature.
Though not a specific medicine for
loss of memory or concentration,
moderate amounts of ghee were
served to these pupils to stimulate
their mental work, as recommended
by Ayurveda. Dairy products, honey,
ginger, lime and neem were used to
tone up their mind. Abhyanga (oil
bath) and refraining from alcohol or
tobacco helped their concentration.
Certain herbal tonics like Amalaka,
Chyavana-prasha or Kooshmanada
(Pumpkin) were also used to aid
memory and concentration.

The Tradition Continues


The gurukula tradition continues
nowadays. I recently visited an all
female Gurukula, Panini Kanya Maha
Vidyalaya, in Benares. More than
eighty girls are studying scriptures of
their choice in that residential school.
They mainly learn Paninis Grammar,
Yoga, and priest-craft.
Dr H V Satyanarayana
Sastry, is a freelance
Sanskrit teacher, and is the
former academic director
of the Bharatiya Vidya
Bhavan in London, UK.

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


to apply as a full-time staff, which interestingly enough,
happened on the symbolical Fte du Travail or Labor Day
in France.

The year 2007 was a transition period for me where I had


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

44 YOGALife I Summer 2009

Being Sivananda Staff

time off is enough to give the mind and body a rest.


Another issue which is no doubt very tricky and
challenging is the relationship evolution with friends and
relatives. Some of them approve this choice of lifestyle and
even admire it, some disapprove it stongly and dont understand it, with all nuances in between including a few
people who are indifferent. In any case, less time and
energy is spent directly with them, and it can be quite
tough at first for the mind and for the emotions to cope
with this reality, which cant really be changed. One should
remember that whatever choice you make in life, some
close people will always approve it while others disapprove.
Friends and relationships evolve anyway throughout
everyones life, whether we like it or not: we lose some old
relationships which are not in line with our lifestyle
anymore and also make many new ones which share the
same interest for yoga. Ultimately, the real question is
whether you feel happy with what you are doing and with
the direction you are going in life. If thats the case, the
experience turns into a way of finding out who, even
if their own life philosophy is different in many aspects,
recognises that this choice suits you and approves it
because it makes you happy.

The best things about being a staff member


One could summarize it bluntly as an ideal way to lead a
spiritual path. The daily schedule is there to help you keep
the discipline, the swamis and other staff members are

there to guide you, to inspire you, to share and to relate


with you, the spiritual books are there and the real life
situations are there. You have the opportunity to interact
with teachers, students, and other staff members of all
backgrounds, nationalities and age groups, who all share
a common interest in yoga. Day to day operations also
confront you with businesspeople and government officials,
which is useful in order to stay aware of their
preoccupations, priorities and ways of thinking.
Furthermore, the Sivananda Yoga Organisation
is present in many countries around the globe and staff
members can be placed in situations where they move
to different places and cultures, thereby learning many
interesting things, such as developing new adaptation and
language skills.
A second fundamental difference with other
organisations (for profit or non profit) is that all the
employees are each day consciously putting forth an effort
of self-analysis in terms of behavior, thought patterns,
emotions, and energy level, because they are all going
through a Sadhana, or spiritual path. This creates a whole
different working atmosphere, much more positive and
energetic. It also gives a deeper meaning to ordinary tasks
and projects, which become opportunities to learn
so many things about yourself and about others. That
process is something so useful and so precious whatever
you end up doing in life.

YOGALife I Summer 2009 45

The Gurukula Tradition

The Training of Memory and Concentration


In the

GurukulaTradition
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 knowledge 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
Ekagrata or a spearheaded-mind
helps to prolong the grasp while
learning. Learning requires the unity
of our will and the intellect. Our
mind is basically like a switchboard
operator; it links one of our senses
at a time with their subjects. Our
intellect (the plant) doesnt get the
mind's supply unless the mind wills
to connect. Scriptures claim that we
easily concentrate on what our mind
likes. Hence creating interest is the
fundamental requisite. If the mind
wants to atop a hill, even while
limping you will climb. Vedic
education emphasizes the following
for a pointed mind: Holistic Vision
and following the footsteps of the
Vedas. The entire Indian tradition
emphasises the practice of ethics

42 YOGALife I Summer 2009

and discipline. If the moral precepts


are not in place all the freedom,
humanitarian and spiritual goals
lead to confusion.

The Guru
Faith in a Guru and trusting his
always-available navigation system
is indispensable. Even on roads we
install a satellite navigation system
in our car! Similarly, an ordained life
ensures good mileage. The Guru
helps prioritise what is appropriate
to the seeker and acts as a guide
in his or her spiritual growth.

should not isolate or totally


withdraw from people, but has
to avail the benefits of solitude.

Moderation
Being moderate always has good
results. Being hopeful, keeping
cheerful, finding joy in everything,
good humour and a helpful nature
are all the qualities of an enlightened
soul. Such a person is a product of
well-balanced contemplation and
meditation. In general, avoid
extremity in anything.

Strength in Solitude

Memory

Scriptures say that too much


socialising is an impediment for
concentration as well as meditation.
Excessive extroversion leads to
dissipation of ones energies. One

Memory is the companion, the asset


of the early age of everybody.
Perhaps when we grow up, we invest
that capital upon too many nonessential things.

The Sanskrit term for memory


is Smriti. Memory is twofold. Firstly,
committing to memory (memorising)
and remembering the memorised.
It is, if you like, picking up an old
paper or file from the cabinet.
Secondly, to channel the reservoir
of memory. In the era before books,
the oral tradition was the hallmark
of the Gurukulas. Repetition became
the chief mode of memorising and
memorising the chief mode of
learning. Memorising the Mantras
became the main pastime of the
students. That was fun, but that
is not the goal, which is a deeper
understanding of the Vedas.

Home The Foundation


for Early Learning
Today a private tuition at home is to
back up the school curriculum; but
in the ancient India it was the reverse.
In any household with children was
run a parallel school. Mothers taught
a lot of rhymes, folksongs, and
traditional epics all memorised and
spread in this cultural centre. With a
child on their lap, they also sang the
mathematical tables in melodious
tunes! In the same way, children
were taught the names of the week,
months, zodiacs, constellations,
prayers to numerous divinities, hymns
for meals and for going to bed, etc.

The Gurukula
A Gurukula is like a retreat for
16 years given at a receptive age.
The formal ceremony (prevalent
even today) to mark the beseeching
of the traditional learning is called
Upanayana wherein the powerful
Gayathri mantra is taught. One of
the purposes of this ceremony is to
pre-empt and prepare the student
to enrol into Gurukula.
Every Gurukula was essentially
for all castes and was open amidst
the woods as a free residential
school. Men and women of all age
groups were there to offer specific
services. In the safe custody of
Acharyas and Maharshis their
children were protected, tutored
and groomed with personal attention. Although a normal tutelage of
every child lasted for 16 years, some
youths stayed beyond. They carried
on with their unceasing concen-

tration for several decades. Their


school was so welcoming and
friendly they didnt prefer going back
home. As in Ayurveda as well as
yoga, every treatment is tailored for
the person. Hospitality, honesty,
service and responsibility were
entrusted upon all. Gurukulas
resemble any ideal community living.

Natural Setting
The learning centres were far from
the maddening crowds of the cities.
In that escape full of Prana, tigers
and elephants would visit and
children would play with deer and
rabbits. The fresh air free from any
pollutants around the forest
optimised the learning environment.
The sounds of the birds and flowing
water accentuate the silence.
Students have the opportunity
to learn from and interact with
nature at all times.

Hospitality, honesty,
service and responsibility
were entrusted upon all.
Dress Code
The uniforms for the Gurukula were
simple, comfortable and natural.
The dress, given in the Upanayana
(initiation) ceremony, is neither very
loose nor very tight and is helpful
for concentration for a long time.
Bachelors, married men and women
all wore distinct garments.

Chanting Mantras
The majority of the population in
those monasteries were male and
youngsters. They were easily
recognisable because wherever they
went, they would incessantly utter
the Mantras such as the Gayatri,
holding their sacred thread as a
Japamala, a physical support for
concentration, they walked, keeping
their thoughts focused at all times.
People joked about them as the bees
or the flowers, before whose sight
you came across their buzzing sound
or their fragrance. Their chanting
filled the narrow lanes and footpaths
tread by their tiny footprints. This
was their walking yoga.

Daily Routine
Their routine diary commenced with
a quick bath and early morning
physical exercise briskly done
followed by the yoga exercises
or Surya Namaskar. Wearing certain
marks on the forehead helps
concentration for the wearer as well
as giving the onlookers a sense
of freshness. Gazing at the sun
(while not very hot) and moon helps
in freshening up of mind and leads
to single-minded focus. During their
prayer, in both twilights, the students
would do Japa, normally with the
Gayatri mantra, which helps concentration of mind and stimulates memory.
The practice of asanas would also
help them for concentration.

Food
Good food and good exercise is the
master key for good health. The basic
needs were supplied for free. The
food, drinks and medicines served in
the Gurukulas were of a satvic nature.
Though not a specific medicine for
loss of memory or concentration,
moderate amounts of ghee were
served to these pupils to stimulate
their mental work, as recommended
by Ayurveda. Dairy products, honey,
ginger, lime and neem were used to
tone up their mind. Abhyanga (oil
bath) and refraining from alcohol or
tobacco helped their concentration.
Certain herbal tonics like Amalaka,
Chyavana-prasha or Kooshmanada
(Pumpkin) were also used to aid
memory and concentration.

The Tradition Continues


The gurukula tradition continues
nowadays. I recently visited an all
female Gurukula, Panini Kanya Maha
Vidyalaya, in Benares. More than
eighty girls are studying scriptures of
their choice in that residential school.
They mainly learn Paninis Grammar,
Yoga, and priest-craft.
Dr H V Satyanarayana
Sastry, is a freelance
Sanskrit teacher, and is the
former academic director
of the Bharatiya Vidya
Bhavan in London, UK.

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


to apply as a full-time staff, which interestingly enough,
happened on the symbolical Fte du Travail or Labor Day
in France.

The year 2007 was a transition period for me where I had


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

44 YOGALife I Summer 2009

Being Sivananda Staff

time off is enough to give the mind and body a rest.


Another issue which is no doubt very tricky and
challenging is the relationship evolution with friends and
relatives. Some of them approve this choice of lifestyle and
even admire it, some disapprove it stongly and dont understand it, with all nuances in between including a few
people who are indifferent. In any case, less time and
energy is spent directly with them, and it can be quite
tough at first for the mind and for the emotions to cope
with this reality, which cant really be changed. One should
remember that whatever choice you make in life, some
close people will always approve it while others disapprove.
Friends and relationships evolve anyway throughout
everyones life, whether we like it or not: we lose some old
relationships which are not in line with our lifestyle
anymore and also make many new ones which share the
same interest for yoga. Ultimately, the real question is
whether you feel happy with what you are doing and with
the direction you are going in life. If thats the case, the
experience turns into a way of finding out who, even
if their own life philosophy is different in many aspects,
recognises that this choice suits you and approves it
because it makes you happy.

The best things about being a staff member


One could summarize it bluntly as an ideal way to lead a
spiritual path. The daily schedule is there to help you keep
the discipline, the swamis and other staff members are

there to guide you, to inspire you, to share and to relate


with you, the spiritual books are there and the real life
situations are there. You have the opportunity to interact
with teachers, students, and other staff members of all
backgrounds, nationalities and age groups, who all share
a common interest in yoga. Day to day operations also
confront you with businesspeople and government officials,
which is useful in order to stay aware of their
preoccupations, priorities and ways of thinking.
Furthermore, the Sivananda Yoga Organisation
is present in many countries around the globe and staff
members can be placed in situations where they move
to different places and cultures, thereby learning many
interesting things, such as developing new adaptation and
language skills.
A second fundamental difference with other
organisations (for profit or non profit) is that all the
employees are each day consciously putting forth an effort
of self-analysis in terms of behavior, thought patterns,
emotions, and energy level, because they are all going
through a Sadhana, or spiritual path. This creates a whole
different working atmosphere, much more positive and
energetic. It also gives a deeper meaning to ordinary tasks
and projects, which become opportunities to learn
so many things about yourself and about others. That
process is something so useful and so precious whatever
you end up doing in life.

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 Vishnudevanandas 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.
From this smile, and from those words and first instructions, arose the project, involving constant and deliberate work, which today enables close to 700 students
to come through the doors on Eraso Street every week,
where the Sivananda Yoga Centre of Madrid is located.
All is done in His name, the same way He did
everything in the name of his teacher, following the
Gurukula tradition. In the West, we are still surprised
when we come into contact with somebody from India
who asks us: Who is your Master? With whom did you
learn? We are so used to speaking about ourselves
as the centre of the universe. Working every day
in the service of others, leaving behind our identity
is something very important in our Sadhana.
Swami Vishnudevananda always acted in the
name of his Master. He was already a well known and
respected Master himself when many people came
to see him in the European cities during the seventies.
However, when I met him in 1974, he spoke only
of Sivananda, of his Master, to whom he dedicated each
of his actions. His boundless energy and creativity to
bring yoga in Spain has today turned into a solid project
that has been progressing steadily. Stay in one place
and be faithful to one spiritual master, to one system of
yoga, Swamiji would say. Have patience, a strong will
and tireless perseverance, Swami Sivananda would say.
This first smile is now a Yoga Centre which
is growing slowly and steadily.

The service as staff, as a karma yogi


Through selfless service your heart is purified. Egoism,
hate, jealousy and above all the feeling of superiority,
disappear, said Swami Sivananda. The true meaning

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
is the essence of yoga.
I have seen many people come through the Madrid
Centre, great masters and swamis, who each have left
their own mark in the growth of the centre. I have seen
teachers with admirable dedication, and hundreds of
students of every possible background, each with diverse
and vibrant talents, all coming to experience yoga. I have
seen numerous yogis who have dedicated themselves
entirely to selfless service, cooking, sweeping, tidying and
teaching, greeting the students, doing the accounts our
income is ever insufficient but always well invested!
translating, preparing herbal tea and baking cookies,
washing up of pots and pans. Many people have come
and gone, they have continued on their path and I am
sure they are carrying deep in themselves the teachings
of our masters and the smile of Swami Vishnudevananda,
the teachings of the universal knowledge of Vedanta:
adapt, adjust, accommodate. This is the essence of yoga.

The valuable experience of the teacher


training course: a reality
One of the examples of the effect of this smile was the
establishment of the Teachers Training Course (TTC)
in Spain. The first TTC that Swami Vishnudevananda led
in Europe took place in Galicia, this green and beautiful
land in the northwest of Spain. Swamiji always liked this
land, as the greenness reminded him of Canada. The first
Teachers Training Course in Spain took place 1985. There
have now been eleven teachers training courses held in
Spain. The course is held between the months of August
and September, in the heat and the colours of summer.
So far the course was held in Mojacar and Turre
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


converted into a travelling ashram with the combined
efforts of many people. After a month of group practice
of asanas, pranayama and meditation at dawn and dusk,
they become magical and sacred places which attract us
year after year.

The literary work of Swami Sivananda


in Spanish
Another of the powerful manifestations of the thought of
Swami Vishnudevananda was to put us in touch with the
immense and enriching literary work of his Master Swami
Sivananda. Thousands of people have been touched by
his close to three hundred books, written and translated
into most Indian languages and the main European
languages. His literary work is very extensive and deep,
and at the same time deliberately simple to reach people
of various intellectual capacity.
Despite the efforts of many selfless yogis in the
recent years and, amongst others, of the Sivananda Yoga
Centres in Montevideo, Uruguay and in Madrid, Spain,
not all books of Swami Sivananda have been translated
from English into Spanish.
Many Spanish speaking people do not have sufficient
knowledge of the English language to be able to read the
work of the Great Master in English, and we find it a very
worthy purpose to make this work available to them in
their native language. To achieve this end, we have put
together a group of people to translate the books of
Swami Sivananda. This effort is dedicated to Swami
Vishnudevananda. This small group reviews, on both sides
of the Atlantic, the books already translated and focuses
on translating others. This is a great and most inspiring
work, undertaken with patience and great hope. A good
number of translations have already been produced
through this effort. Books of Swami Sivananda are now
A Historic Reception

available in many bookshops, and of course at the Yoga


Centres of Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Madrid.
Apart from the translation of the work of Swami
Sivananda in recent years we have also worked with
various periodical publications, in particular the Spanish
edition of the magazine Yoga Journal in which we publish
a section called living yoga each month, with practical
inspirations from the teachings of Swami Sivananda.
Translating is a great service and it is worthwhile
to dedicate oneself to it for a period of time every day,
even if only for a few minutes. It is a form of meditation,
allowing us to stay in touch with knowledge.
***
As I contemplate the work of many yogis at the Madrid
Centre, the development of the Teachers Training
Courses in Spain, and the expansion of Swami Sivananda
influence through his books, I realise that this first smile
of Swami Vishnudevananda didnt even belong to him,
and that it was the strength of his Master Swami
Sivananda which was shining in his face.
It has been almost 35 years since I experienced this
first smile and I cannot feel anything but an immense
gratitude towards him, his teachings, and the way in
which he, in so many ways, brought us the knowledge
of Swami Sivananda, the universal knowledge of the
great masters. An eternal knowledge, invigorating
us with ever renewed energy.
Behind this smile of Swami Vishnudevananda,
I can now feel the smile of Swami Sivananda.
Gopala has been Swami
Vishnudevanandas disciple since
1975 and is General Manager
in the Spanish General Council
for the Judiciary.
e-mail: Madrid@sivananda.net"

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
Yoga Vedanta Centres were acknowledged by the Ambassador as Indians in spirit and at heart because their
friendship for India is deep and all encompassing.

50 YOGALife I Summer 2009

Pictured: The Indian President and her husband (seated centre), the
Indian Ambassador seated far right, and Gopala and his wife Dolly
(standing second and third from left), representatives of the Sivananda
Yoga Vedanta Centres at the official reception.

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 dont know, we cannot pinpoint it, we cannot
categorise it, we cannot judge.
Have you seen an elephant pick up a blade of grass
or a grain of rice? Have you seen an elephant move logs
of wood with which even a machine would struggle? We
were blessed to be able to ride bareback on fifteen such
magnificent beasts. Organised by the Elephant Welfare Trust
of India (EWTI), these majestic animals were transported
from neighbouring areas especially for this ride. How
beautiful they were, how elegant and precise in their
movements, how sweet and gentle when we boarded them,
how noble and proud as we paraded the streets of Palakkad
in south India. A sight to behold. An experience imprinted
deep into the souls of all those who came to pay tribute.
Elephants are known to live as long as humans. No major
festival or procession is complete without at least one
elephant leading the way. These cousins of Lord Ganesha
have become an integral part of Kerala culture. Besides their
ceremonial role they are hard workers in the forest industry.
Their working life generally extends to forty years. Thereafter
they are often abandoned due to high maintenance costs.

Twenty dollars a day for food and water might not seem
much in Western terms but it is lot in India where a labourer
earns on average one hundred dollars a month. India has
3,500 domesticated elephants with approximately 600
in Kerala. Most of them are used for commercial purposes.
The EWTI, composed of concerned persons and veterinary
surgeons, have taken up the cause of these gentle giants.
They plan to buy land which will serve as a rehabilitation
centre for diseased, aged and abandoned elephants. Other
issues include the screening and treatment of infectious
diseases such as TB, maintaining minimum standards of
comfort for elephants during festivals, setting up a mobile
veterinary clinic, simplifying insurance for captive elephants,
training and welfare of mahouts (elephant handlers),
cultivation and supply of balanced feeds for captive
elephants and mass education on elephants.
If you wish to help contact Dr Joju Davis, telephone:
+ 91 9447417100, email: jojudavi@hotmail.com

YOGALife I Summer 2009 51

Sivananda Ashram and Centre News

Ashram & Centre News


VAL MORIN, CANADA
Sivananda Yoga Ashram HQ
The Camp will see the opening of The Ayurveda
Centre, a clinic that will start operating during
the summer months of 2009. The Centre is
housed in a building that has been custom built
to accommodate two massage rooms, with
living accommodation for the therapists and
including a consultation room for our ayurvedic
doctor. The design, by Zev Daniels, has been
created on vastu principles.
Original massage tables, made of mahogany,
have been brought in from Kerala and many
of the oils and herbs used will be shipped
directly from India. Consultations will be given
on a residential and non-residential basis, with
extended panchakarma and rejuvenation
programmes held in July and August.
The building is winterised and the programme
will be extended over the coming seasons.

MONTREAL, CANADA
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
The year 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of
the founding of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
Centre in Montreal. Swami Vishnudevananda
established the Centre in 1959 and using it as
his base, spread the teachings of yoga throughout the world. We would like to thank all the
staff, teachers and students who have come
during these 50 years and who have, through
their interest and enthusiasm contributed
to the growth and expansion of the Centre
and the organisation. May the Centre flourish
with the grace and guidance of Swami
Vishnudevananda and his master Swami
Sivananda, and continue to bring the glorious
teachings of yoga to many future generations.

PARIS, FRANCE

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre

NETALA, INDIA
Sivananda Kutir
With the grace of the Gurus we have
purchased a new Ashram across the River
Ganges in close proximity to our existing
Ashram in Netala. The buildings are nestled
against the bank of the Mother Ganga and
situated opposite Swami Vishnus Samadhi
rock, the place where Swamijis body entered
the Ganges in 1993.
It lies at the gateway to the holy pilgrimage
centre of Gangotri, where Swami Vishnudevananda
spent many months in the Sivananda cave
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.

The Paris centre has moved to a new location,


10 minutes away from the previous one. Its location is perfect for us: it is 2 minutes from the
the East train station, with direct trains to Munich,
10 minutes from the North train station, with
direct trains to London and 20 minutes from
the Austerlitz train station, with direct trains
to the Ashram in Neuville aux bois.
The new centre is on the ground floor in a yard.
Its 550 m2 include a spacious entrance and
reception area with a lovely boutique. The main
asana room is very large, and can accommodate
80 students. The accoustics are very good

which allows teaching large classes without a


microphone. A ventilation system has just been
installed. The meditation room already has
a wonderful vibration, with two newly installed
Krishna and Ganesha Murtis.
Our students love their new centre and the staff
feel very uplifted to be able to pass on the
teachings of the Masters in this very
representative place. If you come to Paris,
please stop by the centre! We look forward
to welcoming you soon.
Address: 140 rue du Fg St Martin 75010 Paris.

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 London Centre has gone through a miraculous transformation over the past 18 months
with the addition of the newly acquired
property at 45 Felsham Road. After a 12 month
period of construction and renovations, the new
addition to the Centre was completed, inaugurated and lovingly named Swamijis Kutir.
We now have a large, open shop space
as well as additional teaching space on the
basement and upper floors. The new addition
gave birth to a lovely green space christened

the Sivananda Peace Garden in June 2008


with the planting of a magnificent cherry
blossom tree. The garden beautifully integrates
the new property to the existing one and
features a water fountain and a beautiful
array of green shrubs and seasonal blooms.
Students are enamoured with the new space
and we have already set our sights on future
projects, all aimed at bringing the priceless
teachings of Master and Swamiji to a
larger public.

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
Vishnudevananda to a much wider spectrum of
people. The first Sivananda Centre in Eastern
Europe is opening in October in Vilnius,
Lithuania. Swami Atmaramananda with the help
of close local Sivananda teachers found a suitable
location. The Lithuanian Yogis are looking
forward very much to the opening of the new
centre and are keen on helping to run it.

REITH NEAR KITZBHEL, AUSTRIA


Sivananda Yoga Retreat House
The Sivananda Yoga Retreat House has increased its capacity with the addition of a
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
place and kitchen attached. There is also a
small garden around the house with a wooden
asana platform. Kailash Kutir is ready to accommodate yoga guests, special guest speakers as
well as visiting staff. It is also an ideal place for
special study courses and cooking workshops.

Plans for some architectural improvements and


further expansion are on the way.

NEYYAR DAM, INDIA


Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
Dhanwantari Ashram

MILAN, ITALY Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre


The Sivananda
Yoga Vedanta
Centres in Italy
have had great
developments in
the first months
of 2009.
Swami Vishnudevanandas
The Complete
Illustrated Book of Yoga has been published in
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
Teachers' Training Course in Italy to be held in
September 2009. The course will held at an
agriturismo in Umbria, 2 hours north of Rome,
which features a working farm providing
organic produce, restored 19th century

farmhouses, and beautiful vistas of the


surrounding countryside.
Swami Rajeshwarananda has transferred from
Montreal to become director of the Centre
in Rome and Swami Jnaneswariananda is
setting up a new Sivananda Centre in Milan.
The presence of the Executive Board members
in Rome for the EBM meeting in March gave
a boost of prana to the staff in Italy and
the encouragement of the acharyas was
most appreciated.

We were saddened to hear that Tara, an


affiliated teacher on the Isle of Elba, left her
body in March and we pray that Master and
Swamiji guide and comfort her husband,
Ganapathi, and children Vrinda and Anjaneya.

Over two years


ago, a monumental statue of
Lord Siva in the
form of the Cosmic
Dancer, Nataraja,
was commissioned
by the Neyyar Dam
Ashram. Early this
year on the
auspicious date of February 23 2009, the
day of Sivaratri when Lord Siva is worshipped
continually for twenty four hours, the installation of the murthi took place.
Over three hundred people chanted the mantra
Om Namah Sivaya and bhajans extolling the
virtues and glory of Lord Siva, while Potti Swami
accompanied by priests and aides performed
the final rite of opening Lord Natarajas eyes.
The statue was created by the renowned vastu
architect and designer, Dr Ganapathi Stapathi.
Work was executed by Radhakrishna Stapathi.
The statue weighs 1500 kg and is made from
five metals: copper, bronze, lead, silver and gold.
It stands in splendour in the Siva Hall of the
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram,
Neyyar Dam.

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
pilgrimage that takes place four times
every twelve years (approximately
once every three years) at one of the
following four locations of India:
Haridwar (Uttar Pradesh), which
litterally means the Gateway to
God, where the river Ganga enters
the plains from the Himalayas. This
is where the next Kumbha Mela will
take place in March & April 2010.
Prayag, also known as Allahabad,
in the state of Uttar Pradesh at the
confluence of three holy rivers: Ganga
(Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati
where it will be held in 2013.

54 YOGALife I Summer 2010

Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), on the


banks of the Shipra river.
Nasik (Maharashtra), on the banks
of the Godavari river.
Kumbh Mela is attended by
millions of people on a single day.
On January 15th 2007, the most
auspicious day of the Kumbha Mela
in Allahabad, more than 5 million
participated. Over 45 days beginning
in January 2007, more than
70 million Hindu pilgrims took part
in the pilgrimage, making it by far the
largest peaceful gathering anywhere
in the world. Thousands of holy men
and women (monks, saints and
sadhus) also attend, and the

auspiciousness of the festival is in


part attributable to this.
The major event of the festival is
to bathe at certain sacred spots of
the river on certain auspicious days.
Other activities include religious
discussions, devotional singing, mass
feeding of holy men and women
and the poor, as well as religious
assemblies where doctrines are
debated and standardized. A large
tented city is erected and pilgrims
stay at tents owned by Pandas
(religious and spiritual guides) and
at various ashrams. Others will just
camp on the ground or turn up for
the actual bathing day.

Kumbha Mela

Origins and History of the Kumbha Mela


The Kumbha Mela is celebrated according to Hindu Vedic Astrology
when the planet of Brihaspati moves into the zodiac sign of Aquarius
or Kumbha. It finds mention in several Hindu sacred scriptures
including the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vishnu Purana, Mahabharata
and Ramayana.
The Gods had lost their strength, and to regain it, they thought of
churning the Ksheera Saghara (primordial ocean of milk) for amrit (the
nectar of immortality). This required them to make a temporary agreement
with their arch enemies, the demons or Asuras, to work together with
a promise of sharing the nectar equally thereafter. However, when the
Kumbha (urn) containing the amrita appeared, a fight ensued. For twelve
days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and
demons fought in the sky for the pot of amrita. It is believed that during
the battle, the celestial bird Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu, flew away with
the Kumbha of elixir and drops of amrita fell at four places on earth:
Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and
Nashik, and that is where the
Kumbha (pitcher) Mela
(gathering) is observed every
twelve years.

After visiting the Kumbh Mela


of 1895, Mark Twain wrote:
It is wonderful,
the power of a
faith like that,
that can make
multitudes upon
multitudes of the
old and weak and
the young and
frail enter without
hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys
and endure the resultant miseries
without repining. It is done in love,
or it is done in fear; I do not know
which it is. No matter what the
impulse is, the act born of it is
beyond imagination, marvellous
to our kind of people.

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 Centre, situated on the busy main road


to the Airport, is an oasis of calm and
serenity, built according to vastu principles.

The Maharaja of Travancore is welcomed


to the new Trivandrum Sivananda Yoga
Vedanta Centre by Swami Mahadevananda
and Sri Potti Swami

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
of the Maharaja, a man of acuity and grace. His
way to the front door and the ceremonial ribbon
was lined by Kerala women bedecked in traditional
dress, strewing rose and jasmine petals before the
royal figure. A quick snip of the scissors by
H.H. Padmanabhadasa Uhtradam Thirunal
Marthanda Varma Maharaja, and the Centre was
formally declared open. The Maharaja graciously
donated an armchair used by Swami Sivananda

56 YOGALife I Summer 2010

during his visit to the Kowdiar Palace in1950,


as a guest of the then Maharaja of Travancore.
The programme reflected the joy of Swami Vishnudevanandas mission, to bring yoga to all people.
Formal speeches by the Maharaja and Swami
Mahadevananda were followed by a bandhara
feeding the five hundred present, followed by
satsang with Swami Mahadevananda and closing
with a beautiful veena concert. The Centre is now
operational with classes and satsang in full swing.

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
from both the city ovens as
well as at the Ranch.

Mahadev, staff at the Yoga Ranch, has happily joined me in the operation of the
Project. He is a great help, working enthusiastically in New York, and began resuming
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.

Prisoners
Letters
Letter from a prison chaplain
Dear Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center,
I wish to express our gratitude for the
books you sent to our chapel. The books
have already been placed into our
Chapel Resource Center for checkout.
The inmates' options in prison are quite
limited and it is through people/
organizations like yours that help them
to better themselves while in prison.
It also helps to remind them that even
though they are in prison for whatever
they have done, not everyone is society
has given up on them. It reminds them
there are still compassionate people in
the world that are willing to give of
themselves to help those who are less
fortunate. Thank you very much, from
both the inmates and myself.
DS, SOU Chaplain

Dear Swami Padmapadananda,


I hope this finds you deeply immersed
in the joy of the Self and in good health.
Thank you very much for sending the
Meditation and Mantras book. It is truly
an excellent book and I have studied it
closely. Swami Vishnudevananda did a
tremendous job in covering the subject
of meditation in great depth and
breadth, both theory and practice.
I am sure I will read it many more times
because I have benefited greatly and
have incorporated some of his
suggestions in my practice. I really liked
the commentary on Patanjali's Yoga
Sutras. Thanks again for your kindness
and generosity. This incarceration has
truly become an extended spiritual
retreat for me and you should know
that I have benefited greatly from your
advice and books in my sadhana.
May the Lord keep you joyful and
peaceful always.
With great love and respect, D

My Dearest Swami,
I thank you sincerely for the copy of
the Meditation and Mantras that you
sent me. I have begun to read it and
considering how much I enjoy
meditation, I am sure it will help lots
in guiding my path. I would like to take
this opportunity to further thank you
for all you've done for me and for your
kind words and attention. The books
that you so graciously provided me
with gave me two most valuable
instruments: Yoga and Meditation.
They provided me with a way to
channel some of the pent up energy
and most of the frustrations and
stress that I had and will encounter in
life. I want you to know that you are
appreciated. A prison is always filled
with lots of darkness and gloom.
Sometimes easily comparable to a
cemetery where a person vegetates
before dying (on the inside). I've seen
it first hand in many people. On the
other hand, it could also be compared
to a seminary where a person can
study, look at life, and even analyze
to see where it is that went wrong
(which is what I tried to do).

Namaste,
Thank you for the Complete Illustrated
Book of Yoga. It is exactly what I have
been looking for. It has helped me
increase my understanding a lot.
I especially enjoy the information in the
book about vegetarianism. This is new
to me but it is also very important. I am
very devoted to my practice to include
my diet, which is not as easy as you
might think in prison. I would like to
request your help and guidance with
my spiritual practices. I am experiencing
difficulty with painful thoughts and
memories; any advice for this or diet or
anything to do with spiritual growth
would be greatly appreciated.
CF

Be well, LCR

YOGALife I Summer 2009 57

Sivananda Ashram and Centre Addresses


ASHRAMS

CENTRES

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp


673, 8th Avenue Val Morin
Quebec J0T 2R0, CANADA
Tel: +1.819.322.3226
Fax: +1.819.322.5876
e-mail: HQ@sivananda.org

ARGENTINA

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch


P.O. Box 195, Budd Road
Woodbourne, NY 12788, U.S.A.
Tel: +1.845.436.6492
Fax: +1.845.434.1032
YogaRanch@sivananda.org
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat
P.O. Box N7550 Paradise Island, Nassau,
BAHAMAS
Tel: +1.242.363.2902
Fax: +1.242.363.3783
e-mail: Nassau@sivananda.org
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
Dhanwantari Ashram
P.O.Neyyar Dam
Thiruvananthapuram Dt.
Kerala, 695 572, INDIA
Tel: +91.471.227.3093 / 2703
+91.949.563. 0951 (mobile)
Fax: +91.471.227.2093
e-mail: YogaIndia@sivananda.org
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm
14651 Ballantree Lane
Grass Valley, CA 95949, U.S.A.
Tel: +1.530.272.9322
Fax: +1.530.477.6054
e-mail: yogafarm@sivananda.org
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta
Meenakshi Ashram
Near Pavanna Vilakku Junction,
New Natham Road, Saramthangi Village
Madurai Dist. 625 503
Tamil Nadu, South INDIA
Tel: +91.94421.90661
e-mail: madurai@sivananda.org
Sivananda Kutir
(Near Siror Bridge)
P.O. Netala, Uttar Kashi Dt,
Uttaranchal, Himalayas, 249 193,
North INDIA
Tel: +91.1374.224.159 or +91 9411.330.495
Himalayas@sivananda.org
Sivananda Yoga Retreat House
Bichlach 40
A- 6370 Reith bei Kitzbhel, Tyrol, AUSTRIA
Tel: +43.5356.67.404
Fax: +43.5356.67.4044
e-mail: tyrol@sivananda.net
Chteau du Yoga Sivananda
26 Impasse du Bignon
45170 Neuville aux bois, FRANCE
Tel: +33.2.38.91.88.82
Fax: +33.2.38.91.18.09
e-mail: orleans@sivananda.net

Centro Internacinal de Yoga Sivananda


Snchez de Bustamante 2372 - (C.P. 1425)
Capital Federal - Buenos Aires - Argentina
Tel: +54.11.4804 7813
Fax: +54.11.4805 4270
e-mail: BuenosAires@sivananda.org

AUSTRIA
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum
Prinz Eugen Strasse 18
A -1040 Vienna, AUSTRIA
Tel:: +43.1.586.3453
Fax: +43.1.587.1551
e-mail: vienna@sivananda.net

CANADA
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
5178 St Lawrence Blvd
Montreal, Quebec H2T 1R8, CANADA
Tel: +1.514.279.3545
Fax: +1.514.279.3527
e-mail: Montreal@sivananda.org
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
77 Harbord Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1G4, CANADA
Tel: +1.416.966.9642
e-mail: Toronto@sivananda.org

FRANCE
Centre Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta
140 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin
F-75010 Paris, FRANCE
Tel: +33.1.40.26.77.49
Fax: +33.1.42.33.51.97
e-mail: Paris@sivananda.net

GERMANY
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum
Steinheilstrasse 1
D-80333 Munich, GERMANY
Tel: +49.89.700.9669.0
Fax: +49.89.700.9669.69
e-mail: Munich@sivananda.net
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Zentrum
Schmiljanstrasse 24
D-12161 Berlin, GERMANY
Tel: +49.30.8599.9798
Fax: +49.30.8599.9797
e-mail: Berlin@sivananda.net

INDIA
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Nataraja Centre
A-41 Kailash Colony
New Delhi 110 048, INDIA
Tel: +91.11. 292.40869
or +91.11. 292 30962
e-mail: Delhi@sivananda.org
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dwarka Centre
PSP Pocket, Swami Sivananda Marg,
Sector - 6 (Behind DAV school)
Dwarka, New Delhi, 110075 INDIA
Tel: +91 11 6456 8526
Or +91.1145566016
e-mail: Dwarka@sivananda.org
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
TC37/1927 (5), Airport Road, West Fort,
Thiruvananthapuram Kerala, INDIA
Tel +91 0471 245 0942, +91 (0)9497008432
Email: trivandrum@sivananda.org

58 YOGALife I Summer 2009

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre


3/655 Kaveri Nagar, Kuppam Road, Kottivakkam
Chennai 600 041, Tamil Nadu, INDIA
Tel: +91.44.2451.1626
or +91.44 2451.2546
e-mail: Chennai@sivananda.org
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
Plot # 101 (Old No 23), Dr Sathar Road
Anna Nagar, Madurai 625 020
Tamil Nadu, INDIA
Tel: +91.452-2521170
Fax: +91.4552-4393445
e-mail: maduraicentre@sivananda.org

ISRAEL
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
6 Lateris St
Tel Aviv 64166, ISRAEL
Tel: +972.3.691.6793
Fax: +972.3.696.3939
e-mail: TelAviv@sivananda.org

ITALY
Centro Yoga Vedanta Sivananda Roma
via Oreste Tommasini, 7
00162 Rome, ITALY
tel: +39 06 4549 6529
fax: +39 06 9725 9356
roma@sivananda.org
Centro Yoga Vedanta Sivananda Milano
Milan, ITALY
Phone: +39 334 760 5376
email: Milan@sivananda.org

LITHUANIA
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
Opening in October 2009
For information contact Swami Atmaramanda
e-mail: swa@sivananda.net

SPAIN
Centro de Yoga Sivananda Vedanta
Centro de Yoga Sivananda Vedanta
Calle Eraso 4
E-28028 Madrid, SPAIN
Tel: +34.91.361.5150
Fax: +34.91.361.5194
e-mail: Madrid@sivananda.net

SWITZERLAND
Centre Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta
Centre Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta
1 Rue des Minoteries
CH-1205 Geneva, SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41.22.328.03.28
Fax: +41.22.328.03.59
e-mail: Geneva@sivananda.net

UNITEDKINGDOM
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
51 Felsham Road
London SW15 1AZ
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel: +44.20.8780.0160
Fax: +44.20.8780.0128
e-mail: London@sivananda.net

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center


243 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011, USA
Tel: +1.212.255.4560
Fax: +1.212.727.7392
e-mail: NewYork@sivananda.org
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
1200 Arguello Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
Tel: +1.415.681.2731
Fax: +1.415.681.5162
SanFrancisco@sivananda.org
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
13325 Beach Avenue
Marina del Rey, CA 90292, USA
Tel: +1.310.822.9642
LosAngeles@sivananda.org

URUGUAY
Asociacin de Yoga Sivananda
Acevedo Daz 1523
11200 Montevideo, URUGUAY
Tel: +598.2.401.09.29 / 401.66.85
Fax: +598.2.400.73.88
Montevideo@sivananda.org

AFFILIATED CENTRES
ARGENTINA
Centro de Yoga Sivananda
Centro de Yoga Sivananda
Carlos y Laura Chiarotto
Alderete 97- Neuqun (8300),
ARGENTINA
Tel: +54.299.4331774/ 4484879
e-mail: naradaneuquen@hotmail.com

AUSTRALIA
Sivananda Yoga Centre
Kamala Devi, The Shellin 40 Ninth Avenue
Katoomba 2700 N.S.W. AUSTRALIA
Tel: (047) 82-32-45
e-mail: KamalaDevi@bigpond.com

BOLIVIA
Centro de Yoga Sivananda Santa Cruz
Calle Junin #271
Santa Cruz de la Sierra, BOLIVIA
Tel/Fax: +591.333.1508
e-mail: marcelaterceros@hotmail.com

BRAZIL
Centro Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta
Rua Santo Antonio, 374
Porto Alegre 90220-010 -RS, BRAZIL
Tel: +55.51.3024.7717
e-mail: centro@yogasivananda.com.br
www.sivanandayoga.com.br
Centro Sivananda de Yoga Vedanta
Rua das Palmeiras n/13
Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro CEP 20270-070
BRAZIL
Tel: +55.21.2266.4896
www.sivanandayoga.com.br

UNITEDSTATES

CANADA

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center


1246 West Bryn Mawr Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660, USA
Tel: +1.773.878.7771
Fax: +1.773.878.7527
e-mail: Chicago@sivananda.org

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre


Sivaram & Sasi
Lakshmi, 108 Des Berges
Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, J7V 9X2, CANADA
Tel: +1.450 510 2656/+1.450 510 2657
e-mail Psivaraman@sympatico.ca

Yoga Sivananda de l'Outaouais


Catherine Gillies (Kumari)
745 Chemin d'Aylmer
Gatineau (secteur Aylmer)
Qubec, J9H 0B8, CANADA
Tel: +1.819 684-2084
e-mail: info@yoga-aylmer.com
www.yoga-aylmer.com
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Vancouver
280-2010 East 48th
Vancouver, B.C. V5P 1R8, CANADA
Tel: +1.604 321 9039
yoga@mail.com

COLUOMBIA
Atma Yoga
Antioquia, Medelln, COLOMBIA
www.atman-yoga.org
info@atman-yoga.org
Tel: (57 - 4) 311 11 32

Sivananda Yoga Centre


#236,5th Cross, 3rd Block,
H R B R Layout,
Bangalore , Karnataka, 560043, INDIA
Tel: +91 80 57637144,
Mobile: +91 9448464448
e-mail: yogaprabhus@yahoo.co.uk
Arsha Yoga Gurukulam
Double Cutting
Calvarimount Post
Idukki (Dt), Kerala 680 681, INDIA
Tel: +91 480284 6080
e-mail: harilal_k@yahoo.com
www.arshayoga.org
Sivananda Yoga Centre, Gurgaon
M13/23 DLF Phase II
Gurgaon 122002
Haryana, INDIA
Tel: +91 0124 2581353
e-mail:yogashowstheway@yahoo.com

Centre de Yoga Sruthi


18 rue Savorgnan de Brazza,
14000 Caen, FRANCE
Tel: 06 86 88 69 78 or 02 31 73 26 41

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre


L-12, 26th Street
Annanagar East
Chennai , Tamil Nadu, 600102, INDIA
Tel: +91 44 26630978
e-mail : durain@gmail.com

GERMANY

INDONESIA

International Sivananda Yoga Centre


Kleiner Kielort 8
20144 Hamburg, GERMANY
Tel: +49.40.41.42.45.46
e-mail: post@artyoga.de
www.artyoga.de

Bali Yoga and Wellness


Beate McLatchie
Jl Tunjung Mekar 58
Br Peliatan, Kerobakan
Bali, INDONESIA
Tel: +62 8123804046
e-mail: info@baliyogawellness.com
www.baliyogawellness.com

FRANCE

INDIA
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
# 79, 4th cross, 4th Block, 16th Main
Koramangala, Bangalore -560034
Karnataka State, INDIA
Tel: +91.80.2563.4991
e-mail: yogamana@yahoo.co.in
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
Swami Sundarananda
'Laksmi Sadan'
College Road
Palakkad, Kerala 678 001, INDIA
Tel: +91.491.254.5117 / 254.4549
e-mail: Palghat@sivananda.org
Sivananda Yoga Centre
Ajitha Vijayaraghavan
E-94 Income Tax Quarters
Panampilly Nagar
Kochi, Kerala 682 036, INDIA
Tel: +91.484.231.3418
e.mail: ajiyoga@gmail.com
T Raghavan
Kripa, Kundanmur
Maradu P.O.
Kochi 682304, Kerala, INDIA
e-mail: trmenon@vsnl.com
Sivananda Yoga Centre
Sarath Kumar
Balan K. Nair Road, Asokapuram,
Kozhikode, Kerala 673 001, INDIA
Tel: +91. 495 2771754/2770384
Mobile +91 944 6953652
e-mail: mail@sivanandayogacentre.com

ISRAEL
Sivananda Yoga Centre
3 Reuven Street
Jerusalem, ISRAEL
Tel: +972.2.671.4854
e-mail: syvc@013.barak.net.il
Sivananda Yoga Centre
8 Amnon and Tamar Street, Apt 1
Herzelia, ISRAEL
Tel: +972.9.9561004
e-mail: gerag@internet-zahav.net
Sivananda Yoga Center
11a Einstein Street
Haifa 34605, ISRAEL
Tel: +972.4.8111921
e-mail: narayans@netvision.net.il

ITALY
Sivananda Yoga Firenze
Via de' Marsili 1
50125 Firenze, ITALY
Tel +39 055 230 2250
In Sabina Yoga Centre
Torri in Sabina
Lazio, ITALY
Tel: +39.340.387.6028
e-mail: giulialandor@tiscali.com
www.insabina.com

JAMAICA

UKRAINE

Sivananda Yoga Centre


17 Tremaine Road
Kingston 6 Jamaica
WEST INDIES
Tel: +1 876 381 1504
Alina133@yandex.ru

Sivananda Yoga Centre


Valentina Nikitina
Sadovaya Str 60,
95050 Simferopol, Crimea, UKRAINE
E-mail: valentina-nikiti@mail.ru
Victoria Rybachuk (Savitri)
Street Baggovutivska 3/15, Flat 88,
Kyiv 04107, UKRAINE
Tel: +380 44 4833683
Mobile: +380 679925623
E-mail: padma04@yandex.ru

JAPAN
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Japan
Suite 1002 Yoyogi Cityhomes
Sendagaya 5-26-5
Shibuya, Tokyo
JAPAN
Tel +81.03 5969 8311
e-mail beams_tokyo@yahoo.co.jp

LEBANON
Sivananda Yoga Centre
Sivananda Yoga Centre
522 Couraud Street #3A
Gemayzeh, Beirut, LEBANON
Tel: +961-1-566-770
e-mail: sivanandabeirutcenter@yahoo.com

NEW ZEALAND
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
145a Tukapa Street
Westown, New Plymouth, NEW ZEALAND
Tel : +64(0)6 7538234
richnz79@yahoo.co.nz
www.sivanandayoga.co.nz

POLAND
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centrum
ul.Friedleina 20/6
30-009 Krakow, POLAND
Tel: +48 12 634 43 83, +48 604 460 166
e-mail: yoga@yoga.krakow.pl
www.yoga.krakow.pl

PORTUGAL

UNITED STATES
The Yoga Center
Tara Durga Devi (Terry Crane)
and Bhavani (Mary Keeney)
235 Dorris Place,
Stockton, CA 95204
Phone # 209-463-3330
Website: www.stocktonyoga.com
e-mail: information@stocktonyoga.com
Vishnudevananda Yoga Vedanta Center
1034 Delaware Street
Berkeley, CA 94710, USA
Tel: +1.510.273.2447
e-mail: mail@vishnuyoga.org
www.vishnuyoga.org
Yoga and Inner Peace
3964 Lake Worth Road
Lake Worth FL33461-4054, USA
Tel: +1.561.641.8888
e-mail: b@yogapeace.com
Yoga Warehouse
Shyam and Mohini
508 SW Flagler Ave.
Fort Lauderdale
Florida 33301, USA
Tel: +1 954 525-7726
e-mail yogis@yogawarehouse.org
www.yogawarehouse.org

Centro de Yoga Sivananda Vedanta


de Lisboa
Rua Jose Carlos dos Santos
No. 12 1 Andar
1700-257 Lisbon,
PORTUGAL
Tel: +351 217971431
e-mail: yoga_portugal@yahoo.com
www.sivananda.pt

SINGAPORE
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
Affiliated Singapore
Harbour Front Centre Post Office
PO Box 026
Singapore 910930, SINGAPORE
Tel: +65 90679100
jantitanto@yahoo.com.sg

UNITED KINGDOM
Universal Yoga
(Chandrika) Redhill House,
Red Hill, Camerton, Bath,
BA2 0NY, UK
Tel: 01761 470 658
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

It serves over 10,000


This is an invitation to join
general members and
an exciting worldwide
students from all walks
family involved in the
of life, with the objective
exploration of:
of inter-religious and
New sciences of coninter-cultural undersciousness and healing
standing for world peace.
New paradigms for the
convergence of science,
The Quest for
spirituality and more
Universal Human
humane values in the
Values in the
global village.
World's Religions
New insights into the
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 repremembership 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,
Yogis, Spiritualists, New
of inter-religious and inter-cultural
including a number of
Religionists, Atheists,
prominent medical doctors, understanding for world peace
Agnostics, and Freepsychiatrists, 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
By graduating from the Sivananda Yoga Teachers
spiritual and psychic sciences to their proper place
Training Course or Diploma Courses offered at the
alongside of the natural, physical and social sciences.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, you can earn credits
for Bachelor, Master and Ph.D. university programmes.
A Global Family, East & West

with a Noble Objective


Today the IIIHS family has professional and general
members or associates in many nations, East & West, and
an affiliated network of Spiritual Science Fellowship
chapters and other cooperating groups in North America.

60 YOGALife I Summer 2009

For further information, please contact:


International Institute of Integral Human Sciences
1974 de Maisonneuve West, Montreal, PQ, H3H 1K5, Canada,
www.iiihs.com

International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres

International Sivananda Yoga Teachers


Training Course (TTC)
10 October 8 November 2009
6 March 3 April 2010

Advanced International Sivananda


Yoga Teachers Training Course (ATTC)
10 October 8 November 2009

Teaching location: Vrindavan, North India

Intensive Ayurvedic Nutrition Seminar


17 March 3 April 2010
With Ayurveda Acharyas from Pune, India. With Certificate.

North Indian Pilgrimage


30 October 8 November 2009: Vrindavan
9 17 November 2009: Agra | Jaipur | Varanasi | Delhi
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
TEACHERS TRAINING COURSE
With Internationally Recognised Certificate
Course in English language with simultaneous
translation into German; please ask for
Spanish, French and Italian translation.
May 23 June 21, 2009 (German)
August 1 August 29, 2009
September 5 October 4, 2009
(reduced price)
December 19 January 17, 2010
July 2 July 29, 2010 (German)
August 1 August 29, 2010
December 18 January 16, 2011

AYURVEDA NUTRITION /
COOKING COURSE (ANC)
August 10 30, 2009
Certificate upon Completion
With Ayurveda Acharya from India
Daily Cooking workshops with authentic recipies
Ayurveda Nutrition Science
Yoga classes, Yoga lectures, Meditation

YEAR ROUND YOGA VACATION


Free Choice of arrival and departure dates
WIDE CHOICE OF SEMINARS
Yoga Relaxation Days
Yoga and Hiking
Yoga Vitality Week
Asana Practice Days
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 Kitzbhel, Tyrol, Austria
tyrol@sivananda.net Tel. +43 (0)5356 / 6 74 04
www.sivananda.org/tyrol www.sivananda.eu

SPECIAL PROGRAMS
WITH YOGA ACHARYAS AND
INTERNATIONAL GUEST SPEAKERS
YOGA PHILOSOPHY AND SATSANGS
Swami Durgananda, Yoga Acharya
ASANA SPECIAL WORKSHOPS
Swami Sivadasananda, Yoga Acharya
EASTERN WISDOM MELODIES
Sri Venugopal Goswami and Ensemble
JYOTISHA - VEDIC ASTROLOGY
Stephen Quong, California, USA
HOLISTIC HEALTH WITH ENERGY MEDICINE
Dr. Fadel Behman, Montreal, Canada
AYURVEDA NUTRITION SPECIAL
Dr. Shanti Kumar Kamlesh, North India
MANTRAS ANS MYSTICISM OF YOGA
Sri Potty Swami, Kerala, South India
YOGA AND MENTAL HEALTH
Dr. Uma Krishnamurthi,
Bangalore, India

Swami Sivananda Swami Vishnudevananda


(1887 1963)
(1927 1993)

An intensive four week


immersion in the yogic
way of life:
Open to students of all levels
who have a sincere desire
to learn. Certificate given
upon successful completion
of the course.

Dates and Locations


QUEBEC, CANADA

TYROL, AUSTRIA

MERLO, ARGENTINA

July 5 Aug 1, 2009


Sep 6 Oct 3, 2009
Nov 14 Dec 12, 2009
Feb 14 Mar 14, 2010

Aug 1 29, 2009


Sep 5 Oct 4, 2009
Dec 19, 2009 Jan 17, 2010
May 8 Jun 6, 2010

Oct 17 Nov 15, 2009

ORLEANS, FRANCE

UMBRIA, ITALY

July 3 Aug 1, 2009


Aug 2 30, 2009
May 29 Jun 26, 2010

Sep 6 Oct 4, 2009

In depth study of: Asanas,


Pranayama, Meditation,
Mantras, Vedanta, Bhagavad
Gita, Kriyas, Yogic Diet,
Anatomy & Physiology.

WOODBOURNE, NY
Sep 11 Oct 9, 2009
June 2 30, 2010

ALUENDA, SPAIN
Aug 17 Sept 13, 2009
(Spanish only)

USTKA, POLAND

1866 446-5934 in Bahamas

Oct 25 Nov 22, 2009


Nov 29 Dec 27, 2009
Jan 24 Feb 21, 2010
Feb 28 March 28, 2010

NEYYAR DAM,
SOUTH INDIA
Nov 15 Dec 13, 2009
Jan 10 Feb 7, 2010
March 21 April 18, 2010

NASSAU, BAHAMAS

Oct 3 31, 2009


May 1 30, 2010

Dec 6, 2009 Jan 2, 2010


Jan 31, 2009 Feb 27, 2010
Mar 4 31, 2010
Apr 4 May 1, 2010
May 5 Jun 1, 2010

HIMALAYAS, INDIA

BRAZIL, S. AMERICA

Oct 4 Nov 1, 2009


Apr 11 May 9, 2010
June 20 Jul 18, 2010

Jan 3 30, 2010

VIETNAM

VRINDAVAN, INDIA

LONDON, UK

Oct 10 Nov 8, 2009


Mar 6 April 3, 210

Apr 24 May 23, 2010

Aug 29 Sept 27, 2009

GRASS VALLEY, CA

1800 263-YOGA in Canada


1800 783-YOGA or 1800 469-YOGA in USA

MADURAI,
SOUTH INDIA

+ 43 (0) 5356/67 404 in Europe


+ 44 (0) 208 780 0160 in UK

Feb 28 March 28, 2010

HQ@sivananda.org
www.sivananda.org
www.sivananda.eu